Release Date: Dec 1, 2020
Series: Difficult Dukes
Heat Level: Sensual
Imprint: Avon Books
This is my first Loretta Chase in almost two years. I’ve always enjoyed Chase’s characters, her witty banter, and with this latest story she did not let me down.
Ten Things I Hate About the Duke is the second in the Difficult Dukes series. Now, I’ve rarely met a duke book I didn’t want to read, and this one is no exception. We meet our hero, or should we call him a zero, Lucius the Duke of Ashmont deep into his cups, bruised, battered, and in possession of a pistol. Said pistol is fired, into the air, to quell a fight and then it sends Miss Cassandra Pomfret’s barouche crashing. Injuries ensue and Cassandra is reminded of how the boy she once loved has grown into a useless waste of a perfectly good duke.
Taming of the Shrew meets unrequited love in this delicious story. There is banter, there are hijinks, and there is scandal. Ashmont is the king of pranks after all, and Cassandra is always with one foot forward towards disaster simply because she refuses to follow societies rules. I easily slipped into this tale, watching Ashmont fall for Cassandra. I loved how he didn’t know what to do with himself or how to prove to her that he was worthy of her.
Chase rules at characterization with Ashmont, our pranking duke, who has a brain, but doesn’t always use it. He’s used to letting money or his fists do most of the talking. He’s gorgeous so the women flock to him. When challenged by a woman, in this case Cassandra, he finds himself out maneuvered at every turn. Of course, men love a chase. Ashmont is determined not to give up. As he so aptly put it, in his first marriage proposal.
You’re outrageous. I’m outrageous.
Cassandra is a modern woman caught in a horrible time. She hates societies rules and has no clue on how to be soft-spoken. Instead, she speaks her mind, one society honest horrific word after another. They nickname her Medusa because her phrasing can crumble a man’s resolve. She’s fabulous even when she skewers Ashmont verbally and physically (in a non-lethal way). I really loved this heroine and she’s probably one of my favorites for 2020.
My favorite Cassandra thought is about Ashmont of course.
He was a trap, a walking, talking woman-trap.
Outside of the main characters there is an entire secondary cast that adds to the ambience and conflict, from vindictive mothers to a parliament member betwixted by Cassandra’s beauty. With plenty of external issues, and internal demons the hero and heroine must fight, the love story is a winding, twisting path with a resolution I greatly enjoyed. I think a part of me wanted a little more confrontation between the main characters and the villain, but ultimately, I appreciated the honest, forthcoming way the resolution to the HEA came about.
Overall, this is a fabulous historical from a writer I can typically depend on for excellent stories. Also, I loved how Chase made me wonder if another historical hero of hers was going to get shot. You may ask, did he? I’ll recommend you read the book to find out.