Hello, and welcome back! We're having a lousy week, weather-wise. The forecast this morning was for widely scattered thunderstorms late in the day. It's still morning, and it's been raining for two hours already. The weather-guessers here suck at their jobs. Fortunately for me, I've got plenty to do indoors (before I head to work), like reading through the last small stack of July romances. Right now, the August romances are multiplying here, so I'm eager to dig into them, but I still have to finish sharing these July books first.
This time out, I have the anthology Four Dukes and a Devil (Avon), with stories by Cathy Maxwell, Sophia Nash, Tracy Anne Warren, Elaine Fox, and Jeaniene Frost. Cathy Maxwell starts things off with 'The Irish Duke'. Miss Susan Rogers has taken on the job of netting eligible young women suitable husbands. But her big selling point, of telling parents that Irish Dukes aren't as important as English Dukes, has just landed her in a spot of trouble, when the newest Irish Duke arrives in Town for the Season, set on finding a bride, and no young woman will even dance with him. Roan Gillray, Duke of Killeigh, is quite unhappy about the circumstances he finds himself in, and he demands that Miss Rogers repair the situation. He also makes a wager at White's that he will dance with her within a fortnight, while a friend bets he won't. 'The Duke Who Came to Dinner' from Fox has Sam Gregory distracted early one morning by the sight of the naked woman riding her bike past his house. Visiting Cape Cod for the summer and hoping to change, Gray Gilliam just hopes no one has seen her naked after a dog ran off with her clothes when she took a chance and went skinny-dipping. She meets Sam when she takes her next chance and goes to a local bar, and things take off from there. Frost's 'Devil to Pay' has vampire Elise meeting up with Blake, who's trying to kill himself before the demon who's possessing him completely takes him over. Sophia Nash gives us 'Catch of the Century', with Victoria Givan trying to shepherd her three charges to a new home when John Varick, Duke of Beaufort stops to offer some aid. Victoria's sharp tongue keeps him entertained, and even begins to grow on him. 'Charmed By Her Smile' from Tracy Anne Warren has young India Byron running from an unwanted suitor, right into the arms of Quentin Marlowe, Duke of Weybridge, who is only too happy to help her. But when their paths cross again, he knows he is completely unsuitable for the delightful young lady. Ms. Maxwell's story is delightful, a perfect quick read that makes one wish for more. Fox's was okay for me, though I was a bit disappointed not to have more explanation for the ghost. You all know I'm not wild for most vampires, so it won't be a shock that I didn't love Frost's offering. Sophia Nash's story was excellent, with characters who'll have you chuckling along with them. And Ms. Warren's tale is also fantastic, with just the right heart-tugging to grip readers' emotions. I'm borrowing four and a half of Cupid's five arrows for this one. It's a keeper.
Until next time, happy reading!