cover image It Had to Be a Duke

It Had to Be a Duke

Vivienne Lorret. Avon, $9.99 mass market (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-314312-8

Lorret (Never Seduce a Duke) launches the Liar’s Club series with a scintillating fake fiancé romance in Regency England. Verity Hartley is a spinster “teetering on the abyss of six and twenty.” For the most part, she’s accepted her fate, but when her obnoxious neighbor gloats about having numerous suitors vying for her hand, Verity blurts out a lie to shut her up; she says she’s engaged to Magnus Warring, the fifth Duke of Longhurst. He’s the most impressive man she can think of on the spot, and though their families are old enemies, she believes her deceit to be harmless. Magnus, for his part, is in London, desperately trying to marry an heiress to bolster the dukedom’s flagging coffers. After his potential betrothal is jeopardized when whispers of Verity’s lie spread to London, he heads to the country to confront her—but instead ends up begrudgingly agreeing to participate in her deception for a week. As the unlikely pair fake an engagement, their witty verbal sparring gives way to intense chemistry that they try and fail to resist. (“I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t curse every time you’ve finished kissing me.” “Me? You’re the one who started it this time.”) But given the complicated history between their families and Magnus’s need to marry for money, does their romance stand a chance? With big emotions, sensual love scenes, and endearing protagonists, this is sure to win hearts. Agent: Stefanie Lieberman, Janklow & Nesbit Assoc. (Nov.)