on July 5th 2018
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Widowed Nicolas Westfall, the Duke of Stapleton, cannot prevent the upcoming debut of his youngest daughter no matter how much he wishes her eventual marriage wouldn’t leave him all alone. Convinced to host a Christmas Ball to prepare her for the season, he’s aware he’s considered a catch on the marriage mart too, but Nicolas is drawn to companion Gillian Thorpe instead.
Gillian was hired to prepare the duke’s daughter for her first season, but it's not easy when the girl hasn’t the least interest in the men and its the widowed father makes her knees weak when he laughs with her. Gillian respects and admires (perhaps too frequently) the Duke of Stapleton and when she’s lured into a mistletoe kiss with him, will she be able to stop at one or even want to?
Note: A shorter version of the Duke and I was previously published in the Hot Winter Nights Racy Regency Christmas Collection.
~~Reviewed by Bonnie~~
Nicolas Westfall, Duke of Stapleton, sadly realizes that it’s almost time to launch his youngest, beloved daughter, Jessica, into society. Since her mother is deceased, and she can use some polish and guidance, Nicolas hires a companion for her. Gillian Thorpe is a widow, happy to take on the task of assisting Jessica since her late husband did not provide for her.
Over the course of several months, Gillian and Jessica become fast friends, and the duke is impressed with Jessica’s progress. He and Gillian have a cordial and mutually respectful relationship until everything changes. Nicolas decides to throw a week-long Christmas house party, allowing Jessica to become accustomed to social situations. Some mysterious person seems intent on placing sprigs of mistletoe all around, and when the duke kisses Gillian, it sends their relationship in a whole ‘nother direction.
Gillian’s first marriage was not a happy one, and the feelings she gets from Nicolas’s kisses are unlike anything she’s felt. She decides to take a risk and experiences genuine passion for the first time. Nicolas soon comes to realize that he wants more than just an affair with Gillian, and he’s falling in love. Before he can declare himself to Gillian, his horrible eldest daughter, Rebecca, concocts a scheme guaranteed to end their romance as well as putting Jessica under her thumb.
THE DUKE AND I is a very short but lovely and passionate romance. I love the characters of Gillian and Nicolas, and the fact that they were more mature than is normally portrayed in romance. Although he has grown children, Nicolas is still a very sexy man, and I can understand how Gillian fell for him. A second chance at love is one of my favorite tropes, and THE DUKE AND I made for a quick and satisfying read.