What a Duke Dares by Anna Campbell

February 24, 2015 Historical Romance, Reviews 0 ★★★½

What a Duke Dares by Anna CampbellWhat a Duke Dares by Anna Campbell
Series: Sons of Sin #3
Published by Forever on August 26, 2014
Genres: Historical Romance
Format: Audiobook
Goodreads
three-half-stars
What woman in her right mind would say no to marrying the dashing Duke of Sedgemoor? Miss Penelope Thorne, that's who. She's known Camden Rothermere since they were children-and she also knows she'd bring nothing but scandal to his name.

Cam can hardly believe Penelope turned down his proposal. But if she wants to run off to the Continent and set the rumor mill ablaze, he can't stop her. Then her brother's dying request sends him to bring home the one woman he thought he'd finally gotten over.

The only way they'll both get back to London without their reputations in tatters is to pretend they're married during the journey. That means kissing like they mean it and even sharing a bed-until it becomes hard to tell where the game ends and true desire begins . . .

Camden Rothermere is dumbfounded when his childhood friend, Penelope Thorne, refuses his offer of marriage.  He admires her and believes they make a suitable match.  To Cam, marriage is a business transaction between friends – not a place for pesky, ruinous emotions like love.  Love tore his parents apart and he will have nothing to do with it.  But for Penelope, marriage without love it pointless and she will not settle for anything less.  Sadly, she is desperately, loyally, hopelessly in love with a man who cannot love her in return – Camden Rothermere.  And so for nine long years, the two go their separate ways.  But a deathbed request from Pen’s brother brings Cam and Pen together once more  with scandalous results!

Camden is cold, determined, and in absolute control of his life.  He has spent years recovering from the scandal of his parents’ marriage and refuses to let anything or anyone stand in the way of restoring the Rothermere name.

Penelope is high-spirited, courageous, and loyal.  Even after nearly a decade of separation, her heart remains true to Cam even with the heart-breaking knowledge he does not return her love.  Following Cam’s disastrous proposal, Pen left for the continent with her Aunt and together they traveled the world – much to the shock of the beau monde.

The simmering sexual tension between Cam and Pen is obvious from the moment these characters graced the page.  It does take quite a while for the romance to get going, but once it does – wow!  It really sizzles!  The sex scenes in this book are remarkably sensual.  More like erotica, really.  Inventive and numerous, these scenes highlight Cam and Pen’s passion for one another and their growing understanding of what it means to love.

Far too much time was spent on the subplot involving Harry and Sophie, especially in the beginning.  It didn’t add much to the narrative and the salient points of the subplot could have still come across without taking so much page-time away from what should be the real focus of the novel – Cam and Pen.

The beginning through the first 10 chapters or so is jumpy and tedious without any real grounding in plot.  Similarly, the ending felt simultaneously rushed and cheesy.  However, the middle 33 chapters or so are fantastic and thoroughly enjoyable.  So just get past the initial awkwardness and power through to get to the really good parts of this book.

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