She appeals to his wicked inclinations, but he never expects she might snare his heart…
Suspected of his brother’s murder, Lancelot Hemingford, Duke of Aylesbury, was forced to give up his hell-raising habits in London for the anonymity of quiet country living. So, when an opportunity arises to clear his name in exchange for proposing to the niece of a neighbor, he sees no choice but to accept. Plus, seducing the reluctant maiden will be a most intriguing challenge…
As Marianne Radley is dependent on her uncle, she must accept the Duke’s marriage proposal at her family’s request, despite her belief he is irredeemably wicked. But along with marrying him, she intends to sniff out the duke’s unsavory secrets and expose them to the world: a plan that would be flawless were it not for one minor detail—even she, with all her determination, is not immune to the charms of a rakish duke…
Wicked in a good way, this duke finds himself in a spot of murder trouble and a bad reputation, but this has him less distracted than the intriguing lady he catches trespassing on his land. My first venture into the author’s writing leaves me with a delicious taste for more.
The Wicked Duke is the third book in the Wicked trilogy and I jumped the gun and went straight to Lance’s story bypassing his two brothers. It worked fine as a standalone, but for the sheer pleasure of getting the other brothers, I will be going back.
This was a light and engaging historical. Lance is a bad boy with no real evil in him, but he’s under suspicion for murder of his brother. He’s also being blackmailed by one of his social climbing neighbors to marry the man’s niece or there will suddenly be a witness who saw him poison his brother. This was an interesting twist on the forced marriage trope because while it is forced, he already knows and is attracted to Marianne. This could have been loaded with wailing and gnashing of teeth angst, but happily the author relies on the already existing conflict to carry the story.
I found both Lance and Marianne engaging main characters and enjoyed the narration from both their points of view. The story has good pace and a good variety of emotion throughout. There was a nice layer of humor, but it wasn’t fluffy with the topic of rape, murder, and family dynamics in play. I liked how the romance was handled. This pair may already have attraction and even like each other, but the author doesn’t throw out the love word until evidence of a relationship and love appear in the story. I also enjoyed the broader connection to family for both this pair- Lance and his brothers (who got their stories earlier) and Marianne with her family.
It was light, but had some depth to carry it along as an engaging passionate and mildly suspenseful Historical Romance that I can recommend to those who enjoy the genre.
My thanks to Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #124 HR
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