The Duke Gets Even by Joanna Shupe
Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars
Series: Fifth Avenue Rebels, #4
Release Date: January 24, 2023
A chance encounter during a midnight swim leads to a heated kiss and the promise of a passion unlike anything either has ever experienced, but the timing is wrong and with the morning comes revelations that should kill any attraction. Clearly, when the man of your dreams is engaged to your best friend, he is not for you – or is he?
Andrew Talbot, the Duke of Lockwood is back in New York and still hoping to find a rich bride to save his bankrupt estate, but after a broken engagement and losing two more potential brides, he isn’t optimistic, not to mention he is still reeling from the kiss he shared with the completely unacceptable Miss Eleanor “Nellie” Young, whose reputation for debauchery would make most rakes blush, but Fate keeps throwing them in each other’s paths. And shockingly, Andrew doesn’t mind, in fact, soon he is craving her and despite everything, he wants only her and money has nothing to do with it, so he sets out to prove it and hopefully win her heart and her hand. But even though Fate threw them together, that doesn’t mean winning her will be easy.
Eleanor “Nellie” Young is the only child of mega-rich railroad magnate, Corneilus Young and gleefully snubs her nose at society, she is unapologetic about her affairs, her opinions, and her mother’s humble Irish roots. She doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her and that includes one snooty English Duke. But Nellie soon learns that Andrew isn’t snooty at all, he is actually quite perfect, handsome, and charming. But she knows that nothing will come of it, he needs an heiress with a spotless reputation, and that is most certainly not her – Heiress? Yes. Spotless reputation? Absolutely not! So even after she realizes she is falling in love with him, she still refuses to consider anything longer than an affair, she cares for him too much to have him suffer because of her reputation and she is sure he will come to regret her and she will be left brokenhearted. So when he presses her for more, she pushes him away and makes it clear, HEA is not for them and that is the end of it. Or is it?
I LOVED this book so much – it is by far the best of the series and definitely has earned a place on my keeper shelf! Andrew and Eleanor are so real and so relatable, that it is hard at times to remember that they are fictional characters. They both have flaws and fears, but they seem to bring out the best in each other, when one is down, the other is there to lift them up, and white-hot passion is always simmering between them, which makes Nellie’s constant rejection frustrating at times, I actually wanted to reach into my kindle, shake her and say, don’t let him go! And Andrew, who knew?!? Still waters really do run deep! This book was just phenomenal, it has a lot of emotion, likable characters, great secondary characters, cameos from previous characters, smoking HOT love scenes (Thank You, Ms. Shupe, I was beginning to think that no one wrote these anymore!), loss, secrets, arrests, witty banter, bar fights, heartache and a truly wonderful ending complete with a HEA and an epilogue. OMG, I never wanted this book to end – I hope Andrew and Nellie pop up in other books and readers get a deeper look into their HEA because it was hard to let them go. This is the fourth book and final book in the series, but it could easily be read as a stand-alone title. I can’t recommend this title highly enough if you are a fan of the Gilded Age, or like historicals that deliver a message along with a romance (without being preachy), or even if you just like steamy historical romances with feisty heroines and sexy dukes – do not miss this book!
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that I requested and was provided to me by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.*