Duke with Benefits (Studies in Scandal Series #2)

Duke with Benefits (Studies in Scandal Series #2)

by Manda Collins

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250109880
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 06/27/2017
Series: Studies in Scandal Series , #2
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 379,701
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.60(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Manda Collins is the author of several books, including Ready Set Rogue and The Lords of Anarchy series. She spent her teen years wishing she’d been born a couple of centuries earlier, preferably in the English countryside. Time travel being what it is, she resigned herself to life with electricity and indoor plumbing, and read lots of books. When she’s not writing, she’s helping other people use books, as an academic librarian.

Read an Excerpt

Duke With Benefits


By Manda Collins

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2017 Manda Collins
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-250-10989-7


CHAPTER 1

THREE MONTHS LATER

Lady Daphne Forsyth would rather listen to a thousand lectures on decorum from her chaperone than listen to another word from the Marchioness of Kerr about her husband's thoughtfulness. Or his loyalty. Or his humor.

Or any of a myriad of qualities about which the former Miss Ivy Wareham — once a quite sensible classics scholar, capable of conversation on any number of interesting subjects — now extolled morning, noon, and night to anyone who would listen.

At this point, even young Jeremy Fanning, the six-year-old son of the aforementioned chaperone would be a more intriguing conversationalist.

She kept her own counsel, however, as she, Ivy, the Hastings sisters, the Marquess of Kerr, and the Duke of Maitland walked along the cliffside path running from Beauchamp House inland toward the village of Little Seaford.

It had been several months now since she'd received the news that the celebrated bluestocking leader, Lady Celeste Beauchamp had left her beautifully appointed manor house — complete with one of the most impressive libraries in the country — to a quartet of young ladies with their own artistic and academic bona fides, the mathematics prodigy, Lady Daphne, among them.

The letter from Lady Celeste, forwarded by her solicitor, had been effusive in its praise, but that hadn't been what convinced Daphne to pack her bags and travel from London to Beauchamp House. If praise was all she wished for she could sit down for a hand of cards in any drawing room or gaming hell in Mayfair — though admittedly the praise would be peppered with envy and anger over lost fortunes. No, it had been the promise in the carefully worded letter that the library at Beauchamp House contained more than first editions and scholarly tomes.

You will find Romance and enough intrigue to Riddle even the most unschooled of ladies with envy among the Treasure of my collections.


Any other reader would have supposed Lady Celeste merely had an odd habit of capitalizing random words in her writing — it was common enough among the ladies of the ton, who were hardly the most educated of creatures. But to Daphne, who was able to see beyond the set order of letters to the pattern beneath, her benefactress's words had been a message intended just for her. Without needing a pencil, her mind rearranged the letters of Romance into Cameron. And the rest of the clue was hidden in plain sight.

Cameron Riddle Treasure

It had been the promise that the library at Beauchamp House contained the famous Cameron Riddle, which legend said would lead the one able to decode it to a treasure hidden away by the leader of Clan Cameron in the days of the last Jacobite rebellion, that led Daphne to travel south to take her place among the four Beauchamp Heiresses. That and the hope that she could separate herself at last from her father's clutches and would never have to play cards for money again.

But in the time since she came to the coast, she'd found no trace of the promised puzzle, and she'd searched nearly half the contents of the admittedly impressive book room's collection. She'd told the rest of the household that she wished to familiarize herself with the collections before she began any in-depth research on the maths books, but the other ladies knew she found other subjects tedious at best and she'd begun to catch them exchanging amused glances when she started her methodical searches each morning.

Of course, their amusement might have been because many of these sessions included the "assistance" of the Duke of Maitland, who was inexplicably still on an extended stay at Beauchamp House. He claimed it was to spend time with his sister, their chaperone Lady Serena Fanning, and her son Jeremy. But Daphne was no fool. She saw the way he looked at her from beneath his criminally long eyelashes.

"A penny for them," said the object of her thoughts as they reached the signpost that marked the outskirts of the village.

This was what came of woolgathering, Daphne thought wryly, unable to stop herself from giving her companion a sidelong glance as the rest of their party walked along ahead of them.

With his sun-burnished hair, tall athletic frame, and dimpled grin, Dalton Beauchamp, the Duke of Maitland, was certainly no hardship to look at. And yet, after a few weeks of enjoyable flirtation just after he arrived, he'd begun treating her more like a sister than a potential lover. She'd made the mistake — only once, mind you — of suggesting that they conduct an affair, such as she'd seen were commonplace among the London ton, and he'd acted like a scandalized maiden. Given his reputation as a bit of a rogue in London, she had been disappointed at his response. She had hoped he would be less conventional, but his rebuff had been plain. If he was holding out for marriage, however, he wouldn't get it from her. She would never, after being used as a means of gathering income by her father for so many years, willingly enter the institution that would give another man control over her. She found Maitland attractive, and so far as she could tell, he found her intriguing as well. Why did they need to bring marriage into the equation at all?

Since he insisted on remaining in residence at Beauchamp House, she was forced to interact with him. And if she was honest, she enjoyed some of his nonsense. He was no scholar, but he was amusing and kind. And he hadn't chosen to shun her, as she knew many men in his situation would have done.

"If you must know," she said, knowing her confidence was safe with Maitland, "I was debating whether a gag or a muzzle would be a more appropriate means of silencing Ivy on the subject of her husband's every waking thought."

This startled a bark of laughter from the duke, who quickly turned it into a cough when the others turned to see what had caused it.

"Carry on," he said with a wave at them. "Nothing to see here."

"I know it is churlish of me," Daphne admitted once they were relatively private again, "but even a paragon among men would not measure up to Ivy's praise. Certainly not the Marquess of Kerr."

"Still haven't forgiven him for the way he arrived on the scene calling for the lot of you to be tossed out on your collective ear, eh?"

Maitland hadn't been there for Kerr's first meeting with the heiresses, but he'd no doubt heard about the ugly encounter from his sister.

"It's not just that," Daphne said, though admittedly it was a large portion of it. She'd learned to judge people based on first impressions from an early age, and with a few exceptions she'd come to find that more often than not they held true. "It's Ivy. She's turned into just the sort of besotted fool I learned to avoid like the plague in London. You can hardly get two words of sense from her these days without the other three being about her darling husband or some other nonsensical tale. A line from Catullus the other day sent her into peals of laughter and all she would say was that it reminded her of something Kerr had said. I want my sensible friend back."

Even as she spoke, Daphne knew she was exaggerating the degree to which Ivy had changed since her marriage. But even if there was a bit of envy in her assessment of the pair, she'd hardly admit as much to Maitland. He'd never let her hear the end of it.

When he remained silent, she looked up to see that he was biting his lip.

"What?" she demanded. Really, it was as if everyone in the house had gone mad.

Looking rueful, Maitland said with a grin, "It's just that Catullus is known for being a bit ..." He paused, clearly searching for the right word. "Ribald," he finally settled on.

Which meant that Kerr had likely said whatever had so amused Ivy in bed.

Daphne felt her cheeks redden. This was what came of neglecting one's classical education in favor of a diet of only maths.

She wasn't accustomed to embarrassment over such things. She'd been privy to conversations unfit for most adult ears before she reached her thirteenth birthday, and could swear in three languages thanks to the card rooms of the ton. She'd long ago schooled herself to ignore such things as just another coded language. One that she herself had no desire to partake in.

That had been before she lay eyes on the superior physical specimen who walked beside her now.

Of course, he'd rejected her one and only attempt at seduction almost before the words were out of her mouth. Which was just as well, Daphne thought wryly, since she'd not long afterward discovered that Maitland wasn't quite the most bookish of men.

The idea that Ivy was now sharing libertine jokes, and more, with her new husband, though? That gave Daphne a pang of loneliness she'd not experienced since she'd first met the three ladies with whom she'd share Beauchamp House for at least the next year.

It was perhaps silly of her, but in the other bluestockings she'd thought she'd found kindred spirits. They might not understand much of her conversation about the finer points of trigonometry, but they understood what it was to be the best in a field dominated by men. And Ivy, it would seem, had traded in her bluestocking hat for a matron's cap.

"If it's any consolation," Maitland said, breaking into her thoughts once more, "Kerr is just as besotted. Serena and I have taken to adding a penny to a jar every time he extols one of Ivy's virtues. We've not counted yet, but I suspect there's at least ten pounds in it by now."

"But he was never a man of sense. He's like you in that reg —" Daphne stopped because she'd learned from her friends that speaking her mind as truthfully as she would like sometimes led to hurt feelings. And she had no wish to insult Maitland. Tardy though her judgment was.

If the duke was insulted, however, he didn't show it.

"Oh, I'm well aware of the gulf that exists between you ladies and the rest of us," he said with a staying gesture. "At least when it comes to intellect. We're not simpletons, mind you, but neither are we great minds. My old nanny told me that you've got to know your good points. I'm a likable fellow. I can sweet talk a spooked horse like nobody's business. And I'm not too awful to look at. But you and the other bluestockings can think rings around us."

At his tone of understanding, Daphne heaved a sigh of relief. "Yes, that's it precisely. I'm so glad you understand, Maitland, because I wouldn't like to think I'd said something hurtful. The others have taught me, I think, finally, that my plain-speaking sometimes makes others unhappy."

What was he thinking? she wondered, as the duke gave her a long look. She'd always had trouble guessing what feelings lay behind a person's words. When she said something, it was exactly what she meant.

But before she could ask for his thoughts, she heard the others greeting a pair of gentlemen as they entered the village.

"No harm done," was all Maitland said as they caught up with the others.

The two newcomers were dressed in what Daphne assumed was the current country fashion. She had little use for such things, but she'd grown accustomed to seeing Maitland and Kerr and the gentlemen of the neighborhood at large dressed in boots and breeches and more casual neck cloths than were required in town. The taller of the two men looked up as she and the duke approached, and Daphne felt a constriction in her chest.

"Lady Daphne Forsyth, as I live and breathe! Is it really you?"


* * *

Through narrowed eyes, Dalton examined the man who greeted Daphne, only just resisting the urge to remove his quizzing glass and subject the fellow to his most ducal glare. He might have a reputation for being affable to a fault, but even Merry Maitland had his limits. And, he thought wryly as Daphne greeted the newcomer with a cry of recognition, it seemed that seeing another man look at Daphne like an oasis in the desert was his.


* * *

Daphne, on the other hand, did not seem quite so pleased. "Mr. Sommersby," she said, her expression unreadable as she stopped in her tracks.


* * *

Maitland would be the first to admit she wasn't the most effusive of women, but something about her reaction to this fellow put him on alert. Perhaps it was the way she didn't advance to take his outstretched hand. Or maybe it was the slight pallor that overtook her when she recognized him.

Daphne wasn't overly emotional, it was true, but neither was she devoid of emotion.

Maitland knew very well that she felt some things strongly. One only had to hear her wax rhapsodic on one of her mathematical bits to know she was capable of great joy. It was just that she wasn't demonstrative with people. Perhaps because she had difficulty gauging what response they would have to her unpolished conversation. He had only been in her company for a short while before he recognized that she deeply regretted the fact that much of her plain-speaking led to hurt feelings, but she knew of no way to curb her errant tongue.

She was feeling some strong emotion now, however. If only he could read her well enough to know what it was.

"Why on earth are you in Little Seaford?" Daphne asked Sommersby, her eyes narrow with suspicion. "The last letter I had from your father said that you were in Egypt." It was almost an accusation. As if he'd broken some oath by leaving the land of the Pharaohs for England.

At the mention of Egypt, however, Maitland bit back a groan. Of course, this fellow had just returned from Egypt. He looked exactly the type. Right down to the tanned skin and slightly rumpled coat.

"Mr. Sommersby and Mr. Foster were just telling us why they're in the area, Lady Daphne," said Lord Kerr. He had a possessive arm around his wife's waist.

Maitland's cousin was no fool. He saw that these fellows were not to be trusted just as well as he did.

"They're on the hunt for lost treasure, if you can believe it," the marquess continued before quirking a brow in Maitland's direction.

Treasure hunters? Really? his cousin seemed to ask.

Maitland gave a slight shrug. It was as likely a scheme as any, he supposed. He might also have guessed that the two men were riverboat gamblers, if they'd happened to be in the Louisiana territory of the Americas. They just had that look about them.

Up to no good.

"You always were one to dream of riches and treasure, Nigel," Daphne said tartly. "Your father would be attempting to teach us both some new mathematical principal and you would be attempting to read a penny dreadful about some lost jewel or the like under the table."

"And I always got caught," Sommersby said with a laugh. "Because you always told my father."

"So this is the son of your tutor, Lady Daphne?" asked Ivy with a raised brow.

"Indeed," Daphne said with nod. She seemed less than pleased at meeting him here. At first Maitland had thought she was just surprised, but there was something else at play here.

Something darker.

But that was likely his imagination, he chided himself. He had no reason to think badly of a man he'd only just met.

Still, when Sommersby said, "We grew up together, you might say. Though not as brother and sister," he saw Daphne's spine stiffen. There was definitely something about the fellow she didn't like.

If Daphne didn't trust him, then neither did Maitland.

She didn't say as much however, instead turning the conversation to Sommersby's reason for being here. "What lost treasure are you searching for hereabouts?" Her tone implied that there could not possibly be treasure or anything like it within five hundred miles of Little Seaford.

Foster, who up until now had been silent, chose that moment to speak up. "We've actually heard a rumor that the lost Cameron Cipher is in a library collection in the vicinity."

Some niggle of memory from his childhood fired in Maitland's mind, but he could not recall any specifics. But the cipher was better known to Daphne if her sharp intake of breath was any indication.

Her next words only confirmed his assumption. "That is impossible. There is no Cameron Cipher. It is just a myth."

Poor Daphne. She didn't have a dissembling bone in her body. And it was evident that whatever she thought about the Cameron Cipher, it wasn't that there was no validity to Foster's claim. Rather the opposite. Though she was trying in her way to convince him otherwise.

"You weren't so skeptical when we first heard the legend, Daphne," said Sommersby with a grin. "You were the first one to get out the map and trace the likely route Cameron took on the way to Dover with the chest of gold in tow."

Before Daphne could retort, Miss Sophia Hastings broke in. "But what is this Cameron Cipher? I must confess I've never heard of it. I am woefully ignorant about such things."


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Duke With Benefits by Manda Collins. Copyright © 2017 Manda Collins. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Duke with Benefits (Studies in Scandal Series #2) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
MoniqueD More than 1 year ago
Lady Celeste Beauchamp had bequeathed her home and library to four gifted young women, chosen for their particular abilities to advance the cause of women in science, Lady Daphne Forsyth was one of them. Daphne appreciated the opportunity, but it was also a chance to escape her father who used her mathematical skills for his own profit. Lady Celeste has also left Daphne a cryptic message which alludes to deciphering the Cameron Riddle, which supposedly leads to a hidden treasure. In the months she’s been at Beauchamp House, in spite of her social ineptitude, Daphne has definitely noticed the ever so handsome Duke of Maitland, Dalton Beauchamp. Dalton, while no intellectual match for Daphne, enjoys her company and her outspokenness, which is not the case for everyone. Dalton is privy to what Daphne is looking for, and as he knows the nooks and crannies of Beauchamp House better than she does, he offers his help, all the while hoping to court her properly. I had loved READY, SET, ROGUE, the first book in the Studies in Scandal series, I was eagerly waiting for the second instalment, and DUKE WITH BENEFITS exceeded my very high expectations! Manda Collins has achieved a perfect balance where romance and mystery are expertly woven into the type of story I so much enjoy. Ms. Collins is a fine writer, her refined prose reads like a dream, and her characters are positively enchanting. Dalton is as comfortable with everyone, while Daphne entirely lacks social graces, yet he is not judgemental; he yearns to help her. I loved that he acknowledges Daphne’s superior intellect, but he has qualities that compensate; they complement each other perfectly because they accept their own limitations without being snotty about it. Dalton represents my ideal hero: he’s kind, charming, protective, understanding, and honourable in every way; he is not a weakling. He strives to be a good man, because he has experienced otherwise. I love the friendship that is evolving between the women, as well as Dalton’s relationship with his cousin, the Marquess of Kerr; they make a fine pair. I just loved how a spontaneous utterance from Daphne which positively shocked Dalton, I thought it was very clever from the author, and it made me love Dalton even more. In DUKE WITH BENEFITS, there are murders, secret rooms, duplicity, and all this added to a very ingenious premise along with captivating and endearing characters and a gorgeous romance make it an absolute delight; DUKE WITH BENEFITS is another fabulous in this wonderful! I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book.
Historical_Romance_Lover More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed Daphne and Dalton's story. Daphne is a brilliant mathematician and she often speaks her mind with no filter. She was just an OK character for me in the first book, but she really grew on me during this one as we get to know her from her view. I just loved watching Dalton and Daphne together as he quickly grew to understand her better than anyone else ever has. I'm excited for the next book in this series to see what else Lady Celeste has in store for the bluestockings!!
Pinky1979 Reviews More than 1 year ago
This is the second book in Manda Collins' "Studies in Scandal" series. I didn't get the chance to read the first book which I gathered was about Ivy and Lord Kerr. This book is about one of the other heiress', Lady Daphne Forsyth and Lady Celeste's nephew and Lord Kerr's cousin Dalton Beauchamp, the Duke of Maitland. I'm sure that those who have read the first book are more familiar with these two, but if like me you haven't, then you will still very much enjoy this book. Lady Daphne Forsyth is a brilliant mathematician. In fact she is one of the best and is an expert at decoding ciphers. Before her death Lady Celeste send her not only a letter informing of the inheritance, but also a letter telling her of the legendary Cameron Cipher. A legend that no one knows for sure whether it truly exists or not. A message when decoded leads one to a treasure of gold. Daphne is more interested in the encrypted message than the treasure itself as she is determined to solve the mystery. It also seems that Lady Celeste has also managed to play matchmaker from the grave as she has left a letter stating that her nephew the Duke of Maitland should help Daphne on her quest. Maitland is mesmerised by not only Daphne's beauty but also her mind. Granted, she isn't the most social and friendly person, but her intellect and blunt manner draw him. With letters and clues and murders and numerous other obstacles along the way, Dalton and Daphne find themselves getting closer and closer not only to one another, but to the treasure! I have to say that blue stocking heroines tend to be more rigid than other heroines. So imagine a series which is based on 4 highly intelligent heroines who are all at the pinnacle of their respective work. Daphne is an unusual heroine. She is blunt and is clueless about social interactions and relationships. So to see such a person not only get used to the idea of living with others and making friends, but also falling in love was a delight in itself. This is not only a romance but a mystery where the excitement and intrigue never seems to end. I'm sure that there will be many more mysteries in the next book of the series. Can't wait!!! Thank you Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
sportochick More than 1 year ago
Seriously Lady Daphne is brilliant but hysterical in her lack of understanding how to relate to people. I can honestly say I know several people just like her and at times they frustrate me and other times they astound me with their high intelligence and way of looking at certain things. So yes Daphne's character is relatable and well written. I also felt that a situation that happened in her past was brought into the storyline with supreme finesse showing part of why she acts a bit strangely and also enriched the mystery part of this book. Dalton Beauchamp, the Duke of Maitland, is just yummy and ever female reader will love him right from the start. His character is honest, caring and thoughtful. Additionally intriguing about him is how he takes his childhood and creates a man with integrity as an adult. There are lots of secondary characters in this story and all of they are fully developed adding full body to an already fun romantic mystery book. I give this 5 STARS for being an entertaining hot hot read that keeps the reader guessing to the very end who did what, when, where and why.
LEH0644 More than 1 year ago
Lady Daphne Forsyth is well known for her mathematical ability and has been tasked with finding the treasure hidden by the Cameron family during the Reformation period. Clues were left for her by her benefactor who also had her nephew to look out for Daphne. But Dalton Beauchamp, Duke of Maitland, was attracted to Daphne when they first met and did not need any urging from his aunt to watch over her. When a dead man is found in a secret room and shots are fired at Daphne and Dalton, he is on the alert as he is determined that Daphne will marry him and no one will hurt her. I was looking forward to this book and was very disappointed in it as I did not feel it was as good as Collins’ other books. The characters were too vapid. Daphne was too vain as she thought she was smarter than anyone even though she had little sense in dealing with people. She was perplexed when Dalton told her to be more cordial to others including the servants. Weren't they there to do her bidding? Dalton knew that he was genial and attributed a lot of his charm to his good looks. Sounds a little shallow to me.
Maria-Rose More than 1 year ago
What a delightful romance! I loved the contrast between Daphne and Dalton's characters. Daphne has the brains, but difficulty relating to people. She trusts few due to her upbringing, but has made friends with the other women with whom she's inherited the estate. She also finds that she can rely on Dalton, when from one day to the next he shows her that he's on her side, that he's willing to help her with the puzzle of the cipher, and that he respects and approves of her using her talents. What Dalton brings to their quest is the ability to relate to people and together they can investigate the clues to solve their mystery. Dalton is a conscientious, thoughtful and friendly man. He worries about compromising Daphne's reputation and takes things slowly with her. While Daphne at first feels his rejection keenly, she discovers the reasons for it and is able to get past that and develop a real friendship with him that soon turns into more. Their love scenes are sensual and emotionally charged, and they are a well matched couple. I enjoyed how the romance plays out along with the mystery, and I'm definitely intrigued by the concept of the series and the other women who are Daphne's friends. Duke With Benefits is an entertaining and smooth flowing historical romance with a dash of mystery and intrigue to flavor the story.
Crystal61 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this story greatly. The adventures and puzzle solving were fun. Having such academically inclined heroines makes this series a good read. Daphne is learning how to consider the feelings of others while solving a puzzle given specifically to her. Dalton is drawn to her because of her intelligence and wants to protect her, even when she does not want that protection. This was a fun, romantic read, and I recommend this book. I look forward to reading more in this series. I received a copy of this book through Netgalley, and this is my unsolicited review.
BookReview4you More than 1 year ago
'Duke with Benefits' by Manda Collins is book Two in the "Studies in Scandal" series. This is the story of Lady Daphne Forsyth and Dalton Beauchamp, the Duke of Maitland. I have read the the previous book and Daphne and Dalton did meet in there. Also we learn some of Daphne's outspokenness that sometimes needed some censoring. But this can be a standalone book for sure. Daphne and three other ladies have inherited an estate from Lady Celeste Beauchamp who along with the other ladies was also a 'Bluestocking'. Although each lady has a different academic study they all are very smart and bookish. Dalton who has feelings for Daphne has gone into protective mode. It seems each lady has a quest set upon them by Lady Celeste that leads them into danger. I must say this series has everything you could want. It has a mystery story mixed into this Bluestocking love story. Loved this series and this book! Can't wait for the next story to come out! "Studies in Scandal" series: Book 1 Ready Set Rogue Book 2 Duke with Benefits Book 3 Wallflower Most Wanted "My honest review is for a special copy I voluntarily read."
CathyGeha More than 1 year ago
Duke with Benefits by Manda Collins Studies in Scandal #2 Lady Daphne Forsyth is a mathematical genius but not so great with people. For some reason Dalton Beauchamp, Duke of Maitland seems smitten with her. There is a treasure hunt, murder, friends to support Daphne, innuendo, a push that sets Daphne and Dalton up as betrothed, a kidnapping and eventually the treasure is found, the bad guy thwarted and a HEA for the H/h duo. I found it a rather predictable story and really did wonder what the two saw in one another. That said – thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the ARC – This is my honest review. (2-3 Stars)
momof3boysj More than 1 year ago
Lady Daphne is brilliant at math, inept with social skills, but still manages to charm Dalton, the Duke of Maitland. When her secret quest puts her in danger, the Duke becomes her protector and sleuth partner. As they search clues to find the Cameron Cipher, they discover a passion for each other, but misunderstandings threaten to thwart their happiness and burgeoning love. When Daphne is kidnapped, Dalton stops at nothing to save her. Another brilliant story in the Studies in Scandal series. I was provided a review copy through NetGalley
NovelKnight More than 1 year ago
Having met Daphne, the leading lady in Duke with Benefits, in Ready Set Rogue, I wasn't really sure how this book would play out. See, she's not your typical heroine and that's not a bad thing. Lady Daphne is very... honest. Blunt. Doesn't really understand social customs of conversation in any way and I wasn't really a fan of the way she was portrayed in the last book. I love the idea of an honest heroine, one who doesn't stand for societal expectations, but I think the author portrayed her in a bad light.  So going into this book, I was a tad worried. Before I say anything further, I should mention that I actually attempted to read this book without reading the previous one and that does not work... unless you skip the first chapter of Duke with Benefits. But I don't recommend reading out of order as this book is closely connected to the first in the series.  Much like the last one, this book uses murder as a way to bring the two lovebirds together in a quite predictable manner. They are even caught in a storm, resulting in the same outcome as with Ivy and Quill last time around. It makes me wonder if there will be a book in this series that doesn't feature murder and a compromising storm...  I liked getting to know Daphne better, seeing how she thought and unraveling her past more. Her intelligence has created "holes" in her knowledge that most of those around her don't have and it makes socializing difficult, a point that's brought up over and over again. I wasn't fond of the idea that intelligence means a lack of social graces so that irked me a bit, but her character on its own was someone with a strong personality who knows what she wants but also has a lot to learn.  As for her love interest, I liked Maitland much more than Quill. It was clear he cared for Daphne but he knew when to back off, when to ask for help, and when to take the lead. They had a good back-and-forth that showed how one complimented the other which was well done. The fact that he didn't just jump on Daphne the first chance he had and wanted to respect her earned him brownie points in my books since I've read far too many romances where the man seems to have no self control around anything wearing skirts.  I definitely liked the romance in this one better and I think the writing was, overall, better too. It's promising for the rest of the series, and I'm especially excited to see what's in store for the other two bluestockings living in the house. I just hope that neither of their books involve a murder or storm.
TammyS32 More than 1 year ago
This was a fun and fast paced historical read. The story has plenty of suspense and drama and I really liked Dalton. Overall, the story had me hooked from beginning to end the mystery is a lot of fun and I look forward to reading more in the series.
gigiluvsbooks More than 1 year ago
LADY + DUKE = TRUE LOVE? Lady Daphne Forsyth is a brilliant mathematician with a burning passion for puzzles. When she learns that the library belonging to her benefactress houses the legendary Cameron Cipher―an encrypted message that, once solved, holds the key to great riches―Daphne is on the case. Unfortunately, her race to unlock the cipher’s code is continually thwarted by a deliciously handsome distraction she hadn’t counted on. . .and cannot resist. Dalton Beauchamp, the Duke of Maitland, is curious as to why Daphne is spending so much time snooping around his aunt’s bookshelves. He’s even more intrigued by her bold yet calculating manner: She is unapologetic about her secret quest. . .and the fiery attraction that develops between them both. But how can they concentrate on solving a perplexing enigma once the prospect of true love enters the equation? Review: Having not read this Author or the series before I was happily satisfied by both. I loved that there was an interesting mystery wrapped into this historical romance. Again, I have not read the first book in the series, but reading this story which includes the main couple from the story, plus the other ladies who have inherited the estate really was so cohesive. I loved both Dalton and Daphne. They seemed so totally opposite but really worked together as they worked through puzzles to find the hidden treasure. My favorite was Daphne, I loved that she is wicked smart, speaks her mind and is socially awkward, which leads to some interesting interactions with other characters. This is not to say Dalton is not awesome too, he totally knows he wants Daphne and helps her and proves to her they are a perfect pair. Loved the story and cannot wait to read what happens next with these ladies. 4Stars *I voluntarily read an advance reader copy of this book provided by the publisher.*
etoile1996 More than 1 year ago
book 2 in the studies in scandal series, duke with benefits, sees dalton beauchamp, the duke of maitland, connect with lady daphne forsyth beyond her mathematical skills. though not known for her social graces, in fact she has none, lady daphne isn't uncaring or unkind. she is abrupt and suffers no fools, and in polite society, this behavior, especially given her status as an unmarried woman is quite beyond the pale. she is attracted to the duke and tried unsuccessfully to proposition him. she has no interest in marriage or being any man's property. three months later she is actively trying to ignore him, even as he is regretting having rejected her advances. he is fascinated by her—her brilliant mind, her adorable confusion when dealing with people, her beauty that he finds so alluring. but when the reason she inherited a portion of lady celeste beauchamp's estate comes to light and a dangerous figure from lady daphne's past is murdered in the priest's hole in their library, she finds herself working closely with the duke to solve the mystery. they are the perfect team to investigate matters, he has all the people skills. she has the smarts. they work well together. and when they are finally able to talk things through regarding the ill-fated proposition, lady daphne finds that the duke's position wasn't so far from hers after all. and seeing that she is a rational being, she finds his arguments for marriage quite compelling. and she also finds that the more time she spends with him, her worries about marriage are easily put aside. because the duke clearly values lady daphne for her brilliant mind. he would never use her to his advantage, but he also appreciates her talents for what they are and wouldn't stop her from her brain for any reason. for the time period, dalton's views are definitely progressive. even nowadays having someone value a woman's contributions to math or science can be a hard-fought battle.we've come far, but still have so much farther to go. **duke with benefits will publish on june 27, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/st. martin's press in exchange for my honest review.
DebDiem More than 1 year ago
Duke With Benefits by Manda Collins is a fantastic historical romance. Ms Collins has penned a story with plenty of suspenseful twists and turns and loaded it with lovable characters. Daphne and Dalton's story has enough drama, humor and spice to keep a reader glued to this book from cover to cover. I totally enjoyed reading Duke With Benefits and look forward to reading more from Manda Collins in the future. Duke With Benefits is book 2 in the Studies in Scandal Series but can be read as a standalone. This is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book that I received from NetGalley.
Lokithor More than 1 year ago
Duke With Benefits The second book in Manda Collin's Studies in Scandals series has a unique quality and so is not like every other Regency Romance. The novel features four young ladies, who unexpectedly inherit a country estate. Lady Celeste Beauchamp, a woman of superior intelligence, wished to enable these four bluestockings to pursue their studies without the responsibilities they have regarding their families. To make sure the ladies have this opportunity Lady Beauchamp bequeathed them her home. A manor complete with artifacts and a fabulous library. A Duke With Benefits can read as a stand-alone, but it is entertaining to watch these four young ladies begin their relationship as strangers to each other, and develop into a loving family of their own. The hero and heroine, Dalton Beauchamp, the Duke of Maitland and Lady Daphne Forsyth share witty dialog while trying not enjoy themselves. The passion level between Dalton and Daphne is not combustible, but it is believable. The memorable journey they share is packed with adventures, villains, dark deeds and hidden treasures. I enjoyed reading the tale of Dalton and Daphne as they earn their HEA.
Rita0285 More than 1 year ago
I liked all the action,suspense and mystery in this book. Daphne has been left a task to find a cipher that will lead to great riches. All her new friends get involved including the handsome duke. Together Daphne and Maitland try to solve all the clues left for them
nelriv More than 1 year ago
Received an ARC for my fair review for netgalley. This is the second book in series, and it was ok, we have another murder/mystery. I do like historical romance books, but I like, a little difference. Lady Daphne Forsyth is one of 4 young ladies who have inherited an estate. I understand that Daphne was very smart, and different than others, so she had no filter, but sometimes I just did not like her, and could not understand why Dalton, did, however if he didn't we would not have had a romance book. Now Dalton, he was charming, and him I did like, he was patient and kind, he was a gentleman. Anyway, it did have its funny moments, and as I mentioned earlier, it was a murder/mystery, so we have suspense, and a love story. This can be read as a stand alone, but if you know my reviews, I always encourage to read the books in series.
astroyic More than 1 year ago
Mystery, intrigue, danger and romance keep the reader enthralled in this story. This is the second title in the studies in scandal series and although I had not read the first story in this series it did not hinder my enjoyment of this story. There is so much mystery and intrigue as well as romance right from the get go that I was immediately pulled into the drama. I wanted to know all about Lady Daphne Forsthy's past and her attraction to the Duke of Maitland. Would their instant spark of attraction between them that was unlike anything she'd ever felt before be true love or would it be like so many other relationships she had witnessed in her life, and he would try to manipulate her gifts in mathematics and deciphering puzzles for his own gain. I thought Daphne and Dalton had great chemistry together and there were a few hot sex scenes throughout the book. A lot happens in a short period of time. Their attraction, him wanting to help her and his protectiveness as well as murder and drama as they search for the Cameron Cipher. There are a few sub characters that are involved and there is lots of mystery surrounding them, who they are and how exactly they play into everything. I was completely intrigued but always wanting more information. With twists and turns along the way that keep you guessing, you will find yourself captivated until the end. What will become of Lady Daphne and Duke of Maitland's attraction? Will Lady Daphne decipher the Cameron cipher? You will have to read to find out. Received a copy through the publisher via NetGalley and voluntarily wrote an honest review.
Lindsey_Gray11 More than 1 year ago
When Mathematician Lady Daphne Forsyth receives news she has inherited a home and all the contents with three other female scholars, she packs her bags as fast as she can. Her benefactress left her more than a house and friendship with the three other lady scholars. She left her the chance to solve the legendary Cameron Cipher and be rewarded with all the riches to be found upon completion. One hitch Daphne doesn’t expect is her benefactress’ nephew, Dalton Beauchamp, the Duke of Maitland, to help her in the quest. Dalton is a young, handsome, witty Duke who wants to make sure his aunt’s home is in safe hands. When he meets Daphne, he is immediately struck by her beauty and charmed by her plain and more often than not inappropriate speaking. Both Daphne and Dalton play a large part in the first novel in the series, Ready Set Rogue. They begin this novel with a shocking proposition. Daphne never intends to marry, but she believes she would enjoy the pleasures of the marriage bed. She therefore asks Dalton to be her lover, what we would now call Friends with Benefits. He refuses to be like his father who had numerous affairs and sullied the dukedom. The rejection seems to sting Dalton more than Daphne. Dalton doesn’t give up hope that she will eventually agree to become his wife. Daphne’s lack of filter had me both laughing and cringing. Not the sort of lady who should be a duchess, but I’m overjoyed that Dalton never gave up on her. After joining her on the hunt for the Cameron Cipher, he learns more about the reasons why Daphne is the way she is. Along the way, Daphne learns to let her heart led her in a direction her head tells her to never tread. I love how Dalton acknowledges several times that he is not as intelligent as the object of his affection, but it is that humble attitude that helps him win her heart. With death, danger, and a diabolical villain, Duke with Benefits is more than a romance. It’s a journey into the past with love and iminent peril nipping at your heels. I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
def618 More than 1 year ago
This is the 2nd book in The Studies in Scandal series and I like it better than the first, although that was a cute read also. Four bluestockings, each with a different expertise, inherit an estate from Lady Celeste Beauchamp. Lady Daphne Forysth is a mathematician who is happier dealing with numbers than people. She says exactly what she thinks however impolite it may be. She believes Lady Celeste had a book containing a code to the Cameron Cipher and left her a clue. She spends most of her time searching the library for it. Dalton Beauchamp, Celeste’s nephew, is intrigued by her. When they meet someone from her past who is also looking for the cipher, he and the other young ladies offer their help. They discover a dead body, other clues and love. I do not like spoiling a good plot, so I hope this is enough to entice you to read this cute series. Thank you to the publisher for giving me an ARC. They did not ask or require me to write a favorable review. I enjoyed this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lady Daphne Forsyth’s friend, Miss Ivy Wareham, has been shot and wounded. They had been part of a party at Beauchamp House that ventured to a gypsy camp to have their fortunes told by Madame Albinia. Daphne, Ivy, and their friends, Sophia and Gemma Hastings had inherited Beauchamp House from Lady Celeste Beauchamp. Lady Beauchamp had been poisoned. The inheritors are scholars like Lady Celeste was and who wanted them all to use her home and library and work hard in their varies areas of expertise. Lady Celeste’s nephews, Catullus, the Marquis of Kerr and Dalton Beauchamp, the Duke of Maitland, are interested in this endeavor. Lady Serena is the ladies’ chaperone. Ivy and Catullus have now married and are very much in love and Dalton is quite smitten with Daphne who is a math wizard but possesses little in the way of social graces. The library at Beauchamp House is supposed to have the Cameron Cipher hidden in plain sight (by Lady Celeste) for the ladies to find. The riddle dates from the time of the Jacobite Rebellion. The Cipher tells where the Jacobite gold is hidden. When some other people show up wanting to solve the Cipher, Daphne is upset. She doesn’t want other people searching for it because Lady Celeste had promised it to her. One of the people who shows up is Lord Sommersby. Daphne knows him from her past. He is a mean person who once tried to compromise her. The next day Sommersby is found dead and as Daphne did not like the man, she is considered a suspect in his killing. Soon Daphne and Dalton begin falling in and start to find clues about the Cipher. But will they be able to find and solve this very elusive mystery? Whom can be trusted? I read the first book in this series, “Ready Set Rogue.” Even then, many parts of the story seemed far-fetched and at the end of the book, I was confused and left with unanswered questions. Again, I felt like the scenario in this second book is somewhat far-fetched, but I guess that’s why it’s called fiction. I need to add that I have read other books by this author that I thoroughly enjoyed. I think I will any future books in this series a miss and hope that the author’s next endeavor will be more to my liking. Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
HeyerF4n More than 1 year ago
Opposites Attract 4.5* Lady Daphne Forsyth, one of four beneficiaries of Lady Celeste Beauchamp, is an accomplished mathematician but ill equipped to cope with social niceties having never had female companionship (nor any predilection to learn anything outside of her field). She is logical to a fault, blunt and outspoken and often inadvertently upsets those around her; though after four months of living at Beauchamp House with the three other young heiresses, a chaperon and Lady Celeste's two nephews, she is starting to ameliorate her behaviour. The charming Dalton, Duke of Maitland, to whom she is inexplicably drawn, is a force for good in her life and encourages her to be a more understanding person. The love story between the pair of them, interwoven with the quest to find a mysterious cypher and Jacobite gold, make this an absorbing and engaging read. I also liked the fact that the match between them wasn't unequal - she is the daughter of an Earl - rather than her being a seamstress or shopgirl! I was rather distracted by the use of the title Duke as a way of addressing Maitland but in some of the middle chapters he was addressed (correctly) as your grace, I am therefore hopeful that as I was reading an uncorrected digital galley, that this and other errors (such as boxbox) will have been reviewed and revised prior to publication. Whilst one in a series this can be read as a standalone. I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley I was not compensated for my review, and I was not required to write a positive review. The opinion expressed here is my own.