Title: NEVER HAVE I EVER WITH A DUKE
Author: Darcy Burke
Release Date: 8/27/19
Series: Spitfire Society, book 1
Graham Kinsley is shocked when he inherits a debt-ridden dukedom, and now he has just one month to repay a loan. He needs an heiress–or find a way to recoup the former duke’s losses. When he meets the alluring Arabella, he’s entranced. Unfortunately, she’s as bankrupt as he is, but if they work together they may be able to recover their fortunes. Though if they keep stealing kisses, they may lose their hearts instead.
Arabella Stoke can’t afford an attraction to the penniless duke who has vowed to help rescue her family from financial devastation. She needs to find a wealthy husband before her father succumbs to the stress of losing everything. However, as Graham brings them closer to finding the swindler who stole their money, the war between what they want and what they need may ruin them both.
“Are you jealous?” He’d meant to provoke her the way she was provoking him, but the question came out wrong. It came out like he wanted her to say—
“Yes.” Her gaze didn’t waver from his. “I’ve no right to be. You don’t belong to me.”
No, he didn’t. But he wanted to. If only for a short time.
There was just the two of them. He wanted her. Desperately. He was growing more and more certain she wanted him too. And there was a bed right behind her.
Oh, this was not right or honorable or acceptable. Nevertheless, he said, “I do right now.”
The air around them crackled with electricity, as if a hundred lighting strikes had touched down in the room. There was searing heat and a constant thrum of energy, of desire.
He surrendered to all of it and took her in his arms, his lips descending madly on hers. She clasped her hands around his neck and stood on her toes to meet him. Her mouth met his eagerly, and the ensuing kiss became the very best moment of his life.
Never Have I Ever With a Duke is the first in Ms. Burke’s Spitfire Society series, a spinoff of her Untouchables books. It will work fine as a standalone as it nicely sets up a new group of characters for readers to love; for those who have read the original series, several favorite characters will make guest appearances here to make you smile.
I really liked both Arabella and Graham; Ms. Burke made them both very likable. She gave them as good a reason that they couldn’t be together (poverty and impending ruin in society if it is discovered) as she did a compelling one that they should (solid chemistry, helped along with fencing lessons…and an excellent recipe for butter biscuits.) Even as I wanted them to be together, I despaired that they would find a way to be able to.
I loved how Ms. Burke had the two of them working together to try to bring the swindler who caused their mutual financial distress to task; it made for some fun reading. I hate to admit, though, that though I was thrilled that they did find an HEA (of course they did! It is romance, after all…) the way that they achieved it just didn’t have the impact that I had been hoping for–it felt a bit flat. Still, an HEA is an HEA–and apparently, the secret to a happy life is “love, butter biscuits, and a dog” so–mission accomplished.
I am eagerly anticipating the next book in the series, Ripley and Pheobe’s story. Is it February yet? 😉
Rating: 4 stars / B+
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
About the author:
Darcy Burke is the USA Today Bestselling Author of sexy, emotional historical and contemporary romance. Darcy wrote her first book at age 11, a happily ever after about a swan addicted to magic and the female swan who loved him, with exceedingly poor illustrations. Join her Reader Group at https://www.darcyburke.com/join-my-reader-group/. A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her guitar-strumming husband, their two hilarious kids who seem to have inherited the writing gene, two Bengal cats and a third cat named after a fruit.
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