cover image The Devil’s Own Duke

The Devil’s Own Duke

Lenora Bell. Avon, $8.99 mass market (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-299346-5

A vintner meets her match in the owner of a gaming house in Bell’s enchanting second Wallflowers vs. Rogues Victorian romance (after Love is a Rogue). Lady Henrietta “Hetty” Prince wants her widowed father, the Duke of Granville, to remarry so he can get an heir and save his property, Rosehill Park, from reverting to the crown upon his death. Then rakish gambling hall owner Ash Ellis steps forward, claiming to be the Duke’s long-lost heir. Uninterested in any of Hetty’s candidates for duchess, Hetty’s father is quick to accept Ash’s claim. Though Hetty is convinced that Ash is a fraud, she accepts her father’s wish that she marry Ash to secure her claim to Rosehill, treating the marriage as a business proposition: in exchange for Hetty helping Ash integrate into the aristocracy, he offers her six months to prove the profitability of Rosehill’s vineyards before he considers razing them to raise thoroughbreds. This convenient arrangement quickly becomes much more as their mutual attraction gives way to deeper emotions. The romantic tension is ever-simmering, enhanced by Ash’s determination not to fall in love and Hetty’s single-minded quest to gain recognition for her wines. Fast-paced plotting keeps the pages turning, making for a magnetic historical romance. Agent: Alexandra Machinist, ICM Partners. (Sept.)