Meredith Duran has rapidly become a must-read author for me. Her stories are always amazing examples of the Show, Don't Tell doctrine of writing; her characters feel real and we see real character growth in the story as the romance slowly builds to an immensely satisfying climax.
A Lady's Code Of Misconduct is the fifth in Duran's Victorian-era Rules For The Reckless series, but such is the writer's skill I didn't even realize that it wasn't a standalone novel until I looked at the Amazon page to grab the book cover for this review.
At the beginning of the book, it's made very clear that Crispin Burke is not a very nice man at all. A severe head injury, however, wipes out several years of his memory and effectively gives him the chance to push the reboot button on his live, with the help of his lovely wife, Jane.
The only problem is that Jane isn't really his wife. Desperate to escape an unbearable situation, she forged marriage lines while Crispin lay in a coma, not expected ever to awaken, and fled her abusive uncle's home to reside under the protection of the Burke family.
Watching the two of them together as Crispin slowly comes to terms with the man he used to be was an absolutely wonderful experience. Any author who can make the line "Let me be your villain" feel like the most romantic line in the world (it's right up there with As You Wish for me now) is a true talent and not to be missed.
Five magical stars. I wish I could give it ten.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.