Addicted to The Duke (Imperfect Lords #1) by Bronwen Evans
Synopsis: A lovestruck lady charms the duke of her dreams during an expedition on the high seas in this sexy, swashbuckling novel from USA Today bestselling author Bronwen Evans.
Alexander Sylvester Bracken, Duke of Bedford, has a mission: sail to the Mediterranean and track down Lady Hestia Cary’s missing father. It is a straightforward task, but for two rather vexing complications. First, the sea holds painful memories; second, for her own safety, Hestia is to accompany him. As Alex battles the demons of his past, he must also resist Hestia’s surprisingly skillful attempts at seduction. After all, Alex has sworn to leave her untouched, and he intends to honor that vow—until he can properly ask the Earl’s blessing.
Ever since His Grace rescued Hestia from the arms of a Turkish pirate six long years ago, her heart has belonged to Alex. So when he agrees to help find her father, Hestia is thrilled. Although Alex tries to hide it, there’s passion in his eyes—and a frisson of desire in the air—whenever they meet. On board ship, miles from home, Alex won’t be able to deny her any longer. But with scoundrels lying in wait, she may not live to tell the tale of her conquest.
Review: This was an entertaining adventure about a woman, Hestia, who has been in love with Alex for the past 4 years, ever since he saved her from Turkish Pirates. Alex has done everything he could, except marry someone else, to push Hestia away, going as far as to let her catch him with another woman in a very compromising way. He does not believe he deserves her due to the fact that he had been held captive by the same Turkish pirate, who kidnapped Hestia, for two years, having to do things he is ashamed of doing in order to survive. But when her father is presumed dead by a cousin in order to claim the title, Alex is the only man she can think to go to for help. He agrees to help her find her father and they set off for the Mediterranean to face both of their demons and their attraction for each other. Alex has ulterior motives for helping Hestia, he was to seek vengeance from the man who enslaved him, though he keeps that a secret from Hestia. He has every intention of fighting his desire for Hestia but being on a confining ship for weeks on end inevitably leads to passionate encounters. Hestia wants to win Alex, but she comes to realize she really doesn’t know who Alex is and he refuses to enlighten her about himself and what he went through while enslaved. She sets out to prove to him that love can heal and the past does not have to control the future.
I enjoyed the story, it had highs and lows in the emotional turmoil category, though my one frustration was that as Hestia learned that Alex didn’t truly care for her the way she thought he did (supposedly) she comes to the conclusion to step back only to wake the next day ready to fight for him again. It was like one minute her heart breaks at finding out he loved another woman (going as far as to call out the other woman’s name in a drug induced state) and coming to realize he didn’t love her and never did to back to being optimistic about her chances to win him. I would have loved for her to actually stick to the notion that he didn’t love her, but rather was in love with another woman, and to let him come to realize he did and fight for her. She seemed to be the only one truly fighting for a relationship and the few moments when he realizes how much he cares for her, he doesn’t act on it (when he thinks he is going to lose her to men from his ship who try to kidnap her). I wanted Alex to at some point fight for her, but she, in the end, rescues him from the Turkish pirates and is strong for the both of them, which is cool in a way, but I needed the two characters to be a bit more equal in the ability to fight for one another. I understand the demons Alex faced and I understand why he thought he was unworthy of her love, but he seemed to only show his passion and love for her while they were having sex. Afterward he kind of steps back into an aloof manner.
With this said, I did love the story and their adventure. The characters were strong and the plot was enjoyable. The conflict and villains were formidable but not over the top. There were surprises and twists along the way that did keep me turning the pages to the very end. The ending was great and the epilog gave me both the nice wrap-up to the story and teased me about what is to come next. I liked it.