The Duke in Question (Daring Dukes, 3)
Lady Bronwyn Chase enjoys her undercover role as the Kestrel, but when she sails to America to deliver a sensitive document involving President Abraham Lincoln, she’s rattled to encounter Valentine, Duke of Thornbury and former spy. Thornbury is tracking the dodgy Kestrel and doesn’t have time for games with his friend’s vapid sister. But when he tails Bronwyn in Philadelphia and catches her at a dangerous assignation, their shared escape turns steamy. Loyalty to the British government demands Thornbury turn the Kestrel over, but the voyage back to Europe gives Valentine opportunity to discover the sharp mind beneath Bronwyn’s alluring beauty. Thornbury realizes he’ll have to work harder to stay a step ahead of Bronwyn and her pursuers, and even if he does manage to save her life, he may not win the stubborn, wily lady’s heart.
Howard’s diverse cast of characters is well-drawn, and the spy games provide a lively impetus for the sexual attraction and growing emotional attachment between the leads. Tropes abound, but not at the expense of character development, and banter flies amidst the bullets and sure, engaging prose. Valentine and Bronwyn are the most fun pair in the Daring Dukes series thus far.