All the Duke’s Sins, Book 2
From the publisher:
What happens when an impoverished duke with a reputation for being a rogue collides with a strong-willed heiress who wants to explore the world? An unlikely friendship…and unexpected passion.
Cailin Audley doesn’t fit in with Polite Society. A life spent among the working class taught her to value her independence in a way no newfound fortune or glittering ballroom could ever erase. When a major misstep sees the new heiress whisked away to the English countryside, Cailin soon realizes the vexing lengths her family will go to see her settled. But having risked her heart once before, Cailin has no interest in the men of the ton—especially not the frustratingly charming Duke of St. James.
Courtland Balfour, the Duke of St. James, devoted brother and notorious rogue, despises what he must become—a fortune hunter. But with the ducal coffers drained by his late, spendthrift of a father, Courtland knows his duty lies at the altar and he will do anything to ensure a future for his siblings. Just his luck that the one lady who could make this new fate bearable, who enflames him like no other, is the one woman who wants nothing to do with him or his title.
But when an act of desperation inadvertently lands he and Cailin at the heart of another scandal, Courtland knows better than to waste his chance. Surely he can convince Cailin to love him?
“Packed with familial warmth and peppered with humor…An endearing romance.”—Kirkushttps://amzn.to/3z2CUku
I didn’t read the first book in the series, or the prequel novellas, and that really felt like a disadvantage here. Cailin is one of four illegitimate children of a duke. Their mother, his mistress, apparently never told him that she had children. I guess he visited her so infrequently that he never noticed her pregnancies? I found that a bit odd, but maybe I should have read the earlier books, so that’s on me.
Courtland is the elder identical twin, so he inherits his father’s title and properties. Unfortunately, his father was a terrible person and basically left his family in severe debt. Things are so bad there is talk of debtor’s prison. His twin, Keir, has a very well paying position with another Duke, Cailin’s father. When he asks Keir to try and persuade his children to come visit, Courtland offers to go in his stead, as he more charming than the very serious Keir and has a better shot of getting them to agree. Instead, he is shot at and beaten by Cailin and her brother, so returns home without them.
Keir loses his job because of Courtland and Cailin, and things are not looking good for the family. Courtland knows he needs to marry an heiress, but every time he and Cailin are together, their chemistry just leaps off the page.
So the storyline was a bit confusing for me at times, but I got enough of the gist of it to see where it is going. I didn’t love Cailin, but I liked Courtland a lot, which was a surprise to me. There is no rush to romance here, and the ending felt a bit muddled to me as well. I didn’t love this book (obviously) but I did like it enough to go back and read the first one before passing judgement.
5/2022 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch
DESPERATELY SEEKING A DUCHESS by Christi Caldwell. Atria Books (April 5, 2022). ISBN: 978-1982190484. 336p.