Four Nights With the Duke: Desperate Duchesses # 8 by Eloisa James with Excerpt and Giveaway

One of my favorite historical romance authors has returned with Four Nights With the Duke, the eighth book in the Desperate Duchesses series from Eloisa James.  Please be sure to check out the other tour stops for exclusive excerpts and more reviews, and don’t forget to enter the tour-wide giveaway where one winner will get the entire backlist of the Desperate Duchesses Print Bundle which is the entire backlist of the Desperate Duchesses series, books 1 – 7

Book Review:

It’s hard not to like this series or this author, her writing style is polished and detailed, with plenty of information and imagery to fuel the reader’s visualization of the setting and characters. And, you can pick up this series with any of the titles to start: each story is complete in and of itself, although you may meet earlier characters, Eloisa James does give them enough background to understand their connections.

In this story, Mia and Vander have long known one another, as her father and his mother were involved in a rather scandalous affair for years.  After a devastating embarrassment some 13 years earlier, Mia suddenly reappears in Vander’s life with an outrageous proposition.  Their parents died together in a fire in a small country inn: while Vander cut off his mother from his life and his father died in an asylum years ago, he’s never bothered to enter into society, instead concentrating on his stables and horses.  With Mia’s return, all of the anger he held for Mia’s father and his mother have returned to focus on her.

So a not-quite friends to lovers story with plenty of twists turns and oh so many moments that bring the action to life.

Vander is the least ‘societally acceptable’ Duke he can be. His best friend Thom is a bastard and proud of the fact. Vander eschews society in favor of his horses and racing, and has built quite a nice stable.  The only benefit he finds in the title is the ability to do what he wants.  Rough around the edges, Vander is plain spoken and utterly unused to anyone telling him no.

Mia has several secrets: she is a popular romance novelist, with her heroines always being the ‘ideal’ – tall, willowy, blonde and with scads of admirers who go to great lengths to woo them.  She is intelligent, headstrong and utterly romantic, despite believing that her diminutive size, curves and green eyes make her utterly unattractive, and she dresses the part with over-large flounces and ruffles to offset the curves she feel make her fat.  Underneath all of the insecurities is a woman that is loyal and thoughtful, her determination to protect Charlie from all of life’s unpleasant moments is easy to understand and relate to, if not always the best direction.

Together, Vander is busily showing his frustration with Mia, while he wants her body, and expects that their marriage is forever, his ‘but I tell you I care’ moments are poorly phrased and ill-timed, and leaves Mia believing that he doesn’t like or respect her.  What’s funniest is these two are relating to one another much like they should have at 15, not as grown people of nearly 30.  Their near constant bickering and fighting is partly due to hurt feelings now, and old issues unsettled. They are often funny, as Vander is the one usually putting his foot in his mouth, and is unable to understand his own mistakes.

There are many twists and turns, with cameo appearances from Thom and his bride India, but it is the insets from Chuffy, Charlie and the newly arrived Jafeer that add depth to the budding relationship.  Chuffy, Vander’s Uncle is a combination of a jolly elf and the feel of Puck from Midsummer Night’s Dream: moments of utter hilarity are mixed with his true ‘fangirl’ moments when he discovers that Mia is the author of his very favorite novels, and he is always quoting from Shakespeare.  I loved his fierce protectiveness of those he loved, hidden under the occasional façade of drunkenness and oblivion.  Chuffy doesn’t miss much, and every quote and revelation from him is spot on.   Charlie is a wonderful little boy: a bit timid at first, but Vander’s ‘real world’ approach to showing him what he can do and new ways to do more rather than what he can’t, with no outward adjustments for his difficulties was wonderful, if a 180 degree difference from Mia’s coddling.  In fact, it is Charlie and Mia’s determination to protect and raise him that shows Vander just what a gem she is.

So much happens in this story, it’s hard to pick favorites, but like all of James’ novels, I was drawn in and unable to put it down until the final page.

Four Nights With the Duke: Desperate Duchesses # 8 by Eloisa James with Excerpt and Giveaway

Title: Four Nights With the Duke
Author: Eloisa James
Genre: Historical Romance
Published by: Avon
ISBN: 0062344285
Published on: 31 March, 2015
Format:eARC
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
Pages: 384
Audio Length: 11 Hours
Rated: five-stars
Heat: One FlameOne FlameOne Flame

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As a young girl, Emilia Gwendolyn Carrington told the annoying future Duke of Pindar that she would marry any man in the world before him-so years later she is horrified to realize that she has nowhere else to turn.

Evander Septimus Brody has his own reasons for agreeing to Mia’s audacious proposal, but there’s one thing he won’t give his inconvenient wife: himself.

Instead, he offers Mia a devil’s bargain… he will spend four nights a year with her. Four nights, and nothing more. And those only when she begs for them.

Which Mia will never do.

Now Vander faces the most crucial challenge of his life: he must seduce his own wife in order to win her heart-and no matter what it takes, this is the one battle he can’t afford to lose.

See the Desperate Duchesses By the Numbers Series on GoodReads

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

Tasty Excerpt

 

The library was at the end of the corridor, so there was no escape. Panicked, Mia dashed behind the sofa and slid down until she was entirely concealed.

It was only then that she truly understood that she had entered that final, innermost circle of hell.

The boys were discussing a love poem.

Not just any love poem, either.

They were puzzling over The Love Song of E. Septimus Brody—in other words, a poem addressed explicitly to Vander—that Mia herself had written. That she had poured her heart, her love, and her tears into.

It wasn’t very good; none of her poems were very good.

Still, it was her poem, and it was supposed to be safely in her desk back home. Not being bandied about at a musicale. And definitely not in the hands of the very boy she’d written it about.

Even in the midst of a wave of nausea, Mia guessed what had happened. Her father had found the poem and thought it would be amusing to share with his mistress, and his mistress had in turn shared it with her son. Mia had been such a fool to give it that title.

At least Vander wasn’t howling with laughter, probably because he couldn’t understand it. He and Thorn were hardly literary types, if a fifteen-year-old boy could be such a thing.

“Do you suppose the part about how moonbeams kiss the sea is some sort of innuendo?” Thorn asked.

Mia rolled her eyes. What an absurd suggestion. He probably still moved his lips when he read.

“I don’t think so,” Vander answered, rather uncertainly. “Let’s toss it in the fire. I don’t want anyone to see it.”

She had scarcely breathed a sigh of relief when there was a clatter of boots and a boy shouted, “I’ve been looking all over for you fellows. One of the Villiers twins just threw up from nerves. It stinks down there!”

“I can’t imagine why you were looking for us, Rotter,” Vander stated, sounding all of a sudden like a future duke. “We told you last week that we wanted nothing more to do with you.”

“Bloody hell, no need to be nasty,” the boy retorted, entirely unmoved by this set-down. “What have you got there?” To Mia’s horror, the question was followed by the sound of a scuffle and tearing paper.

If Dante had conceived of a tenth circle of hell, this was it. Francis Oakenrott was a boy as rotten as his name implied. She had met him twice, at house parties her father dragged her along to. It was a case of mutual loathing-at-first-sight.

 

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About Eloisa James

A New York Times bestselling author, Eloisa James is a professor of English literature who lives with her family in New York, but who can sometimes be found in Paris or Italy. (Her husband is an honest to goodness Italian knight!) Eloisa’s website offers short stories, extra chapters, and even a guide to shopping in Florence. Visit her at www.eloisajames.com.

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