If the Duke Demands by Anna Harrington
Series: Capturing the Carlisles #1
Also in this series: When the Scoundrel Sins
Publication Date: February 28th 2017
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A LESSON IN SEDUCTION . . .
Miranda Hodgkins has only ever wanted one thing: to marry Robert Carlisle. And she simply can't wait a moment longer. During the Carlisle family masquerade ball, Miranda boldly sneaks into his bedchamber with seduction on her mind. Soon she's swept into rock-hard arms for the most breathtaking kiss of her life. But when the masks come off, she's horrified to find herself face-to-face with Sebastian, the Duke of Trent-Robert's formidable older brother.
Shocked to find Miranda in his bed, Sebastian quickly offers her a deal to avoid scandal: He'll help her win his brother's heart if she'll find him the perfect wife. But what begins as a simple negotiation soon spirals out of control. For the longer this reformed rake tries to make a match for Miranda, the more he wants to keep her all to himself.
Miranda believes herself in love with Robert Carlisle. He kissed her when she was 14 years old and she’s been completely infatuated with him ever since. The night of a masquerade ball at the Carlisle home she asks a footman to tell her which room belongs to the man dressed as a panther. She heads to his room when the ball is over and when he comes in it’s all she dreamed it would be – until she finds out that the masked man isn’t Robert but his older brother, Sebastian. She’s mortified and can’t figure out how she could have made a mistake until she realizes that by a twist of fate Sebastian and Robert had decided to switch costumes.
The Carlisle family decides to sponsor Miranda for a season. When Sebastian’s father died 2 years prior she had been such a great help and had continued to that day. Despite Sebastian’s misgivings he agrees but when he tells Miranda this info she comes up with a plan (not Sebastian as it says in the blurb). She can help Sebastian find a wife (as she’s privy to info in the retiring rooms) and he can help put her close to Robert so that she can finally get him to notice her as a woman, and not just a pesky neighbor girl.
The plan woks to a point but unfortunately Robert doesn’t notice her at all and she finally realizes that he probably never will. Sebastian has a list of women that are proper but try as he might he can’t quite get excited about any of them. He finds himself thinking about Miranda much too often and when he finally lets himself act on his desires he finds himself a happy, happy man. Unfortunately no matter how he thinks and feels about Miranda he can never marry her as he promised his father before he died that he’d find a proper wife and a farm girl doesn’t qualify.
This was my first time reading one of Anna Harrington’s books and I’m glad I took the chance. I found If the Duke Demands to be fun, touching, emotional and sexy.
Miranda’s character was written so that we were led to believe that she was a bit of a clutz. A person who gets herself into trouble – mostly unwittingly – but trouble nonetheless. Despite being told these things I didn’t actually find her to be either trouble or a clutz. She was a woman who knew what she wanted and wasn’t afraid to go after it. She’d had a crush on Robert and when she realized that he might offer for another woman took it upon herself to prove to him that she was all woman. It really wasn’t her fault that Sebastian and Robert changed costumes and she pointed out the wrong man. Miranda proved to have a strength of character that I admired. She spoke her mind and had fun with life which was awesome and obviously attracted Sebastian.
Sebastian was a good man who was stuck in what he thought was a horrible quandary. He fell in love with Miranda, body and soul, but no matter how much he wanted her he couldn’t let his father down and marry someone that wasn’t a member of the ton. I thought he was a bit of a bastard at times – mostly when he was acting the part of the stuffy Duke – but he was always honest with Miranda – it was she who seemed to read things into his comments and actions and I couldn’t fault Sebastian for that. I was happy that someone finally sat down and made him see that his thinking was a bit skewed so that the H/h got their HEA.
I very much enjoyed Harrington’s writing. She pulled me and had me turning page after page wanting to know what was going to happen next. I didn’t particularly care for the other Carlisle brothers, Robert and Quinton but as this book was so good I’ll definitely pick their books up when they are released.
Rating: 4 out of 5