Between the Devil and Desire
Lorraine Heath
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Buy *Between the Devil and Desire* by Lorraine Heath online

Between the Devil and Desire
Lorraine Heath
384 pages
December 2008
rated 4 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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Set in the murky and hazardous social and environmental climes of 1851 London, the depths which men of higher social orders and class will plumb to satiate their greed, lust, and selfish abandon is always hidden away, given sanctuary, and gained a profit by the notorious Jack Dodger. He owns an exclusive gentlemanís club that caters to the very rich, keeping their secrets with impeccable flawlessness and making his growing fortune off their weaknesses. His sordid past, a branded proof of his treachery, and his current pursuits only enforced the disdain that most aristocratic women feel toward him for all his assistance in their husbandsí misdeeds both financially and outside the marriage the bed.

For Olivia Stanford, Duchess of Lovingdon and very recent widow of the late Duke, her knowledge of the scrupulous Mr. Dodger is par for her station in life. She is nothing less than shocked when her late husband leaves a good portion of his London assets, her home, and the guardianship of her only son and child to this man. To her is left only a meager income and the possibility of hope if she were to wed as soon as possible. . In the wake of this disastrous news is the obtrusive Mr. Dodgerís ruthlessly cruel insistence on not letting Olivia take her son away from him to the country, to raise the boy politely and properly without the continuously uncomfortable arguing and warring between herself and Mr. Dodger.

Although the tension runs high, the underlying carnal lust and deep desire to have and protect one another from the unfortunate ghosts of their pasts rises between them. When the barriers between them finally come down, Olivia and Jack realize a great many things about the late Duke, his intentions, themselves, and the future between them and for her son. If Jack doesn't decipher the underlying reasons why he, an absolute stranger with a sordid lifestyle and terrible childhood memories that include sexual abuse, has been appointed absolute guardian over this young newly-made duke, this small emerging semblance of a family may be catastrophically destroyed without any chance of resurrection.

Heath creates a compelling story that not only holds readers spellbound but also leaves them anxious for a continuation. The notorious Jack Dodger is quite the ideal masculine character, particularly because of the unfortunate experiences in his youth that make his strengths as a man all the more impressive. The carefully crafted plot and the twists within the narrative keep questions alive butt not unanswered as the necessary details fall into place. Although Lorraine Heath is a writer of historical romance novels, her chosen era for setting and flair for the mystery make her a fun comparison to Carole Nelson Douglas, a favorite mystery author of mine, who is known for her star protagonist Irene Adler Norton, the only woman to ever outwit Sherlock Holmes. Heath is not in Douglasís league yet, but for those who enjoy historic settings, mysteries, and a little curiosity in the underbelly of civilization, these two are well-suited to the task.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Sonia R. Polinsky, 2009

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