Put Up Your Duke by Megan Frampton

Put Up Your Duke by Megan Frampton
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (384 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Bluet

He was once happily bedding and boxing, but in the newest Duke’s Behaving Badly novel, Nicholas Smithfield has inherited a title and a bride . . .

To keep his estate afloat, the new Duke of Gage must honor an agreement to marry Lady Isabella Sawford. Stunningly beautiful, utterly tempting, she’s also a bag of wedding night nerves, so Nicholas decides to wait to do his duty—even if it means heading to the boxing saloon every day to punch away his frustration.

Groomed her whole life to become the perfect duchess, Isabella longs for independence, a dream that is gone forever. As her husband, Nicholas can do whatever he likes—but, to Isabella’s surprise, the notorious rake instead begins a gentle seduction that is melting every inch of her reserve, night by night . . .

To his utter shock, Nicholas discovers that no previous exploits were half as pleasurable as wooing his own wife. But has the realm’s most disreputable duke found the one woman who can bring him to his knees— and leave him there?

Nicholas Smithfield is very happy with his life as it is. His passions are boxing and sex (not necessarily in that order), and he enjoys an abundance of both. When he learns that he has just inherited the title of Duke of Gage, his reaction is not typical. Instead of being overjoyed, he is unhappy, especially when he learns that he has inherited a fiancee, as well. Nicholas sets out to visit his betrothed and her parents to see if there is any way out of the agreement. When he sets eyes on Isabella, he is awed by her beauty. He also learns that her parents have no intention of letting him slip away, and if he backs out of their deal, there will be severe consequences for everyone depending on the dukedom for their living. My first thoughts of Nicholas were not very flattering, as he was living a dissolute life with no ambition or real purpose. My opinion began to change when he showed concern for the people whose well being he now held in his ducal hands.

Isabella Sawford is a stunningly beautiful woman, and her parents have used her looks to further their own agenda. They have forced Isabella to become the perfect woman in her dress, manners, and conduct. Initially, Isabella appears to be little more than a pleasant, vapid puppet, willing to perform any task her parents set out for her, including becoming engaged to the former Duke, a man she loathed. I came to see that Isabella’s younger sister was being used as leverage, and any disobedience from Isabella will be unfortunate for Margaret, the one person she loves dearly. I had to admire Isabella’s lack of selfishness, which I originally believed was weakness.

So, two strangers agree to marry in only two weeks’ time. Isabella’s parents are truly loathsome, they have no regard for either of their daughters feelings or desires. Isabella has been so browbeaten, that Nicholas’ attempts to get to know her are met with the social perfection that she has cultivated, making her appear to be nothing more than a beautiful doll with little substance. Nicholas, however, has hidden depths that surprised me, based on the lifestyle he has been living. He chooses to give Isabella time to get to know him after their marriage, since she seems terrified of what happens in bed (thanks to a lovely lecture from her shrew of a mother). Nicholas uses his charm to slowly woo her, and bring the real person under all that perfection to the surface.

This book was a quick read, and a feel-good pure delight. I had to laugh at Nicholas keeping track of how long it had been since he had sex. He is the epitome of the reformed rake, and I adored him. It was wonderful to watch Isabella come into her own as a person, and to blossom from Nicholas’ care of her. I also enjoyed seeing her stand up to her parents. I love to read a story that is mostly about the developing romance, and this fits the bill. Megan Frampton has become one of my auto read authors. I know that I can count on her books for lots of smiles and a heartfelt romance. Put Up Your Duke definitely has those qualities, and is my favorite of hers – so far.

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