When little Melody is left outside the doors of Brown's Club for Distinguished Gentlemen with a note claiming that one of the members is her father there are only three possibilities. The first two are ruled out in the previous two books in the series and that leaves Lord John Redgrave, also known as Jack. Jack takes one look at Melody and knows immediately that she is his and who her mother is. Three years ago after returning from the war Jack had courting Lady Amaryllis and when she had comforted him one night they shared a passion filled night. Unfortunately the next morning she threw him over and denied their night together and he went off to sail the seven seas. He takes Melody to confront Amaryllis but she denies knowing about the child and he takes her back wondering how he could have been mistaken. But Amy has a sister who looks remarkably like her who is amazed at what she has discovered.
Laurel Clarke had been the one to sneak into Jack's room because she had long had a crush on him and she is horrified when he leaves and even more she is told that the child she conceived that night died during the birth. But Jack's appearance with Melody throws her for a loop and she runs after them determined to get back her daughter and run away. In a short period of time Jack has come to care for Melody so when he learns that Laurel is indeed the mother he can't stand the idea of her taking the girl so he locks her up in the attic. Laurel cannot stand being locked up but it isn't long before she is able to spend time with her little girl and the nice things Jack does for her makes her rethink her plan to run away. Suddenly Jack realizes that he is not only worried about Melody, but about losing the woman he loves and he knows he has to risk everything for a chance to have both of them in his life.
Well I really did not like the first book in this "Runaway Brides" series at all and did not bother to read the second one, but I decided to give this one a go and I am very glad I did. There were definite problems with it, including many things that were wrong with her previous book but it succeeded on many other levels. Jack is a tortured hero but it becomes clear when we are told his reasons for being broody and quiet that this is a man who has faced some genuinely horrible things in life and made decisions that would make everyone cringe. Laurel was well written as well as she too had faced some equally horrible circumstances in her life and they were both able to offer comfort to each other. Their reactions to the child are completely heart felt and I really wish there had been more time between the three of them, and indeed more time with just the two of them really as they spend far too much time apart.
The locking her in the attic is very hard to get around as the knee jerk reaction is to absolutely hate it but it isn't long before she is able to escape but she decides to stay for the benefit of her daughter. It was also made better because she was very aware of the psychological impact being dependent on another human being could cause. There is a lot of sex in this book, including some unusual stuff to find in a typical romance, but a lot of it is done in flashbacks instead of in real time. There was also some hints of dominance/ submission which is fine because they both enjoyed it, but then they ruined it b/c they had to get all psychoanalytical about it. I found Melody to be immensely unrealistic- she talked far too well and too much for a typical three year old and I didn't like that the book was written as if she was being told it as a story before her wedding day and there was far too many appearances by previous couples from the series.
Rating: Much better than the last book and I really did enjoy it and felt like these too had a strong relationship,but I would have liked more time between the two of them.