Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens will never be the same.
After England’s victory in the Battle of Waterloo, the Prince Regent arranges a series of lavish celebrations at London’s notorious Vauxhall Gardens. The royal festivities bring together the rich and the desperate, the criminal and the lordly…and allow four very different dukes to find the love of a lifetime.
A proper viscount is kidnapped by a duke of the criminal underworld, only to encounter a mysterious woman from his past. A retired prizefighter, once known as the Duke of the Ring, stakes his reputation on a scrappy young boxer for the sake of a long-lost love. A traveler who inherited a dukedom needs a tightrope dancer’s help with a fake engagement that just might turn real. And the buccaneer son of a royal duke goes hunting for a respectable, highborn wife to salvage his scandalous reputation.
Let the pleasures begin…
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The Dukes of Vauxhall
THE DUKES OF VAUXHALL is a collection of four concurrent short stories taking place, at least partially, in the famous (or infamous) Pleasure Gardens at the time the end of the war was being celebrated. Not all of these tales are of the typical highborn duke, but rather a variety of the noble and the not-so-noble, and undoubtedly with unique storylines. Shana Galen’s is a somewhat dark story of lovers from two different worlds. Christi Caldwell’s lovely story is about forgiveness and a second chance at love. Theresa Romain’s touching story is also about second chances, and choices. Vanessa Kelly’s delightful story is about opposites attracting, and having to battle opposition to be together. You expect quality from these four talented ladies, and they deliver in this most enjoyable collection. Recommended.
TAKEN BY THE DUKE by Shana Galen
Henry and Kate were childhood friends with respectable families. Henry grew up to become a barrister, then unexpectedly inherited a viscountcy. Kate’s father took a spiral, and her family lost everything, and Kate made a decision to take a much different path into a life of vice and crime. When Henry’s new title forces him to become the party planner for the Regent’s birthday celebration at Vauxhall, his preparations put a crimp in the style of the criminal element. The reigning crime lord, known as the Duke of Vauxhall, has Henry kidnapped in order to lay down the law to him. Imagine Henry’s surprise to find that the “Duke” is really his long lost childhood friend, Kate. Though hardened by her current life, Kate chooses to only warn Henry instead of seriously harming, or even killing him. Their continued meetings cause a strong attraction to develop, which really was born years ago as they were youngsters just beginning to mature. How could there possibly be any future between a respected peer and a wanted crime lord?
FIGHTING FOR HIS LADY by Christi Caldwell
Patience is the daughter of a former fighter, now a renowned instructor. When a young man, Godrick, comes to train with him, Patience soon finds herself falling in love. Over the course of his training, they plan to marry and build a future together. When it turns out that Godrick has neglected to share the truth of his birth and his availability, Patience is devastated and sends him away. Godrick’s path took him to success and wealth, while Patience’s family is living a threadbare existence. Now, ten years later, Patience’s younger brother has a shot at a large prize in a bout with the top fighter around, but he’s not quite ready. Godrick is now an instructor, and Patience knows that he is the only one who can prepare her brother in the short time left. She swallows her pride, and seeks out Godrick to ask this favor. Over the course of time, neither Godrick nor Patience has loved anyone else or has forgotten the other. Can past wrongs be forgiven, and can this couple realize that they belong together forever?
THE PRODIGAL DUKE by Theresa Romain
Leo and Poppy are great friends, and are headed on the path to happy-ever-after, when Leo’s older brother, the duke, declares that he intends to marry Poppy. Wanting her to have the best, Leo leaves the country, not returning for six years, and then, only at his inheriting the dukedom upon his brother’s death. Poppy turned down the duke’s proposal and has never married, and is now earning a living as Madame Haut, tightrope walker at Vauxhall Gardens. When Leo finds Poppy, it’s only to learn that she is pregnant and unmarried. As soon as she has sufficient funds, she plans to leave the country to raise her child in France. Any dreams of a reconciliation are gone, as how can a duke possibly claim another’s child (and possibly the next duke) as his own?
THE BUCCANEER DUKE by Vanessa Kelly
Roman is the illegitimate son of a royal duke, who has spent years as a privateer. Now his father wants him to settle down and find a high ranking noble lady to marry. While Antonia is an heiress, there are also rumors about her birth, and she has a direct and quirky personality. At first glance, Roman dismisses her, but they more they meet, the more he’s determined to have her. Antonia’s forthrightness is purely delightful, as is their attraction to each other. Their conversations are guaranteed to bring a smile and you can’t help but root for them as they try to convince Antonia’s watchdog father and the duke that they belong together.