Slightly Dangerous (Bedwyn Family Series)

Slightly Dangerous - Mary Balogh I was eagerly anticipating this book, of all the books. How in the world would Wulfric Bedwyn be the romantic hero and fall in love? Yes, we've seen glimpses of his softer side -- rare glimpses. But actually fall in love? And with a woman like Mrs. Christine Derrick? She who is full of life and light and laughter?We spend most of the book, in fact, along with Christine and Wulf, decrying why this match is not meant to be. When we all know from page 1 it is meant to be. So there is a bit of tediousness to being constantly reminded how unalike these two people are and how unlikely their union should be.This is "Pride & Prejudice" meets "Bridget Jones" meets "The Bedwyns", where Lizzie is Christine. Except that besides possessing a sharp wit and fine eyes, Christine has a way of bringing light and laughter wherever she goes. But she says the wrong things. And she does the wrong things - she's constantly stumbling and making a fool of herself, all innocently. And then there's the fact that she's a widow. And some "talk" about her being a flirt who might have had something to do with her husband's death. And then there's her closest relatives, who barely acknowledge her. Of course, Wulf is playing Mr. Darcy, except in full Wulf style. Wulf is much harder to bend; we see him stung by Christine's second (or third?) refusal that he could never be a man she could love. And while we see Wulf *try*, he seems to ever be... well, the Duke. We see and hear more of his anguish and his constant rescuing of Christine more than know what he's planning and how he's trying to change.We can tell that his brothers' and sisters' fairly recent marriages (within the last 3 years) and their resulting offspring have caused a void in Wulf's life. And have him wondering about the possibility of marrying and, perhaps, siring heirs. His mistress of 10 years, Rose, died just last year, and Wulf hasn't replaced her yet. Rose became his mistress shortly after being refused by the only woman he's been betrothed to (Marianne), who not only refused him, but caused a large, public scandal that humiliated Wulf and all involved. (Read Morgan's story "Slightly Tempted" for the whole, sordid affair.) AND he's survived the disappearance, presumed death, and resurrection of his youngest brother -- all within the same 3 year time period. So we can see that Wulf might be smarting... and might be vulnerable.It all comes to a head at an Easter house party that Wulf throws. He invites his entire family and convinces Christine to accept an invitation if he invites her and her husband's family -- since they have no real connection, it's not proper for him to invite her immediate family or her alone. Wulf does his best... Christine tries her worst... and the Bedwyn clan can't decide if they're for or against the possible match.Will Christine ever get over the stain and gossip of her marriage and her husband's death? Will she ever be able to picture herself as Wulf's duchess? Will Wulf be able to get that stick out of his butt long enough to smile or laugh or show that he's actually a MAN capable of more emotion than pure lust?------------------I did like this book. I was happy that, other than a description of a tryst near a lake that reminded me of a similar spot where Judith and Ralf had their own tryst, I wasn't constantly on guard for recycled plot from other Bedwyn books.It seemed as if we spent a lot of the book deciding WHY Christine & Wulf were unsuited. But I suppose you could say the same of "Pride and Prejudice". After all, we stopped at Lizzie and Darcy's wedding in that book... we get a bit more of a peek at what Christine & Wulf's life is like -- but just barely.But I couldn't put it down. I was fascinated at how both Wulf and Christine remained themselves, completely, but somehow found each other... somehow "let down their hair" and shared more than just desire. Wulf's way of wooing might not be the most romantic on the face of it, but when you realize how carefully he did what he did, including getting to the source of all those rumors and innuendo about her that ruined her 1st marriage, you have to admire Wulf and see that, as always, he does what he does because he LOVES. Wulf's way of loving just doesn't appear on the surface to be what you'd consider love. He *demonstrates* his love - he takes action; he might not be able to prettily talk about it, but he does manage some rather wonderful and breathtaking speeches to Christine -- and all quite genuine.I was sorry for the book to end. I wanted just ONE MORE Epilogue to give me a more complete picture of the Bedwyn clan, a few years later.