Review of THE NAKED DUKE by Sally MacKenzie (see her website)
Zebra Debut, February 2005
When her father dies, American Sarah Hamilton travels to England hoping to meet up with her uncle, an Earl. When she arrives at an inn, too late to impose on her uncle, she decides to spend the night--only to be mistaken for a whore and to awaken in the morning having spent the night with a very handsome, and very naked, duke. Now, her reputation is in ruins and James, Duke of Alvord is pressured to offer for her hand in marriage. But she's a good republican. Couldn't everyone just sort of forget about that one night--a night where she's pretty sure nothing happened--and help her get a decent job as governess?
James is not immune to the attraction of a beautiful woman, but there's something about Sarah Hamilton that sends his senses into overdrive. Persuading her to kiss him isn't too hard, but Sarah continues to resist his efforts to persuade her to marry him. When James' evil cousin Richard discovers that James is considering a wife, and potential heirs, Richard becomes a menace to both Sarah and James.
Sarah and James try to work through misunderstandings that are encouraged by Richard--while Richard unleashes one plot after another aimed at destroying Sarah--or murdering his cousin. Although misunderstandings drive them apart, though, the deep passion each feels for the other continue bringing Sarah and James back together.
Author Sally MacKenzie combines humor and suspense in her debut-novel, a regency-set historical. Innocent Sarah, with her ignorance about exactly what it takes to become pregnant makes for a charming fish-out-of-water in sex and status-obsessed London. James makes her perfect foil. MacKenzie's engaging writing keeps the reader entertained as she foils Richard's evil plots.
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