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Carole Mortimer begins her Dangerous Dukes series with this novella and features Marcus Wilding, said to be "the most accomplished lover in England" (mentioned 5 times in the novella) who has been approached by Lady Julianna Armitage, for lessons in lovemaking. It is an unusual request coming from a lady, and made even more unusual because said lady is the younger sister of Marcus's long-time friend.
And then there's the fact that Marcus has loved Lady Julianna for more four years, ever since her come-out.
Now a widow, Lady Julianna is free to make her own choices in life -- and she wants to experience passion. Of all the gentlemen of her acquaintance, she approaches Marcus for two reasons: first,as her brother's friend, she could rely on him for discretion, and, second, she's always loved Marcus. I loved how Julianna is taking control of her own life and destiny, and I love her boldness and audacity to approach a man such as Marcus with her curious request. It's also amazing how she doesn't let Marcus intimidate her. ^_^
"Forgive me, Lady Armitage, but for a brief moment I was sure I heard you request that I tutor you in the art of making love to and with a man before you take a lover!"
Julianna remained unmoved by the hard and derisive smile that accompanied Marcus Wilding's drawled dismissal of such a notion ever being possible. "There is nothing wrong with your hearing, Your Grace. Except perhaps for me to add that I made a statement of intent, rather than a request," she added with the same determination she knew to be evident in the sharp tilt of her chin."
- Opening lines of the novella
* * *
She had been a young lady of only eighteen summers on her wedding day four years ago, her heart full of optimism for what the future might hold. But three years of that cold marriage to the adulterous Lord John Armitage and almost a year of widowhood following his death, had resulted in Julianna vowing not to remarry when her year of widowhood came to an end in just two weeks' time. No, better by far to take a lover, she had decided. One of her own choosing and on her own terms.
- loc 76
Carole Mortimer's 51-page novella is about seduction, but it's made more meaningful because of the feelings that our hero and heroine have kept hidden from each other for a long time. There's a lot of dramatic irony in their circumstance: they're trying to approach their situation in a business-like manner, but there's just so much emotion that's threatening to burst forth to the surface. Their current situation hinged on a Big Mis that happened all those years ago, when Julianna turned 18. It resulted in her marrying someone else. I love how their lessons progress and how Carole Mortimer breaks down the art of making love into the various senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, touch -- showing, how each aspect of our being participates in this glorious culmination and expression of love. Their encounters are titillating and steamy, but it also served as a way for Marcus and Julianna to get reacquainted: to discover the persons they have become after four years apart and for Julianna to find the woman she would have been had she not married John Armitage.
Mortimer also lays down the groundwork for the series by introducing a fascinating group of men, who are either dukes, or are heirs to the dukedom. (She introduces two of them at the end of the novella: Darian Hunter and Zachary Black, and the short snippets of their stories are very promising. ^_^)
Marcus Wilding: Duke of Pleasure is Book 0.5 of Carole Mortimer's Dangerous Dukes series. The first full-length novel, Zachary Black: Duke of Debauchery was released September 2014. To find out more about Carole Mortimer and her books, click below: