THE SINS OF LORD LOCKWOOD – Meredith Duran
Rules of the Reckless Series – Book 6
ISBN: 980-1-5011-3905-5 (e-book)
In the prologue set in August 1857, the reader learns five days after his wedding, Liam Devalient, fifth Earl of Lockwood, finds himself a prisoner aboard a ship on his way to a penal colony in Australia.
Four years later, his wife Anna, a Scottish countess who is also among the first women to inherit their family's title and land, learns through newspapers that her husband, Liam, has been back in London for months. She wants to know why he abandoned her in the first place, and why he returned, both incidents without a word to her. She knows he married her for her vast wealth, but she is unprepared for the slovenly drunks who serve in his London mansion. Nor is she prepared for the dramatic changes in Liam. Upon meeting him again, he tells her to go back to Scotland. This harsh and expressionless rogue is not the man she married. A strong and practical woman, she loves agriculture and its science, and knows how to handle her wealth to do the best for herself and her tenants. During Liam's absence, she has done the same for his broken properties, improving them to self-sufficiency. Now she wonders how she can save herself and her wealth from this drastically changed man, but she won't back down. Liam isn't the only reason for her to be in London. An investment group is trying to purchase land for a railroad line, which will harm her property if successful, but Anna thinks it an attempt to defraud investors. She seeks out her lawyer to see how his investigation goes and if he has discovered who is behind this investment group. While she's there, she asks about the new divorce laws. Perhaps she needs to make a change.
Liam has gone through hell and survived, but it left its mark. He has brought the other prisoners who survived the penal colony with him, which was not a government sponsored one, back to London. He knows someone close to him hired a man with mining interests in Australia to abduct him and make him disappear. Who benefits? Anna's appearance disturbs him, but he won't let that show. There is no hope for reconciliation, not with his scarred body and broken mind, and he doesn't want her pity. Only his hard work for revenge leaves him something to live for.
This is a very good story of how people face inhumanity and evil and emerge stronger. The romance is different and interesting. The prologue allows the reader to have sympathy for Liam whom readers will understand by today's standard suffers from PTSD. Anna will not understand his behavior for a long time, and even when she does, it may not be enough to bring Liam back to her. An unspoken love attraction that led to marriage between two wary individuals will now have to overcome loathing by seeking truth to overcome deceit.