What's a duke to do, when the girl who's perfectly wrong becomes the woman he can't live without?
Griffin York, the Duke of Halford, has no desire to wed this season—or any season—but his diabolical mother abducts him to "Spinster Cove" and insists he select a bride from the ladies in residence. Griff decides to teach her a lesson that will end the marriage debate forever. He chooses the serving girl.
Overworked and struggling, Pauline Simms doesn't dream about dukes. All she wants is to hang up her barmaid apron and open a bookshop. That dream becomes a possibility when an arrogant, sinfully attractive duke offers her a small fortune for a week's employment. Her duties are simple: submit to his mother's "duchess training"… and fail miserably.
But in London, Pauline isn't a miserable failure. She's a brave, quick-witted, beguiling failure—a woman who ignites Griff's desire and soothes the darkness in his soul. Keeping Pauline by his side won't be easy. Even if Society could accept a serving girl duchess—can a roguish duke convince a serving girl to trust him with her heart?
Dare's fourth Spindle Cove romance returns to Regency England's eclectic seaside community, where young ladies seek refuge from society. Griffin York, the marriage-shy eighth Duke of Halford, is dragged to the town by his mother, who orders him to pick a bride. He brashly selects Pauline Simms, a proud tavern serving girl. Griff's mother declares she can turn Pauline into duchess material; Griff retorts that if she fails, he'll be off the hook. He offers Pauline 1,000 to go to London and fail the training, promising that he'll return her to her home, and her mentally disabled sister, within a week. Pauline's hasty bargain to ensure financial security for herself and her sister is complicated by her attraction to Griff and her ability to see the man inside the titled facade. Griff admires Pauline's pluck as he reveals his deepest secrets and bares his soul. Though hints of Cinderella and Pygmalion aren't enough to make the premise plausible, Dare more than makes up for that with romance, humor, and intense emotional drama.