He is the wealthiest, most powerful peer in the realm, and having witnessed the cold horror of marriage as a child, he has vowed never to wed. But Alexandra Bolton inflames him as no woman has ever done, and she also serves him his first rejection! Now Clarewood—who always gets what he wants—will choose which rules to play by. But when passion finally brings them together, a terrible secret threatens to tear them apart….
After one winner and one loser I decided to give Joyce another try. The blurb sounded like an emotional story which is always favourites of mine. I didn't like it as much as The Perfect Bride but it was definitely better than A Dangerous Love.
Clarewood is a hero in the tradition of Joyce's alpha heroes. He is not a bad guy but around the heroine he behaves abominably. He is decided to have Alex has his mistress despite the fact that she is a gentlewoman. She wants to marry well to help her family but between Clarewood's pressure and her attraction to him she eventually bends to his will.
Clarewood seemed to me too marked by his past, he was too arrogant, too hard, too stubborn... He wanted things to be just as he wanted them no matter how bad they might be for Alex. For a while I actually despaired that he would come to his senses... My favourite part was when Alex decided to leave him and all the heartache behind to try to make it on her own. But she eventually falls in his power again. I thought there was much potential for poignancy here but not all was fulfilled as it was such a mismatch the power they each had.
I did like the romance between Clarewood's mother and her beau and was very sorry that there wasn't much about them.