Audio Review: The Unexpected Duchess (Playful Brides, Book 1) by Valerie Bowman

unexpected duchessHero: Newly appointed by the crown, Lord Derek Hunt, the Duke of Claringdon, made a promise to his friend Julian, who is dying. His moniker among the ton is the Duke of Decisive for he makes quick decisions and sticks to them – winning many battles and honors because of it, including his dukedom. He will wed Lady Cassandra because it not in his nature to be indecisive or to change his mind. But a kink quickly appears in his plan when a friend of the lady in question insists Cassandra is not interested.

Heroine: Lady Lucy Upton will not let her dear friend be coerced into a courtship with the dashing duke. Cassandra is in love with another and waits for his return from the war. If the duke and Cassandra’s mother had their way, Cass would be wed before the fortnight was out. When Cass asks for help, Lucy does what she does best – interfere and deliver cutting set-downs. But it doesn’t scare Claringdon off. Instead he comes back for more again and again and Lucy’s traitorous heart hopes it’s because of her and not Cass.

Review: One of my favorite scenes is the verbal wit challenge between Derek and Lucy. He asks her to dance and she says “no.” He must then come up with 20 cleverer ways to turn a gentleman down for a dance. I won’t share my particular favorites, because they’re just too good to give away. I also enjoyed Derek wooing Lucy by writing letters to her appearing to be from another suitor. She sees the differences between the letters and the person and can’t quite make them fit, but doesn’t suspect Derek is writing to her.  The friendship between the ladies is strong, which is nice to see. The story itself is silly and very humorous. I would only change the timing of Derek’s change of heart and the start of his pursuit of Lucy sooner. For somebody decisive, he was too hesitant to break a promise that needed breaking.

Narrator: Alison Larkin could deliver on Lady Lucy Upton. She brought much life to the heroine and brought out her personality and wit. She delivered Lucy’s set-downs with a flourish!

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: The Unexpected Duchess, The Unexpected Duchess (Audiobook)

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Review: One Night is Never Enough by Anne Mallory

I’m squeeing all over the place with this book. One Night Is Never Enough is not enough! I want it to be 5 times longer – and that’s only a slight hyperbole there.

I loved the hero. He’s all kinds of toe-curling wonderful. Let’s start with his name… Roman Merrick… two of my favorite first names! Subjective I know but I liked it. He’s got scars (hurrah!) and attitude from clawing his way up the ladder (hurrah!). He’s fiercely loyal to those who count (yes please!) and determined to get what he wants (me please? lol). Simply sinfully scrumptious. Yum!

Roman Merrick and his brother are probably the equivalent of the mob in Regency London. They run a gambling hell, several side businesses, buy the markers of debt of wealthy nobles, and pretty much have their fingers in every pot. One of the things Roman has going for him is his intuition. His gut feeling to do something, be somewhere, take interest in someone…

That particular someone is Charlotte Chatsworth, the crown jewel of the ton, her father is holding out for a duke in marriage, but Roman feels things are about to change. Fortuitously he’s sitting at the very game where one of Charlotte’s suitors tricks the father into placing an outrageous bet… 1 night spent all alone in her company against 10,000 pounds! This is a hand Roman will not lose.

I got to say I really liked how Roman and Charlotte met the first time and then again when she discovers who won the card game her father lost her in. Delicious. To be together one must risk a financial empire and the other all social security… so the question remains are they both willing to gamble on the other?

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: One Night Is Never Enough

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