Second Duke’s the Charm by Kate Bateman @katebateman @StMartinsPress @SnyderBridge4

Posted December 18, 2023 by Robin in Book Review / 6 Comments

Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Second Duke’s the Charm by Kate Bateman @katebateman @StMartinsPress @SnyderBridge4Second Duke's the Charm by Kate Bateman
Series: Her Majesty's Rebels #1
Published by St. Martin's Press on December 26, 2023
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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The wedding-night death of her much older husband left Tess Townsend the Dowager Duchess of Wansford—and still a virgin. Now she and her two best friends investigate London’s most scandalous crimes, and while Tess longs to experience physical pleasure for herself, she can’t risk losing her treasured independence...

Cynical shipping magnate Justin Thornton never expected to inherit a dukedom, but he’ll do his duty. When the ravishing woman he kissed at a party turns out to be the Dowager Duchess, Justin sees an obvious solution: a marriage of convenience that will suit them both.

But the passion that sparks between them is anything but convenient. As Tess works on a new case at the request of Queen Charlotte, her increasingly suspicious behavior makes Justin question her motives—and her past. The infuriating woman clearly can’t be trusted, but Justin doesn’t believe in love, so there’s absolutely no danger of him falling for his own there?

The Second Duke’s Charm is the first book in Her Majesty’s Rebelsthe series looks like it is going to follow three society ladies on their journey to find love and adventure.  First up is Tess, a beautiful bell of the Ton she was basically sold by her father to the highest bidder on the marriage mart.  Her first husband died on their wedding night, while they locate the next in line for the dukedom, Tess will play the role of the dowager and let everyone assume she was bedded by her first husband.  Meanwhile she is free to live her life and only she and her closest friends know she is still a virgin.

Justin Trevelyan has been a shipping magnate since leaving London years ago, traveling to Canada for trade.  He didn’t ever expect to inherit a dukedom and really doesn’t want it.  But duty is duty, he has a plan go to London, settle the affairs of the dukedom and be back at sea in three months.  On the way to London, Justin stops at a friend for a night of debauchery, where he meets Tess.  They have instant chemistry, she has come to take part in some of the passions she has only heard and read about, in disguise far from London she feels safe in exploring some passion with Justin, thinking to never see him again.  Until he ends up being the new Duke.  His plan is to wed her, bed her for three months and then go on with their separate lives.  This is a great offer for Tess, she doesn’t want to lose her independence and this deal will keep her safe.  Plus Justin is definitely someone she would like to explore passions with.

Tess has secrets though, not only about being a virgin, but also about the detective agency she and her two best friends started.  Justin knows she is keeping secrets; he just can’t tell if they are about another man or something else.  He will get to the bottom of it though, because he didn’t prepare his heart for the whirlwind that is Tess and he has been swept away.

A marriage of strangers is one of my favorite tropes and so this story was already on the plus side for me.  Tess is fun and I had a great time with her and her best friends.  You can tell they are going to get themselves into all kinds of trouble.  Tess and Justin’s chemistry was fantastic; you could see why they were going to make a great couple once Justin learns to trust both his heart and Tess.  There is a very cute I will prove my love for you event that I quite enjoyed.

This is exactly the kind of story I’d expect from Kate Bateman.  She delivers some hot sexy times between the couple, an interesting side plot and a very cute HEA.

About Kate Bateman

Kate Bateman, (also writing as K. C. Bateman), is the #1 bestselling author of Regency, Victorian, and Renaissance historical romance. Her Renaissance romp, The Devil To Pay, is a Romance Writer’s of America 2019 RITA® Finalist and her Regency-set A Counterfeit Heart (Secrtes & Spies series) won the 2018 Book Buyer’s Best contest for Best Historical Romance.

Kate wrote her first historical romance in response to a $1 bet with her husband who rashly claimed she’d ‘never finish the thing.’ She gleefully proved him wrong. Her books feature her favorite intelligent heroines, (badasses in bodices!) wickedly inappropriate banter, and heroes you want to both strangle and kiss.

When not traveling to exotic locations ‘for research’, Kate leads a not-so-secret double life as a fine art appraiser and on-screen antiques expert for several TV shows in the UK, each of which has up to 2.5 million viewers. Before writing romance, Kate was director and valuer at her own UK Auction House, Batemans in Stamford, Lincolnshire. She currently splits her time between Illinois and her native England and writes despite three inexhaustible children and that husband . . .who still owes her that dollar.

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Posted December 18, 2023 by Robin in Book Review / 6 Comments

6 responses to “Second Duke’s the Charm by Kate Bateman