A bargain that was all business . . . and pure passion.
Neither wealth nor beauty will help Lady Francesca Gordon win custody of her young niece Georgina, saving the girl from a cruel stepmother; she needs London’s top solicitor for that. But when Edward de Lacey, son of the powerful Duke of Durham, hires away the one man who can do the job, Francesca decides Edward himself must champion her case . . . if only she can melt the dashing lord’s stony heart.
Edward has reason to be guarded, though. London’s tabloids have just exposed a secret that could ruin his entire family. When Francesca offers a unique chance to undo the damage, Edward is forced to agree to a partnership . . . and now, each moment together feeds the flames of his scandalous longing for the passionate widow. But when Georgina disappears, fate will test them both . . . and leave their love hanging in the balance.
I was very surprised yet happy to see my question when I finished I Love the Earl -- is this Duke of Durham Francis de Lacey? -- was answered. And yes, it is. In a way I was disheartened that we wouldn't learn his story as it happens, but I like knowing the backstory to characters as much as possible. I have to hold out hope that within the course of the forthcoming books about Durham's sons, we will learn who he first married and what happened with their relationship.
So while learning the truth about the Duke of Durham is the main plot thread, it's by no means what keeps the narrative moving along. That solely belongs to Lady Francesca Gordon, a widow seeking to adopt her deceased sister's daughter from her stepmother. When Francesca's (hoped for) solicitor abandons her case for Edward's, the Duke of Durham's second son, who wishes to find out the truth about his father, she marches to Edward's home to confront him.
We spend the rest of the story watching Edward discover what he truly needs -- all he truly needs -- lies in Francesca.
I do hope we'll learn the truth about the Duke of Durham over the course of the remaining books, so seeing this "mystery" solved will be my main reason to continue this series.
(A very special thank you to Avon, Harper Collins and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of One Night in London.)