Jeopardy by Anna Markland
This is gripping, intense, suspenseful, romantic and sweet. Alex is an honorable, stubborn, caring and protective man who has never felt comfortable being who he is, the Comte de Montbryce. The distance between him and his father always made him feel like an outsider in his family, he felt that his father's absence at the time of his birth, and the years when Robert was recovering, was to blame. He had never married, believing himself unable to love. When Elayne showed up with the hostages he was given charge of, he was fascinated by her. Elayne is strong, brave, fierce and vulnerable. She confused him, being a servant but not exactly acting like a servant. He finds out why the night he asks her to be his mistress. But he's definitely not upset by her revelation, because he's already in love with her and her children, because they can marry, because she's not a servant. But because of who the children aren't, their lives are all in danger. As hostages of Maud, they could be executed, including Alex if Maud suspects him of being a part if the deception. Switching to support Stephen meant incurring Maud's wrath, but safer for Elayne and her children. Things don't go as planned because of a surprise twist that puts everyone in a vulnerable position. The trip to the oubliette in Caen that had once housed his father as a prisoner gave Alex a new understanding of his father, and helped heal old wounds. I love all these Montbryce stories, but especially this one because I didn't cry throughout the whole thing as usual. I would love to sidestep from the Montbryce family and read one about King Stephen falling in love. And Romain. And Laurent.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. This is my honest and voluntary opinion of it.