Nicholas Carey, 18th Duke of Burnham, international financier, is haunted by the loss of all the women he has ever loved. Taylor Collins, a beautiful American attorney, struggles to regain the love of the man who left her at the altar. A mystery rooted in the Carey family’s past throws Nicholas and Taylor into the midst of deadly international intrigue.
Finalist, Foreward Reviews Book of the Year; Finalist, Beverly Hills Book Awards, Honorable Mention Paris Book Awards
His amazing golden eyes held hers. She wanted to look away, but she couldn’t. “We’ve a great deal in common,” he observed.
“We each lack a family. And we both wished for one.”
Taylor felt as if he had sent an arrow into the deepest part of her soul. But ever the professional, she remained impassive. “I don’t understand. You have your ward–and Ellen and her husband. And you could marry whenever you wish and produce many Carey heirs.”
“It isn’t a matter of merely procreating,” Nicholas said. “If I married anyone–and I’m not going to do that–I would want to be in love.” His eyes held hers until she felt uncomfortable. She had papered over her past with a thick set of lies, and she had told them so often sometimes she herself mistook them for the truth. No one had ever guessed she was lying. But could he?
Better change the subject in a big way. “Why did meeting Deborah make you happy that you’d inherit the title after you’d been so miserable over being brought back from America?”
His golden eyes looked directly into hers and studied them for several seconds before he spoke. “Because she didn’t love me. Everyone loved her, and everyone wanted her. But I knew I’d get her in the end because I was going to be the Duke of Burnham, and she loved the idea of being a duchess. Despicable, wasn’t it?”
He immediately realized he’d backed her into a corner. “I apologize. I shouldn’t have said that.”
Taylor thought of the wedding photos: Nicholas gazing at Deborah with his heart in his eyes while she looked cooly at the camera. “I wouldn’t say ‘despicable.’ You really loved her. You weren’t just offering her a title. You were offering her your heart.”
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Dance for a Dead Princess by Deborah Hawkins is a 2013 publication. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Modern day Dukes, intrigue, mystery and romance make this romantic suspense novel a very absorbing read.
Nicholas is the 18th Duke of Burnham with the public persona of being “Price Charming”. He always has a beautiful woman on his arm and his relationships are usually short term. He wishes to sell the Abbey where his wife Deborah died and he takes a certain satisfaction in knowing it will be turned into a school for girls, a development that would cause his father to roll over in his grave.
Taylor travels to London without much enthusiasm. Selling an Abbey and going through the estate of her late client and good friend Mari, is not how she envisioned spending her holidays. But, when she meets Nicholas she finds him quite unlike all her preconceived notions of him. In fact, Nicholas has a troubled ward to take care of, and is obviously still grieving for his wife Deborah, and his best friend, Princess Diana.
As Taylor begins to gather information for the sale of the Abbey she discovers the journal of Nicholas' ancestor, the first duke. The journals tell a sad story and explains a great deal about what really happened back in the 1500's, exonerating an accused murderer as well. The most interesting thing about the journals though, was how the story paralleled events in the present day.
For a debut novel this story was very ambitious. It's a contemporary romance that chronicles Taylor's broken engagement and her inability to accept it's really over between her and her ex. Nicholas of course has his plate full with a shallow girlfriend hoping to be rich and titled and is willing to pull out all the stops to make that happen. When Nicolas and Taylor begin to spend time together they forge a bond which could lead to more than friendship.
But, the book is also part historical fiction as the journals tell a story all their own. Then of course there is Lucy, the drug addled ward who can't stay clean and the elephant in the room... Nicholas' belief he can prove Princess Diana was murdered and can even name her killers, if only he could get his hands on a tape he believes Taylor's friend might have been killed for.
That is a lot of ground to cover and for the most part it works. There were a few issues here and there. The story did need a few nips and tucks, and firming up in some places.
The conspiracy was not as fleshed out as I would have liked and that part of the story didn't even develop at all until fairly deep into the story. It remained vague and shadowy, and it's conclusion was a bit weak and rushed through.
However, the point was made loud and clear and if you like conspiracy theories you will find this take on Diana's death worth mulling over. The love story though reigns supreme as two lost and lonely souls find one another and finally have the mutual love they both deserved.
Overall I enjoyed this story very much. It held my interest, had interesting plot twist and was very entertaining. 4 stars
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AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Deborah grew up in the South, wrote her first novel at the of age thirteen, and has been writing ever since. In graduate school, she studied Irish Literature and came to believe all Irishmen and Southerners are born storytellers. In addition to writing, she loves music and plays the clarinet. Now that her children are grown, she devotes her time to law, music, writing, and her two Golden Retrievers, Melody and Rhythm.
Deborah taught college English and worked as a technical editor before going to law school. She worked for several large East Cost firms before coming to California in the mid-1980's where she developed a solo practice as an appellate attorney while raising her three children as a single parent. She is admitted to the bar in two states and the District of Columbia, is a certified appellate specialist, and has a Master of Laws in addition to a Masters in English. She believes that even a legal case always begins with a story. Her second novel, Ride Your Heart ‘Til It Breaks is expected to be out in December 2014.
Blog http://dhawkins.net blog http://deborahsbookreviews.com