Juliette knows her life is a precarious one. When she finally escaped a disastrous marriage she had very few options. The Earl of Sin presented her with one that, while not perfect, worked quite well. She would masquerade as a courtesan with the Earl of Sin pretending to be her protector. Garnering a reputation with two other women as the Diamonds of the Ton allowed them all to live in a certain style. She may have escaped one dangerous situation by getting out of her marriage, but the gossip that connected her to the Duke of Pelham has now landed her squarely back in danger.
William, the Duke of Pelham, had never met Juliette before and had no plans to. He is a duke, and dukes do not associate with known courtesans. He tells himself this repeatedly, every time he meets Juliette and his desires for her start to overcome his breeding. Juliette claims to have witnessed his fiancée's murder, but William has a hard time believing that. He is forced to reconsider after two attacks on her life. He knows the only thing a gentleman can do is to offer her protection.
Juliette will never live under another man's thumb. All the rules that William lives by seem like nothing more to her then a controlling nightmare. If there is one thing Juliette is determined to do for William it is to break him out of his rigid existence.
There is nothing I like better then a good grovel scene, and William makes plenty of mistakes for which he has to grovel. I loved watching Juliette run roughshod over his perfectly crafted life. They were a good balance for each other; Juliette made William look around and enjoy life while William (eventually) gave Juliette the love she didn't think she would ever have.
While I really enjoyed the love story between William and Juliette, the background story didn't quite cut it for me. There were two intrigues occurring, and both were resolved easily without adding anything to the story. But I liked the relationship and growth between William and Juliette enough that I still enjoyed the story.
This is the start of Ms. Galen's new trilogy, "Jewels of the Ton." The relationship between the three women is something that I look forward to learning about. Only small pieces of their history were shared in this one, so I am assuming that as we follow the stories we will learn more how these women became courtesans without lifting their skirts.