These men are dark, bold, and brave. And there is only one woman who can bring them to their knees…
Famed and brilliant, Lady Alexandra Lane has always known how to look out for to herself. But nobody would ever expect that she has darkness in her past—one that she pays a blackmailer to keep buried. Now, with her family nearing bankruptcy, Alexandra strikes upon a solution: Get married to one of the empire’s most wealthy eligible bachelors. Even if he does have the reputation of a devil.
LOVE TAKES NO PRISONERS
Piers Gedrick Atherton, the Duke of Redmayne, is seeking revenge and the first step is securing a bride. Winning a lady’s hand is not so easy, however, for a man known as the Terror of Torcliff. Then, Alexandra enters his life like a bolt of lightning. When she proposes marriage, Piers knows that, like him, trouble haunts her footsteps. But her gentleness, sharp wit, independent nature, and incredible beauty awakens every fierce desire within him. He will do whatever it takes to keep her safe in his arms.
Title : How to Love a Duke in Ten Days
Author : Kerrigan Byrne
Series : The Devil You Know (book one)
Format : eARC
Page Count : 447
Genre : historical romance
Publisher : St Martin’s Paperbacks
Release Date : August 27, 2019
Reviewer : Hollis/Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★/★ ★ ★ ★
Hollis’ 4 star review
I was so worried about HOW TO LOVE A DUKE IN TEN DAYS. The opening chapters, in some ways, read a lot like THE HIGHWAYMAN, the first book by this author I loved (and unrelated to this series..). I was side-eyeing the story, some familiar elements, until.. those similarities dissipated and this story, different and with its own strengths, emerged.
Loneliness was safer than love.
This book is dedicated to survivors, to the #metoo movement, and that probably says a lot about some of the content in this book. Infact the very first chapter opens up with a sexual assault on our heroine and she spends the rest of the story dealing with the aftermath. She learns to disguise her form and navigate life to avoid touch, avoid danger, and basically any men who could be a threat. She becomes a traveler, an academic, preferring the company of dead men and their bones to real flesh and blood ones. Even though it’s a dead man who haunts her.. as well as a very real person who is blackmailing her over it.
Just who were these ladies? Where were the tears and histrionics? Couldn’t they have at least afforded him a modicum of feminine display for his — he wasn’t too modest to say — rather heroic behaviour?
She and her two best friends from school reunite when one of them announce their engagement to a duke. And it’s when Alexandra inadvertently runs into said duke, prior to an introduction, that her carefully curated life goes off script.
“I know we’re both in a great deal of trouble at the moment, but that is no reason to marry a man. When has the addition of anyone of the opposite sex ever improved one of our situations?“
It’s no secret that Byrne’s specialty is dark, damaged, anti-heroes. But this time, with Piers, she gives her typical (atypical?) hero a bit of a twist; he’s dark, he’s damaged, but he’s also charming. Funny. Tender. Kind. He’s not an anti-hero, more just resigned to his fate, for all that he’s blessed with riches and a dukedom. He’d rather tend the horses, travel, and be far from the ton and their two-faced-ness, as well as any and all wearying social niceties.
“You’re like no duke I’ve ever met.”
“And you’re unlike any lady of my acquaintance.”
“I–I didn’t at all mean that as a slight.”
“And I was paying you the highest compliment.”
Both have secrets. Both have their own scars. And both somehow discover this incredible connection over the course of (you guessed it) ten days. While I would almost never buy this in a contemporary, and I’m sure I’ve doubted it in a HR, too, somehow.. Byrne makes me believe it. The intensity of the events, with (multiple!) near death close-calls, the emotional rollercoasters they have to navigate as they get to know each other, plus the heightened connection by way of their attraction and everything they have to navigate in order to be together.. it just works. In the same way that the secret, hovering over their heads, worked. It wasn’t something that could just be blurted out and I didn’t begrudge it for its existence. Every reason for keeping it a secret was valid. Somehow everything about this story just.. fit. Everything that was introduced was handled beautifully, respectfully, and overall this was just so well done. Even the outlandish or harder to believe bits.
“All I’m asking is for you to have mercy on me, [..]. If there is a battle to fight, a villain to face, I beg you to allow me the honour. Because the cruelest thing you could do, is sentence me to a world without you in it.“
This was all the swoon, all of the fun, all of the mystery (though I did actually guess right!), that I’ve come to love from Byrne and I’m so relieved considering the last additions to the Victorian Rebels series had me worried. They seemed to be missing some of the early spark I had come to love and rely on from this author; but the same cannot be said here. It might feel a little familiar for those who know, and love, the aforementioned series.. but it’s in the best kind of way. And it definitely stands apart. I’m very keen to read on in this series, which, additionally, had the next couple cunningly teased (not that we couldn’t guess..) in the epilogue. Just to hook you. So, consider me hooked!
** I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **
Micky’s 4 star review
I was so ready for a new series from Kerrigan Byrne and HOW TO LOVE A DUKE IN TEN DAYS, took me on a delightful, fun journey. It had intrigue, suspense, a marriage of convenience and a real connection. I was worried about the title in terms of insta-love and while it was fast moving in that way, it didn’t feel instantaneous.
This story opens with a rather difficult scene, there may be triggers for some in this book. It was a opener that drew you in by the heart strings and it made me immediately invested in the protagonist, Alexandra. She took her vulnerability and forged herself into a strong woman, an academic, no less.
I love a beastly rogue of a character and Piers (the Duke) was rough corners and couldn’t care less about convention or appearances. His meeting with Alexandra on the platform was all growls and harsh man but he had a more refined side to him. That said, the man on the platform felt to be truth of him.
How did she prefer him? The hunter, predatory and insolent? Or the duke, charismatic, sleek and cunning?
Secrets are the name of the game between Piers and Alexandra, sometimes secrets between characters infuriate me but with this story, it worked. There was a mutual respect between them, equality was a given and I loved watching their friendship evolve around the other elements of their relationship. I loved that Alexandra constantly surprised Piers.
Could she be real? Did he hold in his arms the rarest of creatures? A woman of substance. Of integrity?…One who thrived on intellect and honor and genuine interaction rather than the empty endorsements of her peers?
After launching with enthusiasm into this book, I did find it took a while to really get into it, but by 30% in, I was truly invested. I’m looking forward to more from this series and possibly from Alexandra’s two friends.
Thank you to St Martins Press for the early copy of this book.