Published by Avon on October 25th 2016
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
New York Times bestselling author Cathy Maxwell’s glittering Marrying the Duke series continues—Twice he has been close to the altar and still no duchess.
Will the third time be the charm? A duke can’t marry just anyone. His wife must be of good family, be fertile, be young. Struggling playwright Sarah Pettijohn is absolutely the last woman Gavin Whitridge, Duke of Baynton, would ever fall in love with.
She is an actress, born on the wrong side of the blanket, and always challenges his ducal authority. She never hesitates to tell him what she thinks.
However, there is something about her that stirs his blood . . . which makes her perfect for a bargain he has in mind: In exchange for backing her play, he wants Sarah to teach him about love.
And he, in turn, has a few things to teach her about men . . .
¬¬Reviewed by AnnMarie¬¬
A Date at the Altar is the third book in the Marrying the Duke series by Cathy Maxwell. This can easily be read as a stand alone book, but having read the first two books, personally, I got so much extra enjoyment from this story knowing that the Duke, after losing two fiancés in the previous books, finally finds happiness in this one.
Gavin Whitridge, the Duke of Baynton is a very correct man, as his station dictates. He is in his 30s now and after two failed betrothals time is getting on and he needs to marry in order to produce heirs. His well meaning mother and aunt have the perfect young woman in mind, and although it will be a marriage of convenience, Gavin knows he has to bite the bullet and accept his fate. That blasé attitude soon disappears though when he sees ‘The Siren’ in a ‘Naughty Review’ at a theatre. As soon as he sees her lower herself to the stage on a rope, her sensuality captures him, and when he stares into her eyes he is shocked to realise he recognises her!
Mrs Sarah Pettijohn is an actress, she is also the aunt of Charlene who Gavin was supposed to marry in a previous book. The last time he saw Sarah she was helping her niece elope with Gavin’s twin brother. They didn’t think much of each other at the time, but in this story they have a chance to get to know each other better.
Circumstances in this story bring Sarah back into his life. After he sees her as the ‘Siren’ he lusts dreadfully after her. He just wants to have one night of love, one night where he will lose his virginity with the most beautiful woman he has ever seen. He seeks her out and when he sees that she is in desperate need of looking after, he offers to be her protector. She of course refuses his offer, that is until she realises that she needs his help, and in order to pay for that help, she offers herself to him. She wouldn’t have given in if it was only her who needed his help, a whole theatre of people needed it too, all which you will see and understand why when you hopefully read the book.
It all sounds cut and dry, but neither Sarah or Gavin are who the other thinks they are. During this story they find out more about each other, and what they find out has them both more than a little infatuated with each other. The problem is Sarah never dreamed of just being a man’s mistress, but she knows that he is destined to marry the woman his mother has arranged for him to be with. A woman who is young, of the right family, and one who should be able to give him an heir and spares with no problem. Gavin has to do his duty, and Sarah has to let him even though that means she won’t see him again. She can’t be a mistress to a married man, she won’t do that to his new wife nor to herself.
As with the last two books in the series the author really writes an amazing conundrum. Gavin has always done the right thing, and he can’t change the habit of a lifetime. If he does marry his young lady he knows he will keep everybody happy, everybody except himself and Sarah. Can he actually choose happiness over his duty? What of Sarah, perhaps he will be able to persuade her to be his mistress. It’s so against all that Gavin stands for, does he even know what he is asking of her?
I adored this story, and the epilogue was just perfect. I can’t say too much because I don’t want to give anything away, but this definitely was my favourite book in this series and I can’t recommend it enough.
I voluntarily reviewed an Advanced Readers Copy of this book.