This was very, very good. There isn’t *really* a plot, but in this case, that’s a good thing. What this is, is a character piece. The movement of the story comes with the evolution of the characters’ feelings for each other. (Much in the way comedies of manners do it.) It’s got a great set-up, though.
Alex Moncrieffe, the Duke of Falconbridge, finds his fiancé in bed with Ian Eversea, and chases Eversea out the window, buck-ass nude. He and the fiancé agree to part ways. But he wants revenge on Ian (not the fiancé, for some reason), so he forms a plan to do something equivalently awful to him. What he comes up with is seducing one of Ian’s sisters and then abandoning her. So, this is the kind of guy we’re rooting for here. He’s got some darkness in him. You’d have to be a total bastard to follow through with this plan, because surprise! It does not seem to occur to him at all that the actual person he would be hurting would be the woman he ruins and abandons, not so much her brother. And it would have actual, horrible consequences for her! Anyway, he’s got the perfect opportunity to enact his nefarious plan at a house party the Everseas are hosting for the next several weeks in Pennyroyal Green.
Said woman is Genevieve Eversea (the other sister, Olivia, doesn’t seem a good option for various reasons). Genevieve is in love with her best friend, Harry, and has been for years. The day she meets the Duke of Falconbridge, Harry tells her is going to propose to their mutual friend Millicent, and Genevieve is beyond crushed. She is not happy to be babysitting the Duke, at all, and she lets him know it. Her dislike of him, and her reticence and intelligence begin to intrigue him.
Most of the book features conversations between the two of them that gradually escalate their relationship, as they get to know one another. I was pretty impressed when not even a third of the way through the book, Genevieve was let in on The Revenge Plan. A lesser book would have had that be revealed at the end for a cheap ploy for story tension. What’s here is much more mature than that.
The one complaint I have is that I was bored by the sex scenes. Maybe it was the audio narrator, or maybe the scenes veered too often into *passionate* for me (sometimes old school romance authors get really dramatic with their lustiness, and I prefer intimacy over PASSION in those types of scenes). I will admit I zoned out during pretty much all those scenes, unless the two of them were being chatty about it, and then that was fun.
I’m curious about Olivia’s book, so I’ll be checking that one out next.