I'm still working my way through my backlog of books, and have quite a few here waiting for posted reviews. I've actually caught up with my reading into February's releases right now, and eventually, I'll be fully caught up with my review books again. I hope. This time out, I have the latest from Jane Goodger, When a Duke Says I Do (Zebra, received from publisher). I always enjoy her holiday romances, though this past winter, her new story was not centered around the holidays. Miss Elsie Stanhope has been promised for years to the heir of a dukedom, though they've no wedding date scheduled. For her birthday, her father has arranged to have a famous muralist paint a wall in their ballroom, and the muralist has come with an assistant, a handsome, silent man named Alexander. Elsie quite enjoys her late night 'conversations' with Alexander, and even more so when he reveals that he actually can speak. They should never be alone together, and certainly not late at night when Elsie goes wandering instead of sleeping, but their private visits lead to more intimacies, forbidden things like kisses, and emotions neither should permit. Alexander has a twisted, dark past and still struggles with some of the issues that caused him to be turned out of his home long ago, but with Elsie, he starts to feel like he can take on anything, including his past. Unfortunately, his long-lost family has other ideas, or, at least, one of them in particular. Then, too, Elsie is promised to another, which will further complicate their relationship, despite the feelings they have for one another. I adore Ms. Goodger's holiday books every year, so I was a little disappointed that the new story was different, but I really should have known better. This story is funny and emotional, and Alexander is awesome--broody and troubled--while Elsie is the perfect match for him--light to his darkness, humorous at just the perfect moments for him. I still do wish she wrote faster, though. I'm borrowing four of Cupid's five arrows for this one. It's terrific.
Until next time, happy reading!