Daring the Duke
A beautiful thief who has never been apprehended…A daring duke who always catches his prey…
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Quickie Book Info
Daring the Duke
Back cover blurb
A beautiful thief who has never been apprehended…
For years, dire circumstances forced Audrey Kendrick to lead a dangerous double life as London’s most legendary thief. Finally free, she has escaped her past – or so she believes, until a family crisis draws her back. But one man is more determined than ever to bring her to justice – and the dashing, somewhat notorious Duke of Marston has set the perfect trap.
A daring duke who always catches his prey…
A gentleman spy, Stephen Chalmers is as close as a kiss to unmasking the brazen thief who has long been the scourge of the London ton. He suspects the spirited Miss Kendrick of being the infamous Hermes, but the duke never dreamed that, by keeping the remarkable lady near, he would himself fall victim to her sensual charms. Laying Audrey’s mysteries bare will only place his own dangerous secrets – and his heart – in jeopardy. For there is peril in the passion that enflames them both… and no risk is greater than love.
Fast-paced and action-packed, this is a rip-roaring tale filled with excitement and sizzle. The cat-and-mouse game reaches new heights as Mallory lures her characters into an ever-tightening net and her readers into a story they will hate to see end.
-Kathe Robin at Romantic Times (Four Star Review)
Engaging characters and just the right blend of mystery and romance make Daring the Duke a pleasure; don’t miss it.
-Sandra Brill – Read the full review at Romance Reviews Today
Daring the Duke kept me quickly turning the pages to discover what would happen next. With the right blend of humor, mystery, and romance, you won’t want to miss this wonderfully entertaining book.
-Cybil Solyn – Read the full review at Rakehell
Fast-paced and page-turning, DARING THE DUKE is a Regency historical that will engage the reader on every level. Stephen’s an enigmatic and heart-stopping hero. Suspenseful and sensual, DARING THE DUKE is pure historical entertainment!
-Debora Hosey from The Romance Reader’s Connection
Anne Mallory’s Daring the Duke is a triumphant follow-up to her critically- acclaimed debut novel, Masquerading the Marquess. Anne has crafted yet another wonderful story of danger and desire with two vibrant characters, Audrey and Stephen. Daring the Duke is filled with wit, action, plot twists, and romance. Don’t miss this great read!
-Anne Lum from Writers Unlimited
Daring the Duke by Anne Mallory is a fast-paced, spine tingling romp through regency England. Stephan and Audrey are strong lead characters who capture the reader and instantly draw you into their adventures. I loved this story and could not put the book down until I had reached the last sentence and all the answers had been revealed. I recommend this book to everyone that enjoys a story where the main characters are unique, different and completely outside the norm for the regency time period.
-Char – Read the full review at Romance Junkies
A page-turning, suspenseful Regency, Daring the Duke is irresistible. Watching them juggle their various secrets is vastly entertaining, and the electricity between Stephen and Audrey practically jumps off the page. Only her second book and Ms. Mallory is proving to be a formidable storyteller.
-Suan Wilson – Read the full review at Fresh Fiction
Daring the Duke is a fabulous Regency romantic suspense due to a terrific triangular cat, rat, and mouse game between the key threesome.
-Harriet Klausner – Read the full review at The Best Reviews
Anne was considering one huge excerpt from Daring the Duke, but she likes to read lots of little snippets. The five excerpts she picked have a little bit of everything from the book: intrigue, romance, whimsy, mystery and a touch of sexiness. Enjoy!
Music drifted through the room, but Stephen was no longer listening. The vision that had just entered the ballroom blotted the noise. Wearing a white-trimmed lavender gown she stood elegantly next to a well-dressed gentleman who looked slightly out of place. Long white gloves covered her hands and lower arms. Raven hair was pinned to her crown, loose strands escaping down her shoulders. He couldn’t see her eyes clearly from the distance, but he knew they were silver blue. She appeared to be simpering, but her eyes were too quick, too assessing to be submissive.
Those icy blue eyes took in the gilt coverings, the heirloom candlesticks, the expensive paintings, and the bounty of silver. And then her gaze assessed each person she was introduced to in the same manner. Stephen would bet she could estimate the earnings and holdings of each person within a few hundred pounds of their actual worth.
Anticipation surged through him.
The pair moved into the room and chatted with various guests who approached them. The lady’s eyes kept moving, constantly assessing, weighing and judging.
He wanted to push through the crowd, but instead he made a slow circuit and watched her work. She knew how to handle herself in a ballroom. Her behavior was correct, her manner changing between a blushing young woman and a lofty maiden depending on the person introduced.
Stephen switched his gaze to her companion, who seemed ill at ease in the formal setting. His clothes were well tailored but he fidgeted as if he were desperate to remove his cravat. The woman soaked all of the attention, effectively deflecting any from the man, her supposed stepfather. Clever girl.
Audrey peered at Stephen. He was such a hard man to read, constantly hiding behind his winks and grins.
He whispered in her ear, “Liddendock’s parties are a bit racy.”
The warmth of his breath caused a shiver. “I know. But the party goers will be more interested in their own pursuits than in me.”
“Nobody likes a person who doesn’t participate.”
She frowned. “Well, I’m not going to participate in their sordid affairs, so we’ll just have to be unobtrusive.”
“The Duke of Marston, unobtrusive? Never.”
“Come now. No one even has to know it’s you.”
She sensed his smile and wanted to throttle him. Of course, they would know. The ton wasn’t brainless when it came to social intrigue. Only when it came to everything worthwhile.
“Wonderful. I suppose that means I’m your strumpet for the night.”
“What a lovely offer. I accept.”
“That wasn’t an offer!” She lowered her voice. It had gone high. “That wasn’t an offer, and you know it.”
“I think it was an excellent offer. And I’ve already accepted.”
The window jiggled. Stephen turned in surprise as Audrey Kendrick hoisted herself up and over the sill with ease.
“What the hell are you doing?”
She stood and brushed her trousers. Trousers that clung to her in all the right places. What was she doing crawling through his window in those things?
“I’m here to see you.”
“What’s wrong with the front door?”
Her brows puckered. “I didn’t feel like using it. And I’m not dressed properly.”
“Keeping in practice for this evening’s activities?”
She gave him a dark look. “Listen Chalmers, I don’t have time to chitchat with you. I came to offer-”
There was a knock at the door. Audrey dove under the desk.
Grimmond entered. “Your Grace, the Earl of Bessington is here to see you.”
Stephen tried to hide his surprise for the second time in the same number of minutes. “Send him in, Grimmond.” Grimmond left to get the earl.
Audrey squeaked. “Send him away, you lunatic. I can’t stay under here.”
“Then you should have come the proper way.”
“Chalmers, I swear I’m going to-”
Stephen saw the list of options and shoved it under the desk and into her mouth as the visitor entered.
Audrey fought the anger and fear, instead keeping her features flat. If only Faye were free. If only Audrey could scoff at Travers’s increasingly suggestive innuendos and ridicule his demands. If only they had left England last year. If only…
Travers crossed his ankles. “And then there is the Chalmers situation. How very strange that you sit here before me instead of locked in Newgate with your sister. Why do you suppose that is? Chalmers would put you there in a heartbeat.”
“I have no idea, but it is dangerous to continue as we are.”
A flash of something, perhaps fear, passed through his eyes. “For Audrey the adventurer? The notorious thief? I think not. I know you won’t let the Duke of Marston interfere in my plans or in your desire to have Faye safely home.”
He practically spit Stephen’s title and a splinter of wood broke from the chair beneath one of his short nails. The brief flitter of fear she had seen in his eyes was gone. His expression was hard and angry – something more than his usual bitterness. What was Chalmers to him?
Travers looked at his pocket watch once more, as if it had somehow betrayed him, before violently shoving it back into his pocket and withdrawing a paper. He shoved the paper across the table. “This is your next task. And I have a little plan for Stephen Chalmers as well.”
Audrey breathed deeply. He had agreed. The tentative part was something she would worry about later.
He advanced toward her, rolling his sleeves, a lock of hair falling into his face. So male, so alive, all glistening and golden. There was such a deep hammering in her chest she thought her heart might beat its way right out.
“What are you doing, Chalmers?”
“Sealing our deal.”
A flurry of half formed thoughts flew through her brain. “Uh, right.” She thrust a hand toward him.
He grabbed her cold hand and pulled her toward him. His lips swept hers and the half formed thoughts scattered completely under his warmth.
He kissed her more deeply and she leaned into his heat. What would it be like to be loved by this man?
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