If the Viscount Fails (The Duke’s Men Book #4) by Sabrina Jeffries
Overview by Amazon:
The heir presumptive to the Viscount Rathmoor, Dominick Manton once had his heart’s desire within reach—a bright future as a barrister and engagement to Jane Vernon, a wealthy baron’s daughter.
Then a shattering betrayal by his vindictive brother George snatched away Dom’s inheritance and his hopes of offering Jane a secure future. Brokenhearted, and attempting to end their engagement without destroying Jane’s reputation, Dom staged a betrayal of his own to convince her that he’s not the husband-to-be that she thought.
Now George is gone and the viscountcy restored to Dom, since his brother’s widow, Nancy—Jane’s cousin and closest confidant—never bore an heir. But when Nancy goes missing, a panicked Jane calls on her former fiancé to track down her cousin. Dom knows the mistakes of the past may be unforgiveable—but now, entangled together in mystery and danger, will they rekindle a passionate longing that was never lost to begin with?
It wasn’t that long ago I read the third book in this series, so I was VERY excited to read the final chapter of the Duke’s Men. Finally we get to find out what is going to happen to Dominick. He’s been a solid character in the previous novels, so his story had to be something special.
After defending his brother Tristan years ago from their brother George, Dom has lived a totally different life than was intended for the second son of a Lord. He has had to work as a Bow Street Runner, the Home Office and then Manton’s Investigations. It has been a very hard road that he has taken in life, punished by his horrible brother for doing the right thing. But the worst part about his penance is having to give up the dream of marrying his beloved Jane.
Dom is a very honest and straight forward man. He loves Jane and knows that she would come to resent him if she married him, so he deceives her in order to get her to call off the wedding – something she has refused up until that point. They both live with their heartbreak for the next twelve years.
Twelve years is a lifetime. I don’t know if I could wait for someone for twelve years. Could you? Watching life pass you by…watching your youth slip through your fingers…seeing everyone around you experience marriage and babies…and yet still holding on to love for someone who is not coming. I really, really don’t know if many people have that kind of fortitude. But Dom and Jane have it in spades. It is only a recent development that Jane has finally accepted the proposal of her friend Edwin, the Earl of Blakeborough. It is more of a business arrangement – she will provide heirs, help his sister marry well and he will give her households to run. Wow, that sounds like fun.
Jane’s cousin Nancy is a complication in their lives. She was part of the scheme to get Jane to cry off marrying Dom. She married Dom’s brother George and is related to both Jane and now Dom. She disappears from the Dowager estate on Dom’s new property and he is besieged by Jane to find her. She won’t tell him the truth, but Nancy may be pregnant with the possible heir to the title that Dom has just inherited after George’s death.
And so begins the chase across the countryside. Dom and Jane are in each other’s company for the first time in twelve years. I was excited to see how they would interact with each other. Would they fall at each other’s feet now that Dom was a Viscount and able to marry Jane? Would he spurn her for being engaged? Would they still have chemistry? What WOULD happen???
Well, it was pretty clear that twelve years didn’t stop Dom from wanting Jane. He still finds her so beautiful. Her stubborn streak is still there and while he admires her tenacity, he doesn’t want her involved in investigating Nancy. He can be domineering and downright bossy at times to her and she pushes right back. Those interplays between the two were so fun to read. You don’t get emotional over someone you have moved on from. It’s clear pretty quick that these two still have very deep feelings for each other.
The investigation of Nancy brings together all the characters from the previous stories. It was great to have them included as I always want to know what happens to characters that I really like. They are also helpful as they provide opportunities for us to learn more about Dom and Jane in the years they have been apart as well as what they are thinking now.
The heat between Dom and Jane is hot. Not at all lukewarm. And I guess if you have been apart for that length of time, there should be incendiary sparks flying when you finally reunite. Dom is a powerful man, he knows what he wants. Jane has waited so long for him that it was so exciting to read about the passion they share. The scenes were really well written…it made you want to be Jane.
The mysterious disappearance of Nancy leads to a wild goose chase over England that is instrumental in bringing Jane and Dom together. The resolution is satisfying as it ends the way you would want. Nancy is not a bad person, but she causes a lot of grief and frustration for everyone.
This was a great book to close out the series. There was a fun surprise at the end of the book. It looks like we will meet some previous characters in Sabrina Jeffries’ next book. Edwin, Yvette and Mr. Keane are back in an adventure of their own. I’m hoping we will get glimpses of the Duke’s Men so we can keep in touch with their happily ever after.