I want to start this review off with a disclaimer. I read and reviewed the first book in this series. Ready Set Rogue and I loved it, in the first book we meet the four Bluestocking Heiress who inherit a house filled to the brim with not only Mystery but with anything and everything a Bluestocking could want. Now, in the first book we were introduced to the ladies and even though she was a secondary character at the time I became a huge fan of Lady Daphne. So, when I saw the next book was her story I pre-ordered it without a second thought.. I went into this book with high expectations and already loving the characters. I was not disappointed and I don’t think you will be either.
Lady Daphne Forsyth is a mathematical genius and one of four bluestocking heiresses who inherited Beauchamp house from Lady Celeste Beauchamp. But along with house filled everything that would appeal to a bluestocking’s heart Lady Celeste also left Daphne a mystery the Cameron Cipher which leads to an unimageable pile of treasure. Not only does she have her fellow Bluestockings to help her but she has Dalton Beauchamp, the Duke of Maitland nephew to the late Lady Celeste.
Daphne and Dalton are attracted to each other which is very clear and Daphne being Daphne just tells him out right she wants to sleep with him which I can’t blame her. Daphne is known for basically not having a filter so she tells the Duke outright “you like me, I like you let’s bang” okay she didn’t say that exactly but still, naturally he’s shocked and goes on to say he won’t bed her unless they marry. But my girl Daphne is not having it she sees no reason why they need to marry. At that I was like freak in couch jumping Tom Cruise because let’s face it not every heroine wants to be married so she can bang a hot duke. But he refuses and Daphne and I were both like “why?”
The Duke is not only a very honorable man so he goes and drops the “do you know how many other girls would want to be a Duchess” **raises hand** because the man has point… and I want to be a duchess, can you say life goals? Besides that little bit of conceded show The Duke has a heart of gold that is enough to melt the panties off any girl, example? when he was boy he wanted to be a stable hand but now that he had come into his title he has expanded the stables to include…. are you ready? A place for aging horses and horses bound for the slaughter house to live out the rest of their days. Oh, My God he is just too perfect!
I loved the how the book revolved around code breaking and explained how Daphne could break a cipher, she had done a series of them years ago for a newspaper contest. While we started to see the bond between the heiress in the first book this book highlighted their friendship even more and if you love when your heroines bond with others then you are going to love this book because what better way to bond then over solving a mystery for hidden treasure and a murder…. Oh, did I forget to mention that people get murdered?! Well now, how could any good mystery not involve a murder… or two.
Topes you might like Fake fiancé, smart fearless heroines, female friendships. This book would fall under the Romance/ Mystery category. Also, this book isn’t overly sex filled so for those looking for more chemistry/banter and adventure this book is for you.
One last thing in the first book you could see the beginnings of the bond between the heiress forming but now in this second book you can see it more clearly. I know that female friendships are something that some readers look for, and this book has it and the best part? These women are bonding over more than just dresses and men!
While you have probably guessed, I loved this book and loved it hard. It’s priced at $7.99 and it is well worth the price. I am so excited to see what the author has in store for the remaining heiresses!
Below you will find an exclusive excerpt graciously provided by the Author and Publisher!
“There you are, my dear,” said the Earl of Forsyth with a beaming smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes.
Maitland saw at once that Daphne favored him. Her green eyes were the same shade as his, though there were lines of dissipation bracketing the earl’s. And though his expertly cropped blond hair was shot through with silver, what remained of its original color was the same shade as hers. But whereas Daphne’s gaze was focused off to the left of whomever she conversed with, like a bird hovering just over a branch, Forsyth’s speared one with cold calculation. As he did to Daphne now.
“You are looking well, Daphne,” the earl continued, stepping forward to embrace his daughter, who looked as uncomfortable with the contact as Maitland had ever seen her. “The sea air agrees with you. As I knew it would.”
“The sea is very beautiful,” Daphne replied woodenly. “Why are you here, Father?”
“Is that any way to greet your Papa?” the earl chided, stepping back from her and wandering farther into the room, standing to stare out at the gardens below through the window. “I’ve traveled all the way from London to see you. And this lovely estate. I must admit that when I first learned of your inheritance, I thought it was all some sort of trick. But you would have your own way and leave the loving bosom of your family no matter what I said. Now that I’m here, though, and see it in person, I must admit that it’s a lovely spot. And your chaperone, Lady Serena, is quite beautiful, isn’t she? A widow, I take it?”
His jaw clenched at the man’s mention of Serena, and Maitland thought perhaps it was time to announce himself. Daphne seemed not to realize he’d followed her in, and the earl was too busy waxing rhapsodic over the beauties of Beauchamp House.
“I don’t believe we’ve met, Forsyth,” he said forcefully, stepping up to stand side by side with Daphne. He gave a slight bow, perhaps not quite as deep as was warranted, but not caring. “The Duke of Maitland. I am a friend of your daughter’s, you might say.”
What he meant by that last, he could not say, but the man made every bit of protective instinct within him go on the alert. He was her father, but all the same Maitland knew that Daphne was no safer with him than she would have been with Sommersby if he still lived.
At the sound of the duke’s voice, Lord Forsyth turned with almost comical haste from the window and stared. For the barest flicker, he looked angry. Well, if he were upset at the knowledge that his daughter was not without friends, then he would simply have to swallow it. Because Maitland was damned if he’d leave her alone with the fellow.
“Duke,” Lord Forsyth said with a tilt of his head, “I am pleased to make your acquaintance. I was a friend of your father’s, and had little notion I’d be meeting you here. He was a good man, your father.”
His father had been nothing of the sort, but Maitland was hardly going to discuss it with Forsyth.
“I am here visiting my sister, Lady Serena,” Maitland said coolly, letting the other man know in tone rather than words that he had not appreciated the older man’s speculative words about her earlier. “And of course my cousin, Kerr. He only recently married another of the heiresses here, and resides here with her.”
Forsyth’s eyes narrowed at the implication that Daphne was well protected should her father wish to cause trouble. At least that was the message Maitland was endeavoring to send. And by the looks of it, Forsyth read him loud and clear.
“Capital, capital,” the earl said with false cheer. “A merry party you must all make here. I had no idea you were in such fine company here, Daphne. No notion at all.”
“Because we have not spoken since I left,” Daphne said, looking from her father to Maitland then back again, as if wondering what went on between them. “And now, father, I really must ask you to leave. I have a great deal of work to do and . . .”
“Don’t be absurd, Daphne,” her father said with a shake of his head. “I only just arrived. And there is something very important I must speak to you about.” He turned to Maitland with a raised brow. “I’m sure you’ll excuse us, Duke. I’m afraid what I need to tell my daughter is private family business.”
Maitland was opening his mouth to tell the man he would leave Daphne alone with him when hell froze over, when Daphne did it for him.
“Maitland stays,” she said, reaching out to grasp him by the arm. It was as much of a cry for help as he’d ever thought he’d see from her. Wordlessly, he slipped her arm into his, as if they were about to promenade round the room. He covered her hand with his, keenly aware of the thread of tension in her.
Once more, the earl’s eyes narrowed, and he turned an assessing gaze on Maitland, perhaps realizing for the first time the threat coming at him from that direction.
His jaw clenched, Forsyth said grimly, “Very well. If you wish your friend to witness our dirty linen, so be it.” As if needing to be in motion in order to speak, the earl began to pace the area between the window and the fireplace. “You know, Daphne, you left me without any obvious means of recouping what I lost from years of paying that tutor of yours, old man Sommersby.”
“You agreed to pay him,” Daphne said tightly. “After I threatened to expose . . .”
Hastily, Forsyth continued, “And I am currently in need of funds. As such, I must insist you return to London with me for the time being and meet a particular gentleman who has expressed interest in marrying you. Though his birth is not as high as yours, he’s quite wealthy and will make you a good husband, I trust. He’s assured me he has no concern about your odd ways, if you’re as beautiful as your portrait.”
Before Maitland could burst out with the string of invectives the other man’s pronouncement inspired in him, Daphne said, “I cannot marry this person. I’ve never even met him. You promised me that I would not have to marry someone for money as long as I won enough at the tables. I did so. You promised me, father.”
“I never actually promised, Daphne.” Forsyth said with a shake of his head. “If you chose to interpret it as such, that is not my fault. Now, go pack your things.”
Daphne’s hand on Maitland’s arm gripped him tightly. And before he even knew what he was doing, he said, “I’m afraid that’s impossible, Forsyth. Daphne is staying here.”
“I don’t know who you think you are, Maitland,” said the earl through clenched teeth, “but I am her father, and I am well within my rights to take her back to London. Now, kindly take your hands off of her and let her go pack.”
“It might once have been your right, Forsyth,” Maitland said coldly, “but Lady Daphne is my betrothed now and as such, she will remain here. With me.”
Copyright © 2017 by Manda Collins and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Press.