She’ll never belong in his world, but he cannot resist her.
Drake, Duke of Manchester is searching the Marriage Mart for a perfect bride. He wants a woman who is poised, sophisticated, and worthy of the title Duchess. But most of all, he wants a woman who does not want the useless emotion of love.
Socially awkward Miss Penelope Clayton isn’t meant for marriage. A serious botanist, she has no desire to wed, so being forced by her guardian to participate in the Season to find a husband is torture. She’ll never fit in with the ton, especially if they discover she’s been pretending to be a man within the scientific community.
As Drake’s family makes over Penelope, turning her from naive bluestocking to enchanting debutante, he is put upon to introduce her to society and eligible bachelors. Despite dance lessons and new gowns, Penelope is the opposite of poised and sophisticated as she stumbles from one mishap to the next. Why then, does he find it so hard to resist her?
Drake bounded down the steps. It was unfortunate that Mother’s propensity for rescuing hopeless strays extended to women as well as animals.
He scanned the immediate area, and at first it appeared Miss Clayton had vanished into thin air. Then a slight movement up ahead caught his eye, and he hurried forward. “Miss Clayton, please stop.”
She came to a halt and spun around, taking in great gulps of air. “Please, Your Grace, just let me return to Devonshire. I really do not want to be here.” Her shaky fingers wiped tears from her cheeks, leaving behind a smudge of dirt.
As he grew closer, he could see her squinting, most likely in an attempt to view him since her spectacles were still on the floor in the entrance hall. She gripped her bundle close to her chest, her teeth chattering, whether from the damp night or nerves, he couldn’t tell. But the slight moon reflected her paleness, leaving him wondering if she would swoon any moment.
“We must return to the house.” He reached to grasp her elbow, but she yanked it away.
“No. I don’t belong here, and I just want to go home.” She hiccupped, her huge green eyes pleading with him. Something deep and feral in him softened. The poor girl looked scared to death. And he was sure his rudeness hadn’t helped.
“Please,” he held out his hand. “I wish to apologize for any discomfort I may have caused you. Won’t you return with me to the house? The night air is chilling, and I’m sure you could do with a cup of tea. I know I could.”
She continued to shiver as she stared at him. Apparently coming to a decision, she stiffened her spine, swiped at her tears, and gave him a slight smile. “Yes. A cup of tea would be most welcomed. Thank you.”
Amazed at her quick transformation, he held out his arm and she placed a delicate, albeit, dirty, hand on his sleeve. He tried very hard not to wince, and led her back to the house.
Below is a review that Callie received for The Duke’s Quandry.
I would read this book again, and can hardly wait for the next! Reader: Teresa Williams