I DARED THE DUKE - Anna Bennett
A Wayward Wallflowers Novel , Book 2
St. Martin's Paperbacks
Elizabeth (Beth) Lacey's uncle was a friend of the Dowager Duchess of Blackshire, so when the duchess said she wanted a companion since her niece has married, he offered the services of his granddaughter, Beth. Beth is one of three sisters society calls the 'Wilting Wallflowers.' Since her sister Meg has married an earl, the family is not in such dire financial straits. Beth, though, is a caring person who likes to help, so she agrees to be the dowager's companion staying with the old woman in the duke's townhouse, at least until the duke suddenly returns to town and confronts Beth.
Alexander Savage, the Duke of Blackshire, loves his grandmother. When as a child he was badly burned in a fire that killed his mother and father, she had cared for him, talking to him during endless hours of incredible pain and making him cling to life. He does not, however, want her in his townhouse right now, nor upon first meeting does he like her companion, an argumentative and opinionated, although beautiful, woman. Plus, the label, ‘Wilting Wallflowers,' came from an off-the-cuff comment he made, something Beth doesn't know. While he feels bad about that, she can't stay. Bad things are happening to Alex, and he doesn't want whoever is doing these reprehensible deeds to harm his grandmother.
The interactions between Alex and Beth are funny as both try to manipulate the other, which leads to their mutual attraction. Alex is not quite the rake gossip claims, and Beth certainly doesn't fit the ‘wallflower' remark he regrets making. Matter of fact, she is the only type of woman he discovers he wants for life. He has a long road to travel to get there with someone planning his demise and Beth's sisters thwarting his goal. Older sister Meg's story was featured in MY BROWN-EYED EARL, and readers can look forward to younger sister Julie's story.