The Duchess in His Bed
A Duchess in His Bed, the fourth installment in Lorraine Heath’s Sins for all Seasons series, features a recently widowed Duchess planning a great deception to save her family’s status within the ton. Selena Sheffield, the Duchess of Lushing, has to make a quick decision – can she get herself with child and pass the child off as the deceased Duke’s heir or does she let the dukedom, and all its power to help her siblings, pass back to the crown?
After six years of a happy albeit passionless marriage, Selena remains childless. The Duke of Lushing has just passed after a short illness and Selena’s brother (a dissolute earl) makes a plan – if Selena quickly gets pregnant, her family can keep the prestige and wealth of the dukedom, and her three younger sisters will still be able to make good matches. Selena decides to try – she can’t stand the thought of her sisters suffering because her brother (and father) ran the earldom into debt. She chooses to seduce Aiden Trewlove, bastard to an unnamed nobleman and owner of the Elysium Club – a club designed for women of the ton to have some fun gaming and exploring their more adventurous sides.
When Selena enters Aiden’s club, masked and reticent, Aiden’s interest is piqued. He avoids involvement with his clientele but cannot resist flirting with the masked stranger. There is an instant pull between Aiden and Selena, but when Selena confesses her desire to be seduced, Aiden resists as he senses there is more going on here than a desire for a light affair. Over the next few nights, Selena returns to the Elysium Club expecting seduction, only to be thwarted by Aiden – who teases and tempts, but does not bed her.
Meanwhile, Selena is getting to know more about Aiden – his upbringing with the other bastards sent to Ettie Trewlove, his horrible relationship with his sire, his love for his family. She desperately wants to get pregnant but she is starting to see the larger ramifications of her plan. Eventually, she confesses her plan to Aiden and he must decide if he can give her what she wants.
Aiden and Selena’s love affair is well-developed and convincing. They share an instant attraction that keeps building throughout the book from lust to love. Selena is determined to aid her family, but is torn about what she starts to see as a betrayal of Aiden, because the last thing he wants to have is a bastard son. But he also sees the power his son could have and he is uncertain. He wants to give Selena all of himself – but at what cost to his soul? Aiden’s struggle with his own self-worth and his budding feelings for Selena are particularly well-written and Ms. Heath pulls at the heartstrings when you think of Aiden alone without Selena or his child. In an unexpected bonus, Aiden is also an artist and his paintings of his desired future with Selena and his child are beautifully described. Ms. Heath is a masterful writer of romantic interludes and she does not disappoint in A Duchess in His Bed.
Like many of Ms. Heath’s stories, the book offers a solid plot with an interesting moral dilemma. What at first seems to be a selfless act on Selena’s part (to aid her younger sisters) can easily be viewed as selfish when taking into account the sacrifice Aiden must make in not claiming his child. I found myself of two minds throughout the story and ended up mad at Selena and Aiden’s choices. As in Ms. Heath’s The Earl Takes All, some readers will be put off by the decisions the characters make.
The Sins for All Seasons has been a satisfying series and I loved reconnecting with the Trewlove family. A Duchess in His Bed is not my favorite Heath novel, but I’m recommending it because of the strong writing and compelling storyline. It can be read as a standalone but I suggest starting at the beginning to fully enjoy the series.
Buy it at: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/Kobo
Visit our Amazon Storefront