Review – Never Deny a Duke by Madeline Hunter

About the Book:

He is the last duke standing

. . . the sole remaining bachelor of the three self-proclaimed Decadent Dukes. Yet Davina MacCallum’s reasons for searching out the handsome Duke of Brentworth have nothing to do with marriage. Scottish lands were unfairly confiscated from her family by the Crown and given to his. A reasonable man with vast holdings can surely part with one trivial estate, especially when Davina intends to put it to good use. Brentworth, however, is as difficult to persuade as he is to resist.

The Duke of Brentworth’s discretion and steely control make him an enigma even to his best friends. Women especially find him inscrutable and unapproachable—but also compellingly magnetic. So when Davina MacCallum shows no signs of being even mildly impressed by him, he is intrigued. Until he learns that her mission in London involves claims against his estate. Soon the two of them are engaged in a contest that allows no compromise. When duty and desire collide, the best laid plans are about to take a scandalous turn—into the very heart of passion .

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:                                            Never Deny a Duke (Decadent Dukes Society Book 3)

My Review:

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

On his deathbed, Davina MacCallum’s father confides that she is the rightful heiress of a Scottish estate and title that may pass down to a female if there is no male heir.  The estate was confiscated by the British after the battle of Culloden, as it was believed the heir, Davina’s grandfather, died.  Davina travels to London in order to petition the king to return the land, which has since been granted to an English duke, back to her as rightful heir.  Her grandfather, while alive, had already started the process, and provided the previous king with proof, which now, conveniently, has been lost.  Davina won’t give up on her inheritance, as she has noble plans for the estate.  Her father was a doctor, and Davina has assisted him over the years.  She’d love to create a hospital on the land, providing medical care for those who desperately need it.

Eric Marshall, Duke of Brentworth, meets Davina at a social event, and is pleasantly surprised at how much he enjoys her intelligent conversation, and her lack of deference to his title.  She doesn’t fawn or shy away from him, but simply treats him as an interesting man.  At that time, Davina knows that Eric is the duke who now holds title to her estate, though he’s not yet aware of her claim.  When Eric is summoned to visit the king, he learns of Davina’s claim, and immediately changes his opinion of her, thinking her a con artist solely out to steal from him.  He is ordered by the king to find a solution to the “situation” without causing any embarrassment to the crown.  His majesty even suggests that marriage between Davina and Eric may be the ideal resolution.

Davina is very straightforward with Eric, and I love that about her.  She doesn’t play games, but shares the information she has.  Though Eric is still somewhat wary, they come to an agreement to pursue all leads and clues together to find proof of the truth, one way or another.  Their quest eventually leads them back to the Scottish estate, somewhere Eric never wanted to see again.  Years ago, as a very young man, Eric was involved in a tragic event which occurred there.  This event caused Eric to become the staid, upright, and excessively discreet man he is today.

Eric’s resolve is sorely tested as he and Davina become more intimately acquainted and attracted to one another.  They almost become lovers until Eric realizes Davina is still innocent, though she is seemingly worldly and knowledgeable.  Eric is honorable enough to not ruin a young lady, though his backing off leaves Davina extremely frustrated.  I really like that both these characters were level headed, sensible people who acted like adults, despite their being on opposite sides of a significant dispute.  When they finally do become lovers, Eric is adamant that they marry.  After all, it’s what the king wanted, and no matter how their dispute turns out, they will both have the property.

I love the simmering steam between this couple, as well as the respect and consideration they show despite being adversaries.  Eric’s guilt over his youthful misstep has colored his actions for the past ten years.  Davina listened to his story without judgment, and helped him to work through his guilt.  The romance is beautifully written and believable.  NEVER DENY A DUKE is a great read and a satisfying wrap up of the DECADENT DUKES SOCIETY series.  I’ve mentioned many times how much I love a good epilogue, and I adored the wrap up in this book, which gives a heartwarming look into the future, showing all of the desirable dukes living out their fabulous happily-ever-afters.    ~Rose

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