Genre: historical (adventure) romance
Cover: She fits the heroine’s description, and I love the dress.
A passion this seductive is more precious than diamonds. . . .
Sir William Christie, ruthless tycoon and notorious ladies' man, is dead. Now his four grown children have gathered for the reading of his will. What lies in store for stepsiblings Vivienne, Alexander, and twins Gareth and Gwyneth? Stunning challenges that will test their fortitude across a royal empire . . . and lead them to the marvelously passionate adventures of their lives.
Lady Vivienne Bancroft fled England for New York, hoping to shed the confines of her arranged marriage to unrepentant rogue Miles Durham, Viscount Bancroft--though she never forgot the fiery desire he unleashed with his slightest touch. And when the gambling man arrives on her doorstep for a little sensual revenge for her desertion, he is met with Vivienne's dilemma: She must earn her father's inheritance by profitably running a diamond business worth millions in colonial South Africa. Swept together in an exotic undertaking filled with heated passion and hungry temptation, will Vivienne and Miles discover that the marriage vows they once made are the greatest snare--or the most treasured reward?
Being an illegitimate daughter, adopted by her real father and his second wife, Vivienne has fought very hard to learn how to be respectable and accepted by society. She craves security, and hoped to find that in her wedding to Miles Durham, Viscount Bancroft. But Miles was a rake of the worst kind, always drunk and gambling, careless about propriety, while it meant so much to Vivienne. And one day, she had enough and went back home to America and her demanding father.
Now her father has died, and Vivienne and her half brothers and sister will have to fight for their inheritance. They will have to prove themselves to their father after all, by making a failing company profitable in two years. If they do, they will receive 1 million dollars. If they feel, or refuse, they will receive 500 dollars and not a penny more. They are all furious with this powerplay from behind the grave, having to do their father’s bidding once more.
But Vivienne was very surprised when Miles showed up at the reading of the will, but not when he went on getting drunk. So she left him behind when she and her siblings went to their country home to celebrate Christmas together, and to talk about what to do.
Vivienne will have to make a diamond brokerage in South Africa profitable. A very daunting job for a woman in a man’s world. Lucky for her, Miles was not delayed by the Boer war, and is waiting for her to arrive. He has provided lodgings, and done some research already. To pay for his aid, he wants her enthusiastic response in their marriage bed. But first, he will give her one month time to think it all over.
Will they really separate after this time of working closely together on their business efforts? With Miles the forefront man, the born aristocrat charming (or not) the rich mine owners, and with Vivienne working behind the screens, going over the accounts. It Is not easy to grasp the inner workings of the diamond trade, especially as Miles has made being a wastrel his life’s dedication. But to win back his wife, he will need to succeed. And, of course, he needs his share of the million dollars she is to gain.
Not every one is pleased with them taking over the diamond brokerage, and that person is determined to thwart their plans of making a success of it.
I really enjoyed this book, as stated on the back as a quote, this is an adventure romance, and that is quite apt. I liked reading about the diamond business, and the horrible working and living conditions for the men in that time period, both the white and the black people. Carrie Lofty could have gone a bit deeper with that backstory, but I suppose that would distract too much from the romance between Vivienne and Miles.
I liked Vivienne, she was determined to make a success of it, and to keep her heart safe from Miles, who had never done anything to deserve her love or her trust. If only his touches and kisses did not make her body long for him that much. It took Miles a very long time to discover his true feelings for Vivienne, but I liked how he redeemed himself. Giving up alcohol and cigars to show his dedication to their cause and company. And to Vivienne herself. Of course, at times he was still an ass, but he really tried, and in my opinion, succeeded. He never did stray in the time they were apart, which is admirable of course.
Carrie Lofty has a nice and fluent writing style, she totally captured my attention and I had to finish the book to find out what would happen next, how they would win, and win each other. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
The secondary characters like both their servants and the big black man, Mr. Kato, are a nice addition to the story, and I would not have minded more page time for them.
In the end, the danger from the villain was very real, and I enjoyed seeing Vivienne and Miles unravel what happened to the other brokerages.
So, a nice historical romance, with adventure, and a bit of mystery and danger. A really great mix of genres I enjoyed reading. My only complaint is that the heroine giggled. I really dislike that word in combination with a mature woman. Please authors, make your heroine laugh instead of giggle.
© 2012 Reviews by Aurian