In the last opulent days of the eighteenth century, a friendly wager turns into a heated feud that spans decades...and a love affair like none other.
What does it take to tempt a lady...
London, 1792. The Duke of Blackbern and the Marquess of Norgrave are boyhood friends who will still compete at anything. Racing, drinking, gambling, even seduction-until Lady Imogene Sunter crosses their path. Achingly beautiful, and innocent, she has no understanding of the jaded gentlemen who are courting her for favors-of how far they are willing to go to get what they want...
In this game of seduce and destroy?
Fighting for Imogene's affection should have been no more than their usual spirited rivalry. But when Blackbern discovers his feelings for Imogeen have deepened, all bets are off. Norgrave, driven by his own demons, won't forsake his pride-and with one shocking act of betrayal that threatens Imogene and Blackbern's newfound desire, Norgrave will set the course for a generation of Regency bad boys who will go down in history as the Masters of Seduction...in A Duke But No Gentleman by Alexandra Hawkins.
Hawkins's first Masters of Seduction historical takes readers back to the late 18th century, in which one woman hopes to reform a man who embodies the dissipation of the British aristocracy. Tristan Bailey Rooke, Duke of Blackbern, and Cason Brant, Marquess of Norgrave, are young noblemen intent on sampling all of London's pleasures. Their latest wager involves Lady Imogene Sunter, the oldest daughter of the Duke of Trevett. Norgrave, whose roguish antics disguise a villainous heart, challenges Blackbern, who's more the genially clueless sort, to see which man Imogene will take as her lover with the "intention of marriage, not ruination." The attraction between Blackbern and Imogene is intense, and their friendship quickly leads to a physical encounter, leaving Norgrave debating how to intervene. Imogene may initially appear to be a simpering noblewoman, but that impression is quickly dashed when she stalwartly survives sexual assault (described in graphic detail that may startle readers used to kinder, gentler historical romances). Consensual carnality also abounds, but the romantic plot line remains the main focus, keeping readers guessing about whether the love of one good woman will rescue a rake.