Dukes Are Forever by Anna Harrington
Series: The Secret Life of Scoundrels (# 1)
Release Date: November 24, 2015
Publisher: Hachette Book Group
Source: Book provided by NetGalley for review
ALL’S FAIR IN LOVE
Battlefields and barrooms hold much more interest for Edward Westover, Duke of Strathmore, than a little girl’s fondness for dolls and lace. When he takes possession of his enemy’s estate, everything that villain held dear-including his daughter-belongs to Edward. Hire a governess, arrange a dowry, give a few reassurances, and be off on his way-that’s Edward’s plan. But he’s in for the shock of his life. For his new ward is a beautiful, impetuous, and utterly irresistible woman . . .
. . . AND WAR
Kate Benton is stunned. Who is this arrogant, infuriating man who’s invited himself into her home and taken over her life? Her vow: to do everything in her power to convince him to leave her-and Brambly House-alone. Yet as chilly days melt into sultry nights, Kate sees glimpses of kindness underneath Edward’s cool façade . . . and a passionate nature that takes her breath away. There’s so much she doesn’t know about this man. But does she dare trust this devilish duke with her heart?
Review: I’m not much for historical romance but every once in a while I get this urge for a time when standards were a little stricter and morals were, well, maybe not so strict. Dukes Are Forever was a perfect cure for that urge.
Kate is a wonderfully independent woman in Regency England. Her father has left her alone without anyone to take care of her so she takes care of herself. She thrives on her own not because she wants to but because she has to. At the same time, she would rather struggle on her own than be married to a man that doesn’t love her. Kate is strong and has a sense of humor. She is everything that is wonderful about the heroines in historical novels.
Just as Kate is the perfect heroine, Edward is the perfect hero. Aside from the physical perfection, I liked that he could easily be thrown off balance by something unexpected – such as a beautiful woman in the place of an expected child. Despite his hatred for her father, Edward took care of Kate and her few servants, showing his more humanitarian side.
If you’re looking for a solid historical romance, Dukes Are Forever is a good book to pick up.
Damned woman! Gritting his teeth, Edward shook both from anger and from the terror which stabbed him when he saw her turn for the wall. Foolish, reckless—did she want to break her damned little her neck?
He clenched his jaw so hard the muscle in his cheek twitched. “What the hell do you think you were doing?”
With a frown of confused irritation, she pushed against his shoulders to move him away, but he wasn’t about to budge. “I took a jump.”
“In a new saddle on a horse you haven’t ridden in months—you could have been killed.” He’d seen it happen too many times during the war, when green horses threw their riders or fell jumping barriers, when new saddle straps simply snapped. Even good riders were killed falling beneath their horses, trampled by pounding hooves, their necks and backs broken when they hit the ground. And the thought of Kate falling…His hands shook from imagining it, his heart thudding painfully against his ribs.
“I was fine.”
“I told you to go around,” he snapped.
Another futile push, another irritated scowl. “We were racing, and I couldn’t win if I didn’t take the jump—”
He grabbed her shoulders and shook her once. Hard. Her eyes flew open wide. Good. Now he had her attention.
“I’m responsible for protecting you. If you’d fallen, if you’d been hurt—” His hands tightened on her arms. “Christ, Kate!”
She gasped as he took her chin and forced her to look at him. Reflexively, her hands reached for his shoulders to keep herself from tumbling backwards off the wall, and her fingertips dug into the muscles beneath his jacket.
“Do not ever defy my orders again,” he warned.
Her chin jutted up the way it did whenever he upset her. Which seemed to be all the blasted time. “I took a jump—”
“If you do, I swear,” he seethed, “I will send you away.”
Her breath hitched, her mouth falling open as she gaped at him. “You wouldn’t dare!”
But he would do exactly that—he’d send her away and never let her return. He’d done it to his men in Spain when they defied his orders, and he’d certainly do it to her, too, if it meant protecting her and saving her life. “I will.”
“This is my home. I will never leave it.” Her eyes flared in challenge. “And even if you burn Brambly to the ground to force me away, I’ll erect a tent in the ashes and keep warm sleeping on the embers!”
His body drew up tight and tall in response to the fight in her. She had been right about him. He wasn’t used to being contradicted, certainly not by a woman.
But this hellcat was no ordinary woman. Even now, instead of being intimidated and frightened, she stared boldly back, her hands clenched into fists, those full lips of hers pressed together stubbornly. Aggravation at him gripped her enough that she panted with it, her breasts rising and falling tantalizingly beneath her coat with each quick, shallow breath, and he could feel the heat of her body through his jacket and along his legs where his thigh pressed against hers.
“And you will stop ordering me about!” She smacked his hand away from her face. “I am not one of your men, Colonel.”
He clasped her chin again. “Trust me, angel,” he rasped, his voice husky as he tilted her face upward, “of that I am well aware.”
His mouth swooped down and captured hers.
The kiss was so sudden, so predatory, that she gasped beneath his lips and her body stiffened in his arms, but she made no move to push him away and so he made no move to temper the onslaught of his mouth as it ravaged hers.