Jude Samson has been intimately involved with the Woodley clan for decades. He works as a man of affairs for the oldest brother Edward and considers them the closest thing he has for a family. He has also been in love with the youngest sister, Lady Audrey, since the first moment he laid eyes on her. Only his position and a secret betrayal keep him from pursuing the only woman he has ever wanted.
Lady Audrey Woodley has been half in love with Jude for as long as she can remember, but she’s seen all the ways passion can hurt and tear a family apart and she’s afraid. When Jude is asked to accompany Audrey and her mother to one of the family’s country estates he knows it’s a bad idea, but reluctantly agrees. But suddenly they are left with only each other for company, and before they know it their desire flares to life. Audrey makes the decision to find out for herself all the ways Jude can introduce her to passion and seduction with the agreement that it will all end when they journey back to London. Only once they start an affair they realize how hard it will be to say goodbye.
There were several interesting relationship dynamics at work with this romance. Not only was there a friends to lovers theme, but also that of an aristocrat and servant. Although, Jude wasn’t really a servant, he just views himself that way. As the son of an aristocrat who has been disowned and neatly forgotten by his family, he was taken in at a young age by the Woodley’s and given employment. I think Jude was forced to live in both worlds and yet neither. He was considered part of the family, but never really trusted them not to set him aside once they realized his betrayal. When Audrey offers herself to him he just can’t help himself, but there is always this sense that he knows his place and it will never be by her side.
As with any Jess Michaels romance the sexytimes are abundant and very, very sensual. Even when you wonder if the main protagonists are connecting on a deeper relationship level, you never wonder if they have chemistry. There was no doubt this couple came alive together in the bedroom. I did have the feeling that Jude felt more than Audrey, but that may be because his character seemed to be more fleshed out. I liked Audrey, but did not fall in love with her. I wanted her to end up with Jude because he so desperately wanted her to.
The set up for the next several books was very well done. I’m completely invested in Claire’s story and can not wait to see why she ran off and remains apart from her family. I have my suspicions, and can’t wait to see if I’m correct. I think the second book in this series will feature the second oldest brother Evan and will release sometime this fall. I plan to put it on my TBR list. Final Grade- B-
She was like an angel swooping down from heaven. She was like a demon meant to tempt him and prove that he couldn’t control himself. She was everything.