The Disgraceful Dukes #2
Available August 30th
Source: eARC from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
After four failed seasons and a disastrous jilting, Lady Dorothea Beaumont has had more than enough of her family’s scheming. She won’t domesticate a duke, entangle an earl, or vie for a viscount. She will quietly exit to her aunt’s Irish estate for a life of blissful freedom. Until an arrogant, sinfully handsome duke singles her out for a waltz, making Thea the most popular belle of the season.
The duke ruined her plans and he’ll just have to fix them.
Dalton, Duke of Osborne, is far too heartless for debutantes or marriage—he uses dalliances and public spectacle to distract from his real purpose: finding the man who destroyed his family. When his search leads to Ireland, the last thing he needs is the determined, achingly innocent Thea, who arrives in the dead of night demanding he escort her to her aunt. His foolish agreement may prove his undoing. The road to the Emerald Isle is fraught with unforeseen dangers, but the greatest peril of all might just be discovering that he has a heart...and he’s losing it to Thea.
Lenora Bell wowed with her historical debut How the Duke Was Won, and has followed it up with an utterly delightful sequel.
Thea is the woman her half-sister Charlene was hired to impersonate in the first book, making a brief appearance toward the end before stepping into the limelight in this second installment. While she ticks every single box Society requires for young ladies of the Ton, she has absolutely no interest in being an accessory who toddles behind her husband when he makes public appearances. Instead, she desires a quieter life in Ireland, studying female painters relegated to obscurity due to their gender rather than their talent, but though she longs for quiet, she's not afraid to reveal a wicked sense of humor and a backbone of steel to ensure she gets it. She refuses to take no for an answer (in a shows-gumption rather than irritating kind of way), and proves herself to be a rescuer of dukes every bit as much as the Duke is a rescuer of damsels in distress.
Dalton is of course the perfect counterpoint to Thea, a touch more severe where she shows a bit of whimsy and an ability to adapt to various situations with a smile on her face, but he knows how to turn on the charm and send a girl's thoughts spiraling straight into the gutter. He's on a mission to avenge his younger brother's murder at the age of five, and though he has neither the time nor the inclination for a female companion on his quest for vengeance, he can't help but be amused by Thea's approach to life. Around the three quarter mark he is guilty of the classic "you're too good for me so I'm going to push you away" move, but Thea holds her own and the drama shifts from inside the relationship to outside quickly enough that we're swept up in the dangers a wayward journey holds before we can work up any frustration.
Overall, If I Only Had a Duke is every bit as enjoyable as its predecessor, and Ms. Bell is quickly becoming an auto-buy author for me in this genre.
This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review.
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.