‘Dancing in The Duke’s Arms’ Anthology by Grace Burrowes, Shana Galen, Miranda Neville, Carolyn Jewel

ditda gb sg mn cjSTORIES: Why Do Dukes Fall in Love?
Every summer the cream of society gathers at the Dukeries, named for the ducal estates concentrated in one small corner of Nottinghamshire. While the entertainments include parties, balls, and a famous boat race, the ducal hosts and their guests find heartbreak, love and happy endings.
Four heartwarming stories from four bestselling historical romance authors.

MAY I HAVE THIS DUKE? by Grace Burrowes
The trouble with Houseparties. . .
Gerard Hammersley, Duke of Hardcastle, is dragooned by an old friend into attending a house party, though Hardcastle refuses to fall prey to the matchmakers who relish such gatherings. He recruits his nephew’s prim, prickly governess, Miss Ellen MacHugh, to preserve him from being compromised by the conniving debutantes, and offers in exchange to deflect the drunken viscounts who plague Ellen.

. . . Is that they must end.
Ellen agrees to Hardcastle’s scheme for two reasons. First, she’s been attracted to His Grace since the day she laid eyes on him, and knows that behind Hardcastle’s lack of charm lies a ferociously loyal and faithful heart. Second, she’s departing from Hardcastle’s household at the conclusion of the house party, and two weeks safeguarding His Grace’s bachelorhood is as much pleasure—and as much torment—as she can endure before she leaves him.

DUCHESS OF SCANDAL by Miranda Neville
Too Many Scandals
After months of marriage, the Duke of Linton agreed to live apart from his wife. Thrown together due to a scheduling error, Linton finds Althea still has the power to make his heart race. Linton seems different from the critical, indifferent man Althea married. But though she burns for him as a lover, can she trust him to be the husband she needs?

WAITING FOR A DUKE LIKE YOU by Shana Galen
There’s no such thing as the perfect hero…
Nathan Cauley, tenth Duke of Wyndover, is so handsome ladies swoon—literally swoon. His blond hair and blue eyes certainly draw attention at the Duke of Sedgemere’s house party, but Nathan doesn’t want a fawning young miss for his duchess. He stumbles upon a bedraggled woman sleeping under Sedgemere’s bridge, and his protective instincts stir. When he recognizes her as the princess he fell in love with eight years before, he’s determined to win not only her affections but her heart.

Or is there?
After revolutionaries massacre Princess Vivienne’s family, she and the head of her guard flee to England. Before they can reach London to beg asylum, assassins kill the last of her defenders. Vivienne is alone and on the run when the Duke of Wyndover comes to her rescue. She barely remembers meeting him years before, and isn’t comfortable with gentlemen who are more attractive than she is. Nathan is more than a pretty face, though, and when the assassins return, he might just prove to be the duke Vivienne has been waiting for.

AN UNSUITABLE DUCHESS by Carolyn Jewel
The Duke of Stoke Teversault has well earned his reputation for bloodless calculation. Indeed, recently widowed Georgina Lark has no idea he’s loved her since before her late husband swept her off her feet. Stoke Teversault means to keep it that way. The cold and forbidding duke and the blithe and open Georgina could not be less suited in any capacity. And yet, when Georgina and her sister arrive at his home, his ice-bound heart may melt away.

Georgina Lark has never thought of thought of the Duke of Stoke Teversault as a man capable of inducing passion in anyone. He’s long disapproved of her, but she will be forever grateful to him for his assistance after her husband died.

REVIEW: ‘May I Have This Duke?’ by Grace Burrowes

After being pressured by his grandmother, Gerard Juvenal Rene Beaumarchand Hammersley, Eighth Duke of Hardcastle, is looking for someone to be his Duchess. Gerard lives at Hardwood Hall with his nephew, Christopher, who lost his parents and is being raised by his uncle.  Miss Ellen MacHugh, has been Christopher’s governess for the last 3 of his 6 years.

Although Gerard loves his nephew, he has always been aloof with Ellen.  Ellen has never cared for him because he appears to be cold-blooded and curt.  One day, Gerard summons her to his office to inform her that she and Christopher will be accompanying him to a two-week house party at Sedgemere House in Nottinghamshire.  She agrees but tells him that she will be leaving immediately after the house party as she is putting in her two-week notice.  Shocked at her notice, Gerard tells her that she simply cannot leave him while he is searching for someone to be his Duchess.

At the house party, the hostess approaches Ellen to say that the numbers of men and women are off and she needs Ellen to step in and be a guest.  In addition, she offers the use of her own gowns for Ellen to wear.  As Ellen is the granddaughter of an Earl, her background allows her to blend right in.

When Gerard sees how lovely she is, he realizes that he has had a beautiful and intelligent woman right under his nose for the last 3 years and begins to woo her.  Ellen is flattered but is adamant that she will be leaving in 2 weeks.

Will Gerard be able to change her mind?  Can he convince her to marry him and be his Duchess?

I loved this totally delightful novella.  The storyline is good and there are some humorous bits as well.

‘Waiting for a Duke Like You’ by Shana Galen

Nathan Cauley, tenth Duke of Wyndover, needs an heir.  Currently, he is a guest at the Sedgemere House Party.  Although he does not care for games at these events, he agrees to go on a scavenger hunt. One item he needs is a smooth stone and thus he heads down to the bridge.  

Her Royal Highness Princess Vivienne Aubine Calathe de Glynaven is the only surviving member of the royal family of the Kingdom of Glynaven.  They had all been slaughtered during yet another revolution that has tried to oust the royal family.  Vivienne has been running trying to escape the assassins. Filthy, exhausted, hungry and thirsty, she stops at the bridge for a drink of water and passes out.

When Nathan comes upon Vivienne at the bridge, he immediately carries her to safety.  It is feared that if she hides in the Sedgemere home, the assassins would certainly look for her there and possibly massacre the people in the home.  Therefore, Nathan secrets her to his nearby home, Wyndover Park. Now that she is clean and fed, she still has problems sleeping with dreams of the massacre and seeing the bodies of her family members.  She is hoping to appeal to Prinny to provide her with asylum, however, Nathan helps her realize that to do so would result in political problems for the regent.

The harmony that Nathan and Vivienne experience during their close time together ends up in an attraction that neither of them can deny.  But for how long can she escape the assassins?  How can she ever live freely again?  What about the growing love that she and Nathan feel for one another?  Can they ever hope to live a normal life together?

Once again, Shana Galen has written a terrific novel full of intrigue, action and romance.  I enjoyed the story immensely and know others will as well.

‘Duchess of Scandal’ by Miranda Neville

The Duke of Linton is a very wealthy man owning a total of 12 mansions.  He has been estranged from his younger wife for several years now.  The Duchess Althea is 12 years younger than him.  As she was so immature and unused to society, she fell right in fun but without using the proper restraints.  Althea has a twin brother, Nicholas, a wastrel, who seems to always be spending his time being idle with Althea.  In addition, Althea knew that Linton has a mistress which only angered her more.  Her lack of self-control and silliness with her brother resulted in her embarrassing and angering Linton which led to many arguments and finally to their estrangement.  

Linton has just arrived at The Chimneys, one of his properties which is near Sedgemere where there is soon to be the Dukeries Cup, an annual rowing race.  Upon arrival, he finds Althea is there as well.  He realizes that he has made a mistake in the dates she would be at The Chimneys but decides to stay for a time anyway.

Nick is also there and brought along Nigel Speck, an odious man who is always trying to make improper and unwelcome passes at Althea.  Both Nick and Nigel have plans to stay for the summer.  It turns out that Nick owes Nigel a large debt and, thus Nick decides to enter the rowing race in hopes of winning the purse so he can repay the debt.  So, with the help of Linton, Nick practices his rowing every day in preparation for the race.

Now that Althea and Linton are together every day and the fact that she has matured quite a lot, opens them both up to a better understanding of their individual personalities.  Will this time together help them to heal and resolve their differences?

A well written story with some engaging characters.

‘An Unsuitable Duchess’ by Carolyn Jewel

Miss Georgia Lark, 23, has been recently widowed after just one year of marriage.  A striking woman with orange hair and freckles, George, as she is called by her friends, has decided to attend the Sedgemere house party.  She is accompanied by her sister, Miss Kitty Hunter, a lovely young woman with blonde hair and blue eyes.

The Duke of Stoke is a tall and feared man.  He has always cared for Georgia but does not approve of people calling her George.  He thinks it is simply too familiar.

As part of the entertainment, George has put together a treasure hunt.  She has drawn maps for people to follow and at the end, there will be treasure for them to find.  But when the treasure goes missing before the hunt has even started, George is quite perturbed and intent on discovering who took it.

As George and Stoke find themselves together more and more, secrets come to light and their attraction grows.

I admit that I had a difficult time following this particular anthology because the number of characters and their past was somewhat confusing.

Connie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

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