My Once and Future Duke by Caroline Linden

My Once and Future Duke (The Wagers of Sin, #1)My Once and Future Duke by Caroline Linden

Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Wagers of Sin #1
Publication Date: 2/27/18

Sophie Graham had a wonderful life – two loving parents, travel, meeting varied and interesting people – until those parents died of consumption when she was twelve years old. Her grandfather was an awful person who had disowned his son (Sophie’s father) because he married the woman he loved rather than marry as his father wanted. That cold and unfeeling man became Sophie’s guardian. He certainly didn’t want her or anything to do with her so he took her to Miss Upton’s Academy For Young Ladies and left her. He made sure that she understood she was not welcome in his home and would not be coming there for holidays nor would he pay her tuition past the age of eighteen – after eighteen, she would be totally on her own. Sophie made two wonderful friends (Miss Eliza Cross and Lady Georgiana Lucas) at that school and they remained her staunch supporters. Lovely, accomplished and intelligent, Sophie understood quite quickly that the only person she could depend upon to take care of her was herself and she set out to make her fortune and hopefully find a nice decent man with whom to make a family.

You have to admire Sophie because she managed to take care of herself from the time she was twelve. She became strong and independent – and she had a plan. She was going to London as the widow Mrs. Sophie Campbell, and she was going to use her greatest skill to make her fortune. That skill was playing cards and she had learned it at her father’s knee, learning to figure the odds, game rules, etc. She rarely lost. Her goal was to gain a fortune of ten-thousand pounds because that should be enough to help her attract an upstanding gentleman as her suitor. Then, she’d marry and start a family. That plan was going well – she already had four-thousand pounds in her account – but then she lost the biggest bet of her young life!

Jack Lindeville, Duke of Ware, is weighed down by his responsibilities – to the dukedom, his mother, his brother and even the daughter and widow of his father’s best friend. Once upon a time, he had been a fun-loving and happy young man who laughed and enjoyed his life. Then, his father died after a boating accident and duty called with its stifling weight. Now, all Jack does is work and try to control his brother, Phillip, to keep him from running up massive gambling debts. Jack has become cold and hard as granite – and he has no idea how lonely he is. ** Note here — Jack’s mother is a piece of work. If he controlled her, he wouldn’t have too much trouble in controlling Philip. — Just sayin’ **

Phillip’s favorite place to gamble is the Vega Club because of the ambiance and the presence of the lovely Mrs. Campbell. He loses regularly to Mrs. Campbell, but he also loses to many others at the club. One large loss of Phillip’s is the last straw for Jack. His temper is flaring when he arrives at the Vega Club to pay off Phillip’s debt and finds said brother at the tables when he had just promised to stay away from gambling for a month. Jack is incensed and decides he’ll teach Philip a lesson – then he really loses that temper and wagers himself. He certainly doesn’t expect to win the wager and is aghast when he wins – because he has won the company of the lovely Mrs. Campbell for a week. What in the world is he going to do? Why – he’s going to abscond with her to Alwyn, his favorite home – where they are stranded by a rainstorm. He can’t take her back to London because the roads are impassable and the coach has a broken axle.

Jack and Sophie are in for an emotional ride. Watching two determined, smart and independent people work their way through their budding feelings, trying to stay away from each other and coming to terms with their feelings is nerve-wracking. Can they overcome Jack’s mother and her plotting? Can they curb Phillip’s gambling and his animosity toward Jack? Can they really find their HEA? You’ll just have to read this lovely book to find all of the answers.

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“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”

The Sins of Lord Lockwood by Meredith Duran

The Sins of Lord Lockwood (Rules for the Reckless, #6)The Sins of Lord Lockwood by Meredith Duran

Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Rules for the Reckless, #6

Release Date: February 27, 2018

I loved this book, it is a complex story with many layers that converge into an intense and gripping read.

The book opens days after William Devaliant, the Earl of Lockwood aka Liam marries Anna Wallace, the Countess of Forth (in her own right). He is aboard a prison hulk being beaten, he was abducted and traded for another prisoner. Later he realizes who orchestrated his abduction, his cousin Stephen and he vows revenge.

Fast forward 3 years, 8 months – Anna has left Scotland and traveled to London to confront her errant husband, he disappeared on their wedding night and she hasn’t heard from him since. But she learns he is back in England and is spending HER money and sponsoring artists in his London townhouse and she is going to set him straight. She enters the house and there is a party in full swing, she is appalled by his servants and the debauchery going on around her. She finds Liam on a sofa with a courtesan attached to him like a leech. He rises to greet her and tells her to leave. She refuses and tells him to send his “guests” home. Liam is not in good shape, he took some drug to gain oblivion, but it has only made him muddled. He can’t believe Anna is here and needs to send her on her way. She flat out refuses to go and wants answers – answers he is not willing to give.

Anna makes herself at home and takes every opportunity to vent her anger on Liam. She has come to town to settle some business matters and to get answers – so far she has only more questions. Liam is not the young man she married, but she sees glimpses of him. Where has he been and why did he leave her? The next day they talk again and he tells her what happened to him, but she thinks he is lying. She makes accusations that he does not deny and she seethes.

Liam doesn’t want Anna in his home, he has put his plan into motion and she is a complication he doesn’t need. But seeing her again brings back something he thought he lost, feelings, he FEELS for the first time in years and feelings he thought gone forever. And when she demands he give her an heir and lays down her rules, he agrees, but has a rule of his own. The passion between them is white hot, but neither is willing to bend and they wage a major war of wills.

Liam is no longer the young love-struck boy she married, the past four years have changed him, irrevocably. But Anna is no simpering maiden and she stands up to this new callous Liam. And when she learns the truth, Anna will stop at nothing to save Liam.

The story has several flashbacks to their first meeting, their courtship, wedding day and the fight they had before he disappeared. These flashbacks are well placed in the story and give the read a much better understanding of these two people.

This is not a light read, but neither is it overly dark. It is a meaty, stick to your ribs kind of story with two very flawed people finding their way back to each other, it is a story of revenge, acceptance, forgiveness and love. I was hooked from the first page, it is extremely well written and even with flashbacks, it is paced perfectly. There are steamy love scenes, moments of heartbreak and sorrow, moments of horror, great secondary characters (including Julian and Emma), a shocking twist and a very sweet epilogue. This is the sixth book in the series, but it could be read as a stand alone title with no problems. I loved this book and would be happy to recommend it!

*I am voluntarily leaving a review of an eARC provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher*

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A Dream of Redemption by Bronwen Evans

A Dream of Redemption (The Disgraced Lords, #8)A Dream of Redemption by Bronwen Evans
Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Disgraced Lords, #8

Release Date: February 20, 2018

Lady Helen Hawkestone has decided to stop looking for a husband and let fate lead her to her perfect mate. She is the younger sister of Marisa, the Duchess of Lyttleton and Sebastian, the Marquess of Coldhurst and she has seen her brother and sister as well as their friends find their soulmates and will settle for nothing less for herself.

Fate thrusts the most unlikely candidate at her, Clarence Homeward aka Clarey, her sister’s personal secretary. Clarey was instrumental in rescuing Marisa from Victoria and in turn Marisa rescued him and his younger brother Simon from Angelo. Clarey has worked hard in the five years since to make sure he and Simon never ended up back on the streets and nothing and no one will deter him from his path, not even the absolutely gorgeous angel that he has been half in love with for five years. But fate clearly has other ideas.

When Helen offers to help with a newly acquired orphanage, so her sister can go on a surprise anniversary trip, Clarey is opposed, but Helen persists and Marisa gives in to her. Helen has long admired Clarey and most definitely appreciates his good looks, but besides spending time with him, she really wants to help.

Nothing could have prepared her for the harsh reality of the orphanage or her desire to help these children, against Clarey’s advice, she stays and learns that some children are missing – she tells Clarey they must be found. He goes to look and she finagles a way to follow him. He is livid when she shows up and when the fired orphanage master Glover spots them, he kisses her to throw him off their trail. As they return to the home, they are attacked and Clarey is injured. Helen feels awful and cares for him. They both feel the pull of attraction, but Clarey knows what he could lose if he pursues it but Helen wants to explore it. He asks her to go home and reluctantly she agrees, but this is not over between them.

When Clarey returns to work, Helen is waiting, he tries to keep her at arm’s length, but she is sure they could have a future. But Clarey has a dark past that Helen has no knowledge of, he tries to tell her, but she says she doesn’t care. He begins to think that maybe she does love him enough, but when a walk in the park has him encountering a person from his past, he knows that he will never be accepted. Helen is not going to let him walk away, she insists on taking him home after he is re-injured and they move beyond kisses, she tells him that he has to fight for her.

When he is warned off and tries to distance himself, she has doubts, but she still isn’t ready to give him up. She goes to his home and he tells her most of his past, she is shocked, but she still wants him, they make love and reality returns when her brother bursts in.

Helen stands up to Sebastian and will find a way to be with Clarey. But before she can get to him, Glover reappears and Helen is in danger. Clarey goes to the only man who can help him get her back, Sebastian. They find Helen and Glover reveals all of Clarey’s shame to her. Clarey is sure she will turn from him, but to his surprise, she tells Glover she doesn’t care and punches him, enabling a clear shot to kill him. Helen is saved, but that is not the end of their story, they still have to gain her families blessing and based on Sebastian’s reaction, that dream seems impossible.

This was a very emotional read, with a lot of darkness, triggers and angst – but I loved it. It was a beautiful story of acceptance, self-forgiveness, familial love and learning to not let your past define you. It did not have many light moments, but there is action and steamy love scenes, there are villains that get what they deserve and a very sweet epilogue that left me a little teary eyed.

If you have been following this series, you MUST read this book, if you are new to the series, it could be read as a stand alone, but it would be best to start at the beginning of the series and work your way to this book!!

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher*

The Earl of Davenport by Maggie Dallen

Earl of Davenport (Wicked Earls' Club, #7)Earl of Davenport by Maggie Dallen
Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Wicked Earls Club, #7

Release Date: February 20, 2018

For a debut into Historical Romance, this was a very good book, the author clearly took the time to learn the period and with the exception of a couple of very minor mistakes, it was spot on!

Anne Cleveland is in a bind and she is hoping her childhood friend and neighbor, Fredrick Belford, the Earl of Davenport can help her.

Her brother Jed has reduced the family to ruin and if Anne’s plan doesn’t work, they stand to lose everything. She has heard that Davenport is looking for a wife and while she doesn’t consider herself acceptable as she is most likely illegitimate, she believes her sister Claire is the perfect wife for him! Anne fondly remembers Davenport as the boy that always defended her from the unkind remarks made about her birth. She knows the ton calls him the Devil and that he is not a saint, but to her, he is a hero.

She goes to his home with her companion and when he arrives, he acts like he doesn’t know how she is. But once she realizes he is teasing her, she gets down to business. She asks him to marry Claire and save her family. He tells her he will consider it and leaves the room.

There is no way Davenport is going to marry Claire – she is dull and prim and he will crush her within a week, no, he needs a strong woman, someone who can stand up to him, someone a little bit scandalous, someone like… Anne. Once that thought takes root, that is it, Davenport decides that Anne is the woman for him and no other will do.

He visits the next day and asks for her hand, she is shocked, but accepts. He then insists that they marry immediately. He gives her an hour to get ready and then they will head to Scotland.

This was a very sweet story of two people who don’t see their own worth, but see it in each other. Davenport has cultivated a reputation to protect himself and Anne has accepted that she has less worth than others because of her birth. The book was short, but I had no problem believing they were in love, Ms. Dallen gives the reader an established history between them, so it wasn’t hard to believe that they fell in love so quickly. Their road to HEA is not without bumps, but nothing dragged out very long and they were honest and open with each other. There are a couple of passionate kisses and one warmish love scene as well as a very sweet declaration scene.

I would be happy to recommend this book and am looking forward to reading more by this author!

*I am voluntarily reviewing an eARC that was provided to me by the author*

Earl of Weston by Anna St. Claire

Earl of Weston (Wicked Earls' Club, #6)Earl of Weston by Anna St. Claire

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 Stars rounded up to 4
Series: Wicked Earls’ Club #6
Publication Date: 2/14/17

This new-to-me author has included my two favorite elements in a book – mystery and romance. Well, actually, it was a little short on the romance side but was probably typical for marriages of that period. I believe that the book tried to cover too many elements for a novella and I didn’t really feel complete with either of the elements – especially the romance though. There was potential – and they were getting there – but I don’t think a great romance was there yet. The characters had great potential, but they didn’t feel fully developed – although the hero and heroine were fairly well developed. Some of the story also felt a bit contrived – yes, I know it is a story and they are all contrived.

There are some light moments in the story with an incorrigible parrot. He’s absolutely priceless – and the real hero of the story.

Edward Hunter, Earl of Weston, had returned to England from a mission for the crown to find his brother, Robert, dead. Then, a short time later his father died and Edward unexpectedly assumed the title he didn’t want. After some questioning and investigating, Edward came to believe that his brother was murdered rather than dying in the duel he was supposedly fighting. Edward drinks too much and gambles too deep – he always has – and that causes a rift with his mother who blames him for Robert’s death. When Edward finally gets a clue to the whereabouts of a witness he’s been seeking, he and his best friend, Bergen, headed to a house party at the home of Lord Bentley.

Hattie Longbottom is a twenty-six-year-old spinster who is as naïve as the day she was born. Since the age of sixteen, she lived in a very small village taking care of her ailing mother. She’s very involved in the church and takes all of those homilies to heart. Her bright spot is her parrot, Archie. After the death of her mother, she had the choice of living with an aunt (without Archie) or with her half-brother. She chose to live with her brother because she could keep Archie.

So, here is one of those contrived bits I mentioned. The village reverend puts Hattie and Archie on a coach to travel to her brother’s residence. This is a brother who loves his sister and cares for her – he is a member of the aristocracy, but we don’t learn what title he has – we do learn it is less than an Earl, so it must be a Viscount or Baron. At any rate – there is no way he would have allowed his sister to board a mail coach, unchaperoned (or otherwise) to travel to him. He would have sent his coach or come himself. So – that whole part of the story was just not believable to me. There are other bits that felt contrived, but that was the biggest one.

The author used a term that is new to me and I have to find out more about it because it is the first time I’ve seen it used and I have read a lot of Regency period romances. She used it in relation to winning bets. So, I’ve got some research to do. I’m not questioning the use of the term or whether it is correct or not – just something I haven’t seen before. Here’s one place it is used – “Edward was one monkey richer after five games of piquet.” I just have to find out what a monkey is!

I enjoyed the story and would try another book by this author should she choose to write another Regency. I don’t believe that is her normal genre, but I’m not sure.

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It Started With a Whisper by Various Authors

It Started with a WhisperIt Started with a Whisper by Dawn Brower
Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Release Date: January 23, 2018

Overall this was a very good anthology and each novella was well done and none of them felt rushed.

One Moonlit Tryst, Amanda Mariel, 4 stars – Colin Brooks, Earl of Harcourt and Reginald St. John, Viscount Lovell are the best of friends, one night while out carousing, Reg is shot down by a woman and Colin says he could get any woman. They make a wager – Reg bets him a thousand pounds that he cannot win the woman of his choosing. He chooses Lady Tabitha Pemberton, he has to charm a kiss from her before the end of the season.

Lady Tabitha and her twin Lady Priscilla have decided to enjoy their first season and vow not to marry until their next. They keep all their suitors at an arms length. Colin begins to court her, but not overly – he has a plan. Reg and Pricilla form a friendship and watch the game being played between Colin and Tabitha with delight.

They grow closer and just when Tabitha believes she can give this man her heart, a shocking revelation from his past comes to light and she is heartbroken. But this is no longer a wager for Colin and he will do whatever he can to win back the woman he loves.

Good story, no steam, interesting twist, HEA

Love Me, Lord Tender, Deb Marlowe, 4.5 stars – William Grey, Lord Tensford has become infamous in Lady X’s column and known as Lord Terror for the horrible way he treats his female relations. Nothing could be farther from the truth, but gossip persists. He needs to marry a heiress to save his failing estate, but no woman is interested in Lord Terror – except Lady Hope Brightly. She finds him charming and when he saves her from an unwanted suitor, she calls him Lord Tender. The name sticks and now he is having an even harder time with the gossip. Hope feels awful and sets out to make things right. Will really likes Hope and wishes her dowry was larger and he could afford to marry her, but it is not nearly enough, so he accepts her help in finding a wife.

Hope wants him for herself, but she has to know that he wants her more than he wants money. Will will have to make difficult decisions and prove himself to win the woman he has come to love.

Great story, loved Will & Hope, great ending, no steam, great secondary characters (whose stories I would definitely read), HEA

The Lady Loves Scandal, Christina McKnight, 4.5 stars – Lady Sybil Anson and Gideon Lyndon, Viscount Galway are in love and soon to be betrothed. The night before the contracts are to be signed, Sybil visits Gideon and they share a passionate kiss and whispers of their hopes an dreams. They are interrupted by a late night visitor for Gideon. He kisses her goodbye and tells her he will see her tomorrow. But he never shows.

A year later, Sybil is on the verge of becoming betrothed again. She loved Gideon, but hasn’t heard from him since that night, save a cryptic note saying he would see her as soon as he could. She assumed he was dead, because nothing short of death would have kept them apart. But on the very night she is to accept the Duke of Garwood, Gideon returns to her. She wants answers before she will give him her heart again, but answers are the one thing Gideon cannot give her.

Will Gideon be able to win back the only woman he has ever loved, or will his secrets destroy any hope of a HEA?

Great story, loved Sybil and Gideon, no steam, secrets, angry brothers and bounty hunters and finally a very sweet HEA.

The Scandalous Widow, Erica Monroe, 4.5 stars – This is a second chance at love / murder mystery and it is very well done. Gabriel Sinclair, Principal Officer for Bow Street has responded to a murder outside a bawdy house in the rookeries, it seems like a simple case of robbery gone wrong and he is ready to call it done when he realizes who the victim is – Philip Forster, Earl of Wolverstone – Gabriel’s one time best friend and husband of the woman Gabriel loves.

Jemma Foster, Countess of Wolverstone is sure that here brother in law David killed his brother and she needs help proving it. The only man she trusts is the last man she wants to see – Gabriel Sinclair. The man she walked away from to make her family happy and the man she loves. It has been three years since they have seen each other, but the passion is still there, stronger than ever.

Jemma and Gabriel work together to solve the mystery of who really killed Philip and why. They also slowly begin to reconnect. But when Jemma starts to get too close to the truth, will Gabriel be able to save her and have a second chance to win the woman he has always loved?

Wonderful story, lots of interesting historical facts and a really nasty villain, no steam, some violence and a HEA.

How to Land an Earl in Ten Days, Ave Stone, 5 stars – this was my favorite story in the book! Reese Delacy, Earl of Darling is consoling his heartbroken friend Capt Lucien Gates. Lucien has been thrown over by his betrothed and is drowning his sorrows. Reese doesn’t believe in love and tells Lucien that he could make any woman fall in love with him, just by being charming. Lord Daniel Westham overhears him and they make a wager – Reese has ten days to make a woman fall in love with him – winner gets 200 pounds. Trouble is Lady X gets wind of the wager and no woman will give Reese the time of day. Enter the Duchess of Hythe (Lucien’s grandmother) she is sponsoring Cara Beckett for the season, Cara is from Bermuda and is only in England for one reason – to garner votes for the Turks Salt Trade bill, her family’s livelihood depends on Bermuda’s right to free salt trade on the Turk islands. Her father was dear friends with the duchess and she has been kind to Cara, helping her meet the peers she needs to speak with, but the duchess wants more for her. Cara is single minded in her quest, she has lost so much, her father and her betrothed and the business is all she has left besides her sisters. She cannot fail them! When the duchess and her friends learn about the wager, they come up with their own wager – they will have a woman let Reese think he is winning and then bring him down a few pegs and Cara is the perfect woman for the job. The duchess convinces Cara to go along with her and Cara reluctantly agrees.

When Reese meets Cara, he pours on the charm and Cara is hard pressed not to fall for him. She needs votes and Reese offers to help her. He introduces her to voting members and at the same time courts her. When the opportunity to visit the Hadleigh fair, she agrees to go. Archibald Atherton and his sister Emma insist that she stay with them for the three days and of course Reese is going. While at the fair, Cara sees her sister’s betrothed, but he avoids her, she wonders why and tells Reese, he warns her not to mention that Ballantyne is betrothed to her sister and that he can’t explain in the crowd why. Cara wants answers but will wait. Reese tracks down Ballantyne and asks about Cara’s sister – Charles Ballantyne is the man who stole Lucien’s betrothed – Charles says that he had no formal betrothal with Cait and Reese punches him. Reese returns to the group, but is withdrawn and during dinner Cara is sure he is angry with her. When her dinner partner seems interested in her political dealings, she tries to focus on him. Chopwell suggests they meet to discuss the vote and Emma shows them to parlor and leaves them to talk. Chopwell attacks Cara and Arch and Reese barely are in time to save her.

Reese takes her to her room and then returns to deal with Chopwell – he calls him out and goes to check on Cara. This is when she learns about Charles’ betrayal of her sister – it is all too much and she lashes out at Reese – she tells him she knows about the wager and he is no better than Chopwell.

Reese is hurt and angry, but he will leave her alone, he returns to London to prepare for the duel – it is the least he can do for her. She is upset when she learns he left and Lucien is demanding answers – Emma is drawn into things and even though she is secretly in love with Lucien, she can’t tell him what she knows, she also thinks that Lucien is in love with Cara and is a little heart sick. Lucien returns to London for answers, but hits a dead end.

Cara returns and confides all to the duchess, who vows that everything will work out. She then calls for reinforcements. Reese refuse to call on Cara, thinking that is her wish, so the duchess has her work cut out for her. Cara feels terrible about the things she said, she admits to herself that she cares for him and may love him – but everything has gone terribly wrong.

Cara reenters society and works to get the votes she needs. She is at a ball and sees Reese, but he tries to avoid her, but when he is drawn into the group around her, he helps her further her cause and he realizes he loves her. He decides to take a chance and talks to her, but Cara still has a secret and she hopes that when she comes clean, Reese can forgive her.

This was the shining star in the anthology for me, again this is a no steam novella, but it is brimming with sexual tension, secrets, witty banter, very likable leads, great secondary character (who are begging for their own stories!) a well meaning meddling duchess and a sweet HEA.

Lady Hoyden’s Secret, Dawn Brower, 3.5 stars – Lady Helena Carter has after 3 seasons accepted that she will not marry, but that is all right because she has a plan. When her brother forces his friend Oliver Hunt, Marquess of Dashville to dance with her, she solidifies her plan. Five years later, Helena’s plans are just about ready to pay off. She is Lady X and has finally earned enough money to support herself until she is old enough to access her trust. She has been very successful and her favorite person to roast in her column is Oliver aka Dash.

Dash has grown up a lot since the night he danced with Helena, Lady X’s column had made him realize what a jerk he was and he has changed. He wants a wife and figures if Lady X sees him make amends with Helena, the task of finding a wife will be easier. He tried to reconcile with Helena, but she is having none of it. Oliver really sees her for the first time and decides then and there, Helena will be his wife. Now all he has to do is convince her that he has changed and is the perfect man for her.

He asks her for a second chance and she shoots him down and takes off. He follows her and finds her snooping in a desk, they kiss and she tells him to leave her alone. But fate has other plans and when they end up in Scotland together and he learns her secret and seems to accept her, she is thrilled. But when they are caught in a heated embrace and told they will have to marry, it seems like Oliver will get his wish,. However, Helena is not ready to concede defeat. Will Oliver be able to win over the woman he knows he loves or will Helena let past hurts and rejection doom her to a life spent alone?

This book was ok, there is a lot of modern verbiage, some completely unbelievable scenarios (especially for a Regency), no steam and an unlikable heroine – but Oliver is this books saving grace, he is wonderful and I can’t imagine why he loves Helena.

All in all this was a very good anthology, while none of the novellas are steamy (mores the pity) they are all well done and paced nicely. I would be happy to recommend this book.

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher*

A Duke In The Night by Kelly Bowen

A Duke in the Night (The Devils of Dover, #1)A Duke in the Night by Kelly Bowen

Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Devils of Dover #1
Publication Date: 2/20/18

I believe this was my first book by Kelly Bowen and I did enjoy it. However, all-in-all, I wouldn’t really class it as a Regency – it ‘feels’ much too modern. It is more like a modern story dressed up like a Regency. I’m giving it 4-stars because I really did enjoy the story. The heroine, Clara Hayward, is very much a contemporary woman, forward-thinking, ‘experienced’, etc. and all of the people surrounding her are very ‘modern’.

August Faulkner, Duke of Holloway, never expected to be a Duke. His father was in debtors prison and August, as a boy of fifteen, spent two years living on the streets. That experience hardened him and he was determined to provide for his sister – not just provide for her, but assure, beyond all measure, that she would never, ever be in reduced circumstances again. August learned to make money and became ruthless in buying businesses and making them successful. He has no room for anything in his life other than the acquisition of money and property. He’s not a bad man, he just has no time in his life for relationships.

Clara’s family is now in reduced circumstances, but they have managed to keep it quiet. The ton still thinks that they are enormously rich. Clara owns and is headmistress of, Haverhall School for Young Ladies. She treasures the school because it was left to her by her mother – but – in order to keep their shipping line afloat, she has to sell it. She doesn’t know that August is the one who has bought it.

Buying the school just whets August’s appetite. He always does a thorough check on the people and businesses he’s planning to buy and when he was checking on the school, he also learned that the Hayward’s were in financial difficulties and thought he’d buy a share of their shipping line. He’s totally shocked when they turn him down.

When August’s sister sneaks off in the middle of the night to attend a summer school in Dover, August takes off after her. He wanted to go to Dover anyway to meet up with the Hayward’s. August definitely gets his eyes opened as he learns more and more about what this school is teaching. Definitely NOT what you’d find in the Regency era!

August and Clara are definitely attracted to each other and have been since they first met ten years ago. They go through a lot of slips and slides before they get their relationship off the ground. Lots of excitement with soldiers, kidnappings, misunderstandings, etc. before they finally get their HEA.

One thing that seemed to be left hanging was – what happened with August’s sister and his man-of-business? They were in love – but no resolution in this book.

Please check out my reviews at:
Blog: https://flippinpages.blog/
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“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”

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