Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
How to Love a Duke in Ten Days by Kerrigan Byrne
Series: Devil You Know #1
Published by St. Martin's Press on August 27, 2019
Genres: Historical Romance
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Famed and brilliant, Lady Alexandra Lane has always known how to look out for to herself. But nobody would ever expect that she has darkness in her past—one that she pays a blackmailer to keep buried. Now, with her family nearing bankruptcy, Alexandra strikes upon a solution: Get married to one of the empire’s most wealthy eligible bachelors. Even if he does have the reputation of a devil.
LOVE TAKES NO PRISONERS
Piers Gedrick Atherton, the Duke of Redmayne, is seeking revenge and the first step is securing a bride. Winning a lady’s hand is not so easy, however, for a man known as the Terror of Torcliff. Then, Alexandra enters his life like a bolt of lightning. When she proposes marriage, Piers knows that, like him, trouble haunts her footsteps. But her gentleness, sharp wit, independent nature, and incredible beauty awakens every fierce desire within him. He will do whatever it takes to keep her safe in his arms.
Kerrigan Byrne always tells a different story but they always have one thing in common. At least one of the main characters, if not both, have been through something horrific and heartbreaking.
Alexandra’s horrible experience happens in boarding school in the very first chapter. She has been carrying the secret for the last ten years, along with her two best friends, bound together forever by shared secrets. However, someone knows. They are blackmailing Alex and soon the secret will come to light because she doesn’t have the money to pay them anymore.
Piers, The Duke of Redmayne, saddled with the moniker the Terror of Torcliff needs a wife. It just so happens that Francesca, one of Alexandra’s partners in crime, was betrothed to him when they were children. For him to get the revenge he wants, he needs to marry and produce an heir. Should it matter that neither of them seems to care at all for the other?
One woman’s nightmare is another woman’s dream and the Terror of Torcliff might just be exactly what Alexandra needs to both protect her from the blackmailer and break down some of the walls she has put up around herself since her trauma. There is something about this beast of a man that calls to Alexandra and she might just be brave enough to explore it.
Both Piers and Alex have skeletons in their closet and don’t trust easily. Each will have to take a journey if they are going to find some common ground and figure out how to make this marriage of convenience a love match. In addition, someone might be trying to kill Alexander or Piers. It is unclear which one is in more danger, better to stick together until they can sort that out too.
I really enjoyed this marriage of convenience tale. Alexandra is incredibly likeable and I love how scholarly she is and how much the Terror of Torcliff enjoys her intellect. He is a man and a little thick headed at times but once he starts to figure out this woman that he married he is quite dreamy.
Get this first book in the new Devil You Know series, with strong women who are willing to take on some savage men.
“You’ll meet him tomorrow, and see for yourselves how incredibly ill-suited we are. Were we to marry, our life would be years and years of senseless battles, him trying to put me in my place, and me trying to murder him in his sleep.
I’m telling you, I won’t do it.”
“Men like me can just tell.” Her heart kicked against her lungs, evoking shorter, shallower breaths. “Men like you?”
“Hunters.” The vibration of the word spread down her spine and unfurled in the most alarming places. “Your lips, innocent as they are, beg to be kissed whenever I am near. Your tongue moistens them. Your teeth worry at them. And when I stare, as I am doing now, they soften and part, like an invitation.”
Maynemouth, Devonshire, 1890 Ten years later
Accept the invitation to Castle Redmayne. I’m in danger. I need you.
Alexandra Lane had spent the entire train ride from Lon- don to Devonshire meticulously pondering those fourteen words for two separate reasons.
The first, she had been unable to stop fretting for Fran- cesca, who tended to give more than the appropriate amount of context. The terse, vague note Alexandra now held was more of a warning than the message contained therein.
The second, she could no longer afford a first-class, private railcar, and had, for the last several tense hours, been forced to share her vestibule face-to-face with a rough- featured, stocky man with shoulders made for labor.
He’d attempted polite conversation at first, which she’d rebuffed with equal civility by feigning interest in her cor- respondence. By now, however, they were both painfully aware she needn’t take four stops to read two letters.
It was terribly rude, she knew. Her carpetbag remained clutched in her fist the entire time, except when her hand would wander into its depths to palm the tiny pistol she always carried. The sounds of the other passengers in ad- joining vestibules didn’t make her feel safer, per se.
But she knew they would hear her scream, and that provided some relief.
For a woman who’d spent a great deal of the last ten years in the company of men, she’d thought these painful moments would have relented by now.
Alas, she’d become a mistress of manipulating a situation so, even if she had to endure the company of men without a female companion, there would be more than one man. In the circles she tended to frequent, people behaved when in company.
It had worked thus far.
Alexandra braced herself against the slowing of the train, breathing a silent prayer of relief that they’d finally arrived. She’d been terrified that if she’d glanced up once, she’d be forced into conversation with her unwanted companion.
Rain wept against the coach window, and the shadows of the tears painted macabre little serpents on the conflicting documents in her hands. One, a wedding invitation. The other, Francesca’s alarming note.
A month past, she’d have wagered her entire inheritance against Francesca Cavendish’s being the first of the Red Rogues to capitulate to the bonds of matrimony.
A month past, she’d assumed she’d had an inheritance to wager.
Their little society had seemed destined to live up to the promise they’d once made as young, disenchanted girls to never marry.
Until the invitation to an engagement masquerade— given by the Duke of Redmayne—had arrived the same day of her friend’s cryptic and startling note.
The invitation had been equally as ambiguous, stating that the future duchess of Redmayne would be unveiled, as it were, at the ball. Included in Alexandra’s particular envelope was a request for her to attend as a bridesmaid.
The subsequent plea for help from Francesca—Frank— had arrived in a tiny envelope with the Red Rogue seal they’d commissioned some years prior.
Alexandra hadn’t even known Francesca had returned from her romps about the Continent. Last she’d heard, the countess had been in Morocco, doing reconnaissance of some sort. Nothing in her letters had mentioned a suitor. Not a serious one, in any case. Certainly not a duke.
Francesca had a talent for mischief and a tendency to interpret danger as mere adventure.
So, what could possibly frighten her fearless friend?
Marriage, obviously, Alexandra thought with a smirk.
A risky venture, to be sure.
From How to Love a Duke in Ten Days. Copyright © 2019 by Kerrigan Byrne and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Paperbacks.
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