Lord Lukas Hawkins, the rakish second son of the House of Trent, has never found a wager he couldn't win or a woman he couldn't seduce—until his search for his missing mother leads him to a mysterious encounter with a beautiful stranger.
Luke's mother has been missing for months, and while his honorable older brother Simon, Duke of Trent, leads the official investigation from London, Luke sets out on a somewhat seedier path. Sources have told him his mother was last seen with a scoundrel named Roger Morton, but their association isn't clear. Was she kidnapped or did she go willingly?
While searching for Morton, Luke meets Emma Anderson, a secretive beauty with her own reasons for hunting Morton. At first Luke laughs at the idea of allowing a woman to join him in his search, but soon Emma's insights into Morton—like the woman herself—prove impossible to resist.
And here is Nita G.'s review:
After reading three pages of this book, I promptly stopped. For historical romance series, I generally don't feel bad or confused reading the books out of order. But the overarching plot in this series is about siblings looking for their missing mother. I felt like I needed to read the first book before reading this second book in the series. I'm glad I did. Even though I wasn't enamored with either the hero or heroine in that book, it introduced me to the dynamics of this unconventional family. My views of the family changed quite dramatically by the end of the book. At the beginning, I get an almost outsider's point of view of a family with a mother who welcomes all into her family, including the gardener's daughter. The siblings seem to have grown up in a loving family. They seem perfect. The reader gets to learn, along with the siblings, that all was not as it seems; their parents kept many secrets.
Our hero, Lord Lukas Hawkins, has kept many of his own secrets and is so very much tortured. Why? That was the big question for me while reading this book. What could have happened to him to make him hate himself? Why does he have nightmares? Why does he drown himself in alcohol at night? Why won't he take his shirt off in front of Emma? Also, why the heck has Emma not noticed he never takes his shirt off when they are getting down and dirty or ever in front of her? The reveal ends up being one of the family's darkest secret (at least so far).
What I like about this book is that the hero finds solace in Emma, but it's definitely not an easy journey. He makes mistakes. He hurts Emma. His hurt and secrets almost destroy their chances when Emma makes her own mistake. He has to learn that how he perceives himself is not who he really is. I was at times a little overwhelmed with his self-hatred.
Emma is on her own journey. She's not quite as tortured, but she's set on revenge against the man that killed her husband and stole her father's fortune. I like her. She's a little naive at times, but her strength comes through when she needs it. The two together worked a ton better for me than the main characters in the first book. Their chemistry is hot and I loved that Lukas encourages Emma to explore her fantasies. Though I was a little annoyed that the hero had to first go all “You will beg to be with me” to “No, wait, you're too good for me.” But once he got past that hangup, he was adorably accommodating.
I like that the plot surrounds the siblings' search for their mother. It's opening their eyes to a whole new side of their parents and for me, is a novel way of connecting the books. From the way this book ends, the next one might be taking a break from the search. I'm hoping this plot isn't completely ignored, though.
I was a little worried after reading the first book, that I would end up not liking Haymore's main characters. But I really enjoyed Emma and Lukas very much. As much as I'm digging the whole family plot, the hero and heroine really made the book for me.