This is the second installment in the Hadley's Hellions series but can definitely be read as a standalone.
The author has a knack for making the reader immerse into the story right from the get-go, and her storytelling is so fluid and in accordance with the times she writes about that it was really hard for me to put down the book when it was time to make a pause (I suppose I had to eat and sleep, oh, and work too).
Faith and David met at her cousin's 10 years earlier, when they were both full of illusions and life. They fell in love but well aware that as a lady of society they couldn't possibly ever be more than friends. Faith went on to marry a Duke and David went on to become a well-renowned member of Parliament. Now, recently widowed Faith is trying to find a new purpose in life while taking care of her 3 children. It seems all life had been extinguished out of her and David, as the true friend he's always been, tries to help her out while at the same time avoiding any interaction that could ruin her reputation or could break the little restrain he has when he's around her.
Faith on the other hand looks for excuses to spend time with him and to be closer to him than it's acceptable *wink wink* So much so that she sometimes seems to forget she's a Duchess, her wary position in society, and even her children.
What I like the most about this story is that the lady here is the instigator, the rake trying to corrupt the gentleman's honor. She makes the offer to take him as a lover but in her rush to live life to the fullest never mentions marriage and he is the one refusing the affair. In this role reversal story, he's the offended party and she's the one forgetting he's got feelings as well.
"'Every creature, no matter how lowly, has value,' Davie said quietly. 'Only men with small minds and hard hearts treat cruelly or slightingly those of lesser estate than themselves. A man of high position, as you will one day be, has a responsibility to protect those who are poorer and less fortunate."
I think this quote describes David perfectly. He's not a titled man but knows a man capable of making great changes in the world does not need a title and those that have one have a greater responsibility for others around him.
If you haven't noticed, my favorite character here was David because of his honorability, integrity, and courage. Faith was sweet and funny and a loving mother. Her children were on point, especially Edward, heir to the dukedom.
I definitely recommend this story to all lovers of historical romance.
** I was gifted a copy of this story by the author in exchange for an honest review **
~ Please note that the quote here was taken out of an ARC and may not be included in the final published copy of the book.