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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Scarred Heir by Denise Patrick

The Scarred Heir by Denise Patrick
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (265 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

Double trouble—with a twist.

Two months. Just two more months and Sarah Standish will be twenty-one and free to come out of hiding. Not long ago she was on the brink of marrying the man of her dreams—until she discovered his complicity with her uncle’s plan to gain control of her missing father’s substantial fortune.

A wounded man appears at the inn where she lives under an assumed name, and she’s shocked to discover it’s her would-be groom. He seems to have no memory of her, yet her traitorous heart remembers.

Max Dayton awakens from a fevered dream to find a vengeful angel hovering over him. When he realizes she’s mistaken him for his twin brother, his protective instincts kick in. There must be some reason his brother assumed Max’s identity…and some connection to this dazzling beauty and the father she insists is not dead.

In a quest to untangle the twisted trail of lies that threw them together, Sarah and Max journey to London, where the mystery grows darker and deeper. And the fragile beginnings of love are threatened by a secret someone would kill to keep.

Escape from a despicable uncle, evading an unwanted marriage, mistaken identity, kidnapping, and lies galore are all part and parcel of The Scarred Heir.

In hiding after running from the church, Sarah Jane Jessie Matilda Elizabeth Standish has only about two months to stay hidden until she can claim her inheritance and manage it as she pleases. She wants her independence. With the help of Betsy, her maid, Sarah had found a safe haven at the Old Road Inn, an out-of-the-way place where she works as a maid and has a tiny room. No one looks for a lady in this situation. Then a wounded lord arrives that she recognizes. How could the man she ran from at the church have found this inn? Although a nervous wreck, Sarah has come too far to give up. A cat and mouse game begins that escalates to exciting, sensual encounters that intrigue.

Max Dayton, though a highly decorated war hero, still carries a burden of guilt about the death of a young girl and about not having stayed in communication with his father after running from what he thought he had done and going to war on the continent. Only at the insistence of a friend had Max return to England to unravel the mess he thought he’d made of his life. Laid up for a week in the Old Road Inn, Max begins to realize that what his twin brother had told him all these years was not in sync with reality. In London and at his family estate, he uncovers even more discrepancies.

As the antagonists wreak havoc in Max and Sarah’s lives, she wavers on her long-held desire for independence and he rethinks his decision to never marry. At his ancestral home, long buried facts come to light. They shed a whole new light on his life.

Denis Patrick takes many familiar elements of early nineteenth century English plots and weaves them together with twists that pull the reader into the story. Once in a while the pacing and side stories detract a little, but Max and Sarah’s remarkable love story and some shocking truths makes The Scarred Heir great entertainment.