Series: Duke Dynasty #2
Published by Zebra Books on Feb. 25, 2020
Genres: Historical Romance
Source: the publisher
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Also by this author: The Art of Sinning, Seduction On a Snowy Night
Lady Gwyn Drake has long protected her family's reputation by hiding an imprudent affair from her youth. But when her former suitor appears at Armitage Hall, manhandling the heiress and threatening to go public with her secrets, it's Gwyn who needs protecting. Her twin brother, Thorn, hires Joshua Wolfe, the estate's gamekeeper, to keep her safe in London during her debut. As a war hero, Joshua feels obligated to fulfill the assignment he has accepted. But as a man, it's torment to be so very close to the beauty he's fought to ignore . . .
With handsome Joshua monitoring her every move, Gwyn would prefer to forget both the past and the parade of money-seeking bachelors at her coming out. But Joshua is unmoved by her attempts at flirtation, and the threat of blackmail still hangs over her. With danger closing in, Gwyn must decide which is the greater risk: deflecting a scoundrel's attempts to sabotage her--or revealing her whole heart to the rugged bodyguard she can't resist . . .
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.
I just finished reading The Bachelor by Sabrina Jeffries, which is the second book in her Duke Dynasty series. I am totally sold on this series and this book! Gwyn and Joshua, the two main characters, are both strong, stubborn, wounded people who don’t believe themselves worthy of each other… but they’re completely right for each other. And I loved seeing them come to recognize it.
The outcome of Gwyn’s youthful affair has left her emotionally scarred and at odds with her twin brother, for reasons that slowly become apparent. Joshua, wounded in battle, is also scarred, in his case physically as well as emotionally; I suspect he has PTSD. The grandson of a duke, he serves as gamekeeper on his cousin’s estate… but he’s no mere gamekeeper. When Gywn’s twin hires him to be her bodyguard after she is nearly kidnapped by the man who is blackmailing her (unbeknownst to Thorn or Joshua), the sparks begin to fly. Gwyn and Joshua are both strongly attracted to each other but are hiding that fact as well as other secrets. Joshua is fiercely protective, and not just because it’s his job; and Gwyn is trying to save herself and her family from ruin. They are bound to come into conflict, and neither is the type to back down from a confrontation. But both of them capable of empathy and understanding, and as they get to know each other better, and their secrets are revealed, they just might discover that they are perfectly suited… not just for marriage, but to heal and support each other.
I first discovered the series last fall, through a short novella in the anthology Seduction on a Snowy Night. The novella was charming, and it left me eager to read the rest of the series… so I bought and read Project Duchess, the first book in the series, which I also really enjoyed.
It can sometimes be a little tricky to keep track of who is who in this series about a family of siblings, half-siblings, and cousins. Especially when three of the half-brothers are dukes (their mother must have been a duke magnet!) who are referred to by either their title or their name/nickname. But it’s worth it for the sibling squabbles and the underlying familial love… and the very well-written romances. (And there’s a very handy family tree in the front of the book, which helps.)
There’s also an hint of an underlying mystery arc running through the series. Since I love mysteries, I’m eager to see how that thread develops over the next few books. We still have the dukes of Thornstock and Armitage to marry off, and (fingers crossed) possibly cousin Vanessa as well.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- COYER with Friends (Winter 2019-2020)