The Duke In My Bed (The Heirs’ Club of Scoundrels #1)
St Martin’s Paperbacks
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley
Bray Drakestone is a member of the Heirs Club, reserved for those who are to inherit titles. He’s a rake and a hellion of course and he cannot resist a dare to race from another member of the club. When the carriage race ends in tragedy, Bray finds himself promising his friend that he will take care of his five sisters and marry the eldest. The promise is heard by other members of society and it isn’t long before the entire Upper Ten Thousand know about it.
Two years later and Miss Louisa Prim, the eldest of the five sisters is still mourning the loss of her parents and brother. The title her brother Nathan was to inherit has gone to an uncle who isn’t entirely impressed about having to take care of five girls. Nevertheless Louisa has convinced him to allow the girls to come to London so that she may supervise the sister below her in a season. Louisa has long resigned herself to the fact that she will not marry until she sees all of her sisters settled. The best chance of a match for them is in London and their uncle agrees so that he may relinquish his duties.
Louisa hasn’t even met the man who promised her brother he would marry her two years ago but it doesn’t matter. She won’t marry him anyway. When they finally do cross paths, Louisa finds him arrogant and knows that his tolerance of her sisters is low. When the Duke wagers that not only will she marry him, but she will ask him she knows that she must think of her sisters first. Because while there’s no denying that the Duke is tempting, Louisa wants two things out of life….a marriage for love and to always take care of her sisters. And it doesn’t seem like the Duke will be able to grant her either.
The Duke In My Bed is the first book in a new series based around members of a notorious club in London where the members are all heirs to a title. At the beginning of the book, Bray has not come into the Dukedom yet and is challenged to a race by another member which ends in tragedy. He makes a promise and two years later, now the Duke of Braystone, it seems all of London is waiting for him to announce his engagement to Miss Louisa Prim. Although Bray knows a man doesn’t go back on his promise and that he will most likely have to marry the woman, he’s definitely trying to wait and see if the anticipation just goes away or if there’s some way that the promise can be rendered null and void. Basically, society isn’t going to let it just ‘go away’ and it goes all the way to the very top when Bray is surprised to find some pressure being exerted on him to marry Louisa by a very unexpected person.
When Louisa refuses him, Bray is incensed. Even though he doesn’t want to get married, the idea that he could be rejected bothers him and he finds himself telling Louisa that she will propose to him, which sounded like a really fun sort of story line. I was sort of looking forward to seeing Bray taken down a bit and how that would play out but I have to admit, it didn’t really seem as entertaining as I expected. A lot of the story seems to revolve around Louisa’s sisters and they’re screechy and a bit annoying, particularly the younger ones. Louisa seems to find it impossible that people would not be as enamored with them as she is and when Bray winces at their shrieks or seems a bit reluctant to include them in everything, she’s pretty judgy. There’s a time when one of them does do something rather sweet to him and he’s not quite sure how to say thank you which is a product of his upbringing, not because he doesn’t like what has been done for him and Louisa uses that as some sort of reason they could never be married. I know she feels a responsibility to her sisters and that if she did marry, her husband would be at least financially responsible for them until they each married. The youngest is about 6 I think, so this would be a long term commitment. But Louisa seems to expect that Bray love them immediately and treat them as she does which is a bit unfair as they aren’t his sisters and he barely knows them. He tolerates them at first, quite well really and as the book progresses he comes to care about them, which is rather normal. It’s Louisa that seems to have expectations that are quite high, which means that she tends to get herself disappointed which is the conflict of the story.
The vested interest society and more had in the pending marriage between Bray and Louisa felt a bit far fetched but it did add another amusing note to the story. All in all this was a pretty decent read, I’d be interested in checking out the next in the series and seeing how it goes.
Book #265 of 2014