Oct 3 2017 12:05pm

First Look: How to Find a Duke in Ten Days Anthology (October 3, 2017)

How to Find a Duke in Ten Days by Grace Burrowes, Shana Galen & Carolyn JewelGrace Burrowes, Shana Galen, Carolyn Jewel
How to Find a Duke in Ten Days
Grace Burrowes Publishing / October 3, 2017 / $7.99 print, $3.99 digital

The Duke in How to Find a Duke in Ten Days is “The Duke’s Book of Knowledge,” a long-lost Medieval manuscript commissioned by the Duc de Medici in 1481. Professor Peebles has made finding the book his life’s work and now he is retiring. Three of his former students and fellow members of the Bibliomania Club are on a quest to find the manuscript in time for the professor’s retirement gala. The only problem is that they only have ten days in which to do so, and each finds an unexpected love in the search.

In Grace Burrowes’ “The Will to Love,” Seton Avery, Earl of Ramsdale, seeks the help of Philomena Peebles, the Professor’s daughter. Ramsdale has known Philomena for years and barely spared her a glance. But now…

When faced with a linguistic challenge, she was not the drab Miss Peebles of Ramsdale’s memory, but rather, some mythical creature who combined intellect, determination, and – confound it, when had this happened? – curves.

Ramsdale believes that his eccentric uncle knew the location of The Duke and left clues as to its whereabouts in his rambling will. Philomena just happens to be an expert in the arcane language of Medieval law Latin and agrees to translate the will. In addition to finally noticing Philomena’s curves, Ramsdale is besotted with her mind.

He knelt before her, so they were face-to-face. “If you shout erotic Latin poetry when at your pleasures, I will answer in Middle French. When you publish your first treatise on alternative translations of the Magna Carta, I will buy a hundred copies to donate to universities the world over. Your brilliance doesn’t intimidate me, your sense of focus sparks only my admiration. If your father’s colleagues or students feel threatened by your capabilities, that’s a reflection on their petty conceits, not on you. I can’t wait to play chess with you.”

It is a pleasure to see Philomena finally get the recognition her genius deserves and the love she craves. And Ramsdale is a peach.

Shana Galen wins the award for the best title with “How to Steal a Duke (in Ten Days, Give or Take a Few Days, But Definitely in Less than a Fortnight)." Dominick Spencer, Duke of Tremayne, has a lead on the whereabouts of The Duke—it is said to be in the possession of a reclusive earl who lives in an ancient fortress in Cornwall. What Tremayne needs is a cat capable of climbing the fortress’s walls. He finds his cat scrambling down a sheer wall in London, a thief exiting the premises of her latest job. He saves her from the local constabulary and offers her a job, though she is naturally concerned about his true motives.

“You mistake me, Miss Cat. I do not want your body. You hold absolutely no appeal for me. I want to buy your skills as a thief. I have a. . .job, so to speak, and I need someone with your abilities. You acquire the object I need, and I pay you. We part ways and never need meet again.” She stared at him for a very long time, so long, in fact, that he realized he’d been disingenuous, inadvertently, when he’d said she held no appeal for him. Her eyes were really quite beautiful…

Rosalyn Dashner isn’t a thief by choice. Her gentry family has fallen on very hard times and she does what she can to help care for her sick brother. Her circumstances have not entirely beaten her down and she retains her sense of humor and cheeky ability to continually flummox the stuffy duke.

“I do think you are the only person who has ever teased me, Miss Dashner.” “That is a tragedy, Your Grace. You should be teased more. Anything that makes you smile is to be encouraged. You have a very attractive smile.” His expression was one of absolute shock, and before she could laugh or he could say something to annoy her, she rose and strode back to the carriage. She had never met a man she could so easily surprise or whose reaction she enjoyed as much.

Tremayne needs to be shaken out of his self-satisfied complacency and Ros needs stability. They are perfect for each other.

Carolyn Jewel’s “The Viscount’s First Kiss” features Harry Fordyce, the new Viscount Daunt, and Magdalene Carter in a sweet friends-to-lovers story. Magdalene’s late husband was good friends with Harry and the three of them have a long history together founded on their shared love of rare books. Daunt seeks Magdalene’s help in searching for The Duke, which he hopes is a part of three vast libraries he has purchased. Now all the books must be searched. It is a needle in a haystack proposition, but one at which they are both determined to succeed. Magdalene finds her feelings of friendship for Harry morphing into something more.

For nearly ten years, she had lived happily as the wife of Angus Carter. Content and happy and in love. Daunt had been her friend. And they had got along famously. She appreciated his fine mind, his humor, and, if she were honest, his good looks. But now that she was a widow of nearly two years, there was a hole in the boundaries of their friendship, and she was passionately in fear of doing something that would upend the delicate balance of whatever their friendship was turning into.

Harry has been in love with Magdalene for years and has sublimated those feelings for the sake of the friendship he shared with both Angus and Magdalene. But, now that Angus is gone, he has dared to hope that Magdalene would come to love him. They finally give in to their mutual attraction, but Magdalene’s joy in the new relationship torments her.

She wiped her eyes. “I don’t know what to do with these feelings. He’s dead, Fordyce – Daunt.” She rested her forehead against his shoulder and gripped the front of his coat. “He’s gone, and I miss him every day, and now there’s you, and I want to make love to you again, and if that’s so, did I ever really love Angus?” “You did. You know you did. You still do. Nothing changes that.”

Harry is so sweet with his hopeful love and Magdalene is such a sympathetic character in her tentative steps toward a new love. They were my favorite couple in the anthology, though all are fun.

Three unexpected loves all wrapped up in a hundred-year-old mystery. How to Find a Duke in Ten Days is a winner.


Learn more about or order a copy of How to Find a Duke in Ten Days by Grace Burrowes, Shana Galen, Carolyn Jewel, available now:

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Cheryl Sneed reviews for Rakehell.com

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Jennifer Proffitt
2. JenniferProffitt
I love the idea that The Duke is a manuscript rather than a person--what a fun twist!
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