Helen Banks is going to die. When her twin brother gambles away their fortune, she must save his life and take his place in a duel to satisfy the honor of a man her brother couldn’t pay. Disguised as her brother, Helen faces the one man she’s admired from afar, a widower with a dark past and eyes that scorch her very soul.
Since Gareth Fairfax lost his wife, the darkness in his heart continues to grow. Lashing out at anyone who opposes him, Gareth is stunned to face a lovely young woman opposite his dueling pistol. After discovering Helen’s deception, he offers her a choice: become his mistress or her brother dies.
Their devil’s bargain turns into a slow, sweet, intoxicating seduction. With each passing hour, Helen uncovers Gareth’s secret heartbreak and yet she can’t help but fall for the man who has ruined her. With Helen in his arms, Gareth wonders if he might yet be saved. All it takes is one passionate embrace, a kiss from the depths of his soul and a night of wild abandon.
My Rating: 5/5 stars
Go ahead and ask me how much I enjoyed this read 🙂 The Duelist’s Seduction is everything I love in historical fiction . . .a little bit of action, a daring woman, a sexy man, some naughty bits and, all of it set in a time period not my own.
Gareth Fairfax doesn’t need the money he is intent on claiming, he doesn’t lack for companionship should he desire it but he does lack a true companion, a true love to spend his life with. Since the loss of his beloved wife, Gareth has searched for the missing link, the thing that will bring him back to life and bring joy back into his world. In the years since her death, Gareth has become increasingly more reckless in an effort to feel again, to feel that spark of life. Maybe an early morning duel will do the trick.
Since the death of her father, Helen Banks and her twin brother have been just barely scraping by. Helen, by far the more levelheaded of the two, has denied herself basic needs in order to compensate for her twin’s dumbassery. Helen’s brother loves to gamble and is certain the next hand of cards will be the big one, the one to give him enough money to support he and his sister in a manner they both deserve. Unfortunately, that hand has never come and now, he is in trouble up to his ears over the debt he has accumulated. And by up to his ears, I mean an early morning duel.
Standing in the cool of the early morning, Helen has disguised herself brilliantly. To save her brother she would do anything and that includes losing her life in a duel meant to settle his debt. When the duel goes sideways and Helen is unmasked, she is forced into a deal with Gareth Fairfax that will save her brother but ruin her. Life with Gareth awakens something in Helen she never thought to have, passion. Gareth is sexy and brooding but there are also flashes of the man he once was, a man more than just content with his life, a happy man. He fires Helen’s passion and within days, she is completely lost to him and his ministrations. Helen knows her time with Gareth is limited so she determines to make the most of her situation, to take every moment of joy.
Gareth is completely confused by Helen Banks. Oh, make no mistake, he wants her desperately but he doesn’t want to feel anything for her. The loss of his wife nearly killed him and living as a shadow of his former self has become his norm. Helen brings a vitality back into Gareth’s home that he never thought he would see again. He has already compromised Helen’s name and reputation but making an honest woman of her scares the Hell out of him. The decision Gareth must make will either make him or break him.
The Bottom Line: What an excellent read!! At novella-length, The Duelist’s Seduction is the perfect length to introduce the Seduction series. Helen and Gareth are both terribly likeable characters and though their situation is a bit awkward at first, it all works out in the end. Helen is bold and courageous, kind and caring, free-spirited and passionate. Gareth is dark and brooding, sexy and daring and, the perfect balance to Helen. Their short time together is fraught with drama, passion and, intense feelings that will change both their lives for the better. Even though the read is short, Smith fully develops her characters as well as giving the reader a good sense of the time and place in which the events are occurring. The book opens with a duel and ends with an HEA. I’m not sure what else I could have asked for 🙂
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