By Brenda Joyce
de Warenne Dynasty 13
After a record-breaking sail from China, Alexi de Warenne’s moment of triumph quickly vanishes. At his welcoming party, his bewitching childhood friend Elysse O’Neill begins flirting with a shipmate, clearly punishing Alexi for his time at sea. But when Alexi finds Elysse desperately struggling in the man’s arms, tragedy ensues. Within days, Alexi weds her to save her honor–and leaves her to forge a new life.
Elysse de Warenne rules the ton with her wit and grace, but the whispers of “abandoned bride” follow her ruthlessly. Elysse will never reveal the truth: that she hasn’t seen her husband in six years–and that they didn’t even consummate their marriage! When Alexi unexpectedly returns to England, Elysse will do whatever it takes to win his heart and claim her place at his side.
This Blonde’s Review:
This is the story of Alexi and Elysse. I haven’t read all of the de Warrene Dynasty books, but coincidently have read Alexi’s parents, Cliff and Amanda’s story as well as his sister Ariella’s story, so I was happy to see what happened with the rest of this small part of the de Warrene family.
Elysse and Alexi have been friends from childhood. In love for the whole of their lives, though neither would admit it even to themselves. Instead they both fight their feelings and tease and taunt each other to see if the other will admit to missing or wanting the other. When their love turns to desire, they continue to resist. A friend of Alexi’s becomes caught in the middle when he assaults Elysse leading Alexi and his friend have a fatal fight. Elysse realizes that she is glad for the marriage that Alexi offers to save her reputation It is not until she is walking down the aisle that she sees how angry Alexi is. Alexi feels guilty and resentful, blaming Elysse for the death of his friend. So Alexi leaves, abandoning Elysse immediately following the wedding.
Six years later, Elysse is trying to maintain her dignity and pretend she is not estranged from the husband she has not seen since their wedding day. When they are reunited neither of them know how to respond. There are visible sparks, yet they resent each other. Elysse allows Alexi to believe she has taken the lovers she is rumored to have had. All she wants is for Alexi to pretend they are happy in public to continue the image she built. Alexi is willing to accept her into his bed but wants nothing to do with her. He would be happy to live separately and allow people to say what they will. They have two vastly different points of view, but stuck living in the same house, in the same groups of people, trying to figure out how to be around each other. Their pride is pushing them apart, yet is also keeping them Together since neither will back down.
I don’t want to say too much to spoil the book, but I really enjoyed this. I loved Elysse and Alexi even though they were Not perfect. Elysse is somewhat immature with her need for the male admirers in her life, making the same mistakes she made when she was younger. Alexi is too busy believing what he hears and refusing to let go of the past. But these faults are what make the story. I enjoyed watching them fight and bicker their way into the bedroom. Then seeing Elysse fight to keep her man once she realizes what she wants.
If you are already familiar with the de Warrene Dynasty you won’t be disappointed by this addition. If you haven’t been introduced to this fabulous family yet you can still red this story without feeling lost. You will want to go back and read the rest of the family’s stories when you’re done with this one though. I loved this book. Now I need to get my hands on a copy of Alexi’s friend Clarewood’s story.