Duke with Benefitsby Manda Collins
Series: Studies in Scandal #2
Published on June 27, 2017 by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Genres: Adult, Historical Romance, Romance
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Book Depository / Amazon / Barnes & Noble
LADY + DUKE = TRUE LOVE?
Lady Daphne Forsyth is a brilliant mathematician with a burning passion for puzzles. When she learns that the library belonging to her benefactress houses the legendary Cameron Cipher―an encrypted message that, once solved, holds the key to great riches―Daphne is on the case. Unfortunately, her race to unlock the cipher’s code is continually thwarted by a deliciously handsome distraction she hadn’t counted on. . .and cannot resist.
Dalton Beauchamp, the Duke of Maitland, is curious as to why Daphne is spending so much time snooping around his aunt’s bookshelves. He’s even more intrigued by her bold yet calculating manner: She is unapologetic about her secret quest. . .and the fiery attraction that develops between them both. But how can they concentrate on solving a perplexing enigma once the prospect of true love enters the equation?
Having met Daphne, the leading lady in Duke with Benefits, in Ready Set Rogue, I wasn’t really sure how this book would play out. See, she’s not your typical heroine and that’s not a bad thing. Lady Daphne is very… honest. Blunt. Doesn’t really understand social customs of conversation in any way and I wasn’t really a fan of the way she was portrayed in the last book. I love the idea of an honest heroine, one who doesn’t stand for societal expectations, but I think the author portrayed her in a bad light.
So going into this book, I was a tad worried. Before I say anything further, I should mention that I actually attempted to read this book without reading the previous one and that does not work… unless you skip the first chapter of Duke with Benefits. But I don’t recommend reading out of order as this book is closely connected to the first in the series.
Much like the last one, this book uses murder as a way to bring the two lovebirds together in a quite predictable manner. They are even caught in a storm, resulting in the same outcome as with Ivy and Quill last time around. It makes me wonder if there will be a book in this series that doesn’t feature murder and a compromising storm…
I liked getting to know Daphne better, seeing how she thought and unraveling her past more. Her intelligence has created “holes” in her knowledge that most of those around her don’t have and it makes socializing difficult, a point that’s brought up over and over again. I wasn’t fond of the idea that intelligence means a lack of social graces so that irked me a bit, but her character on its own was someone with a strong personality who knows what she wants but also has a lot to learn.
As for her love interest, I liked Maitland much more than Quill. It was clear he cared for Daphne but he knew when to back off, when to ask for help, and when to take the lead. They had a good back-and-forth that showed how one complimented the other which was well done. The fact that he didn’t just jump on Daphne the first chance he had and wanted to respect her earned him brownie points in my books since I’ve read far too many romances where the man seems to have no self control around anything wearing skirts.
I definitely liked the romance in this one better and I think the writing was, overall, better too. It’s promising for the rest of the series, and I’m especially excited to see what’s in store for the other two bluestockings living in the house. I just hope that neither of their books involve a murder or storm.