Type: Historical Romance
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
My Copy: Sent
A dark past and unrequited love make John’s life difficult until he is offered the chance to spend one night with sensual, widowed duchess Lucinda Aversham. Pleasure he can provide, but one night with the woman he loves won’t be enough. Neither will living a half existence as he watches her from afar.
Lucy wants to experience a night of exquisite passion. She doesn’t want to know the man’s name or see his face. She wants to know pleasure—in any way her mysterious lover can provide.
When an unwelcome note from her one-time lover arrives, Lucy knows she must have him again. But she could lose everything if she is exposed.
Wow! I can’t remember the last time a very short story impressed me this much. In a mere 49 pages the author managed to pack in an interesting plot, scorching sex scenes and plenty of emotion. Lucinda Aversham, the Duchess of Wallingford, spent years in a loveless marriage. Her husband was insensitive and cruel, not to mention unfaithful, until his death one year ago. After years of dedicating herself to a man who showed her little regard or passion, Lucy is emotionally beaten down and sexually unfulfilled. She knows what her future holds as a duchess – she will either live out her life as a respectable widow or she will once again marry some nobleman. She also knows, however, that she missed out on a great deal while married to the duke and all that remains is a well of passion that has never been ignited.
Left with the title of Duchess and their seven-year-old son, Lucy follows what society dictates and mourns her husband for a year. After shedding her mourning attire and curious about how intimacy between a man and a woman should be, Lucy decides to allow herself one night of pleasure before settling in to the new phase of her life. She hungers for something real before rejoining proper society, so she approaches Madam Dupuis, a woman known for providing sensual entertainment. Her requirements were simple: someone who looks nothing like her deceased husband, someone not a peer of the realm, and someone willing to give her tender fulfillment. When she arrives at Madam Dupuis’ establishment, Lucy is in turn appalled at her own behavior and eager and filled with the promise of sexual fulfillment.
The man Madam Dupuis provides for Lucy Is John Allen. Lucy doesn’t recognize him because she requested he wear a mask to hide his identity. She assumes that being away from society and dressed nothing like a duchess, her identity is safe. What she doesn’t realize is that John not only recognizes her, he has secretly been in love with her for years. He was employed as a valet in her household when she married the duke, and upon his death, took over as caretaker for her son. John knows that a future with Lucy is impossible. She is a duchess with her son’s future to consider, and he is a servant with a disreputable past. He had been rescued from the streets as a boy by Madam Dupuis, and in fact received his current position based on her recommendation. When approached by Lucy, and knowing how John feels about her, Madam knows he is the perfect man to fulfill the duchess’ request.
The night of passion John gives her is nothing at all like what Lucy expected. Instead of tender and romantic, it is raw and real and sexual gratification at its most carnal. He orders her around and ties her up and touches her in ways she’d never imagined. John knows he has this one night to consider Lucy his and he does his best to show her how incredible passion can be between a man and a woman. Lucy leaves the next morning knowing that her mystery lover will forever be a memory for her. John leaves knowing he will have to face Lucy day in and day out, reliving their one night in his mind every time he sees her. That proves to be impossible, and weeks later he gives in to temptation by sending her a note in secret. Lucy is shocked when she receives his missive. How does he know her? When will he tell her secret to society? When will she see him again? When he comes to her in the night, unable to stay away, she realizes that he doesn’t want to use her shameless behavior against her – he just wants her as much as she wants him.
I liked everything about this book, starting with the cover and ending with the very last page. It’s rare that a book cover accurately depicts the characters, but this one shows exactly who I envisioned Lucy and John to be. Their romance was sexy and emotional, and I found myself pulling for their happy ever after, even knowing their situation was impossible. The way the author provided a solution for their problems may not have been entirely realistic or even all that surprising, but it worked for me and it gave John and Lucy a future they never expected to have.
I give One Last Night by Eliza lloyd 4.25 stars!