Ten Things I Hate About the Duke is the second book in the Dangerous Dukes series, and it begins immediately after the events of A Duke in Shining Armor. The Duke of Ashmont—His Grace with the Angel Face—whom readers last saw [redacted spoiler] has retired to a pub, where he encounters the headstrong Cassandra. Through a series of unfortunate events due entirely to his carelessness, Ashmont puts Cassandra’s already-shaky reputation into even greater peril.

This leads to what is known in modern vernacular to a “come to Jesus” moment for Ashmont, who after being left at the altar in the previous book, has begun to realize that he is a hot mess.   He wants to make amends, but Cassandra wants nothing to do with this disastrous duke. Ashmont is persistent—but not in an invasive way—and he’s determined to prove to her that he is more than a party boy scandal-maker.

Loretta Chase is a legend in the genre, and I have adored every single one of her books that I’ve had the pleasure to read. This one is no exception. Everything about Ten Things is almost perfect: plot, characterization, little details—and it would have been enough to have all of those important factors, but what puts Ten Things over the top is Chase’s hilarious authorial voice. I found myself smiling throughout the reading experience, especially the banter between Ashmont and Cassandra.

It’s hard not to root for Ashmont, who was left at the altar in the first book. This was an inevitability because—as I mentioned—he was a hot mess. The incident served as a catalyst for prioritizing Ashmont’s reformation, and Cassandra is the perfect candidate to tame him into respectability.

The best thing about Cassandra is that she doesn’t put up with Ashmont’s sh—nonsense, and she doesn’t let the little fact that he’s a duke get in the way of expressing her displeasure. Her trust is not freely given; she makes him earn every last bit of it.

I would absolutely recommend Ten Things I Hate About the Duke. This is a most excellent sequel, featuring an array of original characters. The book is light in tone, with very little in the way of angst or melodramatics—so it was perfect escape from a most melodramatic year.   

I received an ARC of this book from Avon/NetGalley.

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