New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan is back with the enchanting third book in the Duke Hunt series about a marriage of convenience between a fierce female blacksmith and a handsome scoundrel.
A devil’s bargain burns the hottest….
For years, fiercely independent Gwen Cully has worked as the village blacksmith, keeping her family’s business going. But when a local rival threatens her livelihood, Gwen has nowhere to turn ... until a devastatingly handsome fugitive takes shelter in her shop and sparks fly.
Unrepentant rogue Kellan Fox’s entire existence has been a dangerous game of deception that leads him into a fight for survival—and straight into the arms of a tall, fiery beauty. When Gwen protects him from an angry mob of villagers, Kellan sees the perfect solution to both their troubles. A marriage—in name only—that will last a single year.
Only a marriage of convenience can’t hide their searing attraction. It glows hotter than Gwen’s forge and reaches deep below the tempting mask Kellan wears for the world. With every sizzling glance and scorching kiss, Gwen surrenders more of herself to the molten passion she finds in Kellan’s strong embrace. But can she ever truly trust her heart to a scoundrel?
The scoundrel turns a new leaf in “The Scoundrel Falls Hard” by Sophie Jordan! In book three of The Duke Hunt series, female blacksmith Gwen Cully hears a commotion outside and finds someone hiding in her smithy. Her fellow villagers eventually search her shop and find the imposter duke’s son. The villagers are outraged for being duped until the real duke came along. Kellan Fox is dragged out of the shop and they want him unalive. Gwen finds the consequence horrendous and announces her feelings for the person she just met and Kellan even kisses her. As grumbling villagers figure out what to do next, the real duke steps in with a suggestion. Gwen facing ruination and Kellen facing death, they prove their love by announcing an engagement and marrying after the banns have been posted for three weeks. Then they agree on a marriage in name only, but can they keep their attraction and lips to themselves?
This is a low angst story, but there are punches thrown. It fits the nature of the two main characters, they each are kind yet fierce when warranted. Gwen does have a vile competitor who needs a lesson though. Hitting is frowned upon however the events lead to touching via first aid and the growth of their desire.
I love their journey towards the idea that marriage is not all bad. Gwen sees Kellan’s eagerness to help her with chores so she can focus more time on her business and she is more relaxed. Kellan reflects about this criminal ways and he cannot fathom going back to what he was brought up to do with his father who abandoned him to the angry villagers. They get into a new routine that contributes to their lives in different and many ways.
Kellan’s father is not a dad. When they met up again, you hope that the scene will be one way, but of course not. The scene drives the story forward and you will need to finish the book right away. I could not handle a broken Gwen!
If you love close proximity, fake relationship, new friendship, protective friends, one bed, backstabbing, and partnership to name a few, I highly recommend this book!
Thank you to Net Galley, Avon, and Harper Voyager US for the ARC in exchange for a honest review.