Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Other Duke by Jess Michaels

The Basics:
The Other Duke by Jess Michaels
The Passionate Pen
Book One in The Notorious Flynns
Historical Romance
Published January 13, 2015
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Amazon Kobo Goodreads

Why I picked up this book:

I was intrigued by the blurb, and I love a good historical romance. My fingers were crossed for this one!


For years Serafina McPhee has been engaged to marry the heir to the Duke of Hartholm and for almost as long, she has been struggling to find a way out of that engagement. When he suddenly dies, she does not mourn but thrills at the idea that she will be free. Unfortunately, best laid plans go awry when the next in line for the title, her intended’s cousin, Raphael “Rafe” Flynn is forced to take over the engagement. But Serafina knows Rafe’s reputation as a libertine and wants nothing to do with him, either, even if he is devastatingly handsome. 

She proposes an arrangement: she will agree to the marriage and provide Rafe with his heir and spare. Once she has done her duty, he will let her go. Rafe is intrigued both by her beauty and by her utter disgust with the idea of being his bride. Women normally fall at his feet, not cringe away from him. However, since their arranged marriage is not something he can escape, he agrees to her terms.

But when he finds out on their wedding night the truth about her torture at the hands of his predecessor, he finds himself driven not just to fulfill his bargain with his new bride, but to introduce her to desire. While they move closer together, surrendering to wicked pleasures, dangerous emotions may violate every agreement they’ve made.
My thoughts:

When I saw the cover for The Other Duke, my expectations were set for some very sexy times. I mean, come on, it looks like that woman's either leaning in for some head-on-groin foreplay or perhaps she's simply thanking her lucky stars for what that man has hidden in his pants. Either way, my expectations were set from the very first moment I spotted this book.

I was not entirely wrong - this book has several very steamy, intimate scenes. Rafe's desire to introduce Serafina to pleasure is indulged multiple times and is, I think, actually a critical part of the story. There's some explicit description here, so be warned - though again, I think the cover would put off anyone with very, ah, tender sensibilities.

The Other Duke focuses on how Serafina and Rafe cope in the aftermath of their marriage. Both come to the table with reasons not to want much of a marriage, and how they approach that frames most of the conflict of the story. I would definitely call this one a gentle romance, as the issues that divide these two are fairly tame (as far as conflicts go; there are some very real, dark and potentially upsetting issues here, don't be fooled!). 

While there are hints of deeper things, the story is fairly light: even a few potentially grievously injurious accidents are practically glossed over. It makes for a quick and easy read, a happy way to spend a couple of hours.

I quite liked both of the main characters, and Rafe's family is rather endearing. It will be easy to come back to this series to see who wins Annabelle's and Crispin's hearts. That said, I did harbour some suspicions about Crispin and I'll be curious to see how he handles falling in love.  

Bottom line:

The Other Duke is a gentle, light historical romance with some very sexy moments. I think it's a pretty pleasant way to spend a couple of hours, and there's lots of promise for the rest of the series!

4 stars
For fans of historical romance, arranged marriage stories, reformed rakes, gentle romances

But don't just take my word for it! I grabbed a few links to other blog reviews of The Other Duke:

Love Saves the World

Romance and Smut

What I'm Reading

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