Friday, August 1, 2008

The Duke Next Door by Celeste Bradley

Book Description:
The dangerously beautiful Deirdre Cantor is determined to inherit her grandfather's vast fortune. All she needs is to marry a duke...and be the first granddaughter to walk down the aisle. So when the proper Calder Marbrook, the Marquis of Brookhaven and future Duke of Brookmoor, is abandoned at the alter, Deirdre makes it her business to become his wife--in spite of the whispers about his past.

Soon Deirdre's visions of a lavish existence with the handsome Calder are shattered when she learns his shocking secret. Feeling betrayed, Deirdre seeks revenge by playing a perilous and seductive game of cat and mouse with her husband that threatens to drive them both to the heights of passion. But at what cost? Calder is determined to keep his secret under lock and key--and to make his stunning wife his in every way that matters. Even if it means winning her heart all over again...

This is the 2nd in the Heiress Brides series, the first being, Desperately Seeking a Duke which I liked. This one was even better. I'm rediscovering regency romances and I've decided I like this author. Her characters thoughts are funny and I find them endearing.

Calder has a big secret that his new bride, Deirdre, finds out about on their wedding day. He has a nine year old daughter who is less than thrilled about having a new stepmother. Meggie and Deirdre do not hit it off at first, but eventually the two of them become allies in their war against Calder.

Deirdre has always had a tendre for Calder, ever since she first saw him when she was only 16. Once they are married, there's the instant physical attraction between them, but there is always something that prevents them from getting together, whether it's an interruption of some kind (like a large explosion) or a misunderstanding or argument. Their wedding night never happens, but you're wishing it did since the few close encounters these two have are electrifying, you know when it happens it will be big! The most annoying thing about these two is they don't communicate. He's inwardly lusting after her all the time, but can't voice his emotions or wants. She's lusting after him all the time too, but she thinks he doesn't love her and she wants him to love her, not just want her body. Eventually they get together, only another misunderstanding happens soon afterwards (like what happened in the first book.) that leads to further angst and complications - but a hot sex scene too! There's a big ending with a chase and a rescue and someone gets shot. I like the humor in these books and the sex is hot and leaves you dying for more of the same.

This also has more on the secret longings of Calder's butler Fortescue and his secret attraction to the red-headed Irish lady's maid, Patricia, who is teaching how to read - the better to be along together. There's a brief scene with the very talented gay dressmaker that was in the first as well - he is ingenious and knows just what to say and tells these young girls what to do. I like him and the effect he has on his clients. I think he'll play a larger part in Book 3. Aunt Tessa is in this two, Deirdre's bitchy stepmother. Luckily, Deirdre sends her packing and we don't see her again after that - but she might turn up in the next book for some kind of revenge, she is a colossal bitch.

I'm looking forward to reading the third in this trilogy, funny, sexy and a nice quick, easy read. I recommend it.


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