cover image The Return of the Duke

The Return of the Duke

Lorraine Heath. Avon, $8.99 mass market (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-311459-3

Heath’s brilliant third Victorian-era Once Upon a Dukedom romance (after The Duchess Hunt) follows Marcus Stanwick, heir to the Duke of Wolfford—until his father is stripped of his title and hanged for an assassination attempt against Queen Victoria. Now Marcus is determined to get to the bottom of his father’s alleged crimes and restore his family’s place in society. Though thoroughly disdainful of his father’s former mistress, Esme Lancaster, Marcus hopes she may have information about who else was involved in the assassination plot. Their strained first encounter leads Marcus to dub Esme the “Ice Princess,” but he soon learns that the woman he believes to have destroyed his parents’ marriage is not the evil vixen he’s imagined her to be; Esme is actually an agent for the Crown, and she’s also seeking information about Wolford’s coconspirators. As the pair join forces to investigate, romantic tension simmers. Heath slowly peels back the layers of her complex protagonists, making their forbidden attraction all the more intense and believable. With just the right blend of romance and mystery, this proves un-put-downable. Agent: Robin Rue, Writers House. (July)