After six unsuccessful Seasons, Miss Minerva Dodger chooses spinsterhood over fortune-hungry suitors. But thanks to the Nightingale Club, she can at least enjoy one night of pleasure. At that notorious establishment, ladies don masks before choosing a lover. The sinfully handsome Duke of Ashebury is more than willing to satisfy the secretive lady’s desires—and draws Minerva into an exquisite, increasingly intimate affair.
A man of remarkable talents, Ashe soon deduces that his bedmate is the unconventional Miss Dodger. Intrigued by her wit and daring, he sets out to woo her in earnest. Yet Minerva refuses to trust him. How to court a woman he has already thoroughly seduced? And how to prove that the passion unleashed in darkness is only the beginning of a lifetime’s pleasure?
Minerva has a problem – her large dowry is only attracting fortune hunters. To a particularly awful suitor she says:
“Call on me if you wish, my lord, but know that under no circumstances will I ever marry you.”
“You won’t get a better offer.”
“That may well be true, but I seriously doubt that I shall receive a worse one.”
Even better, her parents are totally supportive. She doesn’t require a title, her financial needs are taken care of… she’s looking for love.
To that end Minerva visits the Nightingale, a club for clandestine meetings of the carnal sort. Masked and dressed in silk that leaves nothing to the imagination, she’s determined to give sex a go so she can feel passion at least once in her life. There she meets Ashe (men aren’t masked), sparks fly and things happen. And things… don’t happen.
I’m not saying any more about that scene because I love it. You think it’s heading in one direction, then something else happens. These slight twists and turns from the expected leading you down a very interesting road.
Heath is known for novels that rock the internal conflict this one is no different. Will Ashe figure out who his mystery lover is? How does Minerva handle all these pesky times they end up meeting? The love story reeled me in and I just had to know how things ended up, so much so that I stayed up until 1 am to finish it.
While it looks like certain tropes are barreling at you (“Watch out, Big Mis ahead!”) they get slightly twisted. We don’t get to avoid them totally (darn) but things are handled realistically.
Another great novel from Heath. The sequel looks intriguing – she’s trying something you rarely see in romance and I can’t wait to see how it turns out. Six months to go… I guess I’ll just have to devour her backlist in the meantime. ~grin~