No Other Duke But You: Playful Brides #11 by Valerie Bowman

No Other Duke But You: Playful Brides #11 by Valerie Bowman

Valerie Bowman comes to the blog today with the eleventh book in the Playful Brides series – and as a special treat I have, for one US winner, an opportunity to win a paperback copy of the title

No Other Duke But You

I’ve read many of the titles in this series, although not the last handful, and it doesn’t mean you can’t pick up this series at any point. Bowman’s ability to set the world and create characters that are easily introduced and develop before your eyes helps the reader to quickly see what is going on and pulls you in. Here we have childhood friends Delilah and Thomas: perfectly suited to one another and utterly in synch. The only problem with this is Thomas’ inability to tell Delilah just how he feels, and her inability to see what EVERYONE else does – that they are actually in love with one another and the two are perfectly suited. And it is easy for readers to see it too – he’s everything that Delilah claims to want – but she’s obsessed with another, far less perfect for her man – and that’s all she can see.

While she’s been busy with her matchmaking, Delilah hasn’t really focused on her own wish to marry, but with her mother pushing an ultimatum forward, Delilah has to move and move now, just to get what she thinks she wants. A mis-sent potion, plenty of twists, some ridiculous conclusions and Thomas finally finding the words and the courage to speak up and tell Delilah exactly how he feels – and….

Oh this was fun – characters popping in and out repeatedly, hijinks, communication and miscommunication, tons of twists, turns and lots of laughs – all as hearts throb for Thomas in the hopes that Delilah will see sense, and wondering just how blatantly he has to dance in front of her for her to see him as he is – perfect for her and not just as a friend who can (and does) often anticipate her every desire. This book manages to bring all of the good things in friends to lovers romance stories and blended it with the sense and feel of a Regency romance that doesn’t fall into the ‘damsel in distress’ trap – but allows us to see the true match that is between them.

No Other Duke But You: Playful Brides #11 by Valerie Bowman

Title: No Other Duke But You
Author: Valerie Bowman
Series: Playful Brides #11
Also in this series: The Accidental Countess, The Unlikely Lady, The Irresistible Rogue, The Unforgettable Hero, The Untamed Earl, The Legendary Lord
Genre: British, Historical Romance, Regency
Published by: St. Martin's Press
ISBN: 1250121671
Published on: 30 April, 2019
Format:eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 320
Rated: four-stars
Heat: One FlameOne FlameOne Flame

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

 

 

Delilah glanced up and down the dim hallway. It was well past three in the morning, she was still dressed in the pink ball gown she’d worn to the party, and she clutched the small vial of Cupid’s Elixir in her sweaty, guilty palm. She pressed her back against the shadowed wall not far from the Duke of Branville’s bedchamber. She could do this. More importantly, she would do this. She’d come this far, hadn’t she? What did a little sneaking about in the middle of the night matter?

She’d got detailed instructions to Branville’s room from Derek, who thankfully hadn’t asked any questions about why she wanted to know. According to him, the room was four doors to the right, just past the staircase on the third floor. The third floor was where all the bachelor gentlemen were sleeping. It would be a complete scandal if she was found lurking about alone at this time of night, but she’d waited until the household seemed quite asleep and then waited a bit longer for good measure. Anyone who saw her now would be skulking about themselves, which meant they would hardly be in a position to judge her. She briefly wondered if she’d run into Lavinia.

It was not as if she was out to do anything particularly scandalous. It was more silly and frivolous than anything else. She’d simply die, however, if Branville woke up and asked her what she was doing sprinkling pixie water in his eyes. She’d already decided to pretend as if she were dreaming, thinking she was Puck in the play. Sleepwalking. That would make all the sense in the world. Wouldn’t it? She swallowed hard. Probably not, but she wasn’t about to let the fear of being caught stop her. Besides, all of her and Lucy’s matchmaking had turned into a colossal mess. If a spray of perfume could sort it out, so be it. Of course, Delilah’s conscience reminded her that she hadn’t offered any of the perfume to Rebecca to use on Thomas. She didn’t want to even contemplate that. She’d already shared it with one other person, and that made her guilty enough. The image of Madame Rosa’s disapproving, craggy face had haunted her all evening.

Delilah shook off the thought and turned her attention back to the matter at hand. Pressing her empty palm against the darkened wall, she inched her way along until she came to Branville’s door. She felt like a spy. This was how professional spies did such things, wasn’t it? Too bad she was too embarrassed by her actions to ask the veritable house full of professional spies who happened to be asleep behind other doors right now.

She transferred the vial into her opposite hand and slowly reached to grasp the door handle. The metal was cold in her bare hand. She’d discarded her gloves, deciding that they would make her actions more clumsy. The last thing she needed tonight was to be more clumsy than usual. Decidedly, she needed to be less so.

She clutched the door handle like a lifeline and closed her eyes, steadying her shaking fingers on the knob. She was close, so close. Praying that the door wouldn’t squeak, she turned the handle slowly. The only sound was the thumping of her own heart in her ears.

When the handle was turned as far as it would go, she pushed it, praying fervently that it wasn’t locked. It took a moment before she realized the door was opening. Its hinges silent, merci a Dieu. Completely silent.

She slipped inside the cool, dark room. Steady, deep breathing came from the bed. Thank goodness, she hadn’t woken the duke with her entrance. She could barely see a thing, but she didn’t dare light a candle. A tiny stream of moonlight filtered into the room through a small opening in the curtains on the far window. She used that to identify the hulking bed in the center of the room. She tiptoed over to it slowly, taking care in case there was anything to trip over. No doubt she would find it if there was.

She made it to the foot of the bed without incident and paused, trying to quell her nerves and dispel her guilt. She clutched the vial more tightly in her palm, shaking with fear and anxiety. Now that she was here, she had no earthly idea how to drop liquid on a man’s eyes without awakening him. Besides, how much of it was she supposed to use? Surely not much. She would employ the tiniest drops possible so as not to disturb him, but she also needed to ensure the perfume touched his eyelids. Tricky business, this being a fairy. She had a sudden appreciation for Puck.

Holding her breath, she lifted her skirts with her free hand and tiptoed to the right side of the bed. Because it was summer, the bed curtains weren’t drawn. The window was open, and a slight breeze blew through the crack in the curtains.

 

About Valerie Bowman

VALERIE BOWMAN grew up in Illinois with six sisters (she’s number seven) and a huge supply of historical romance novels. After a cold and snowy stint earning a degree in English with a minor in history at Smith College, she moved to Florida the first chance she got. Valerie now lives in Jacksonville with her family including her rascally dog, Roo. When she’s not writing, she keeps busy reading, traveling, or vacillating between watching crazy reality TV and PBS.

 

 

 

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