Here is book that clearly ran out of steam for me. I loved how it started, Viscount Sutherland is a detached, carefree rake who lives for his own pleasures. It is obvious this man is hiding some past hurt that shaped his now debauched behavior. That is certainly proven in the prologue when our hero is involved in a dawn duel with some young cub, where he drunkenly does not care if he lives or dies.
Cut to a year later, and Claire Ashcroft is out for revenge. The young cub in said duel was her brother. She spots her prey, the beyond handsome, built like a Greek God Viscount Grayson Sutherland at a ball. Here is the man who killed her brother. Her hare-brained scheme is to seduce the rake, make him fall in love with her, then toss him aside. Right. She did not count on lusting after the man, and he in turn, reciprocates. Claire pretends to be a widow, giving a different name.
Claire is surprised to see Grayson comes from a loving family, he is solicitous and respectful of his mother, shows his affection readily. Perhaps he is not the monster she imagines. However, she plunges forward with her scheme. This familial side of Grayson made him endearing, more appealing as a hero. Grayson is the only reason I finished the book.
Claire on the other hand, is a lying, scheming cow, and I felt no sympathy for her whatsoever on any level. Grayson winds up bedding Claire, and soon discovers she is not a widow. Of course she finds herself pregnant, and they are forced into a marriage of convenience. This is where the book travels downhill for me.
It seemed the pregnancy would never end, Claire spent it wringing her hands, crying and yelling at Grayson he was not to take her baby. Huh? It went on and on and on, the fighting, the arguing, her moods. They argue, Gray leaves, he comes back, they fight, he leaves, comes back. It got very tedious. The conflict didn't work for me, just annoyed me. "Go back to London, dear husband, better yet, go to hell." Yeah, yeah. When he was gone, she 'missed him dreadfully.' *rolls eyes*
It is too bad, for Gray was a good hero, handsome, tortured, with a dark secret and tortured past. Claire finding out about his tortured past causes more arguments. And still, she was pregnant.
By the time I got to the end of the book and Claire finally delivers a child, it was anti-climatic.
Other events and conflicts crop up along the way, and there are a couple of passionate moments between the couple, but all the fighting and her moods just didn't cut it for me.
It was an okay read, well written, I am just disappointed it started out so well then managed to come off the rails for me personally.