Monday, July 15, 2019

Giveaway/Sneak Peek/Review of One Fine Duke (School for Dukes, #3) by Lenora Bell

One Fine Duke (School for Dukes, #3)
by Lenora Bell

USA Today bestselling author Lenora Bell returns with her third book in the sexy School for Dukes series.

Ready.Raised in the countryside by her overprotective uncle, Miss Mina Penny’s dream of a triumphant London season is finally here. She determined her perfect match long ago: Rafe Bentley, the wickedest rake of them all. There’s only one very large, very unyielding obstacle: Rafe’s brother Drew, the reclusive Duke of Thorndon.


This was supposed to be simple. Duke goes to London. Duke selects suitable bride. Love match? Not a chance. But when Drew meets Mina, she complicates everything. How can a lady armed with such beauty and brains fall for his irresponsible degenerate of a brother? Drew vows to save her from heartbreak and ruin, no matter the cost.


But Mina is no damsel in distress. She’s daring, intuitive, passionate…and halfway to melting Drew’s cold heart. And although Mina thought she knew exactly what she wanted, one breathtakingly seductive kiss from Drew changes everything. Now Mina must decide between long-held dreams and dangerous new desires. Could her true destiny lie in the arms of a duke?

“There he is, Wilhelmina,” Grizzy whispered, staring reverently across the crowded ballroom. “The Duke of Thorndon.”
Holy hell he’s handsome, thought Mina.
Jaw-dropping-on-the-floor handsome. Drool-on-your-lace-fichu handsome.
Distract her from her plan with his brother, handsome.
Her uncle had been right. Thorndon was a fine figure of a man. Objectively speaking, the finest she’d ever beheld.
Tall as a doorframe, with a face hewn from the same granite as the rugged Cornish coastline.
A face rendered seductive by contrasts: sharp cheekbones and curved, sensuous lips. Gleaming ebony hair brushed his collar. His eyes were a light, gold-tinged brown—the only warm thing about him.
He owned this ballroom. Literally. And he owned everyone in it by dint of his oversized presence and the cold, unsmiling arrogance scrawled across his face.
He didn’t even follow the dictates of fashion, preferring plain black attire to the white pantaloons and gaily-colored waistcoats of the other gentlemen.
Why should he follow the dictates of fashion? Everyone should follow him.
“When you’re introduced to Thorndon, pray speak as seldom as possible,” Grizzy whispered. “Attempt to appear biddable and do try to recall my decorum lessons. Remember, no one in London knows anything about you, thank the Lord.”
Mina had seen several polished, elegant young ladies staring at her, nudging each other and whispering. She was an outsider, a usurper, her proper place in the social hierarchy not yet established.
They needn’t worry. She had no designs upon their prize duke. And she was about as unpolished as a debutante could be—as rough as an un-sanded plank. If anyone touched her they might get splinters.
She longed to shed her country skin swiftly and emerge as the sophisticated social butterfly her mother had been. But she knew that it would take time, observation, and experimentation.
Her first flirtatious conversation, first kiss, first taste of brandy, first adventure…it was all ahead of her.
She couldn’t wait to taste it all.

Lenora Bell
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Lenora Bell is a USA Today bestselling, award-winning author of historical romances. A teacher with an MFA in Creative Writing, Lenora has lived and worked on five continents. She currently lives in New Zealand with her carpenter husband and two tiger-striped rescue kitties. She loves hearing from readers! Sign up for her mailing list to hear about new books, sales, and giveaways.

Title: One Fine Duke: School for Dukes
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: School for Dukes (Book 3)
Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Avon; Reprint edition (July 23, 2019)
ISBN-10: 006269250X
ISBN-13: 978-0062692504
Author's Website:
Notes: I received an eARC loan from the author for review purposes. This in no way affected my review.

Ms. Wilhelmina 'Mina' Penny has been raised in a guarded and controlled environment by her uncle, Sir Malcolm. While she knows her rigid upbringing was because her uncle wished to protect her, she has had enough. This is her first season and she intends to make it her last.  Her uncle's plans, which involve her marrying a Duke, do not mesh with hers. She has grand plans which involve freedom, revenge, and adventure. She does not want to exchange one controlling, arrogant man for another.

Andrew Bentley, Duke of Thorndon, Drew to family, does not like rubbing elbows with society. He  prefers the quiet life on his family estate, but someone associated with his brother Rafe has threatened their sister, Beatrice. He's come to London to find out what his brother is mixed up in, and put a stop to it.

At first glance these two seem to have nothing in common, but when they meet sparks fly. There's a reason why people say opposites attract...
This is the third book in the School for Dukes series and you can definitely read it out of order and not feel lost. While the previous Dukes in the series are mentioned in this book, they don't make any appearances. The series revolves around Dukes who fall for unconventional woman. Mari and Drew's romance follows suit.

The Duke of Thorndon is known for being a recluse although once upon a time he had a reputation as being a rogue. When he was young something happened which left him emotionally scarred. Being around a lot of people is the last thing he'd ever want to do, but when his sister's life is threatened, he cannot sit by and do nothing. So he finds himself spending the season going to ball after ball with countless mothers parading their daughters in front of him hoping their daughter will be the one to catch his eye.

Mina is having her first season and her uncle has declared she'll marry a duke or no one at all. He's even gone through the trouble of writing up dossiers on each eligible duke. She, however, wants to enter the family business. She believes it's in her blood as she comes from a long and illustrious line of spies. Her parents, uncle, and generations of the Penny family before them had all been spies, and she wants to follow in their footsteps and make her own mark on the world. She also wants to marry a man of her choosing who will let her live life on her own terms, and she believes she's come across the perfect candidate--Lord Rafe Bentley, the Duke of Thorndon's brother.

When the Duke of Thorndon and Mina are introduced, she does everything in her power to make him dislike her even though she finds him extremely attractive. That includes doing everything her uncle told her to not do. Therein lies the beauty of this romance for by acting as she does, she stands out and makes a boring and uneasy evening bearable for Drew. I couldn't help but admire her gumption even as I laughed at her antics.

 As you can probably predict, this was a very fun story with bits of suspense interwoven into it. At first, I kind of wished Mina had been a slightly stronger character. While she's smart as a whip, at times she comes across as very naive and slightly foolish. Then it hit me that this was Mina's first real taste of the ton and the world that exists beyond the boundaries her strict uncle imposed upon her. She wants to find her place in the world, and she believes it's doing what her parents did. In reality, she has no idea if that's what she truly wants or is meant to do. She's trying to find her footing and she's experimenting and, at times, stumbling a bit along the way.

I ended up giving this one 4 out of 5 roses. I found it a funny, charming, and amusing read. I loved the strong pull Drew and Mina felt for one another and how they tried to deny it. The mystery of what was behind the threat to Beatrice added a nice splash of intrigue and suspense. I enjoyed seeing what made Rafe tick and getting to know Drew better. While I initially wished Mina had been a bit stronger of a character, how she acts seems to fit, and I enjoyed seeing her grow as an individual. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed. I thoroughly enjoyed this one.

Order of the School for Dukes series: 

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