Miss Daphne Hayward is on the hunt for a safe, honorable husband and she has set her sights on the perfect target. He’s kind, titled, and miraculously single. She plans a full-scale seduction that will bring him to his knees, begging for her hand in marriage. But when she mistakenly climbs into another man’s bed, sparks ignite, threatening to send all her plans up in smoke.
Ashton Fitzgerald, Duke of Claymore, is surprised by the powerful desire that surges through him when he sees Daphne for the first time. So when he unveils her as his mysterious midnight visitor, he is determined to make her his…forever.
Daphne wants to secure her soon to be engagement with Edward. She loves him and wants her brother-in-law to put up no arguments when Edward finally asks for her hand in marriage. To that end she decides to sleep with Edward. Once she’s lost her virginity to him how can anyone naysay their marriage, right? Well, that would be great if Daphne had done her homework a lot better. You see, she sneaks into Edwards room while all is dark. She climbs in bed with him and finds the man’s physique to be much more muscular than she thought. After she has sex she gets dressed and heads back to her own room – only to run into Edward in the hall. Wait, if Edward’s here then who the hell did she just sleep with? Good question.
Ashton, the Duke of Claymore, is having a great morning. Yes, he drank too much brandy the night before but his mistress came to see him in the middle of the night and it was unparalleled. He’s excited to see her again so imagine his shock when his friend and host tells him that she’s been delayed and isn’t even in residence. What? When he starts to think about the woman he was in bed with he’s realizes that it couldn’t possibly have been his mistress and now he’s determined to find out who it is. When he suspects that it’s Daphne he’s thrilled. He’s had a thing for her for years but since she was his best friends sister-in-law he knew she was off limits. Now’s his chance to finally get her where he wants her – in his bed as his wife – but that may not be as easy as it seems.
A Duchess in the Dark was a pretty short novella but a good one. Daphne is a stubborn woman with Ashton but she really can’t deny her attraction to him, especially when he keeps getting her alone and showing her ways he can make her happy sexually. She is determined to marry Edward though as she thinks that what she desires is a calm, staid husband. Ashton keeps fogging up her mind but she soon realizes that Edward isn’t who she thinks.
The story was pretty calm with not a lot of angst and that made for a nice relaxed read. I liked the characters and the story and look forward to what McKinley will give us next.
Rating: 3 out of 5