cover image Damned If I Duke

Damned If I Duke

Anna Bradley. Zebra, $8.99 mass market (320p) ISBN 978-1-4201-5540-2

Bradley’s effervescent second Drop Dead Dukes Regency (after Give the Devil His Duke) takes the series to new heights. Prudence “Prue” Thorne has never been interested in matrimony, but believes marrying well to be the only way to pay off the gambling debt her father owes to Jasper St. Vincent, the Duke of Montford. Then she discovers a scandalous pair of erotic portraits of Jasper and hopes there might be another way: blackmail. She will return the incriminating materials if Jasper forgives the debt. Unfortunately, he scoffs at her threats, leaving Prue worried she’ll have no choice but to marry Lord Stoneleigh, a pious vicar she dislikes more every time they meet. Jasper’s commanding grandfather, however, is impressed by Prue’s unfawning dealings with his rakish gradnson and urges Jasper to court her. As for the duke, he can’t deny his attraction for long. Moments of levity, including Prue accidentally shooting Jasper in the “arse,” add allure to this sparkling romance. Readers will especially adore ballsy Prue, whose pursuit of horseback riding and shooting and lack of drawing room skills make her stand out in Regency society. This is a delight. Agent: Marlene Stringer, Stringer Literary. (Apr.)