Monday, March 29, 2010

FOUR DUKES & A DEVIL by Cathy Maxwell, Elaine Fox, Jeaniene Frost, Sophia Nash & Tracy Anne Warren

Publisher: Avon
Date published: June 2009
ISBN: 978-0-06-178736-2
Historical/Paranormal/Contemporary Romance
Mass Market Paperback
Obtained via: Publisher
Reviewed by Dawn

is five short stories that will have you believing in love all over again as these five couples find themselves snared in love’s crosshairs.

First up was THE IRISH DUKE by Cathy Maxwell which tells the tale of a spinster woman determined to ruin any Irish Duke’s chances of catching a bride…except she never imagines getting snared herself.

First off, I have to admit this story did not endear me at all to the characters. The main heroine, Susan, came off as whiny, childish and annoying to me. I wasn’t sure why this character didn’t do it for me-maybe it might have been the mood I was in or something. The writing was ok, nothing popped out for me to get excited about nor did the storyline capture my attention. It was just an ok story and had me skimming pages to get to the next one.

Next up was THE DUKE WHO CAME FOR DINNER by Elaine Fox. This is about a woman who is determined to get away and let herself finally come out of her shell. Add in a dog named Duke, a ghost who is a matchmaker and Mr. Right to the mix and you have the makings of one wild romance.

This was definitely one of my favorites in the anthology. A contemporary romance, Ms. Fox delivers a story that will leave you smiling when the last page is read. You have humor, romance and wit sprinkled throughout the story and this is an author who keeps you highly entertained from start to finish. I highly enjoyed this one.

Up next was DEVIL TO PAY by Jeaniene Frost. Elise is a vampire who is determined to be alone and lives by herself, with no contact with the outside world. When she rescues a man who is trying to kill himself, she finds herself drawn into the world once again as she tries to help Blake deal with the demon inside him.

I have to admit, I had to read this anthology just for this author. Ms. Frost is a wonderful storyteller and you really get into the characters of each of her books. This story is a fast paced wonder as Elise finds herself living again as she helps Blake try to deal with his problem, namely the demon living inside him. Elise is a wonder. She comes out of her shell to take care of Blake and that endeared me to her. A strong female character, she called to me and I was rooting for her to finally see happiness with Blake in the end. Overall, it was a nice adventure and a treat to read.

Next up was Sophia Nash’s CATCH OF THE CENTURY. This tells the tale of the ton’s latest eligible bachelor finding love with a feisty vixen who snares his heart even as she drives him to the brink of madness.

This was a minor character from one of this author’s series and though I haven’t read that series, this was an ok read as well. At times I wanted to shake Victoria, the heroine but she does grow on you eventually. The chemistry between John and Victoria was a bit predictable and had characters popping up from previous series that had me scratching my head in confusion for a bit. Overall, it was just an ok story and felt it could have needed a little more growth to completely keep my attention.

Finally, the last story was Tracy Anne Warren’s CHARMED BY HER SMILE. India Byron is determined to escape a suitor who is besotted with her. When London’s most scandalous rake steals a kiss, she begins to fall for the older man even as the suitor becomes more enamored with India. Can India and Quentin find a way to be true to their hearts in the end?

This final story was a bit better than the other historical/regency romances. I found the writing to be tight, storyline moving smoothly and though a bit predictable, an enjoyable romance. The hero is a bit older than the heroine and it was a nice aspect of the storyline. The heroine, India, was at times feisty yet innocent as she fell for Quentin, Duke of Weybridge. Both characters were well rounded and well written; another gem in this anthology.

FOUR DUKES & A DEVIL had a few lovely stories to enjoy but also a few misses as well. A few of the stories were really good and had me racing to check out the author’s backlist while a few others were flat to me. You will enjoy this if you enjoy historical/Regency romances. This was a sweet and tasty anthology to whittle the hours away while out on the hammock this spring.


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