This Regency era battle of wits, wills, and the sexes features a wily duke determined to see the succession of his line secured. The duke can't force his sons to marry, but he can make their lives miserable until they do. Resisting his pressure, each gentleman holds out for true love.
The second book in the series features Devlin St. Just, the duke's oldest, but illegitimate, son. He arrives at his new estate weary in body and spirit only to find the previous owner's bastard daughter and her beautiful cousin are his responsibility and making his life almost unbearably complicated.
I really enjoyed The Heir, the first in this series, The Soldier was OK in comparison. I was hoping to get a glimpse of Westhaven and Anna but they were not seen in the book. Val did reappear and I hope that the third installment is his.
In The Heir, Devlin (which I really am thinking about putting this on my baby boy names list - no I'm not pregnant) was very menacing. In this book, we see how being a soldier has really broken him as a man, but not enough. He reveals one seen that has done damage to his psyche but I think I would have felt more heartbroken if he had revealed more, even if it was in his private thoughts, and not to Emmie. He does find comfort with a new friend, Bart's exmistress' hubby. He helps Devlin put the new property that he has inherited into shape, and lends a shoulder of friendship. I thought the relationship was touching and deeply explored. The last time I saw a brother friendship explored this much was in the Mallory series by Johanna Lindsey.
As for Emmie - I thought her problem was going to be life threatening by the descriptor. I think her problem for the time period is very serious and I get why it was done. I also get why she kept Devlin at bay. I could have seen some more romance between them... it is why I love books like this after all :).
Winnie's presence in the book was new for me for this genre. It is not often that a child plays an essential role in these books. She pulls some antics that are hilarious! She also is Helmsley's bastard child - the one Devlin shot in The Heir. And because Devlin shot Helmsley, Devlin feels responsible for the child.
It was a pretty good. I hope their is a third installment.