A Secret Affair (Huxtable Series)

A Secret Affair - Mary Balogh I love, love, love this book! I'm so happy that the "social issues" in this book weren't heavy and depressing. After getting through the last 2 books, I didn't think I take another horrid 1st marriage or a truly evil person!And I'm so glad that it was CON's book! I loved both Con and Hannah... I loved Hannah's Duke, who loved her dearly and taught her the most valuable lessons of her life -- how to love herself, how to like herself, and how to be herself regardless of what anyone else thought of her. She was able to be both The Duchess and hold her own, and still be Hannah. Con brought out the best in her, and she in him.Some might think this book is overly dramatic or sentimental. Some might think it's all "too neat". But I found myself near to tears or shedding tears several times in this book.Hannah is the Duchess of Dunbarton - 30, so beautiful that wherever she goes people stop and stare. She seems like such an icy cool beauty. She married a man who was in his 70s - a man who'd never married. The Duke adored her, fawned over her, and draped her with jewels, furs, clothes, and anything her little heart desired. Because the Duke was ill for most of their 9-year marriage, Hannah was often escorted by 3 particular gentlemen -- all of whom she was supposedly having affairs with. The ton sees Hannah as wonderful and beautiful, but vain, shallow, and unfaithful.Hannah has just come out of her 1-year mourning period for the Duke, and she intends to come back to Town and the Season in full swing. She's decided that with her money and power (and being a widow), that she will seek a love affair - raw, sensual, sexual. And she's already chosen her man: Constantine Huxtable, the dark devil.Con knows she's after him, but he's amused and willing to play the game. It doesn't take long before the two of them decide to begin an affair. After all, Con is known for his spring mistresses (or favorites, as the Huxtable sisters call them). Hannah only wants the affair for the Season, too. So everyone's happy, right?But it doesn't take long for the two of them to discover that behind their individual masks and initial perceptions, they share a lot in common... more than one would ever imagine. It takes awhile for the two of them to trust enough to open up to one another, but they are falling hopelessly in love (without admitting it, of course) and find they can't seem to help themselves from sharing their "secrets". We finally discover the truth behind the accusations that Con is a thief (embezzled Huxtable family jewels) and a debaucher.I can't help but feel sappy about this book... it made me laugh, smile, and cry. It warmed my heart. Perhaps because the last 2 Huxtable books felt so bleak and dark... almost too hopeless and then SUDDENLY the ray of light and life and love!I was ready for that light, witty, sexy romance where 2 people play the same games and fall in love without even realizing it. Thank you, Ms. Balogh, for this book! Wonderful way to end the series!