Title: Put Up Your Duke
Series: Dukes Behaving Badly, Book 2
Author: Megan Frampton
Release Date: June 30, 2015
Genre: Historical, Romance
ARC Received From: Edelweiss
Reviewed For: Tasty Book Tours
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He was once happily bedding and boxing, but in the newest DUKES BEHAVING BADLY novel, Nicholas Smithfield has inherited a title and a bride…
To keep his estate afloat, the new Duke of Gage must honor an agreement to marry Lady Isabella. Stunningly beautiful, utterly tempting, she’s also a bag of wedding night nerves, so Nicholas decides to wait to do his duty-even if it means heading to the boxing saloon every day to punch away his frustration.
Groomed her whole life to become the perfect duchess Isabella longs for independence, a dream that is gone forever. As her husband, Nicholas can do whatever he likes-but, to Isabella’s surprise the notorious rake instead begins a gentle seduction that is melting every inch of her reserve, night by night…
Other books in this series
I almost quit this story at the beginning. So glad I didn't.
Nicholas enjoyed two things: sex and boxing. But while he always found satisfaction in the ring, he almost always came up short in bed. Not because he couldn't perform. Not because he couldn't satisfy his partner(s). Not because he couldn't find his own satisfaction. Oddly enough, it was because he wondered if the woman he was with would make him feel sex was more than physical, if she would make him feel a connection that was deeper than mutual gratification.
Which was why I almost quit at the beginning. I didn't want to read about a man who dwelled so heavily on sex he'd make a mistake with the leading lady that couldn't be undone and would hover over them like a black cloud, a constant reminder of what could never be.
But then he met Isabella and showed me what kind of man he really was.
Isabella was his unexpected betrothed when he came into his title. She was beautiful, graceful, groomed to be the perfect wife to a duke. Her dowry would keep Nicholas' estate from going to ruin. Her perfection would ensure no one would ever speak ill of him. But she was stunted, a bird who never learned to fly because of her ambitious and distant parents yet longed to spread her wings to become her own woman.
Marriage to Nicholas was inevitable. The thought of their wedding night was frightening. Yet, Nicholas did the unexpected when he put his husbandry rights aside so they could get to know each other first. What happens is an incredible love story, one that made me so happy for not quitting it.
Nicholas' pursuit of his wife is beautiful and touching. He not only gives his wife a million reasons to trust him with her body, but he also gives her another million more to trust him with her heart. Isabella learns to like and love her husband, who seduces her not just with touches and kisses but with words and understanding. It is under Nicholas' gentleness me kindness that Isabella grows into the woman she was meant to be.
While this is the second in this series, it's a complete standalone. The characters are incredible, likeable, and loveable. Nicholas is a terrific husband for Isabella, the epitome of kindness and love when she needed it. Nicholas proved himself to me as being more than a man who thought about sex. He was a man who could be the perfect husband for a woman like Isabella. But perhaps the most important takeaway was what Ms. Frampton showed in Isabella, that high society women were not without their own insecurities, that they too wanted more than what they were supposedly destined for, that they could indeed learn to fly when one person in theirs lives coaxed them to take the chance.
Beautifully written, incredibly heartwarming, and definitely worth reading.
Isabella felt herself shaking—in joy, or shock, she wasn’t sure. The possibility of freedom, of not having to marry the duke, dangled before her like a beautiful jewel she just had to reach out and take. And her freedom was more precious than anything, since it was so rare, rarer than the rarest diamond. She’d never even had it, not for a moment of her life, whereas diamonds, for a lady in her position, were relatively easy to see, if not own.
Her mother glared at her, as though it were her fault the duke was no longer the duke. Isabella wished she could tell her mother that if she had the kind of power to unduke someone, she would have used that power to entirely extricate herself from any kind of marital agreement. Or maybe make herself look less beautiful so people would stop bothering her.
“Stop dawdling, Isabella. You can see yourself out, Maria?” It was not a question, but at least her mother gave her aunt the courtesy of pretending it was.
“Of course.” Maria patted Isabella’s hand. “I am certain you will be fine, Isabella. You will marry well, no matter who you marry.”
Isabella merely nodded, even though she wished she could tell her aunt, tell somebody, how she felt about marrying well. About how marrying well meant a very different thing to her than it did to her family.
If she didn’t have to marry the duke after all she could find someone, perhaps, who would care for her. That would be a good marriage, not one where her husband’s title was more important than if he was a pleasant man. She didn’t require love, but she wanted companionship, and friendliness, and perhaps a measure of fondness.
The duke—at least, the only Duke of Gage she currently knew—had never shown her any of those things, or any possibility of them, instead treating her as her mother did, as someone to be corrected and scolded into perfection.
Perfection Isabella had achieved, even though she wasn’t proud of it. She had been molded into the perfect duchess, only now—only now it seemed as though there was no duke to fulfill her training. The thought made her want to laugh, if only because it so thoroughly ruined her mother’s plans.
Freedom. Isabella had only occasionally allowed herself to think of what might be possible if her future weren’t already determined; now that it was here, that it might well be her future, she was terrified.What would she be if she wasn’t the Duchess of Gage?
Megan Frampton writes historical romance under her own name and romantic women’s fiction as Megan Caldwell. She likes the color black, gin, dark-haired British men, and huge earrings, not in that order. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband and son.