I received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Duke With Benefits is the second book in Manda Collins’ Studies in Scandal series of Regency romances. I enjoyed the first book in the series- Ready Set Rogue; Daphne and Maitland had some delightful interactions as secondary characters, so I was very excited when I found out that they were the main characters in the second book of the series.
Daphne is a mathematical genius, and her arrival at Beauchamp House provides her with the opportunity for independence from her n’er do well father. Daphne also has a secret that she has been keeping from her new friends- it appears that Celeste Beauchamp wanted her to solve a cipher. As legend has it, the solution to the cipher leads to an enormous treasure.
Dalton Beauchamp is the Duke of Maitland, and he initially arrives at the house to discover what all the fuss is about. He is especially curious about Daphne, who is unlike any woman he has encountered before. Their mutual attraction is a surprise to both of them, and Maitland is even more shocked by Daphne’s solution to this “problem”.
Unfortunately, their budding romance must be pushed to the side when they discover that Daphne is not the only one who knows that the cipher might be located in Beauchamp House- and that there are people who are willing to kill in order to find it. But on the bright side, this gives Daphne and Maitland many opportunities to spend time together as they track down clues and race against unseen nemeses.
Duke With Benefits is an absolute delight. Daphne and Maitland are so sweet together. I do think that her personality was toned down a bit from the first book; she is still acerbic, but slightly more circumspect. Maitland comes across and very caring, and he can take charge of a situation without being aggressive.
I would absolutely recommend Duke With Benefits. You don’t have to read Ready Set Rogue first, but you really ought to read it at some point. I have such a soft spot in my heart for bluestocking heroines, and Collins does a wonderful job with giving Daphne a backstory that strongly shaped her personality. I am already eagerly awaiting the third book in the series after having wished for the pairing of the characters based on a short ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ interaction.