Adam first lays eyes on Florentina when she runs into his room at an inn, being chased by another man. He sees her fear and helps her hide, eventually escorting her out of the city to safety. She claims to be a widow on the way to a vicarage. So imagine his surprise to come face to face with her again, while visiting a brothel. He immediately jumps to the conclusion that she is a courtesan and wipes his hands of her.
Adam has been away from home for some time, fighting with the army, and is only now returning to his family home. But it's there he sees Florentina once again. It seems she has become his mother's companion in his absence. And he figures she must be whoring on the side. He demands that she spend the night with him in exchange for him keeping her activities from his mother.
Florentina agrees to his demands, in order to protect her secret that she is rescuing would-be slaves from human traffickers and her friend (the madam at the brothel) is helping her do it. Of course, once she is in his arms, Adam realizes he was wrong about her. He slowly figures out her nature and makes it his mission to help her, while dealing with his own family problems inside the ducal estate.
For at least the first third of the book, Adam was a total ass. He was condescending and rude to Florentina and seemed to think himself way to entitled. She, on the other hand, came off as kind of stupid. For someone who has her history and her courage to fight slavers, she lacks clear thinking and surety when dealing with Adam and his boorish demand. The sex was ok... though it annoys me when characters give a nickname to their penis. There are so many great things you could call it, but "bayonet" is not one of them. It came across as pretty cheesy.
I never really felt the couple falling in love. Perhaps because it happened so quickly. Oh, and I was totally turned off by the fact that Adam had sex with Christine, the brothel madam, at the beginning of the book. No, he and Florentina weren't together yet, but she listened to them do it from the next room and later, when it was clear she and Adam were going to get together, Florentina gets the rundown from her buddy on what he's like in the sack. And nobody was uncomfortable about this. How much time had passed? A day or two? It just bothered me.
The plot was fair. The most interesting element was probably Adam's scheming sister-in-law, who we later find out had a gang-bang at a dirty masked ball. And goes on to try to blackmail Adam into an affair. But the resolution of her storyline was a little too easy.
It wasn't great for me. A little less than 3 stars.*ARC Provided by NetGalley