There’s a bit of a stretch with a Duke in one of these stories (yes, the one with the dog) but it’s a cute anthology all around and could give any reader something to be happy about. There’s historical stories, a contemporary and a paranormal. This one comes out at a good time too as it’d be great to read on the beach or by the pool this summer.
The Irish Duke by Cathy Maxwell
Miss Susan Rogers is trying to make a name for herself as a person who can get young ladies married. Her gimmick to drum up business seems to get her when the Irish Duke (who will always be last) shows up in London and sets his sights on her.
This story was cute, I liked the conversations between Susan and Roan, the Irish Duke. The story was fast too, as they meet once, there’s a bet and then they’re declaring their love. The story was too condensed to give credibility to the romance, but it showed some good characterization in the small number of pages.
Read an excerpt (actually the whole story).
The Duke Who Came to Dinner by Elaine Fox
Sam Gregory is shocked to look out of his window one morning to see a woman riding by naked on a bike. Though he’s intrigued, he doesn’t think he’ll see her until she stumbles into the local dive bar. Grey Gilliam is house-sitting until her friend Rachel can sell her house. Sam and Grey hit it off, but will Grey’s missing dress, a big dog named Duke and a ghost of a Duke keep them apart?
I haven’t read any books by Fox, but after reading this charming story it made me want to look some up. Grey was fun, even though she’s a little neurotic, but she’s got some mommy issues. Sam was dreamy and the romance didn’t feel rushed. While not a definite happily ever after, it was realistic in the idea that you could see these two ending up together.
Read an excerpt (scroll down quite a bit).
Devil to Pay by Jeaniene Frost
Blake Turner is trying hard to kill himself. Since being possessed by a demon six months ago he doesn’t want to keep doing horrible things. His luck turns around when he meets Elise, a vampire, who then does everything she can to save his life.
This is an offshoot of Frost’s Night Huntress series, and while it did stand well on it’s own with different characters, knowing some basic information about the world would have been helpful. The romance went at a good pace though and did seem very believable. It was an interesting concept with the demon possession and Frost’s vampire mythos.
Catch of the Century by Sophia Nash
Victoria Givan is not in a good mood. After being stranded by the mail coach, she’s nearly run over by and then feels forced to accept the help of John Varick, Duke of Beaufort. She’s used to running her own life and doesn’t want anything to do with the “Catch of the Century”. John has other ideas and while helping her small herd of boys before they start an architectural apprenticeship he tries to win her heart.
There was a bit too much of the “lady doth protest too much” in this one, though it worked with the idea of Victoria’s that she’s too far below the station of a Duke (which she definitely is a teacher at a foundling school). She’s a quirky character and when John does see through her actions to what she’s really feeling it works. This one is loosely tied to the
In Sophia’s novella, the most eligible gentleman in London’s marriage mart reluctantly rescues a stranded school mistress. When the duke is forced to go heart-to-heart with the spirited siren, (Victoria Givan from Love With the Perfect Scoundrel), the well-documented Catch of the Century finds out she’s the only one he can’t have.
Read an excerpt.
Charmed By Her Smile by Tracy Anne Warren
Miss India Byron is a lively girl, but she’s being chased by an annoying friend of her brother’s. To keep him away from her she kisses an unknown man in a garden and asks him again to show devotion to her at a house party so the unwanted suitor goes away. What happens instead is the play-courting becomes real on both sides. Whatever is one to do?
This was another cute story, though I wasn’t comfortable with the age difference between the two leads. While I’m sure fourteen years is historically accurate, it’s not something I usually like to see in a romance novel. India in fact seemed to act quite a few years older than she was, or at least have more social experience than for a girl that had never had a season. Otherwise it was a cute, light story and I liked the handling of the annoying suitor.
In Charmed By Her Smile, cousin India Byron finds herself in need of rescue from an unwanted suitor. To create the illusion that she’s being courted by another man, she demands a kiss from the devilish Duke of Weybridge. Little does she expect the passion she unleashes when she finds him only too happy to oblige.
Read an excerpt.
Overall Grade: B-
Fall in love with the unpredictable and irresistible dukes (and one dog named Duke) in this collection of stories by bestselling authors Cathy Maxwell, Elaine Fox, Jeaniene Frost, Sophia Nash, and Tracy Anne Warren, for tales of noble danger and devilish desire.
Delicate young ladies must be protected from him.
First he steals her clothes, then he steals her heart.
Most would be terrified of this powerful vampire—but not him.
He’s “the catch of the century” . . . but she’s the one he can’t have.
A young miss demands a kiss. But he won’t rest once she’s touched her lips to his.
With four dukes and one devil, there’s no limit to love.