An Heir of Deception by Beverley Kendall

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Blurb:

A man devastated by love

After three years of carousing and debauchery, Alex Cartwright, heir to the Duke of Hastings, has put his life back in order. Having embraced sobriety for two years, he has no intention of revisiting the past or risking his heart again. But the return of the very woman who introduced him to the darkest side of hell brings not only the painful, haunting memories of bittersweet love and abandonment, but the son he never knew he had…

A woman silenced by secrets

Threatened by the revelation of a secret that could destroy her family’s place in society and forever tarnish a dukedom, Charlotte fled England on her wedding day five years ago. Now, although it appears that secret is safe, when Alex discovers her other secret–their son–Charlotte has an altogether different battle ahead. She must now fight one love to hold onto the other–the man whose touch still makes her burn, for the child who is her very world.

Publisher and Release Date: Season Publishing LLC, 23 April 2013

RHL Classifications:
Time and Setting: England, 1859-64
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating: 4 stars

Review by Lady Blue

This story starts out with Alex being abandoned at the altar by his beloved fiancée, Charlotte, and immediately fast forwards almost five years to pick up the story.  We learn that in those intervening years Alex lived a dissolute life for the first three of those years, drinking and womanizing, but then pulled himself together, gave up alcohol, and decided to put his life in order.  He even considered marrying.  During the time of his absence, Charlotte left England to go to America without telling anyone where she was going, and never explaining why.

Charlotte receives word that her twin sister is very ill, and returns home to England.  Upon arrival, she finds her sister perfectly healthy, and realises she has been lured back under false pretenses.  Very soon, she runs into Alex, who gives her the cold shoulder, though he is shaken.  Later, he accidentally encounters her son, who is an exact replica of his brother as a child.  He realizes that the child is his and becomes enraged, rightfully so.

Alex wants his child to be his heir.  He concocts a scheme to create marriage records, so his son may be considered legitimate, even knowing he will now have to live with the woman who betrayed him and broke his heart.  The story now deals with how they manage to reconcile, the reasons Charlotte fled England, and discovering who was the mystery villain who caused her to leave.

This was my first book by this author, and it is the third in a series. I felt a bit out to sea at times, feeling that I had missed something that occurred in Book One or Book Two. While I’m not a fan of the “secret child” trope, or the “I left you for your own good” trope, this story was nicely resolved. The identity of the villain was a total surprise, and Alex was quick to reconcile and forgive, making for a very good read.

This is now available as a kindle book for $4.99.

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