on June 6th 2016
Once a promising artist, Heath, the Duke of Devonshire, has been living a passionless life of penance after losing the woman he loved. But temptation arrives in the form of a beautiful widow he shouldn't desire. The moment he scoops the delectable Tia, Lady Stokey, into his arms at a country house party, he wants her in his bed, and he'll stop at nothing to have her there. Tia never expected the staid duke to carry her to her chamber and undo half her buttons while kissing her senseless, but he does. From that day on, she's as drawn to their forbidden desire as Heath. As they're swept up in a decadent maze of seduction, old passions and pain return, threatening to tear them apart. But Heath is determined to keep Tia where she belongs, in his arms and in his bedchamber, forever.
Thank you so much for hosting me! Today, I’m interviewing the main characters from Reckless Need, Heath and Tia, about their Happily Ever After. Let’s get to it, shall we?
Scarlett: Heath and Tia, it’s so lovely to see you again! To begin, can you tell me about how the two of you met?
Heath: I was in the midst of a peaceful turnabout in the mazes at a country house party when a gorgeous creature in high dudgeon sailed around a corner and called me a minx.
Tia: I didn’t call you a minx, you silly man. I was chasing my charge at the time, as you well know. Miss Whitney told me she needed a restoring nap and quite promptly disappeared from her chamber. I was in full pursuit when I nearly collided with a decidedly handsome duke who told me he preferred solitude, of all things. I was about to leave him to it when—
Heath: When your frightfully impractical footwear landed you in a heap of skirts with a rather nasty twisted ankle.
Tia: I do take exception to that. My footwear was all the rage.
Scarlett: I take it that you were the gallant, Heath?
Heath: Naturally. Her Grace was unable to walk unassisted, and I was more than happy to carry her back to her chamber to rest.
Tia: And to kiss me senseless! (Forgive me if I question the altruism of your motives that day, Your Grace.)
Scarlett: Would you say it was love at first sight for the two of you?
Tia: Pish! Of course it wasn’t. We’d crossed paths before the country house party and I always thought him quite staid and boring. (Forgive me, darling.) But there was something about that day that made everything change. It was the beginning, to be sure, of something…
Heath: Something wicked and wonderful. And of course now she knows I haven’t a staid bone in my body.
Tia: Not a single one, I’m happy to report! But he was determined to thwart me at every turn. I daresay it didn’t help that we mired ourselves in a fair bit of scandal along the way.
Scarlett: Did the scandal help or hurt your relationship?
Heath: Initially, it hurt us. We were forced into a situation that neither of us was truly prepared for, but in the end, I believe the scandal was our saving grace.
Tia: That and your willingness to free all the ghosts of your past that you’d been hiding away.
Heath: My lovely wife wouldn’t allow me to keep my past locked away. Indeed, she was most vehement about turning my life upside down just as surely as she set my house upside down. Somehow she knew what I needed more than I did.
Scarlett: Would you say it was worth it, everything you went through to find your happily ever after?
Tia: Oh yes! I do love my thoroughly wicked, not at all boring husband.
Heath: Just as I love my vibrant, funny, minx of a wife.
If there was one thing in the world that Tia, Lady Stokey, adored, it was parties. Give her a good fête, an army of new dresses, an entertaining assortment of guests and she was a happy woman.
Under ordinary circumstances, that was.
Grumbling to herself, she trekked through the maze at the Marquis of Thornton’s hunting estate, Penworth, in search of her wayward charge. A mere hour after their arrival for a country house party, Tia had discovered Miss Whitney missing from her bedchamber.
“In need of a nap, my bottom,” Tia grumbled, stalking around a corner. If only the hedges weren’t so frightfully high and she so irritatingly diminutive in height. But of course, that would have rather nullified the purpose of a maze, she supposed.
The young Miss Whitney had declared the need for a respite after their travel through the countryside, and Tia had acquiesced. But suspicion had brought her round to collect the girl early, where she’d discovered only a note telling her that her charge had decided to take a restoring turn about the gardens instead.
“Restoring indeed,” Tia scoffed, her ire growing with each step. She had a dreadful feeling that her charge was going to prove much more than a handful. After all, she recognized herself in the girl, and it was one of the reasons why she’d agreed to help introduce her to society.
The sound of gravel shifting interrupted her cantankerous musings. She stopped, holding her breath to listen. It sounded as if Miss Whitney was perhaps just around the next bend, behind the thick hedges obscuring Tia’s vision. Smiling in triumph, she grabbed her skirts and hurried around the turn in the maze.
“Ah ha,” she called out in delight. “I’ve found you now, you little minx.”
But her moment of triumph was terribly abridged, for the noise-making culprit, seated on a bench before her, was not Miss Whitney. Nor, in fact, was it even a female. Quite the opposite.
Dear heavens. Eyes the same wistful color as a summer sky met hers, stealing her breath. She stopped, her heart thumping as madly as a runaway stallion’s hooves. The man staring back at her, an open book in his large hands, a golden brow raised, was decidedly as far as one could get from the petite, Virginia-born Miss Whitney.
“I daresay I’ve been called a great number of things in my life, but never yet a little minx,” drawled the Duke of Devonshire as he stood and bowed to her.
“I must apologize,” she hastened to say, embarrassment making her cheeks go hot. “I mistook you for someone else.”
A small smile curved his lips, drawing her attention to just how finely formed his mouth was. He had changed since she’d seen him last. He’d grown a beard. She swallowed, her heart continuing its mad pace. The duke had always been a handsome man, possessed of a rare masculine beauty that almost made him seem too perfect to be real. But the neatly trimmed beard took the purity of his features and rendered them somehow sinful. Seductive. Her cheeks burned as she realized she was staring and, to her greatest dismay, he’d said something to her.
She had no earthly idea what.
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~~Reviewed by Lisa~~
This was an interesting book for me. It was not what I was expecting and the scandal of the century was one that, in my opinion, never was. I was looking forward to the scandal and how they dealt with it….they got married and that was all we heard about it. Together Heath and Tia were combustible and brooding. They each had their reasons for holding back parts of their past, but Heath took it a bit far. There was a lot of yelling and aggression, nothing physical, that really had me wanting to put him in a corner for a very long time out. Tia was charming and did things to try to bring Heath out of his funk, but her approach was more like a bull in the china chop, rather than a caring spouse.
The story was nice, but there were chances to allow secondary characters help, but it was always Heath and Tia. I enjoy the added dimension that secondary characters bring to the HEA, this story had very little of this. In the end, we did get the HEA, but it was a bit painful for me getting to it. The heat level was also surprising and while I understand that was a main contributing factor to their relationship, it did not have to be the only factor. Here again, there were chances to have other characters help them to come to their HEA and it was missed.
I am giving this a 3.5-star rating because of the missed opportunities and the heat level that caught me totally off guard and consumed the story.
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.