A Duke but No Gentleman
St. Martin's Paperbacks, Jun 30 2015, $7.99
Though best friends, their competiveness at everything also makes the Duke of Blackbern and Marquess Norgrave heated rivals in which all third parties beware of the fallout. By 1792 Norgrave fears he lost the game to his long-time foe.
They never competed for the innocent until now. Desperate to regain the edge he believes he lost, Norgrave bets Blackbern that he will have sex with virgin Lady Imogene Sunter first. Though he has some qualms about this amoral wager, Blackbern reluctantly accepts the bet as he cannot allow his buddy to win. As the wastrels seduce Imogene, she finds both attractive. However, Blackbern does the unthinkable when he falls in love with the stake while Norgrave obsesses over “owning” the stake.
Though bets have been used too frequently in historical romances, in this Georgian it feels fitting as an impetus of love; and psychopathic rage of rape and beating (of innocent Lady Charlotte). Not for everyone, as the villain, who makes the Lords of Vice seem like aristocratic paragons, “do not go gently into the good night” (Dylan Thomas).