I Dared the Duke (Wayward Wallflowers Series #2)

I Dared the Duke (Wayward Wallflowers Series #2)

by Anna Bennett

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Overview

I Dared the Duke (Wayward Wallflowers Series #2) by Anna Bennett

DARE TO FALL IN LOVE

Alexander Savage, the Duke of Blackshire, is known throughout the ton for three things: the burn scars on his neck, his ornery disposition, and the trail of broken hearts behind him. None of which would concern Miss Elizabeth Lacey in the least—if she weren’t living under his roof. As his grandmother’s companion, Beth is all too concerned with the moody and compelling duke. Incensed by his plans to banish the sweet dowager duchess to the country, Beth refuses to do his bidding. If Alex wants her help, he’s going to have to take her dare…and grant her three wishes.

Alex adores his grandmother, which is precisely why she must leave. A string of unfortunate incidents has him worried for the safety of everyone around him—including the dowager’s loyal and lovely companion, Beth. But the notorious wallflower isn’t as meek as she appears, and as their battle of wills heats up, so does Alex’s desire. He’s dangerously close to falling in love with her…and revealing secrets he’d rather keep hidden. How can he convince her that his darkest days are behind him—and that, for the first time in forever, his heart is true?

I Dared the Duke continues Anna Bennett's Regency-era romance series, The Wayward Wallflowers.

Don’t miss the Wayward Wallflower books by Anna Bennett!
My Brown-Eyed Earl (Book 1)
I Dared the Duke (Book 2)
The Rogue is Back in Town (Book 3)

What Reviewers are saying:

“Sharply drawn characters, clever dialogue…simmering sensuality.”
Library Journal

“A new favorite among romance enthusiasts!” - BookPage on I Dared the Duke

"Will truly win readers' hearts." - RT Book Reviews Top Pick on I Dared the Duke

"Bennett brings new life to traditional Regency stories and characters. " - Kirkus Reviews on I Dared the Duke

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250100924
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 04/04/2017
Series: Wayward Wallflowers Series , #2
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 217,363
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.60(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Anna Bennett started swiping romances from her mom’s bookshelf as a teenager and decided that books with balls, dukes, and gowns were the best. So, when she had the chance to spend a semester in London she packed her bags—and promptly fell in love with the city, its history, and its pubs. She dreamed of writing romance, but somehow ended up a software analyst instead.

Fortunately, a few years and a few careers later, Anna found her way back to writing the stories she loves and won the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart®. Her books in the Wayward Wallflowers series include My Brown-Eyed Girl and I Dared a Duke. She lives in Maryland with her husband and three children, who try valiantly not to roll their eyes whenever she quotes Jane Austen. Other weaknesses include reality TV, cute shoes, and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.

Read an Excerpt

I Dared The Duke


By Anna Bennett

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2017 Anna Bennett
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-250-10093-1


CHAPTER 1

London, July 1818

Alexander Savage, the Duke of Blackshire, was known throughout the ton for three things: the horrific burn scars on his neck, his distinctly ornery disposition, and his undisputed skill at ... that is, his innate ability to ... er, a certain knack for pleasing —

Blast it all, the duke was good in bed.

None of which was any concern of Elizabeth Lacey's. In fact, just two months ago, Beth would have bet her best bonnet that she'd go to her grave without ever setting foot inside the duke's town house.

And now she lived there.

It was a temporary arrangement — a favor to her dear uncle. His friend the Dowager Duchess of Blackshire had mentioned, repeatedly, that she longed for a companion — someone to escort her to various functions and ease her loneliness now that her niece had married and moved to Somerset.

While the thought of a full social calendar made Beth break out in a rash, the truth was she needed ... well, she needed to be needed.

Her sisters lovingly teased her for her habit of embracing every cause — whether it was tending to a bird's broken wing, standing up for a bullied child, or collecting books for the foundling home. Beth couldn't help it — she liked to fix things, right wrongs, and restore harmony.

She supposed that's what came from enduring a childhood where little seemed fair or orderly. After the sudden death of her parents, she and her sisters had been like frail leaves caught up in a whirlwind, their lives spinning out of control. She'd learned at a tender age that the world wasn't always a fair or decent place ... and she'd resolved to make it so.

When she'd considered that acting as companion to the duchess would place her in proximity with the brooding, if reportedly talented, duke, she had hesitated briefly. But Beth doubted her path and the duke's would cross often, if at all.

Indeed, the dowager had assured Beth that the duke preferred to spend his time at his estate house outside of London. She'd blinked rapidly and her thin voice had cracked as she'd admitted she suspected her grandson preferred the company of younger people and naturally did not wish to have his bachelor activities curtailed by the presence of a feeble old woman.

Incensed by the duke's callousness, Beth had agreed to play the part of companion on the spot.

And now, there she was. The duke's sumptuous drawing room was a far cry from the cozy parlor with the threadbare settee in the house where she'd lived with Uncle Alistair and her sisters. Humming to herself, she laid a whisper-soft quilt across the duchess's lap and fluffed the silk damask pillow behind her back.

The white-haired woman sighed contentedly and sipped her tea.

"Shall I inquire about this evening's menu?" Beth asked.

A look of alarm flitted across the duchess's heavily powdered face but vanished so quickly Beth wondered if she'd imagined it. "No, no." The tightly spiraled curls at the duchess's temple bounced as she shook her head. "I'm sure Cook has dinner well in hand." Her shrewd blue eyes roved over Beth's simple morning gown. "But would you be a dear and fetch my paisley shawl from upstairs?"

"Of course." Beth started toward the door.

"While you're looking in my armoire," the duchess added breezily, "perhaps you'd like to pick out a shawl for yourself."

"You're very kind," Beth said. "But I'm not at all chilled." Sunlight streamed through the drawing room's tall windows, and a cozy fire crackled on the hearth. Furthermore, it was July.

The duchess raised her thin brows. "I forget that young people are impervious to the cold. Still, I find there's nothing like surrounding oneself with cheerful colors to brighten the mood." She sighed forlornly. "A bit of rose silk would complement your fair complexion."

Beth absently raised a palm to her cheek, fairly certain she'd just been given fashion advice by a woman well into her seventies. But it couldn't hurt to indulge the duchess. Too many of Beth's peers dismissed the opinions of their elders, scoffing at their hard-won wisdom. She'd witnessed the same prejudice directed at her uncle scores of times.

"Very well," Beth said brightly. "You've convinced me. I shall take you up on your generous offer and borrow something colorful."

"Excellent." The duchess leaned back in her chair, pleased to have her small wish granted. It wasn't difficult to make older people happy. They simply wanted the same as anyone — to be heard and respected.

Beth made her way to the duchess's elegant bedchamber and located the paisley shawl, as well as a lightweight pink silk for herself. She paused in front of the vanity to drape the scarf around her shoulders and admire the effect.

Goodness. She had to admit, it was a marked improvement. Perhaps if she consulted the duchess about her gown before her next ball she'd finally shed her reputation as being the middle — and therefore the least notable — of the Wilting Wallflowers.

Either that, or she'd become notorious for wearing a rich purple turban and prematurely securing her spot among the gray-haired set.

She shrugged. There were worse fates, after all.

Whisking herself out of the bedchamber and down the stairs, she rounded a corner just as the front door burst open. A pair of footmen laden with trunks, boxes, and bags dashed up the porch steps and shouldered past her. The butler, Mr. Sharp, strode into the foyer, then chased the footmen up the staircase, issuing orders as to where each parcel should be placed.

Beth contemplated the odd scene. The duchess hadn't mentioned she was expecting guests. And whoever had arrived was causing rather a fuss. Moreover, the front door gaped open, inviting a warm but strong breeze that would no doubt drift down the hall toward the drawing room. The duchess would feel it as surely as the princess had felt the pea nestled beneath her hundred mattresses.

Clucking her tongue, Beth rushed across the foyer and swung the door shut.

Only to have it bounce open again, revealing the tall, muscular, and vexingly breathtaking form of the Duke of Blackshire.

Drat.

He glared down his slightly crooked nose, not bothering to hide his displeasure. "Good God," he intoned, crossing the threshold. "Have you taken leave of your senses?"

Beth's jaw dropped and heat crawled up her neck. How dare he? She longed to issue a blistering response — a witty yet cutting retort to put him firmly in his place, a clever remark to make him realize how wrong he was, a metaphorical slap across his chiseled cheek.

But her throat squeezed shut, and the words wouldn't come, blast it all. Even worse, her eyes burned.

"Never mind." The duke rolled his eyes as he slammed the door behind him. "I believe I have my answer."

He tugged off his gloves, tossed them onto the small table in the foyer, and strode past her as though she were a potted plant. Or rather a person with the intellect of one.

Her blood boiled. She couldn't allow him to dismiss her so, wouldn't let him treat her with such indignity.

Summoning courage, she cleared her throat. "My name is Miss Elizabeth Lacey." Though she'd tried to match his haughty tone, her traitorous voice cracked.

The duke's boots froze on the marble floor. "Miss Lacey," he repeated in a tone that suggested he felt a headache coming on. "Why are you roaming the halls of my house?"

"I was hardly roam —" She closed her eyes briefly to collect herself, then raised her chin before she continued. "I am your grandmother's new companion."

He snorted. "She said nothing about you."

Beth shrugged. "As it happens, the duchess has said very little about you." A small fib. The duchess loved nothing more than droning on about her grandson, fairly beaming with pride each time his name crossed her lips.

The duke planted his hands on narrow hips, as though exasperated by Beth's insolence. Well. If she was rude, it was no more than he deserved.

"Where is she?"

"Your grandmother is in the drawing room."

He stalked up the stairs and down the corridor, and Beth followed on the heels of his polished boots. If he meant to confront the duchess about taking on Beth as a companion, she intended to be there.

Ignoring her, he walked through the drawing room, directly to his grandmother's side.

"Alexander! What a pleasant surprise!" the older woman cooed.

He placed a perfunctory kiss on her cheek and sat on a stool opposite her settee so she needn't crane her neck to look at him. Beth stood beside the duchess, who perked up, as though the mere presence of her grandson was more potent than a drink from the Fountain of Youth.

"You grow more handsome each time I see you," the duchess proclaimed.

"Your eyesight is failing, Grandmother," he teased, causing her to giggle like a debutante.

"Nonsense." But she adjusted her spectacles just the same. "I assume you met Elizabeth?"

"Yes, she was in the foyer when I arrived. Does she always guard the front door?"

The duchess's smile faded a fraction. "Why, heavens no. She was fetching my shawl."

Realizing she still held the shawl, Beth clumsily laid it over the duchess's sloped shoulders.

The duke leaned forward and reached for the duchess's frail hands, enveloping them in his. "Grandmother, your lady's maid could have handled the task."

"Oh." Her brow creased. "I suppose you're right. But Elizabeth didn't seem to mind."

"Of course I don't mind," Beth interjected, incredulous.

"My point is," the duke continued to address the duchess without sparing so much as a glance for Beth, "that you are not in need of a companion. But if, for some reason, you felt that you did require one, you should have consulted with me."

Beth gripped the back of the settee and pressed her lips together. Honestly, the man's arrogance knew no bounds. Though it wasn't her place to respond, she couldn't idly stand by while he scolded the duchess.

"Your grandmother is quite capable of making all sorts of decisions on her own, your grace. Furthermore, even if she had been inclined to consult with you, circumstances made that quite impossible, as you were not here. In fact, I gather you are rarely here. Which is why my presence is necessary."

The duke dropped his grandmother's hands and stood, launching the full force of his glare at Beth. She hadn't liked being ignored, but perhaps it was preferable to this — his unapologetic scrutiny. Her skin tingled with the knowledge that a fight was imminent, and she swallowed the knot in her throat. She might as well have been facing Goliath with a slingshot.

"Necessary?" He folded his arms across the considerable width of his chest, and his expression turned bemused. "I have made sure that the duchess has everything she could possibly need. You are approximately as necessary as the ostrich feather in that vase." He inclined his head at the pretty, if superfluous, plume displayed on the fireplace mantel.

The duke's words cut her to the quick — probably more than he knew. She'd thought the duchess needed her, but maybe Beth had only been desperate to believe she did. That someone did.

"Alexander!" The duchess pressed a hand to her chest. "You mustn't insult Elizabeth. She is here as a favor to me."

A moment of awkward silence ensued before the duke finally spoke. "Forgive me, Grandmother."

However reluctant his apology might have been, the duchess relaxed, instantly mollified. But then, she hadn't been deemed as useless as a discarded feather — of a flightless bird, no less.

"It's quite all right. I'm certain you're weary from your travels and eager to freshen up," the duchess said.

Travels? For heaven's sake. His country house was less than an hour away by carriage, and even a journey from Northumberland in knee-deep snow couldn't have excused his bad behavior. Besides, he didn't appear weary to Beth in the least. He was all lean muscle and coiled strength. He fairly exuded power.

"I do have some pressing business to attend to." He glanced at the gold clock that was also on the mantel — ornate but infinitely more utilitarian than the ostrich plume beside it.

Beth bit her tongue. He'd been gone a fortnight, and yet he couldn't afford to spend a quarter of an hour conversing with his dear, adoring grandmother?

But the duchess smiled, unperturbed. "I trust you'll be dining with us tonight?" "If I'm able," he said noncommittally.

"Wonderful." The duchess clasped her hands. "I think Elizabeth and I should rest so that we'll be at our very best."

Beth sniffed. The duke was hardly deserving of her best. Given his churlishness, he'd be fortunate if she managed to refrain from hurling her peas at him for the duration of the first course.

"A fine plan," the duke said smoothly. "Why don't you retire for a nap, Grandmother? In the meantime, I require a word with Miss Lacey."

A chill ran the length of Beth's spine.

"Oh?" The duchess looked from the duke to Beth and back again. "Whatever for?" The duke smiled, revealing white, even teeth. "We seem to be off to a rocky start. I wish to make amends."

"Then I shall leave you." The duchess stood with an alacrity Beth hadn't known she possessed and made her way to the door. "You are two of my favorite young people," she said over her shoulder, "and nothing would make me happier than to see harmony restored to this house. I shall see you at dinner," she added cheerfully.

And with a wave of her hand, she left Beth alone — with the notorious Duke of Blackshire.

He stared at her for the space of several heartbeats, with the same cold detachment one usually reserved for examining a hem in need of mending. Not that the duke would concern himself with a torn gown hem. No, if rumors were to be believed, his interest in gowns was strictly limited to their ease of removal. Still, she refused to be intimidated by either his scandalous reputation or his intense masculinity.

"Elizabeth Lacey." He gazed at the ceiling as though searching his memory. Beth wanted to tell him not to waste his time. While they'd attended a few of the same balls, he was unlikely to remember a thin girl in an unfashionable gown propping up the wall near the refreshment table.

"Aren't you one of Lord Wiltmore's —?" "Wallflowers?" she provided. "How kind of you to mention it," she added dryly.

He raised a dark brow. "I was going to say 'nieces.'" She shrugged. "Perhaps. But you were thinking 'wallflowers.'" "I am fascinated by your uncanny ability to know what I'm thinking. If you can predict what I'm going to say before I say it, this whole conversation is rather pointless."

"I couldn't agree more," she said, smiling too sweetly. "Are we through?" "Not quite." The feral grin that lit his face did not reach his eyes. "I've no doubt you know what I am about to say, and yet I feel the need to state it explicitly: your services are not needed here. Go home, Miss Lacey."

CHAPTER 2

Alex sat and poured himself tea — into an empty cup clearly meant for Miss Lacey. But this was his domain, damn it. And he'd returned this morning for the sole purpose of removing people from his house, not taking more in.

Miss Lacey's blue eyes grew round as saucers, but despite his unambiguous order that she leave, she did not flee the room in a flurry of tears.

Instead, she strolled around the end of the settee and slowly, deliberately, sank onto the seat directly across from him.

"I assume you have some items you need to pack," he said, leaning back in his chair. "I'll send up a footman in a half hour to assist you with your bags."

Miss Lacey did not respond, but rather, reached for the folded napkin on the silver tea tray, snapped it open, and laid it across her lap. She then proceeded to claim the single unused dish — and the last blueberry scone.

A bold move. He had to give the wallflower credit.

A smug smile lit her face as she proceeded to bite into the pastry. He watched, oddly mesmerized, as she ate the entire scone and licked the crumbs from her lips. "Now then," she said smoothly, "you should know that I intend to stay on as your grandmother's companion. I believe you said something about making amends."

He stretched out his legs, crossing them at the ankles. "I lied." He had no intention of apologizing ... but he was not above paying her off. Anything to get her out of his hair — and his house.

He'd heard rumors that her uncle, Wiltmore, was in dire financial straits. His oldest niece had married Lord Castleton, but perhaps the earl wasn't keen on sharing his wealth with the eccentric — some said mad — Lord Wiltmore. Part of him admired Miss Lacey's resourcefulness.

He set down the teacup and folded his arms across his chest. "How much do you want?"

She blinked prettily, the picture of innocence. "I beg your pardon?" "I haven't time for games. Name your sum."

A pink flush stole up her cheeks. "Are you talking about ... money?" "I presume that's why you're here."


(Continues...)

Excerpted from I Dared The Duke by Anna Bennett. Copyright © 2017 Anna Bennett. 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.
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I Dared the Duke (Wayward Wallflowers Series #2) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 35 reviews.
NovelKnight More than 1 year ago
For my first read of anything by Anna Bennett, I have to say I found I Dared the Duke fun and entertaining…but not a standout. As someone who reads historical romances fairly often, especially lately, this one was light and all sorts of fluff fun but once I was done reading it didn’t stick with me. Which, honestly, isn’t a bad thing because I can’t think of many romances that do. I Dared the Duke is the second of the Wayward Wallflower books and while I haven’t read the first one (and I do plan to now), I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything so you can definitely read this one as a standalone. I liked Beth. Some aspects of her personality didn’t really connect for me, like the constant need to be needed. I just couldn’t relate to that. But she wasn’t a doormat and used her wit to trick Alex into spending more time with his grandmother which I found both hilarious and unusual for a romance. Generally there are side characters in a romance but I don’t often see them play a larger role, but Alex’s grandmother was definitely the third member of this little party and it made for an interesting dynamic. Alex is a bit rough around the edges and has his reasons for pushing Beth away but they don’t last long when attraction enters the game. I enjoyed watching his character develop because he wasn’t the most likable person at the beginning but at the story progressed, he opened up more and grew on me until I cheered him and Beth on at the end. Much of the story actually centered around these two interacting so the story took a backseat as well as all the action that could have come with it (which all seemed to be saved up for the end of the book when everything happens all at once. Unfortunately, the lack of story meant the story didn’t quite fit was I was looking for in a romance but it had some elements I wanted to see. My favorite part of I Dared the Duke was definitely the banter between Beth and Alex. this isn’t a book I’d recommend for the story because despite all the tension that’s hinted at, the book was a pretty light read and didn’t really play up the action like it could have. Which was a bit disappointing. And honestly, this book didn’t have the true feel of a historical romance to me, in the way the characters talked and interacted. There was definitely a modern edge, but I found I didn’t mind? Again, I didn’t keep reading this one for the story so much as the characters so it wasn’t much of a bother. Now I can’t say I would recommend this book to those of you who read historical romances pretty often because it likely won’t live up to your expectations. This is definitely just a light, fun read and I do plan to read the first in the series as well as any others that release because it was definitely enjoyable if you’re not looking for anything heavy.
RomanticReadsandSuch More than 1 year ago
This is the first of Bennett’s books that I’ve read and I really enjoyed it. It’s been a while since I’ve read a historical romance and this one reminded me why I enjoy them so much. As is typical, Alex displays Duke-ish behavior and keeps too many things to himself and if he’d only share it would take care of so much of his troubles. Instead Beth makes a lot of assumptions, very few of them good, and gets herself into the occasional bit of trouble. The whodunit part isn’t a huge part of the story, other than as a catalyst to these two getting together and living HEA. But when the truth comes out it definitely is an interesting revelation and works well with the rest of the story. Together, they make a great couple – trying so hard to avoid their attraction but with a lot of sass when they inevitably fail. Cute and fun, with some laughs and a few moments of danger, I Dared the Duke is a light-hearted read for those who like their men in cravats and their women hiding backbones under their corsets. (Can easily stand on its own) *** I voluntarily read a Review Copy of this book. All opinions stated are solely my own and no one else’s. ***
BuckeyeAngel More than 1 year ago
Alexander Savage, the Duke of Blackshire, is known for several things. One of which is his prowess in the bedchambers, a fact that he seems to embrace. When he comes home, intending on clearing out his household, he finds Miss Elizabeth Lacey, a young woman his grandmother has hired as her companion. Right from the beginning, she fights his every command. I am all for love (or lust) at first sight as long as the story is well written, but I had a problem getting into this story. I couldn’t really buy into them knowing each other’s characters within just a few hours of meeting or how the Duke suddenly trusted her help (based on a character he shouldn’t have known yet) after trying to get rid of her. Unfortunately it just didn't’ work for me. **I voluntarily read and reviewed this book
Historical_Romance_Lover More than 1 year ago
I LOVED this story!! I always love when a character is not what he seems and Alexander definitely fits that bill. Beth is also different from her counterparts in that most women of the ton would be intimidated by Alexander, but she doesn't let him push her around. It is definitely a test of wills! Bennett has definitely hit it out of the park with this one!! It is a must read!
HEARomances More than 1 year ago
What an enchanting read I found in I Dared the Duke Anna Bennett is a new Historical Romance Author to me, who I will be discovering more of in the future. Alex is known throughout the Ton for his rake status, but as rumors flow around could it be possible that Alex’s status is just that a rumor? This handsome Duke could have his pick of lovely ladies so when his interest levitates to his grandmother’s companion lord knows what could happen next. Beth and her sisters were dubbed “Wildflowers”, They were pointed at and laughed at throughout the Ton. I found myself truly impressed with Beth’s character, just enough softness and bravery to make her an interesting heroine. I enjoyed Alex and Beth’s chemistry it was apparent from the beginning. Realistic and powerful. Secrets have a way of coming out at the most worse of times, so when Alex’s secrets come to light what will this mean for him and Beth? Can Beth forgive Alex for the one thing that has done her heart the most harm? The supporting characters were an interesting lot as they were most entertaining. I do see many future books with these character’s, but the one most I want to see a book from is Lord Darberville. He needs a lady to tame his wild, wicked ways. *grins* Meg and Juliette (Beth sisters) create a few fun moments as well as the Dowager (Alex’s Grandmother) I did quite enjoy the paces they put Alex through. The era was magnificently described. I enjoyed reading about the parties they have in this time-period. Ms. Bennett left no area undiscovered. The characters were engaging, fun and surprising at times. I enjoyed the suspense filled plot that had its share of a few twists. Rated 5 Stilettos and a Recommended Read by Deb !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed this book as well as the first, both a good read in their own right.
Booktalk_with-Eileen More than 1 year ago
The tone of the story is set from the outset. I’m prepared to laugh and enjoy! Elizabeth Lacey, Beth that is, is a terribly kind woman who wants to make everything right, certainly right wrongs and restore harmony between people. She is companion to Alexander Savage, the Duke of Blackshire’s mother, Dowager Duchess of Blackshire. The Dowager is a little bit of a match maker which I find endearing. She also has lots of spunk and totally lovable and quick-witted. Beth feels very protective of the women and works against Blackshire’s desire to have them both out of his townhouse. Beth, dragging her feet as much as possible, makes a bargain with the duke to allow three wishes to his grandmother. She then will acquit the residence wondering how she will convince the dowager since she loves the active life of London. Not informed of the truth of the situation, Beth assumes so much about the relationship between Blackshire and his grandmother. She puts herself between what she perceives as a wrong done to his grandmother and Blackshire’s seemingly selfish motives. The dowager is happy with her new companion and Beth found it isn’t difficult to make her happy. Older people want the same as anyone – to be heard and respected. Beth is the middle sister of the women known as the Wilting Wallflowers – known for three years as such and coined so by none other than Blackshire. Would the duke dare tell Beth, especially when his feeling for her are deepening? The duke is one of those duke’s with the ‘better than thou attitude’, yes, the typical duke. What is it about power anyway? But his redeeming quality is he truly wants to keep his grandmother safe. Someone is out to kill him. But who? Will they also try to harm his grandmother and even Beth? Beth has spunk and she doesn’t let him get away with it. And that my dear reader, is what catches the fellow. But not before he puts his foot in his mouth when he tries to explain why he should feign interest in Beth to try to capture the killer. Excerpt: She shook her head, incredulous. “You think that your interest in me will cause other gentleman to hold me in esteem?” “A dog always wants another dog’s bone.” Miss Lacey gasped, clearly horrified by his attempt to explain. “How dare you compare me to a dog? She snapped. For the love of—“I’m the dog. You’re the bone.” “Your charming little metaphor was not entirely beyond me, your grace.” He shrugged. “Apparently, it was.” Narrowing her eyes to slits, she stepped toward him. Close enough for him to see the subtle rise and fall of her chest. “I followed your meaning. Now allow me to explain something to you.” She spoke slowly, anger dripping for each word. “I am not the bone. But if I were, I wouldn’t be caught dead in your mouth.” ***** Alex is a good duke, his grandmother’s protection tantamount. He’s unable to convince Beth without telling her the complete story. This lends to a rather funny story until the situation is laced with nail-biting fear. Author Anna Bennet is an author I haven’t read. I enjoyed the story and recommend the series to those who enjoy Regency reads with danger, humor, feisty heroines and dukes way beyond their depth!
DianaSMcC More than 1 year ago
This is the second book in the THE WAYWARD WALLFLOWER series. I enjoyed it as a standalone book, as I hadn’t read the first one. I DARED THE DUKE is the story of Miss Elizabeth Lacey (Beth) who’s personality is, she likes to be needed. After her sister is married, Beth is no longer needed at home, so she becomes the companion to the Dowager Duchess of Blackshire. As the companion to the Dowager Duchess she meets her grandson, the Duke of Blackshire, Alexander Savage (Alex). He has a reputation as a rogue. As a child he lost both parents to a house fire and he was severely burned. His grandmother nursed him back to health and raised him. He loves the Dowager Duchess, but when attacks on his life threaten the security of their home, he would like nothing better than to send her and her companion to the country. Beth stands up for the Duchess to stay in London, and ‘blackmails’ the Duke into granting three wishes for the Duchess, and only then will Beth convince her to move to the country. They say love is never easy, and that’s how it is between the Duke and Beth. The characters are well drawn. There is a great mystery with the assassination attempts on Alex. Beth resists him for a part of the book. But once they realize they are meant to be, there is no stopping their love and the book heats up. Read I DARED THE DUKE for stolen kisses, caresses and snappy dialogue, take the journey with Beth and Alex and you won’t be disappointed. I definitely want to read the other books in this series, “THE WAYWARD WALLFLOWERS”. I requested and received a copy of this book from ROMANCE JUNKIES REVIEWS, in exchange for my honest review.is
sportochick More than 1 year ago
In the second book to The Wayward Wallflowers series I fell into deep admiration with Beth's character. I am not sure this statement is grammatically correct but it is what I mean. Beth needs to be needed, as do most people though they are unaware of this need. The fact that she is conscious of this and finds ways to satisfy this part of herself is spread throughout this book in an appealing manner. I like that the author does give her a backbone to not be walked on and to be able to think of her best interests. It is refreshing to read a female lead character that thinks of others wellbeing. Alex's hidden secrets are surprising and painful. It is clear throughout the book that he didn't understand how one moment in time could affect others for the rest of their lives and possibly ruin his future. In his character one sees how one's thoughts create a life that is not satisfying and can in fact be very destructive. Secondary characters in his grandmother and his close friend Darby the Marquess of Daberville add very interesting scenes to this romantic amusing and fun read. I really enjoyed this read and love how it addressed bullying in a discrete manner. I look forward to the next book in this series and give this book 4 STARS for addressing how destructive words can be to one's future.
JoRead More than 1 year ago
Second installment in The Wayward Wallflowers series but can easily be read as a standalone. Both Alex and Beth are unique characters in that he’s not what he’s allowed the ton to believe and she’s not the meek mouse he’s thought her to be. Although there is some sort of spark when they first meet there is no instant physical attraction, which I truly appreciated. I was glad to see their feelings blossomed from engaging in actual conversations and from daily interaction. There was an easy and funny banter between the two that made their relationship feel real and believable. Even though the Duke behaved roguish and intimidating at times, Beth showed plenty of resolve and strength of character, both to resist his charms and later to help him overcome some personal issues. There was however that little issue with the so-called “incidents”. The heart of the matter is that it appears someone was trying to hurt Alex. Instead of enlisting the help of professionals or at least gather more intelligence before jumping to conclusions he actually secluded himself into his old home with the person he said he loved the most. There is also Beth, who at the beginning of the story showed such wit and an agile mind but towards the end was pushing Ben to act recklessly and even use her as bait to uncover the villain. It was as if she was a completely different person than the woman at the beginning. In short, I was hooked when the story started but not so much as the story progressed and quite frankly I was conflicted in how I felt when I finished it. I suppose it was still a good story but in my opinion it just didn’t deliver in the mystery aspect nor did it provide the ending I needed. 3.5 stars. *** I received this book from the author at no cost to me and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.***
LiveLaughandLoveBooks More than 1 year ago
There was just the right amount of mystery mixed in with the romance in this book. They helped balance each other to make a pretty well rounded story! Beth and Alex both have assumptions about each other at the beginning but as they get to know each other, they come to realize just how wrong they were (which was enjoyable to read!). I also enjoyed the way they started out fighting during every exchange, talk about some yummy sexual tension! Overall a pretty good read! * I voluntarily reviewed an Advanced Reader 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.*
HollyJenae More than 1 year ago
274 pages, can be read as a standalone, PG-13 sex scenes. Good book, maybe not worth $8 though. It's on the upper end, maybe just outside of average for a romance novel. They did a good job of avoiding cheese and you actually liked both of the main characters. The backstory about attempts on the Duke's life are half-hearted at best. None of that bit really makes sense. He's also a Duke so he could have hired investigators and gaurds or protection of some sort but whatever... I've read a lot worse.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was disappointed when I read this book. I had really been looking forward to its release as I loved book one. This one dragged in a lot of places and the character development was lacking. Even the plot plodded along and lacked depth. Sorry, Ms. Bennet, this was mostly a miss!
Brownac101 More than 1 year ago
Alexander Savage, the Duke of Blackshire, is known throughout the ton for the burns on his neck and the trail of broken hearts behind him. He adores his grandmother, she nursed him back to health after his burns and he lost his parents, but now there is someone out to murder him and with his reputation for being a rake of the highest order the list isn't short of enemies. He’s worried about his grandmother’s safety and what he doesn’t need right now is a new companion under foot. His grandmother has just hired one of the Wilting Wallflower’s, Miss Elizabeth Lacey as her companion and this wallflower is not as meek and mild as he expected. Elizabeth calls him out on not wanting his grandmother around, she stands up to him and encourages Alex to make a deal to grant his grandmother three wishes and then she will encourage her to move to the country. Elizabeth gradually gets under Alex’s skin, she’s not what he expected. He keeps revealing secrets he’d rather keep hidden and show Elizabeth a side of himself she cannot resist. They are drawn together by a fiery passion that neither can deny! A great read with mystery, passion and vulnerable characters risking it all for a chance at a once in a life time love. This is my honest review of a compliment copy received from Net Galley.
grandmareads102 More than 1 year ago
Alexander Savage, the Duke of Blackshire, has both mental and physical scars. He's haunted by the death of his parents in a fire when he was a child. I liked how he cares for his grandmother. I could tell that he hides a loving heart behind a prickly attitude. He finds himself drawn to his grandmother's companion, Miss Elizabeth Lacey. The irony is that he nicknamed her and her sisters the Wilting Wallflowers. Now he wants her for himself. Seeing them together is romantic. I enjoyed their dialogue which is sexy and sassy. I liked Beth. She is a loving and caring woman. She likes the Dowager Duchess and she's drawn to her grandson. It made me smile that she's curious about his reputation as a lover. These two make a great couple. I found that this story was an exciting mix of romance and mystery. I admit that I didn't have any idea who was trying to kill the Duke. I enjoyed Anna Bennett's writing. I liked her style. She kept me reading. I liked her characters, the plot and the mystery. I received a copy of this book which I voluntarily read. My comments are my honest opinion.
BookReview4you More than 1 year ago
Review For: I Dared the Duke 'I Dared the Duke' by Anna Bennett is book Two in the "The Wayward Wallflowers" series. This is the story of Alexander 'Alex' Savage, the Duke of Blackshire and Miss Elizabeth 'Beth' Lacey. I have read the previous book "My Brown-Eyed Earl" but feel this is easily a standalone book. Beth is the sister of Meg who was the main character in the first book. Beth and her other two sister were consider Wallflowers by the town and Beth is okay with that. Beth is doing a favor for her Uncle Alistair by being a companion to the Dowager Duchess of Blackshire, who is her Uncle's friend. It is only a temporary job to escort the Duchess to various functions and ease her loneliness now that her niece has married and moved away. Beth is known for having a soft heart and taking in animals and people so this is just the thing Beth needs too... to feel helpful. Beth and her sister had a somewhat tough time after their parents died, so Beth is not only soft but a strong women who does stand up for herself and others. Alex on the other hand seems to have a temper, short on words, somewhat injured inside and all around tough guy. When someone is out to hurt him he doesn't want the Duchess who is his Grandmother hurt in the process of find out who is behind this. Alex just coldly seems to tell them what he plans to do about the Duchess but Beth isn't haven't it. Beth thinks at first he just wants the Duchess away so he can be a Rake and not be around his Grandmother. But once Beth learns the truth she turns to help him the best she can. I am totally in love with this series! Ms. Bennett is quickly become a top favorite author for me. Can't want for the next book in this series!"My honest review is for a special copy I voluntarily read."
Crystal61 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this story. Beth is a companion to Alex's grandmother. When Alex shows up, Beth gets the wrong idea. To protect her charge, she dares Alex to grant his grandmother three wishes and spend time with her before shuffling her out of his life. Alex is trying to figure out who is trying to kill him without endangering anyone else. Beth pushes him until he tells her things he has told no one else. Their connection strengthens as the danger comes closer. I had a tough time putting this one down, and I highly recommend this story. I have made Anna Bennett a must read and look forward to reading more. I received a copy of this story through Netgalley, and this is my unsolicited review.
momof3boysj More than 1 year ago
Beth was hired by the duke's grandmother as a companion, or so she thinks. When the Duke, Alex, shows up, he wants her out of his house. Refusing to leave, she agrees to take his grandmother to the country if he grants three wishes to benefit his grandmother. Alex agrees and hopes it will happen as soon as possible: he has been targeted with several attempts on his life. As they banter back and forth, their attraction is evident and a dalliance ensues. But there are secrets which threaten their relationship as the attempts on his life continue. Can she forgive him before it's too late for love, will his grandmother's scheme as a matchmaker be found out, and is there time to find the person responsible for attempts on his life? So many obstacles to overcome... I really enjoyed this romance a lot! **I received a review copy on NetGalley**
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beth (Miss Elizabeth Lacey) takes on the role as companion to a good friend of her beloved Uncle. Happy to be needed by the elderly dowager duchess, she never thought to come into proximity to the duchesses notorious grandson. Alexander Savage, the Duke of Blackshire has a reputation for being a skilled lover, with a long line of conquests among the wives and women of the ton. But Alex does come bowling back into their rather placid lives and solicits Beth's help to convince his grandmother to retire to the country. The story started off quite well with Alex and Beth locking horns yet with the undeniable tension of a mutual attraction. Beth is not intimated by the rather ornery Alex or his reputation but only seeks to ensure that his grandmother is kept happy. My interest did start to flag towards the end. It was obvious that Alex’s prime suspects weren’t the villain & who it ended up being was disappointing as was the motive. I also thought the sex scenes were wholly unnecessary and flat. My favourite character in the whole story was Alex's doting grandmother who was rather obviously doing some matchmaking. Copy gifted in exchange for an honest review.
CathyGeha More than 1 year ago
I Dared the Duke by Anna Bennett The Wayward Wallflowers #2 Elizabeth “Beth” Lacey has taken an unpaid position as companion to the grandmother of Alexander “Alex” Savage, Viscount of Blackshire. He does not see why his grandmother needs a companion but over time realizes that Beth is good for his grandmother…and perhaps for him, too. However, with someone intent on murdering him he wants both of them safe. Beth agrees to help him get his mother out of town to safety if he grants his granny three wishes. Before the third wish is granted there are murder attempts, suspects to suss out, the next in the series to present and a whole lot of romance going on. The undercurrents of loss and fire thread their way through the story with a HEA that was just right. I look forward to reading more by this author in the future. Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the ARC – This is my honest review. 4 Stars
astroyic More than 1 year ago
Deliciously, Mesmerizing! This is the first story that I have read by Anna Bennett and I was dazzled by this superbly well written romance, and I can’t wait to read more from this author. These fascinating and well developed main characters ensnared me with their sizzling sparring and charming, seductive romance and love, that brings this story come to life. But this story has so much more going on than romance, it is filled with mystery, intrigue, danger and suspense, leaving you on the edge of your seat and turning those pages as fast as you can. Amazing, tantalizing and intriguing historical romance! Don’t miss this one! Loved it! I voluntarily requested and received an ARC through Entangled and NetGalley and wrote an honest review.
etoile1996 More than 1 year ago
i dared the duke pairs up "wilted wallflower" elizabeth lacey with alexander savage, the duke of blackshire. they find themselves at odds over alex's grandmother, he wants to send her into the country for her protection, but beth believes that he's only doing it because he wants to get rid of her. the truth is that alex has been the target of some attacks that have threatened his life and after losing his parents in a horrific fire, one in which he almost perished, he would do anything to protect his grandmother. sending her away seems like the best way to keep her safe. but beth is worried about her feelings, and since alex feels guilty about not being as attentive as he should be, he lets himself get guilt tripped into letting beth and his grandmother stay in town. the agreement is that he will fulfill his grandmother's heart's desire three times, and then beth will convince her to go visit the country. and all this plotting about his grandmother means that beth and alex start spending a lot of alone time together late at night. alone and free of society's restrictions for an unmarried duke and young lady, both alex and beth start to let down their guard. they share things with each other that they don't share easily. but there is one thing alex should share and doesn't. he doesn't tell beth that it's his fault she and her sisters were labeled the "wilted wallflowers" during their first season. it was a throwaway comment that took on a life of its own, but he feels immensely guilty about it. and if only he bothered to share this with her before someone else spills the beans it would have only been a tiny roadblock, instead of a big one. alex and beth have amazing chemistry and when they are not being willfully stupid are an entertaining pair to read about. i haven't read my brown-eyed earl, the first book in the series, but am going to definitely check it out. **i dared the duke will publish on april 4, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/st. martin's press in exchange for my honest review.
TammyS32 More than 1 year ago
This is the second book in The Wayward Wallflowers Series. It is a fun and entertaining historical read. Alex and Beth are great characters and have amazing chemistry and the conversations were so much fun. I really liked this historical read.
Splashesintobooks1 More than 1 year ago
This is the second book in the series but works well as a standalone, too. The wayward wallflower in the story is Miss Elizabeth Lacey (Beth) who likes to be needed. After her sister married well, she’s no longer feeling needed at home so goes to be the companion to the Dowager Duchess of Blackshire. It is in this role that she meets the Duke of Blackshire, Alexander Savage (Alex). He has a reputation as a talented lover - especially of married women. As a child he was severely burned in a house fire in which his parents died and it was only the care and attention of his grandmother which helped him survive his injuries. He adores the old lady but is increasingly concerned by apparent threats on his life from an unknown source, so he’d like her to move back to the country and out of harms way. When he tries to sack Beth, he discovers she really isn’t a meek wallflower and is ready to stand up to and defy him. This is the start of a confrontational relationship between the two that leads on to them falling in love but, with a potential murderer having Alex as their next victim, how can he keep himself and those he loves safe? I found this an engaging read to escape into. The characters are well developed and Alex is particularly easy to relate to. I didn’t, however, understand why he, as a wealthy Duke, didn’t get others to help determine the perpetrator of the attempts on his life. Beth is more of an enigma, feisty, stubborn, vociferous and suspicious though she was also caring and charming at other times. I loved how she blackmailed the Duke to enable her and the Duchess to stay! The mystery of who is attempting to kill the Duke is kept till very near the end of the story (though how the person managed to carry out the attempts is also somewhat mysterious, too). It is a steady paced book that flows well, keeping the reader guessing and providing some humorous banter, too. I requested and received a copy of this story via NetGalley and this is my honest review after reading it.