ONE FINE DUKE – Lenora Bell
London – 1830
Andrew, the Duke of Thorndon, has arrived in London from his estate in Cornwall to deal with very personal matters. He has received a letter threatening to kidnap his sister, and it seems to be because of something his younger brother is up to. When he accidentally sees his brother running down the street less than fully dressed, Drew hauls the miscreant into his carriage and confronts him. Rafe, known about town as a rogue, shrugs off the threat, making light of it. He's hiding something, and Drew knows it, but Rafe takes off again, leaving his brother more confused. Drew is also in London for another reason. It is time for him to take a wife, even though his heart isn't in it. At the age of fifteen, Drew had been kidnapped by a disgruntled tenant, kept on a ship, chained up, and treated badly. He can never be happy, but he owes it to his family to marry and produce an heir.
Miss Wilhelmina (Mina) Penny is in London for the first time since she was ten years old. Upon the death of her parents, her uncle moved her to his country home where she has been for too many years (according to Mina). Now, she arrives for her first Season, and her uncle has given her a Duke's Dossier to peruse for he hopes to pair her with the Duke of Thorndon. But Mina has other ideas. Adventurous at heart, a crack shot, and well aware that both her uncle and her parents are/were spies for England, Mina has studied all sorts of appropriate books about undercover work. And the one man she is planning to wed is none other than Rafe, the duke's brother, who, she suspects, is also a spy.
Upon meeting Miss Penny, Drew is horrified to discover her plan to take up with his rake of a brother. When she holds a gun on him at her first ball when they both, unbeknownst to each other, retreat to a shed on the duke's mother's estate, Drew is also just a bit enamored of this hoyden. She isn't afraid to speak her mind, she isn't impressed with his title, and she has plans for her future, and they don't include him. A kiss occurs, and soon it is Mina wondering just what that pitter - patter in her heart could be.
ONE FINE DUKE is a delightful, action packed, fun-filled tale involving two opposites who are reluctantly attracted to one another. There is plenty of romance, and a bit of mystery as Drew and Mina team up to look for Rafe and discover the author of the threatening note. I highly recommend ONE FINE DUKE, a truly enjoyable read.