Annalise has never been the kind of woman who turned heads. She grew up the daughter of single woman in difficult financial circumstances. She is a bit pudgy; she has a limp from a childhood injury; and she could use a little work on her self esteem. But her life seemed to turn around when her long lost father came back into her life. Yes, she was still illegitimate and her aforementioned problems were still there, but a big dowry can go a long way to changing a girl’s prospects. As the story begins, Annalise has just been wed to a duke and she is ready to start her new life… when her new husband tries to kill her on her wedding night and throws her body in the river.
She very nearly died and she likely wouldn’t have made it, if Owen did not find her clinging to life in the water. Owen has recently returned from the war in India. He feels the heavy burden of all the lives he took and just wants to drown in anonymity and solitude. But he can’t ignore the dying woman he found in the middle of nowhere. Her leg is broken and she is unconscious with fever, so he brings her to a nearby band of gypsies for help. Once they lend aid, he ends up taking her back to his home.
Anna is afraid to tell the truth of who she is and what happened to her. After all, someone could return her to her murderous husband… So she fakes amnesia as her leg mends. And though her brief marriage makes her afraid to ever trust a man again, she can’t help but fall for Owen. He’s so powerful and protective –and broken in his own ways. Not to mention, he looks at her with a heat that no man ever has.
I liked the romance between Anna and Owen. There is some solid sexual tension that follows them throughout the book. Plus, I am always a sucker for a good tortured hero. Owen doesn’t see himself worthy or even capable of love after all he has done as a soldier. But Anna’s blend of strength and vulnerability breaks down his walls. I believed in his internal struggle. And as much as I am usually loathe to secrets and lies between a hero and heroine, I understand why Anna kept her circumstances to herself. She’s had it rough.
The story was a little predictable and the ending, convenient. But I didn’t really mind. I enjoyed the journey. The pacing was good and the love story satisfied.
Rating: B*ARC Provided by Avon