by Hayley Ann Solomon

May 2002
ISBN: 0-8217-7235-X
Reviewer Graphic Button Zebra Books
Mass Market Paperback

The sister of a Duke, Lady Carolyn Darris, has plans to bring the impoverished Duke back to his wealth and standing in society. The only problem was that she had told the Duke to stay away and he didnít.

Her letter simply said Ďdo not come homeí leaving Demian, Duke of Darris, to figure that his dear sister Caro had another trick up her sleeve. And indeed she did.

Leaving his future betrothed in London, he travels to his castle where his sister has hatched a plan that will undoubtedly end in shambles. Upon arriving, he finds a small household of activity. It seems that Lady Carolyn has found a way to make money off the old house.

Two women, the wives of wealthy but untitled men, want a chance at the Duke for their daughters. So, they wrote to Lady Carolyn and said that they would pay ten thousand pounds to see the grounds and there was be a special bonus if the Duke was in residence while they were there. Thrilled at the chance to make some money for the Duke, Carolyn agrees and does her level best to make the castle a gleaming fabled home to show off to the women with more money than wit. She had taken the time to write her brother a quick letter so that he wouldnít come home and she could look over all the girls and see if one of them would be good for Demian, which he thought was ludicrous.

Meanwhile, in London, his good friend Mr. Thomas Endicott has taken on a wager with Demian. It seems that Demianís future betrothed, Lady Raquel Fortesque-Benton, has her own designs on what their marriage should be like and says that after she has produced heirs for Demian, she will take lovers. When Mr. Endicott hears of this, he wagers with Demian that he could turn the tables on her and Demian takes him up on that. So while Demian is at the castle, Mr. Endicott will be trying his best to seduce Lady Raquel to the point that she will no longer want lovers other than Thomas.

But upon arriving at the castle, Demian had found the butler sampling one of the best bottles in the cellar and fired him on the spot. Lady Carolyn didnít know what to do, but when the knock of doom sounded from the front door, Demian was forced to make an appearance - as his own butler.

Miss Amy Mayhew, a good site wealthier than the company she was keeping, wasnít sure how she had let her aunt talk into paying her share of the pot to get in to see the castle. But as the snowflakes began to fall on her already cold nose, she couldnít help but feeling this was a mistake. After several attempts to leave, she is once again talked into staying with them to see the castle. The two women are simply thrilled over the weather, it will give them a slim chance that the Duke will show up and their daughter will catch his eye.

Demian, now known as Pemberton to the ladies, is intrigued by Miss Mayhew, who did not think it beneath her to talk to the butler or any other servant of the household. As the day progresses, Amy more and more enamors him, and heís sure that he canít go through with his engagement with Lady Raquel, who Thomas was bringing to the castle.

After some bad weather, some wonderful humor and a whole lot of snobbery, Demian whisks Amy off to the castle and throws the windbags that had invaded his castle out on their ear. And then their treatment of Amy did in all hopes that they could claim to be friends with the duke.

This book had me laughing out loud through most of the book. Lady Carolyn was simply charming! And Demian was a hero that I surprisingly enjoyed. Haley Ann Solomon made the wonderful change in Raquel so suddenly that I grew to love that character as well.

This is an extremely enjoyable book, you should get it out of your to-be-read piles and read it or swing by the bookstore.

Reviewed in August 2002 by Lucy.

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