What a Devilish Duke Desires by Vicky Dreiling
Series: The Sinful Scoundrels (# 3)
Release Date: February 24, 2015
Publisher: Hachette Book Group
Source: Book provided by NetGalley for review
Harry Norcliffe never wanted to inherit his beloved uncle’s title. The rigidity of the ton, the incessant reminders from his marriage-minded mama that he must settle down with a highborn lady and produce an heir and a spare: it’s all such a dreadful bore. So when his mother asks him to take part in a dancing competition, he patently refuses. The last thing he needs is another chore . . . until a beautiful, brilliant, delightfully tempting maid makes him rethink his position.
Most women would be over the moon to be pursued by a wickedly handsome-not to mention wealthy-duke like Norcliffe. But Lucy will not be any man’s trophy. She could use a friend, though, and what begins innocently soon ignites into desire. As Lucy tries to resist Harry’s scorching kisses, he makes an utterly irresistible offer. Enter the dance contest with him, and win a prize that could change her life forever . . . if falling in love doesn’t change it first.
Review: In this rich man/poor girl Regency romance, author Vicky Dreiling delivers a sweet story destined to take the ton by storm. With What a Devilish Duke Desires, Dreiling launches the third in her Sinful Scoundrels series.
Making cameo appearances are the headliners of her first two books, but this segment focuses on Harry Norcliffe and Lucy Longmore. If bad luck could be sold, Lucy would definitely be a rich woman. While she comports herself like a lady, the reality is that she is a working girl with the dream of one day opening her own dance studio. Through a series of mishaps, her dream moves farther out of reach…until she catches the eye of the Duke.
Norcliffe is not happy that he is expected to follow his peers into the realm of marriage. When he encounters a beautiful red-headed maid, he is absolutely enchanted. Combine that with the efforts on behalf of the patronesses of Almack’s to liven up Wednesday evenings with a dance competition and the stage is set for a rather interesting love story to unfold.
While the narration is certainly lively in a Regency sort of way, I couldn’t help but snicker at some of the language used. For example, one line from Lucy’s aunt is that she “will take his measure and give you my honest opinion.” The formal tone does match the time period, but it makes it a bit more difficult to follow.
The rapport between Lucy and the Duke is well developed, particularly when it comes to whether a relationship outside the boundaries of the social class will be successful. The story picked up midway through, but the pace remained fairly slow and steady with very few opportunities for an accelerated heartbeat.