Alex Cartwright is a man scorned. After being left at the altar five years ago by the woman he loved, he has been living in a self made hell. He was distraught and in pain and the only way he knew how to deal with everything was by drinking it all away. After living in debauchery and drinking himself into a stupor for days on end he decided to turn his life around and has been living in sobriety for the past two years.
Charlotte has been living in painful regret for the past five years. Days before her wedding to Alex, Charlotte received a letter threatening to expose a family secret that could ruin not only her family and her, but could potentially tarnish the dukedom Alex is set to inherit. She leaves thinking that it will save everyone from the painful truth.
Now five years later, Charlotte has returned home thinking that her beloved sister has fallen ill and taken a turn for the worse. When she sees her sister alive and healthy she decides to explain her hasty actions and the secret that she's been keeping from everyone. When she left she was pregnant with Alex's child and she has kept it a secret from everyone. Now that she is home she plans to tell everyone the truth, including the reason why she fled in the first place. While in the process of explaining Alex inadvertently walks in and spots Charlotte. All of the pain both have been suffering with for the past five years rushes up to the surface. Alex, not wanting to show he's affected in the least decides to not even acknowledge Charlotte and leaves. On his way out he spots a child crying in a carriage and goes to investigate. When he see the boy he can hardly believe his eyes. The child looks just like his brother did as a boy. Immediately he knows he is the father and takes the boy in to confront Charlotte.
Alex thought he was hurt before when Charlotte left, but the pain and betrayal he feels now about not knowing he had a son and being kept from him is indescribable. Not only is he angry that she left but he just can't believe she denied him his son, and rightful heir. Alex decides the only thing he can do to fix everything, is to forge a marriage license between Charlotte and himself and just make it seem as if they were estranged for the last five years. That way his son can inherit and he can be with him.
Charlotte feels horrible for deceiving Alex but she thought she was doing the right thing. She is willing to do anything to make things right with Alex. She still loves him greatly and wants nothing more than to be his wife in the truest sense of the word. If that means she has to bide her time until he is ready to accept the truth, then so be it. She loves him and she will do anything she can to earn back his trust.
I found this book to be filled with so much raw emotion. Your heart just breaks for Alex and you can't help but feel hurt and betrayed with him. It's rare to see a man so in love with a woman and when you hear some of the things he went through in his despair you weep for him and what he lost. I found that even when he was being cruel to Charlotte that I couldn't be mad with him. He's just so raw.
With Charlotte I found her at times to be slightly aggravating. I understand why she left, it just annoyed me that she is so distrustful of Alex's feeling towards her. I just wanted her to trust him and the love he felt for her.
I really enjoyed this book. I loved all of the emotion and grittyness of it. Charlotte might have annoyed me but I still loved her and Alex together and I'm so happy that finally got their HEA. I definitely can't wait to read Beverley's next book.
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