Andrew Alexander will do anything to protect those he loves…
After a tragic yachting accident leaves him wracked with guilt and despair, Andrew Alexander becomes certain he doesn’t deserve to be around his own family, let alone the beautiful, forthright Astrid Worthington. He wanders for years, only allowing himself respite from his self-imposed exile when he thinks Astrid safely married. He returns home to find instead that the only woman he’s ever loved has been recently—and mysteriously—widowed.
…especially from himself
When Andrew leaves, Astrid refuses to pine. She finds an amiable husband and contents herself with a cordial if unexciting marriage. But her husband’s sudden death and Andrew’s reappearance threaten to break her heart all over again. When Astrid’s life is threatened, she finds Andrew will do anything to protect her not only from her enemies, but also from the truth of his dark past.
Publisher and Release Date: Sourcebooks Casablanca, 3 December 2013
Time and Setting: Regency England
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Rating: 2
Reviewer Rating: 4 stars
Review by Lady Blue
Andrew and his brother, Gareth, share a sad family history. Years ago, a tragic boating accident killed six people, including five members of their family. While Gareth wasn’t present, Andrew was, and he managed to rescue his mother. They were they only two survivors. Though he was only fifteen years old at the time, Andrew is carrying a heavy load of guilt, because there is more to this accident than is generally known.
As an adult, Andrew meets seventeen-year-old Astrid, whose sister is involved with his brother. She is beautiful and sweet, and obviously smitten with him. He is also very attracted to her, but he has no intention of making any permanent ties. He doesn’t want to hurt her, so before things go any further between them, he decides he needs to leave. And leave he does, not just town, but he leaves the country. Two years after his departure, Astrid finally accepts that he won’t be coming back for her and decides to make a convenient marriage. She marries an amiable man whom she doesn’t love, and proceeds to get on with her life.
Two more years pass, and Andrew decides to come home. He is aware that Astrid has married, and feels he’ll be safe from the attraction he had once felt for her. But at the same time he’s travelling home, Astrid’s husband is killed in an accident, leaving her a widow with a baby on the way. Since his brother, Gareth, and her sister, Felicity, are married, there is a family connection, and he can’t avoid seeing her. It’s not long after they meet again before they are as enthralled with each other as they ever were. They begin an affair, agreeing that it’s only a temporary thing.
As they become closer, Andrew stubbornly refuses to consider marriage to Astrid. He feels undeserving of happiness because he feels (as his brother Gareth did) that he can never be faithful. (I love it when Gareth tells him that bed hopping has lost its appeal, and he’s quite happy with one woman.) He also is still carrying the secret of what happened during that boating accident years ago, which makes him think that he doesn’t deserve to have a wife, and particularly, children. This is even more poignant because Andrew is a generous, caring man. Where Gareth was hard and cold, Andrew is warm and nurturing.
Then events occur which indicate that Astrid’s husband may have been murdered, and now her unborn child (who, if a boy, will be the next heir) and she, herself, are in danger. It takes high drama and yet more secrets about the past being revealed before our star-crossed lovers can have their happy ever after.
Grace Burrowes has created another delicious hero in this, Book 7 of the Lonely Lords Series. It’s not necessary to have read the previous books to enjoy this story, but Book 6, Gareth, gives more insight into this family, and allows us to see Andrew and Astrid’s initial meeting. This book also introduces us to Douglas, who will be the next Lonely Lord, and whose story takes us full circle back to the Windham family. Yes, I am hooked! Grace Burrowes is good; she is very, very good.