Friday, April 28, 2017

Loving Lord Ash - Sally MacKenzie (Zebra - Mar 2014)

Series: Duchess of Love (Book 3)

A Little Misunderstanding. . .

Kit, the Marquis of Ashton, is in a sticky wicket. He married young and for love -- how naïve. He discovered his mistake the very day of his wedding, but he is saddled now with a wife he's reluctant to trust. And however much evidence he gathers against faithless Jess, he can't seem to prove her guilt to the final judge -- his foolish heart.

Jessica knows she's bobbled her marriage, however innocently. A fairytale wedding makes no difference if she hasn't got the marquis charmed to show for it. Well, she's had enough of accidental encounters with naked gentlemen and near misses explaining things to her husband. It's time to buck up and go win her man back -- even if she has to fight very dirty indeed.

Fun book. Kit and Jess have been married for eight years - and separated the entire time. Kit caught Jess in a compromising position and rather than listen to her explanation, he took her to his country estate and left her there. Since that time, he has lived in London, alone and miserable, because he still loves her. During those eight years, rumors have abounded about her faithless activities. He knows that he needs to have an heir, and is ready to make a deal with her to do so.

Jess has spent the last eight years stuck in the country. She doesn't mind, in some ways, as it gives her all the time she wants for her painting and sketching. She also knows that the problem with her marriage is mostly her fault, for believing in Percy's words. But she is about at the end of her patience, especially with the stories of Ash's romantic exploits in London. It is time to reclaim her husband.

The opening was pretty funny, with Ash arriving at the estate as Jess is painting one of the servants - a naked servant. He walks in just as the man has lost his balance and fallen on top of Jess. Ash, of course, believes that history is repeating itself, and is ready to throw in the towel and ask for a divorce. But Jess isn't ready to give up, and they strike a deal. Jess and Ash will go to London and see if they can rescue their marriage. If not, they will part ways.

I liked Kit and Jess, but their problems would have been solved much quicker if they had just talked to each other. But Kit let his pride get in the way, and went off to sulk in London. Jess simply believed that Kit had realized that marrying the daughter of the Irish groom had been a mistake. On Kit's side, it doesn't help that he was deeply in love with Jess and had been saving himself for their marriage, so he is also suffering from extreme frustration. This has a tendency to cloud his thinking.

There are some pretty funny moments throughout the book. Jess's ease with her all male staff at her home, thanks to the fact that none of them are interested in her as a woman, was something that didn't set well with Kit because he was blind to the reasons. They went to his home in London to avoid dealing with his mother, the Duchess of Love, only to discover that she was there ahead of them. This meant that they had to suffer through unwanted and frankly embarrassing advice for her. I loved the scene where one of Jess's servants, who was actually a baronet avoiding his family, confronted Ash and pointed out some things he felt Ash should know.

I loved how Jess and Ash were slowly reconnecting, motivated by the attraction that is still just as strong. I enjoyed seeing Jess play the temptress, even though she was just as inexperienced as Ash. The biggest thing they had to get past was the event that had caused their separation to start with. The final confrontation with Percy was satisfying and funny, as he got what was coming to him. It was also the catalyst for Ash and Jess to finally talk about what had happened. I especially liked that Kit finally got through to Jess that he loved her just as she was and that her parentage made no difference to that.

*copy received in exchange for honest review.

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