Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Ten Things I Hate About the Duke (Difficult Dukes #2) by Loretta Chase

Title: Ten Things I Hate About the Duke: A Difficult Dukes Novel
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Difficult Dukes
Format: Hardcover; 336 pages
ISBN-10: 0062952633
ISBN-13: 978-0062952639
Publisher: Avon (December 1, 2020)
Author's Website:  https://lorettachase.com/
Notes: I received an eARC loan from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Quotes need to be checked against the final version as they are subject to change. 

Cassandra Pomfre is not your average Miss. She speaks her mind and does not keep her opinions to herself. Known among the men of the ton as Medusa, deGriffith's Gorgon, and Cassandra Prophet of Doom her marriage prospects are slim, for who wants to marry a shrew? When she interrupts and voices her opinion about an ill-constructed bill which would supposedly "better" the enforcement of the Sabbath (but really doesn't), it's the last straw for her father...

"I had deluded myself that being in Society with other girls would soften you," Papa said. "But Season after Season passed, and you only became more fixed in you ways. I cannot allow you to continue to set set a bad example for your younger sisters. I cannot allow you to continue to distress your mother. (...) I will not give Hyacinth permission to marry until you are wed."(...)"In short, as of this minute Hyacinth's Season is over."

Lucius Wilmot Beckingham, the sixth Duke of Ashmont is one of the three Dukes nicknamed by the ton as Dis-Graces. His ill behavior has gotten him banned from court by the King, banned from Almack's weekly assemblies by its patronesses, and crossed off the invitation lists of all but a very few daring hostesses. His latest disgrace ended with him being left at the alter while his would-be bride ran off with his former best friend. Truth be told, wherever he goes, chaos is sure to follow. So, when he accidentally overturns the carriage Cassandra Pomfre is riding in leaving her stranded overnight at a coaching Inn with no appropriate chaperone, he decides for once in his life to do the right thing...

"Marry Me."

Once upon a time Cassandra would have jumped at the chance to marry Lucius, now, not so much. On the one hand, it could solve both their problems--him needing to marry for heirs and her needing to marry so her sisters will be allowed to find husbands (if they so choose). On the other, it could make her life unbearable. If marriage to her is what he truly wants, he'll have to prove himself to Cassandra, but she's making no promises. One thing is for sure, however, she'll make him work for it because her opinion of him is quite low...

"For this I allot you one point. When you accumulate another five thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine, I shall begin to consider you a tolerable human being."

He takes that to be a challenge and for the first time in his life, Lucius Wilmot Beckingham, the sixth Duke of Ashmont, is willing to attempt to change. Let the games begin for as Lucius sees it, her unintentional challenge is accepted.
This is the second book in the Difficult Duke series by Loretta Chase. If you've never read one of her books, you're in for a treat. You can read this novel as a standalone without feeling you've missed anything vital by not reading the first book of the series, 'A Duke in Shining Armor.' I do, however, recommend you read it later because I truly loved the story. Additionally, we are first introduced to Lucius in that first book, and we see him at one of the lowest moments in his life. It gives the reader a better perspective of what Lucius was like and why Cassandra initially didn't want anything to do with the man.

Cassandra is a strong, smart, and independent woman who comes from a loving and prestigious family. She's the eldest daughter of an Earl, and she has ten siblings. She's also a member of a club which her grandmother helped to found called the Andromeda Society. It's a charitable organization home to a group of progressive like-minded women meant to help women needing rescuing from ‘the dragons of poverty and ignorance.’ Alone they may be somewhat powerless, but together they make a formidable entity. Cassandra, due to skills passed down from her grandmother, is the voice of the group which makes her unpopular among the men of the ton.

Lucius is a mess when Cassandra comes upon him, a fact of which she is well aware. She refuses to accept any less than she deserves and, at this point in time, she knows she deserves much better than what he is offering, despite his being a Duke. Lucius likes that she is not intimidated or frightened by him. He likes the way she handles herself when put in a life threatening position. She stands up to others when needed, she doesn't whimper or melt into a puddle of tears, and she isn't faint of heart. She assesses, adjusts, takes charge, and challenges him to do better and use his brain. In a nutshell, he likes what he sees and quickly becomes determined to win her over and prove himself worthy of her.

Overall, I gave this one 4 1/2 out of 5 roses. I loved how Cassandra stuck to her guns and kept Lucius on his toes. It was almost as though Lucius had been sleeping for most of his life and Cassandra woke him up to the possibility of what he could be, and gave him the desire to strive to be all he was meant to be. She brings purpose to his life, and challenges him to be a man worthy of her. His metamorphosis is delightful to watch. I confess, however, with such a large family I would have liked to have seen her brothers mess with him a bit and test his mettle. Perhaps the author thought Cassandra was too independent to do so, but I still would have liked to seen it. Still, I highly recommend this novel. 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.          

Order of the Difficult Dukes series:
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