In the new novel from the bestselling author of The Earl I Adore, May Bradford isn’t afraid to play devil’s advocate when it comes to a duke.…
After her mother’s death, May’s sea captain father sends her halfway around the world to live with his stodgy sister in England. The summer festival in Bath made for a lovely distraction, but now she can’t wait for her father’s return so she can leave this country, its suffocating rules, and one infuriatingly proper nobleman in particular behind.
Because he is the Duke of Radcliffe, William Spencer’s whole life revolves around his duties. He never steps foot outside the bounds of proper behavior, and he expects the same of those around him. With her devil-may-care ways, May vexes him nearly as much as she tempts him, but there’s something about her that he just can’t resist. He knows he’s falling hard for her, but with lives that are worlds apart, will they ever be able to find any common ground?
The third Prelude to a Kiss Regency romance (after The Earl I Adore) is as standardized and straightforward as a child's violin recital. When Mei-Li Bradford first arrived in Bath, she felt friendless and alone. But even with her ever-disapproving aunt hindering her, she finds pleasure at a summertime music festival, performing in a trio with young women who become her friends. Her summer delights are interrupted by the arrival of the festival's patron, William Spencer, Duke of Radcliffe. Since both he and she are stubborn, rude, and self-righteous, with bad tempers and worse chemistry, their romance proceeds with tedious predictability. Knightly conveys their attraction in the expected style and unfolds events by the numbers. There are moments of warmth and humor as the conclusion carefully fills in the requirements for resolution, despite obvious improbabilities. While there are no surprises and very little tension, the ongoing spats and misunderstandings provide the expected levels of drama. Knightly delivers on her promises without going outside the limitations of the form.