Series: Duke's Men (Book 4)
Dominick Manton once had his heart's desire within reach -- a bright future as a barrister and engagement to Jane Vernon, a wealthy baron's daughter. Then his brother snatched away Dom's inheritance -- and his ability to give Jane a secure future. Brokenhearted, unable to end their engagement himself without destroying Jane's reputation, Dom pretends to betray her to convince her to break their relationship off.
Now he is the Viscount Rathmoor, and when his brother's widow goes missing, a panicked Jane asks him to track down her dear friend. Dom knows his past mistakes may be unforgivable. But now, entangled together in mystery and danger... will they rekindle the passion that was never really lost?
Final book in the series and an excellent wrap up to the trials of the siblings. In the previous books we saw that George, Viscount Rathmoor was a truly nasty piece of work. He managed to disinherit his half siblings, tried to get his half brother hanged, and forced his own brother to give up his inheritance. This made it impossible for Dom to give his fiancee Jane the future they had planned. Stubborn Jane refused to break their engagement, so he tricked her into doing it, breaking both their hearts.
Twelve years later Dom is the head of his own detective agency when Jane shows up at his door asking for his help. Her cousin, who is also his late brother's widow, is missing and she wants Dom to find her. Thanks to his exposure to the seedier side of life, Dom is convinced that Nancy has run off with a lover, but Jane is sure that she's in trouble. Jane is no longer a naive young woman willing to take Dom's word, and makes it clear she'll find out the truth, with or without his help. Having never lost his feelings for her, Dom can't allow her to go on her own, but he's certain that he's right.
Dom and Jane are two extremely stubborn people. All those years ago Dom had made the decision to break things off because he felt that was best. He didn't give her the benefit of believing she could stand by him no matter what. Now he finally has the means to support her, but she has given up on him and gotten engaged to another man. Jane refuses to believe the worst of her cousin and insists on going with Dom as he investigates. The two constantly butt heads over who is right.
Both of them have a lot to learn about each other as they try to work together. Dom is very much a control freak, thanks to the way he was raised. His older brother was the heir, and therefore had their father's attention. His half brother and sister were the children of the woman their father loved, and therefore loved by him. Dom himself was the child whose birth caused his mother's death, making his father feel guilty every time he saw him. Strangely enough, it was his father's second family that showed Dom the most love, and Dom would do anything to protect them. This is what caused the trouble with George. So now Dom has the habit of telling people what to do, rather than discussing options. He's also had things happen in the past that reinforce the idea that things go wrong when he doesn't maintain control. Unfortunately for him, Jane refuses to be dictated to.
Jane has had enough of men who force women to do what they want. Her father was an ill tempered bully who had emotionally abused his wife before killing her in a fit of temper and dying himself. He had also written his will in such a manner to exert control over Jane even after his death. She is still angry over Dom's actions all those years ago, and resists every time he tries to order her around. As they try to work together to find Nancy, Jane discovers that there is more to Dom's actions that she had known before, and begins to understand a little of why he behaves as he does. She still doesn't agree with him, and has no trouble telling him so.
The chemistry between them is still hot, and they have a hard time keeping their hands off each other, in spite of wanting to believe the worst. Their conversations are snappy, intelligent, and frequently fun to witness. I loved seeing Jane push back when Dom would get high handed, and Dom would be left wondering what the heck had just happened. I also loved the fact that he started to realize that maybe he had screwed up all those years ago, and wondering if there was any way that he could win her back. Jane quickly realized she still loved him, but she wasn't going to give in until he showed her the respect she felt she deserved.
The mystery of the missing woman was very well done. I loved seeing the way that both Dom and Jane could be right in their beliefs, and that they wouldn't know the truth until they managed to catch up with her. There was a lot at stake, including the possibility that Dom could once again end up with nothing. I was definitely rooting for Jane's option, though I was still uncertain all the way to the end.