Avon / HarperCollins
November 30, 2010/ ISBN 978-0-06-192295-4
Historical Romance / London 1854
by Linda Young
Lyons is a lover of women. He has no desire to become attached to
any one woman. His only interest is in enjoying the pleasure of
them and giving them pleasure and treating them as all women deserve
to be treated. “Life was to be embraced, enjoyed, and explored.”
He is just leaving one of those women to go out and join his ranks
to leave for Crimea. He has a commission bought and paid for by
one of his brothers. He has been told more than once that he lacks
character. Maybe this will give him some. He is a second son, so
he has nothing except an allowance from the family estate. His choices
are very limited because of his status. Stephen figures the only
choice he has is the military. So off he goes to war.
Mercy Dawson was one of Miss Nightingale's nurses in Crimea, where
she met Major Stephen Lyons, tended his wounds and cared for him.
He rescued her from an attack and spent the night comforting her.
She fell in love with him, like all other women who fell victim
to his charming ways. Now Stephen has been killed in battle , and
she is facing his family, holding Stephen's son, with her father
by her side. All her father wants is to make sure Stephen's family
does right by her and maybe receive a little compensation for himself.
Mercy just wants her son, John, to have a good life and be with
his family. She loves John dearly and hopes she will at least be
allowed to stay with him and care for him, even if only as a nanny,
just so long as she can watch him grow and be a part of his life.
She would sacrifice anything for John.
suggests that the Duke of Ainsley, Stephen's brother, marry Mercy
and make things right in his brother's place. Mercy is appalled.
She tells the Duke that all she wants is to be near John; she doesn't
want any monetary compensation. The Duke asks Mercy if John is truly
Stephen's son. She again states that he is. The Duchess, Stephen
and the Duke's mother, doesn't doubt it. She sees the resemblance
to Stephen in John’s face and knows he is her grandson.
Then the Duke
asks a servant to find Major Lyons. Mercy is in total shock. How
can that be done when the Major is dead? The Duke tells her that
although the initial reports had stated he had been killed, it was
later learned he had survived. Mercy's fears rise within her. Although
she has told the truth, there are secrets that could rip John from
her. She wonders if the Major will reveal those secrets, call her
a fraud, throw her out, and keep John with him and his family.
walks into the room, he is walking with a cane and a limp. Mercy
can see the ravages of war in his face. But, in spite of it all,
she sees the man she fell in love with. Strong, albeit thinner than
she remembered him, and very masculine. However, within his eyes,
she sees confusion. She wonders if he will reveal her secrets and
her shame. Why does he look as though he doesn't remember her? And
why did the Duke go to such lengths in introducing her and her father
desperately to remember Mercy. Unknown to everyone other than his
immediate family, Stephen has no memory of the last two years. Not
the fighting, the injuries to himself, comrades lost in battle,
not even leaving England to go to war. The last thing he does remember
is having tea with Claire, his sister-in-law, sometime before he
left and then waking up in a hospital two years later.
Who is this
woman? If they had a child together, did he love her? But he didn't
fall in love with women. He always made it clear up front that he
wanted no strings. But here is this woman with his child. Why can't
he remember her?
Mercy has secrets
she doesn't want revealed because they could take what is most precious
to her. Her son, John. Will Stephen reveal them and call her a fraud?
Will Stephen remember what happened in those two years or the night
they had spent together? Will Stephen ever be able to see and realize
the love that Mercy has for him? The Duke is suspicious of Mercy.
Will he uncover her secrets? Mercy never lies to anyone about being
John's mother and spending time with Stephen in Crimea. She just
never tells the whole story. Can she hang on to Stephen and finally
is a magical writer. All throughout Mercy and Stephen's story she
keeps you on pins and needles wondering when the anvil will drop
and Mercy's secrets will be revealed. Stephen is always afraid of
being out in public, running into someone he knew during the two
years who he can't remember, and not being able to acknowledge them.
Heath keeps you in suspense throughout the book and when the one
person Mercy never wants to see again shows up, all hell breaks
loose. Mercy's worst fears come to light and she ends up with an
unlikely supporter. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time.
I stayed up ’til 2:00 am to finish this book. I couldn't go
to sleep until I found out what would happen next. This book will
not disappoint you. If I had more thumbs I'd give it more than two
thumbs up. Maybe I need to start using stars instead.