What I Did For a Duke with Bonus Material by Julie Anne Long
Series: Pennyroyal Green #5
Also in this series: Like No Other Lover, I Kissed an Earl, How the Marquess Was Won, It Happened One Midnight, The Legend of Lyon Redmond
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: December 4th 2012
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For years, he's been an object of fear, fascination . . . and fantasy. But of all the wicked rumors that shadow the formidable Alexander Moncrieffe, Duke of Falconbridge, the ton knows one thing for certain: only fools dare cross him. And when Ian Eversea does just that, Moncrieffe knows the perfect revenge: he'll seduce Ian's innocent sister, Genevieve—the only Eversea as yet untouched by scandal. First he'll capture her heart . . . and then he'll break it.
But everything about Genevieve is unexpected: the passion simmering beneath her cool control, the sharp wit tempered by gentleness . . . And though Genevieve has heard the whispers about the duke's dark past, and knows she trifles with him at her peril, one incendiary kiss tempts her deeper into a world of extraordinary sensuality. Until Genevieve is faced with a fateful choice . . . is there anything she won't do for a duke?
I have read and enjoyed all of Long’s Pennyroyal Green series. Some I enjoyed more than others, sure, but overall the series is well done. She has a beautiful writing voice and her characters are always unconventional. But with this latest entry she has blown all the others out of the water. What I Did For a Duke is superb and utterly fantastic.
Genevieve has been in love with Harry forever. They, along with another girl, Lady Millicent Blenkenship, are best friends. But Genevieve knows she and Harry are meant for each other. They share all the same passions and interests, and they know each other better than anyone else. She knows he hasn’t proposed yet because, though he will eventually inherit a title, he has no fortune to go with it. She doesn’t care about that and she’s sure her father won’t either, once he sees how much they truly love each other. Still, she’s content to wait for Harry to propose…until Harry tells her he plans to propose to Millicent.
Genevieve is devastated. Though many consider her laid back, shy, even reserved, the truth is she’s just as passionate as the rest of her family..she just thinks before she speaks and takes the time to internalize her feelings. And now all of her feelings are ripped wide open.
Enter Alexander Moncrieffe, Duke of Falconridge. He’s turned up unexpectedly for a small house party the family is planning and Genevieve’s mother is hinting – not too subtly – that she needs to entertain him, and perhaps gain a marriage proposal while she’s at it. Of course no one sees that she’s dying inside, waiting for Harry to propose to Millicent and ruin her life forever….no one except the duke, that is.
Alex has his own reasons for showing up. Not a few days before, he caught Ian Eversea, Genevieve’s brother, in bed with his fiance. While Alex isn’t the most sentimental of men, he’d planned to give his all to his marriage and the fact that his fiance couldn’t do the same..well, it makes him extremely angry. Rather than calling Ian out, he decides to get revenge in another way – by ruining a woman Ian loves. In this case, his sister, Genevieve. But for all the ton thinks of him as an ogre, the truth is he’s just reserved and not afraid to go after what he wants – sometimes ruthlessly. He starts out with revenge in mind, but Genevieve soon calls him on it, and he changes course, deciding he wants Genevieve for reasons that have nothing to do with her brother and everything to do with herself. Too bad Genevieve’s heart is forever broken…or is it?
Everything I love about this book can be summed up in two words: Mature Hero. Y’all, Alex is a grown man who acts like a grown man. He’s loved and lost, but that didn’t make him cynical about love and marriage. He took time to grieve his losses, then chose to move on. Though the woman he chose to marry turned out to be unfaithful and unchaste, he’d planned to give his all to her and their marriage. I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to read about a mature man who acts like a mature man.
The banter between Alex and Genevieve is very well done. He realizes early on that she’s got a sharp mind and quick wit, and he often takes advantage, teasing her and testing her limits.
“What are your pleasures and pursuits, Lord Moncrieffe?” Miss Eversea asked too brightly, when the silence had gone on for more than was strictly comfortable or polite.
That creaky conversation lubricant. It irritated him again that she was humoring him.
“Well, I’m partial to whores.”
Her head whipped toward him like a weather-vane in a hurricane. Her eyes, he noted, were enormous, and such a dark blue they were nearly purple. Her mouth dropped, and the lower lip was quivering with shock or… or…
“Whor… whores…?” She choked out the word as if she’d just inhaled it like bad cigar smoke.
He widened his own eyes with alarm, recoiling slightly.
“I… I beg your pardon – Horses. Honestly, Miss Eversea,” he stammered. “I do wonder what you think of me if that’s what you heard.”
Genevieve holds her own with him, as much as a young woman can against a man who has been around the block a time or two. He suggests she use him to make Harry jealous, and she agrees..not realizing his evil plan isn’t to make Harry jealous at all, but to make Genevieve fall in love with Alex. Alex’s passion is hard for Genevieve to resist, even when she thinks it’s Harry she wants.
“A proper kiss, Miss Eversea, should turn you inside out. It should . . . touch places in you that you didn’t know existed, set them ablaze, until your entire being is hungry and wild…It should slice right down through you like a cutlass with a pleasure so devastating it’s very nearly pain … It should make you want to do things you’d never dreamed you’d want to do, and in that moment all of those things will make perfect sense. And it should herald, or at least promise, the most intense physical pleasure you’ve ever known, regardless of whether that promise is ever, ever fulfilled. It should, in fact . . . ” he paused for effect “ . . . haunt you for the rest of your life.”
There are some flaws. Genevieve’s actions at the end are frustrating, as is her youth in general. Though she isn’t a teen, she sometimes acts like she is. Even so, I liked her. I mean, I genuinely liked her. She’s someone I could be friends with, I think. I don’t say that about many romance heroines, either.
A lovely and unconventional read. I highly recommend it.
5 out of 5