Jun 21 2017 8:30am

First Look: Manda Collins’ Duke With Benefits (June 27, 2017)

Duke with Benefits by Manda Collins

Manda Collins
Duke with Benefits (Studies in Scandal #2)
St. Martin's Press / June 27, 2017 / $7.99 print & digital

It’s no secret I love Historical Romance and Duke with Benefits by Manda Collins fits the bill perfectly.  It’s the second in the Scandalous Studies series and I’m already hooked. We first meet with the Duke of Maitland, Dalton Beauchamp, and Lady Daphne Forsythe in the first book. And I already love our heroine, quirks and all. She is a bit on the Asperger’s scale, needing to learn social interaction. However, she is not mean spirited and a wiz at math. Despite her inability to navigate social interactions, like Maitland, we can’t help but love her. She is beautiful, of course, but her beauty goes beyond the skin and we quickly realize how eager she is to learn about her social quirks, and how aware she is of her social faux pas.

And don’t we all want a man as patient and loving as Maitland? Add to this a mystery—a childhood acquaintance to Daphne is killed and the pages turn rapidly.

“I am not angry with you, Daphne,” he said moving to kneel before her, which should have made her uncomfortable, but instead made her heart beat faster. “I am angry with him. For making you feel threatened. “For using you to make money because he was too damned lousy with a hand of cards to make up for himself.  But I am most enraged at him because he forced you to blackmail him in order to protect yourself from being sold like a brood mare to the highest bidder.”

In addition to math and numbers, Daphne is brilliant with Ciphers. And when Lady Beauchamp dies, she leaves her home–as well as mysteries abounding—to four women, who are in the top of their field, who excel at different areas. A cipher with lots of gold is for Daphne to solve, although the way her childhood acquaintance dies is skeptical. Naturally, since she said she would want him to die after he made untoward advances on her as a child, she is one of the main suspects. Yet we know she does not commit the murder. And together they are perfect. Now it's up to Maitland to fight for his love and for Daphne to not be so proud and pigheaded.

He dipped his head so that she had no choice but to look at him. As shed noticed before, eye contact with Maitland did not fill her with anxiety as it did with other people. Still, her heart pounded harder.

“I told him we were betrothed,” Maitland said in a low voice that vibrated along her spine like a struck tuning fork, “because I wanted to.”

 Will she solve the cipher and will the Duke make her fall in love with him? (she originally propositions him in a very logical way, yet he turns her down not because he’s not attracted to her but because he wants her as his very own. You’ll just have to read to find out.

But the notion that someone would feel angry on her behalf was so foreign she couldn’t quite comprehend it.

Yes Daphne, that is love. And there is more than one social lesson to learn. Moreover, there are at least two more books to this series and I am dying to find out how the other two scholars will find their Happily Even Afters. Collins' writing only gets better. She’s become a go-to for historical romance and I’ve yet to be disappointed. Thank you for another great read and I can’t wait for the next in the series to be released.

Note: An earlier version of this post misspelled Asperger's, but has been corrected. 


Learn more about or pre-order a copy of Duke with Benefits by Manda Collins, available June 27, 2017: 

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H&H Editor Picks:

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Tanya is a fanatic of all things romance, dabbles in Happily Ever Afters under the pen name of Lily Kay, and teaches sociology part-time. You can follow her on twitter @tamushamu, @AuthorLilyKay, or on

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
1. Blue
It's Asperger's, not Ausberger's. That's kind of important to people.
Jennifer Proffitt
2. JenniferProffitt
Hi, @Blue. H&H Moderator here! Thanks for pointing out this typo. We're sorry for the mistake, and we've fixed it in the article.
3. TanyaLK
Hi @Blue.
I apologize for the typo
I am recovering from a brain injury and used the spell check...I will make the changes in my spell check and grammerly.
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