cover image Daring and the Duke

Daring and the Duke

Sarah MacLean. Avon, $7.99 mass market (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-269208-5

MacLean concludes her Bareknuckle Bastards Regency series (after Brazen and the Beast) not with a bang but a sensual whisper. Grace Condry is a member of the fighting legends Bareknuckle Bastards, alongside Devil and Whit, men she considers to be brothers. All three were forced out onto the streets of Covent Garden at a young age after being betrayed by Ewan, Devil and Whit’s older brother—and Grace’s first love. The trio quickly rose in the ranks of Covent Garden’s underworld, with Grace, now called Dahlia, as their queen. Ewan, now Duke Marwick, has never stopped searching for Grace, hoping to win her back even after being told of her death. When Grace learns that Ewan is in the city, she swears revenge, though her resolve falters once they actually reunite. But with the harshness of their past between them, the pair must traverse a rather rocky path back to love. Grace is a fierce heroine and her role as the proprietress of a notorious ladies’ club adds dimension to an otherwise thin plot that feels more like an epilogue to the previous books than a self-contained outing. Series fans will be glad to see loose ends get tied up, but long for a meatier tale. Agent: Holly Root, Holly Root Literary. (July)