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A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL...
Trapped in the countryside, facing an unwanted marriage and the theft of her fortune, Jane Mason is done behaving nicely. To win her freedom, she’ll strike a deal with the most dangerous man she knows—a rising star in politics, whose dark good looks mask an even darker heart.
...NEVER GOES TO PLAN.
The bitter past has taught Crispin Burke to trust no one. He’ll gladly help a lovely young heiress, provided she pays a price. Yet when a single mistake shatters his life, it is Jane who holds the key to his salvation. And in a world that no longer makes sense, Crispin slowly realizes that she may be the only thing worth fighting for...
The first scene in the book finds Crispin Burke near death. Attacked and left to die, he awakes to his parents hovering over him, both quite distraught. He also awakens to discover he’s missing a chunk of his memory including that of his wife.
We’re then taken back three months, where I wondered if Crispin was a hero or a villain. The thought crossed my mind more than once in the early stages of A Lady’s Code of Misconduct. Maybe villain is too harsh a word. The word wicked comes to mind.
Her heel squeaked on the first step. Burke obviously heard it, for he called after her. “Miss Mason.”
She laid a hand on the banister and continued to climb, pretending to be deaf.
“Jane Mason,” came his low purr, much closer. “Where do you think you’re going?”
And maybe a tad sinister? I immediately took to him in this scene. LOL. I know, what does that make me? He’s an MP with ambitions to occupy 10 Downing Street, and has an uneasy alliance with our heroine’s uncle.
Heiress Jane Mason is in hell. After the death of her parents, she’s forced to live with her father’s brother and his family. It’s her fortune that keeps them in comfort and they prefer to keep it that way. In order to maintain control of her money, the only marriage her uncle will allow is the one to his son Archibald. Jane, on the other hand, has other plans. She’s determined to escape and goes to desperate lengths to do so. Enter Crispin. Now don’t think you know how this is all going to play out. You don’t. I didn’t. Not exactly.
I felt for poor Jane. Her situation is intolerable. She becomes a shadow of herself living under her uncle’s roof, hidden away from society and guarded like a prisoner. When Crispin’s situation gives her an opportunity to escape this life, I don’t blame her for taking it. Her deceit is understandable. It helps that Crispin is altered from the man he used to be. That he becomes the kind of man Jane can care about.
The big question is what was Crispin like before. We only get a brief glimpse of the former Crispin. Was he as corrupt as we’re led to believe? I held my breath awaiting the answer to that one. In the meanwhile, I loved getting to know the new man. I loved the way he is with Jane and how she reacts to the change in him. Their romance is a slow burn that blazes hot and has an enduring fire. The love scenes are sensual and particularly well-written.
As you might imagine, given Crispin’s aspirations to one day become Prime Minister, there is some political drama and it’s a well-developed storyline about a bill Crispin once championed. I thought the subject matter was timely and pertinent, reflecting some of the issues we’re dealing with today. Then of course there’s still the matter of who tried to kill Crispin and why…
Meaty. That’s the word that comes to mind when I think of a term to describe this book. Beautifully written is the second. Meredith Duran is a fantastic writer, and in A Lady’s Code of Misconduct she creates two real and captivating characters in Jane and Crispin. Intrigue, politics, family drama and romance, their love story has it all.