WILL A FEW FLIRTATIOUS STEPS
Harry Norcliffe never wanted to inherit his beloved uncle’s title. The rigidity of the ton, the incessant reminders from his marriage-minded mama that he must settle down with a highborn lady and produce an heir and a spare: it’s all such a dreadful bore. So when his mother asks him to take part in a dancing competition, he patently refuses. The last thing he needs is another chore . . . until a beautiful, brilliant, delightfully tempting maid makes him rethink his position.
LEAD TO A SCANDALOUS SEDUCTION?
Most women would be over the moon to be pursued by a wickedly handsome-not to mention wealthy-duke like Norcliffe. But Lucy will not be any man’s trophy. She could use a friend, though, and what begins innocently soon ignites into desire. As Lucy tries to resist Harry’s scorching kisses, he makes an utterly irresistible offer. Enter the dance contest with him, and win a prize that could change her life forever . . . if falling in love doesn’t change it first.
Publisher and Release Date: Forever, February 2015
RHR Classifications: Historical Romance
Time and Setting: London 1822
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating: 3 Stars
Review by Natalie
Harry Norcliffe’s beloved uncle has unexpectedly passed away; but instead of receiving condolences and sympathy from his social acquaintances he has been busy ignoring their callous congratulations on his luck at inheriting his uncle’s title and fortune. Dodging several match-making mamas – including his own – has been Harry’s only priority in the past few months. But as he returns to England, looking for solace in familiar surroundings and friendly faces, he realizes that he is the last bachelor in his close-knit circle. He now feels the weight of his duty to produce an heir to continue his family name.
Lucy Longmore has been an outsider all her life but that hasn’t stopped her from trying to make her way in the world; although admittedly her current predicament, suddenly unemployed and acting as caregiver to her blind grandmother, seems daunting. Lucy has been struggling to make ends meet and to fit in for so long that she has trained herself to keep her eyes on the prize. When things suddenly take a turn for the worse she scrambles to find suitable employment in a last ditch effort to keep her head above water. Working as a maidservant is the best she can hope for while still struggling to find clients as a dance instructor.
When Harry saves Lucy from a beggar trying to steal her wages he is immediately taken with her self-assuredness although not so impressed with her self-defense skills. Harry can’t seem to get the red-headed beauty off his mind and as the two keep running into each other he begins to believe that married life might not be so terrible after all. Lucy, on the other hand, is skeptical of such a fine man showing interest in her, a common maid. She knows that she must stay level headed if she is to resist the temptation of such a charming gentleman.
Lucy and Harry are two very modern characters. Vicky Dreiling writes Harry as unprepared and more than a little unsure of himself in regards to his new title, although, he had to have been aware that as the only male heir the day when he would have to shoulder that responsibility was fast approaching. Lucy is an educated, possible noble-woman disguised as a maid with a past that has caused her to build up walls to protect her from society. And in the middle of all this is the ton’s version of Dancing with the Stars, thought up and staged by Harry’s mother for no other reason than to catch a suitable wife for her son.
I was not a huge fan of Ms Dreiling’s writing style but I did like the characters she put together and the plot that she wove through the novel. Each time Lucy and Harry were together, we were shown a little more of what motivated them, but many of the scenes between the pair had a tendency to drag on. Lucy insisted on stating her belief that their social rankings were too disparate for there to be any chance of a real relationship to anyone who would listen… multiple times… at length… which had a tendency to make me feel a little less sympathetic towards her. Several times when reading both her spoken dialog and internal dialog I wanted to shout “Okay enough already – so if you are too different to be together then either do something about it or stop complaining!”.
Harry has several excellent scenes where he stands up to both his mother and to Lucy while trying to convince them both that Lucy is the woman for him. He also takes some actions that, while not very likely of a gentleman of his standing in the period, would make any longtime reader of Regency romances say “finally – a guy who gets things done!” but even so, he’s more charming gentleman than Devilish Duke. The ending is not surprising, given the clues that have been left through the novel about Lucy’s family background, but it works well to tie up their relationship and left me feeling content for their future. I liked What a Devilish Duke Desires for the characters and plot but definitely felt that some of the conversations and internal dialog could have been cut without losing any essential details.