It's All About the Duke: The Rakes of St. James

It's All About the Duke: The Rakes of St. James

by Amelia Grey

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Overview

It's All About the Duke: The Rakes of St. James by Amelia Grey

“A master storyteller.”—Affaire de Coeur

Nearing thirty, the Duke of Rathburne is finally ready to make amends for the wager that caused him and his best friends such scandal—but taking on a ward who needs a husband is a feat he’s not sure he can manage. The last he saw of Miss Marlena Fast, she was a spirited little ruffian, not the sort of bride most bachelors on the marriage mart sought. But one glance at the lovely lady she has become is enough to convince him otherwise…

Orphaned young and shuffled from family to family, Marlena counts on her fierce independence and quick wits to keep herself content. Being the responsibility of a notoriously wicked duke who upended so many lives is an unexpected challenge when she realizes he arouses her decidedly feminine desires. Marlena must be careful. She has her own scandalous secret to protect. If he finds out, will it shatter her chances of a happily-ever-after with the notorious rake?

It's All About the Duke is the next Regency romance in The Rakes of St. James series from Amelia Grey.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250102539
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 05/29/2018
Series: The Rakes of St. James , #3
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 78,362
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Amelia Grey read her first romance book when she was thirteen and she’s been a devoted reader of love stories ever since. Her awards include the Booksellers Best, Aspen Gold, and the Golden Quill. Writing as Gloria Dale Skinner, she won the coveted Romantic Times Award for Love and Laughter and the prestigious Maggie Award. Her books have sold to many countries in Europe, Indonesia, Turkey, Russia, and most recently to Japan. Several of her books have also been featured in Doubleday and Rhapsody Book Clubs. Amelia is the author of over twenty-five books. She’s been happily married to her high school sweetheart for over thirty-five years and she lives on the beautiful gulf coast of Northwest Florida.

Amelia is the author of The Heirs' Club series, including The Duke In My Bed, It's All About the Duke, and Wedding Night With the Earl.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

He could be a rake if he appears at your door unannounced and expects you to receive him.

Miss Honora Truth's Words of Wisdom and Warning About Rakes, Scoundrels, Rogues, and Libertines

Any man who boasted he had no regrets was a liar as far as Rath was concerned. If anyone should know, it would be him. He'd had plenty before and since he became the Duke of Rathburne more than five years ago. Though, like most of his ilk, he'd long denied having such a weak trait. Yet it was impossible not to when a man had lived as recklessly as Rath had.

Coming to that confounding conclusion hadn't been easy, but it was why he now found himself standing in the frosty air in front of a modest house in St. James, oddly enough, not far from his own town home, watching a maid digging about in what was probably a recently planted kitchen garden.

A month ago, after no short amount of drink, Rath, who'd never sought redemption for his wicked ways, had experienced a change of heart. Of sorts. He'd penned a letter accepting the role of guardian for the young lady who lived beyond the door not thirty paces away. At the time of his sudden epiphany, his muddled, jug-bitten brain had thought a little penitence might be justified. After all, he'd been carrying around a fair amount of guilt for a man who hadn't yet made it to his thirtieth birthday.

It was Rath who'd suggested the unforgettable secret admirer wager that years later still haunted him and his two friends, Griffin and Hawk. At the time, he'd considered himself a lucky man not to have a sister to marry off, as was his friends' misfortune. That situation had changed overnight when his father's boyhood friend, who'd recently become extremely ill, asked Rath to take over the guardianship of his longtime ward and see her suitably wed. His first reaction had been no.

But then he thought maybe he owed it to his father to say yes to the old man. Rath had never done much his father approved of during his lifetime — well, except learn how to properly care for the dukedom and keep it prosperous. Perhaps doing this favor for his father's dearest friend would rectify some of Rath's misspent youth.

He remembered Miss Marlena Fast, and the memory wasn't an altogether pleasant one. The only time Rath had seen her, she'd had unruly golden-red hair and scuffed elbows as she'd glanced up at him with big green eyes, mesmerized by him — he'd thought at that moment — only to then have her thrust a frog in his face. That had been when she was twelve.

Ruffian girls rarely, if ever, became decorous young ladies. Unless Miss Fast had changed — for the better — since he'd last seen her, there was little hope any of the eligible peers would offer for her hand. Rath might have to pad her dowry quite handsomely. Which he would do. That was preferable to remaining responsible for her welfare past the upcoming Season.

He'd had no interest in taking on the task of being her guardian and seeing to her future, until the night he'd found himself alone and blurry-minded when he came to the bottom of a brandy bottle. He'd reasoned that Griffin and Hawk had paid a price for what they'd done years ago and it could have been much higher than it was. Now it was time for Rath to do something. But there was no use going over that night again. The deed was done, and he had to carry through. While he couldn't make amends to the young ladies he'd embarrassed with the secret admirer letters that went wrong, he could help Miss Fast make a suitable marriage. And perhaps in some small way atone for them, and make up to his father for never being the proper gentleman he'd always expected his son to be.

Rath turned his attention to the front door again. He might as well get this over with. He'd always succeeded in everything he set his mind to, and he intended to triumph in this challenge as well.

After expelling an audible sigh, he strode toward the house trying to convince himself that no matter how deep in his cups he'd been at the time, he'd actually done the right thing in agreeing to this outrageous, if noble, obligation. Lifting the knocker, he rapped the door a time or two. That sound set off a yappy bark. Seconds later a small short-haired, golden-brown dog came careening around the corner acting as if he wanted to have Rath for his dinner. The dog stopped a few feet from him and took an attack stance while he continued to alternate among barks, snarls, and growls. His thin, pointy tail quivered.

"Easy there," Rath said after taking off his gloves and bending down to offer his hand for the mongrel to sniff. But the little fellow wasn't interested in making friends just yet. He only wanted to continue his alarm and make sure everyone in the neighborhood knew someone was at his master's door.

A few moments later a stout-looking woman wearing a ruffled mobcap and clean apron opened the door, smiled generously at him, and said, "Good afternoon, sir. How may I be of service to you?"

"I'm here to see Miss Marlena Fast," he offered while removing his hat and stuffing his gloves inside before tucking it under his arm.

With the words barely out of his mouth, he heard in the distance what sounded like a young lady's voice saying, "Tut, what has you so upset?"

"Seeing her won't be a problem for you, sir," the servant said. "Sounds as if she'll be walking around that corner any second now to see what has her dog carrying on like a hound after the moon."

When Rath turned in the direction the housekeeper had nodded, he caught sight of a young lady. She was tall, of slender build, and with an easy glide to her unhurried steps. The strong afternoon breeze spread open the bottom skirt of her woolen pelisse and fluttered and flattened her aproned dress against her silhouette. He couldn't see much of her face because she was wearing a straw bonnet with a wide brim pulled low over her eyes, though there hadn't been a hint of sunshine all day.

"Quiet, Tut!" she called softly to the dog. "You're making a nuisance of yourself."

The animal looked back at her and made a quarreling sound in his throat, then barked again.

"That's quite enough," she told him with no real reprimand in her tone, while removing one of her gardening gloves. "I'm here now and can see for myself we have a guest." The dog wasn't giving up. He barked at her again. "No, I can't pick you up, my hands are full. Now quiet. You'll have this gentleman thinking you're a naughty boy and you're going to bite him if you keep that up."

Rath smiled that she might actually think he'd be intimidated by a pup who probably couldn't jump high enough to reach Rath's knees. But if it made her feel better to reassure him of Tut's temperament, Rath would stay quiet.

As she walked closer to him, she lifted her chin and he saw her face. An unexpected throb of interest simmered through him. She was downright fetching, with big, round eyes, small nose, and lips beautifully sculpted. Not even the smudge of dirt that swept across one of her delicate-looking cheeks could take away from her natural loveliness.

A narrow lavender ribbon, meant to hold on her hat, had been perfectly tied into a little bow under her chin. A small basket of trimmings from the garden dangled from one of her wrists. Unlike the housekeeper's pristine apron, hers had grass and mud stains scattered down the front of it.

It didn't surprise Rath that it was Miss Fast who had been cutting the sprigs in the garden instead of a servant or gardener. Judging from his remembrance of her, he should have known it was too much to hope that she'd gained some refinement since he'd last seen her. However, it might not be as difficult to find her a husband as he'd assumed. There was no doubt she'd grown into her beauty.

Gorgeous, green eyes filled with pleasant curiosity and the right amount of sparkle stared at him when she stopped a few feet away, smiled, and laid both her gloves into her basket. There was a wholesome, innocent flush to her cheeks that drew him immediately.

"Miss Fast," he said as Tut sniffed around the heels and soles of his recently polished boots, "I am the Duke of Rathburne."

Her slightly arched brows lifted quickly, and her beautifully shaped mouth opened slightly. She sucked in a short, startled gasp. He watched her swallow hard before making a stiff but hasty curtsy and then whispered softly, "Your Grace, what are you doing here?"

Rath took note of her intense reaction to him. With wary, searching eyes, her gaze darted from him to the front door to each side of the house as if she were looking for somewhere to hide, a way to escape, or maybe someone to come rescue her. And was she trembling, too? He was almost certain it was fear he sensed in her.

But why?

The devil take it! He hadn't meant to frighten her by his sudden and unannounced appearance.

He knew the peerage caused alarm in the hearts of some people. Many, in fact. Rath had met a few young ladies who were visibly shaken by his title, his presence, but he'd never seen one who looked as if she thought he might physically harm her. Even her rosy lips had paled.

That puzzled him. She hadn't been frightened of him until he said his name. He was sure of that. Miss Truth's Scandal Sheet had recently called him a notorious rake. Perhaps Miss Fast had read that.

He was so busy assessing her surprising reaction to him that he failed to respond to her, so she spoke up and asked him again, "Why are you here?" She glanced behind him to the street where his carriage was parked while moving her basket from her wrist to grasp the handle tightly with both hands in front of her. Rath had the oddest feeling that she held it as a knight would hold a shield in battle.

"Is anyone with you?" she asked anxiously.

The directness of her questions was understandable, he supposed, so the first thing he needed to do was put her at ease. Perhaps the best way to do that was to remind her that they had met so she would know he wasn't a complete stranger to her.

"I'm alone," he assured her, having no idea why it mattered. "Do you remember meeting me? Six or eight years ago?"

"Vaguely," she answered cautiously, her expression still vigilant.

From her hesitation, he had the feeling she wasn't being totally honest with him, but he decided to give her the benefit of the doubt since she looked so anguished. He certainly didn't want to add to her disconcerting attitude toward him.

Rath went on to add, "My father was good friends with your guardian, Mr. Olingworth, when they were at Eton, Oxford, and for the rest of my father's life. We were visiting Mr. Olingworth at his estate in the Cotswolds and you were there."

"Yes, but I don't remember why you were visiting."

That he could believe without doubt. "I don't, either. It could have been a business matter between them or just a visit. At the time my father was teaching me about our properties and holdings."

Her gaze restlessly searched the street behind him again. "Why are you here now?"

That same question. What was he to do? He didn't want to simply blurt out his reason while standing outside her front door or while she was still so jittery. He wasn't the most patient of men, but he wasn't an ogre, either. Though there were some who might disagree with that assertion.

As his father would have expected of him, he gave her a gentle smile, hoping to reassure her he wasn't up to mischief, and put her mind at ease about him since nothing he'd said so far had. That in itself was unusual for him. He didn't try to pacify anyone. Concerning anything. But then, he couldn't remember having ever frightened a young lady to the point of trembling before, either. Apparently he hadn't made as memorable an impact on her as she had on him that brief time when their paths crossed all those years ago.

Rath was the last person to mollycoddle anyone but, going against his nature, he said, "I'd rather not talk out here, if you don't mind. May we go inside where we'll have more privacy?" She hesitated.

"That is," he added, "unless you are alone."

"No. My cousin is inside."

Rath had only managed to get a little information about Miss Fast from Mr. Olingworth when he visited the man last week. Thin and elderly, he'd been propped against a mountain of pillows on his bed. His voice had been raspy, feeble, and full of fondness for his longtime ward. His hands had suffered from a constant tremble as he'd fiddled with his bedcovers.

It had taken a bit of effort, but Rath had managed to learn that Olingworth had sent Miss Fast to live with her cousin in St. James almost three years ago to start preparations for her debut, which had never happened. Olingworth's declining health had kept him from joining her in London and presenting her to Society. Hence the reason Rath stood before her now.

"Then you realize you don't have to be frightened of me."

Miss Fast gave him a quizzical stare at first, and then suddenly her shoulders squared. Her chin lifted defiantly. He hadn't understood until now that she hadn't known her fear of him showed.

"Frightened?" she asked indignantly. "Me?"

"I thought it must be so," he answered honestly.

"I have no memory of the first two or three years of my life, Your Grace, but I do remember the next few quite vividly. I lived with an aunt and uncle who had five sons — all older than me. I often followed those boys' romps through muddy swamps, dark woods, and old cemeteries at night when they slipped out of the house. If losing sight of them in those places didn't frighten me, I doubt you are capable of doing so."

If that was true — and Rath had no reason to doubt her word — it was impressive for a girl so young and explained why she wasn't afraid to hold a frog when he'd first met her.

"My apologies. I didn't know you lived with a family of boys before Mr. Olingworth."

"Though I am not frightened or desperate, I think disturbed would be an appropriate word for how I'm feeling right now."

Maybe she was upset at first that he'd caught her in the garden? Certainly not a place a proper lady should be with a pair of clippers and cuttings in her basket. Frustrated by his failure to ease the tension between them, Rath rubbed the back of his neck once before saying, "All right. Why does my visit disturb you?"

"I've asked several times why you are here and you've ignored me each time."

"Three times I think, but wait." He paused as an idea came to him. It was completely unacceptable, not to mention risky, but he'd never let anything such as unacceptable consequences stop him. "Shh," he said softly, putting his forefinger to his lips to quiet her when she started to speak. "Be very still. You brought something from the garden with you and it's on your cheek."

Her fan-shaped brows flew up again. Uncertainty filled her eyes before she quickly lowered her lashes and tried to look down her nose at her face.

"What is it? I don't see anything. I don't feel it crawling on me."

She took one hand off the basket and started to lift her arm, but he said, "No, don't move." He stepped closer to her.

"Is it a bee or ladybug?" she asked quietly as her hand settled near the other on the basket handle once more. "A spider then? Please tell me it's not. They are creepy and I hope it's not one. Is it still there? I don't feel it moving around."

"Shh," he said again and moved still closer.

"Or even a wasp," she continued, ignoring his soft command for her to be silent. "There are many different kinds, you know. They won't hurt you if you don't try to hurt them. Though it is much too early in the year for a bee or a wasp to be out. Not any of the insects that fly and crawl about in the garden, but I'm not afraid of them."

He believed her. A young girl who would hold a frog or follow boys into a cemetery wouldn't be worried about a bug. Though she kept talking, she remained still.

"They land on me from time to time when I'm outside. Especially on hot, dry days in midsummer. Wasps sting sometimes, but the pain doesn't last long. I've learned that a cloth dipped in vinegar helps keep down the swelling."

It usually irritated the devil out of Rath when anyone kept up a nervous chatter, but Miss Fast was entertaining him with her brave assertion that insects didn't worry her.

He pulled a neatly folded handkerchief out of his coat pocket. Without considering what the miss, or the housekeeper who stood just inside the doorway, might think, he lightly wiped across her cheek.

Her head snapped up. Her long, dark, and velvety lashes fluttered.

"There," he said in a satisfied tone.

"Is it gone?" she asked anxiously.

"Yes."

"What was it? A ladybug? Did it fly away?"

He held the bit of white cloth up and showed her the soil from her cheek.

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "It's All About the Duke"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Amelia Grey.
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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It's All About the Duke: The Rakes of St. James 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
LEH0644 21 days ago
The Duke of Rathburne, the last unmarried member of the Rakes of St. James, has agreed to be the guardian of a young lady who is to be launched in society. He likes the wit and unassuming manner of Marlena Fast and finds himself strongly attracted to her. Marlena feels the same but she has a secret that she knows will turn him against her. She writes gossip sheets under the name of Miss Honora Truth and most of the gossip is about the Rakes of St. James and not flattering. She regrets writing the gossip but it happened and she can’t take it back. She loves Rath and he loves her but how can they get over this and have a future together? I am a big fan of Amelia Grey and love all of her books. This the third book in the Rakes of St. James series . Love the characters and their stories.
Crazybooknerd 5 months ago
It's All About the Duke by Amelia Grey Series: Rakes of St. James #3 5 Stars - This book had everything I love in a historical romance; lots of flirting and stolen glances, perfect chemistry, a dashing rake, and scenes in a ballroom (which I find surprisingly doesn’t happen as often in recently published historicals, well not the ones I have been reading anyway) and of course a happily ever after. I loved how straightforward both Marlena and Rath were. There were no misleads or misunderstandings. Both characters were witty and I couldn’t wait to see them on the page together. Also, I love Lady Vera and hope she gets her own story. I think this was a great addition to the series and I would happily recommend. *I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review* ~Paragraphs and Petticoats~
Darlene491 8 months ago
The Duke of Rathburne is in a pickle. Rath has agreed to become the guardian to Miss Marlena Fast. His only memory of Miss Fast is a 12 year old hoyden running wild. With this memory in mind Rath is stunned to discover that his new ward has become a beautiful young woman. Marlena Fast has a secret, one that has the ability to destroy lives, hers included. With stolen kisses in the garden and looks of longing and desire there is no denying the attraction between these two. Can they overcome the obstacles in their road to happiness? Amelia Grey has written a compelling story that takes the reader through an emotional tale of possibilities. I would recommend this book as part of your summer reading list.
gigiluvsbooks2 9 months ago
Nearing thirty, the Duke of Rathburne is finally ready to make amends for the wager that caused him and his best friends such scandal―but taking on a ward who needs a husband is a feat he’s not sure he can manage. The last he saw of Miss Marlena Fast, she was a spirited little ruffian, not the sort of bride most bachelors on the marriage mart sought. But one glance at the lovely lady she has become is enough to convince him otherwise… Orphaned young and shuffled from family to family, Marlena counts on her fierce independence and quick wits to keep herself content. Being the responsibility of a notoriously wicked duke who upended so many lives is an unexpected challenge when she realizes he arouses her decidedly feminine desires. Marlena must be careful. She has her own scandalous secret to protect. If he finds out, will it shatter her chances of a happily-ever-after with the notorious rake? Review: This the final book in the Rakes of St. James Series. I have quite enjoyed this series and this final book. The last of the Rakes is finally getting his happy ending and Marlena is his undoing. Rath becomes her ward and the chemistry is instantaneous. Of course, there are obstacles to overcome, the biggest one if the secret Marlena is hiding. It was fun reading about these two. They were a great couple, very entertaining. I enjoyed the characters and story, at times it was fun, sexy and emotional. If I could describe how I felt after reading this, it would be light, I had a light heart after reading this. A fitting finale for the series. 4Stars *I voluntarily read an advance reader copy of this book provided by the publisher*
ArecRain 9 months ago
The third in the series and the second I have read, It’s All About the Duke is a delightful historical romance that can be enjoyed as a standalone. After the second one, I was hesitant to read this one as I didn’t enjoy it’s predecessor that much. Overall, I don’t enjoy Amelia Grey’s style. It is rather long-winded and says in a page what can be said in one sentences. That being said, I enjoyed this story more than the first. Writing style aside, the characters are likable with entertaining interactions and banter between each other. There was a vast array of other characters who were just as amusing though sometimes their stories detracted from the leads. Overall, I am not sure I will be reading more of Mrs. Grey. While I don’t dislike her works, they feel more like the flowery long winded romances of yesteryear that my grandma would enjoy more. I am not saying there is anything wrong with that, just not to my taste.
EileenAW 9 months ago
I admired what a strong and confident Marlena Fast, the heroine Ms. Grey created in her lasted book. The love, care and independence provided for Marlena by her previous guardians helped shape the woman she became while living a somewhat carefree life. Having a well known Rake, the Duke of Rathburne, as her latest guardian was bound to affect her and restrict some of her independence as she readied for her debut season. The shenanigans created a few years prior by the Rakes with their secret admirer letters had lasting consequences that none of the three Rakes of St. James realized or knew about. Writing the scandal sheet under an alias name, Marlena’s secret could cost her the love of a good man. I felt badly how guilty she was feeling as she met many of the people she had written about over the years. I was quite glad that she realized how hurtful her words were and how they could have affected those people. In fact, the Rakes of St. James were also made aware of how much those recipients of their letters were affected. Yes, it is wise to think before we act as Marlena and Rath learned in this wonderful love at first sight story. Ms. Grey wrote a wonderful story with relatable characters, humorous as well as a few uncomfortable situations. I really enjoy reading this book and had trouble putting it down, turning page after page, wanting more once I turn that last page. I highly recommend this book to other readers. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.
AFOX0 10 months ago
I wanted to like it...2.5 stars! It’s All About The Duke is the third book in the Rakes of St. James series. All three rakes have their story of redemption and this is Rath’s story. On his path to being an honorable gentleman, Rath agrees to become the new guardian to Miss Marlena Fast. Almost the age of thirty, and became Duke of Rathburne five years ago, he promises Miss Fast gets finally gets a Season and ensuring she is properly married. He’s intrigued by Marlena’s feistiness and they can’t deny there is some attraction between them. But Marlena is keeping a secret about her identity from Rath. I did enjoy the secondary characters who brought different views to this story. Though written well, the execution of the story fell flat for me. The premise of the storyline and characters were amusing, but the plot moved so slowly, I quickly lost interest in the story. I felt the book was padded with numerous items mentioned early on and inner monologues seemed stuck on repeat. First, Marlena’s courage from being raised along with five male cousins, and then, Rath’s seeking redemption for a scheme gone very wrong which ruined several young ladies’ reputation causing a scandal. I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.
Suze-Lavender 10 months ago
Rath has said yes to a request under the influence of too much alcohol. He will now be a young lady's ward. Marlena is an orphan and her previous guardian is gravely ill, so he can't prepare her for the season. Rath is a Duke with a reputation, but even though he's a rake he wants to make this task a success. Because of a scandal he caused years ago he's still the main target of plenty of gossip. Rath wants to do something good for a change and takes his duty to find a suitable husband for Marlena seriously. However, when he meets her he doesn't know if he wants another man to marry his ward. Rath isn't the marrying type, but will Marlena change his mind? Marlena is a girl with secrets. Many young girls would dream of having a Duke as their guardian, but Marlena has to be careful when she's around Rath. There's something she doesn't want him to know. Rath should never discover what she's keeping from him, Marlena thinks she won't be able to handle the consequences. While sparks fly between them she knows she's getting in trouble. She desperately wants to be with the one man she shouldn't desire, but it's impossible to stop herself from falling for the gorgeous Duke. What should she do? It's All About the Duke is a wonderful charming story. I was immediately intrigued by Rath. He might have his flaws, but deep down he's a real gentleman with a good heart. Marlena challenges him and that's exactly what he needs. She is an amazing woman, she's smart, talented and resilient. She's also a fabulous friend and her generosity knows no bounds. I love a good story about secrets and was fascinated by what she's keeping from the Duke from the beginning. I couldn't wait to find out what would happen between them and read the book in one sitting to find out if they'd get their happily ever after. Amelia Grey has a mesmerizing descriptive writing style. I love how she makes her stories come to life. She laces them with energy, humor and entertainment. Her books are a true joy to read. It's All About the Duke is fascinating, enchanting and romantic. I loved the main characters and enjoyed every single page of their story. I like it when I'm so engrossed in a book that I don't want to put it down until I've read the last sentence. Amelia Grey has written another true gem, I absolutely love The Rakes of St. James series and highly recommend all of the books.
momof3boysj 10 months ago
The Duke of Rathburn knows better than to seek the affections of his ward, but she's not a girl anymore, and he is in need of a wife. But she has a secret and is desperately trying to keep him from finding out as she slowly cedes to temptation. two lost souls in need of love, but will the secret tear them apart or can he find forgiveness? I enjoyed this read and highly recommend! **received a review copy from netgalley**
Robindpdx 10 months ago
This was an entertaining, well-written book. Marlena Fast prides herself on being independent, but then the Duke of Rathburne becomes her guardian. He's notorious for a scandalous wager he made with his best friends, and Marlena thinks he needs to make amends. Sparks fly between them in more ways than one. I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more books by this author.
nelriv 10 months ago
Rcvd an ARC at no cost to author..(netgalley) I didn't know that this book was part of a series but I was not lost, so yes it can be read as a standalone I however will go back to read the rest of the previous books because I did enjoy this one. So we meet the Duke of Rathbone and he feels guilty from his past deeds and in a moment of inebriation agrees to become a guardian. When he gets reacquainted with his ward Marlene he was shocked to see how beautiful she grew up and is instantly attracted but tries to fight it (not very hard). Marlene can not believe who her new guardian is because she has a secret that could destroy her. Grab a copy my friends it is truly entertaining.
ScrapNSign 10 months ago
A cute and charming historical romance. The story is about the Duke of Rathburne who tries to overcome the shadow of a scandal, by taking in a ward that is of the age to marry. Marlena Fast is nothing like he remembered and the Duke finds himself with a different plan for her than he originally had going in to the arrangement.
Hfowler 10 months ago
He is the last rake of the St. James trio that used to leave a wake of broken hearts and empty pockets all around London who isn't married.  He has quieted his ways now that he is turning 30, and it doesn't help that his two partners in crime are happily married. Being he is the last Rake of St. James, he is the last one still talked about in the scandal sheets of Miss. Honora Truth. No one knows who he or she is, but he is tired of the sins of his past coming back to haunt him.  When he is asked to become the guardian of an innocent young lady, his first response was no, but one night he had a bit too much to drink and wrote to agree.  Come morning, it was too late to back out, so now he is responsible for Miss. Marlena Fast. The moment Rath walks up her door step and introduces himself, she is sure her secret has been found out and he is there to send her to Newgate.  But no, he is there because he is her new guardian and she doesn't know what to do about that.  The more time they spend together the more she comes to see that he isn't the evil rake she has painted in her scandal sheets, and the people she also wrote about are not evil either. The more she gets to know them the more she feels guilt over her actions. As Rath and Marlena get to know each other, it becomes clear that they both have feelings for the other. Rath ends up not wanting her marry anyone but him, but will be be able to forgive her for writing the scandal sheet and starting a rumor at White's that could have led to his friend's sisters getting hurt when they debuted? I enjoyed their story.  They were entertaining characters and the story was well developed.  There were the occasional slow part, but for the most part the plot moved steadily and the conclusion was exactly like I wanted it to be.  Overall, enjoyable and entertaining.
DebDiem 10 months ago
It's All About The Duke by Amelia Grey is a fantastic historical romance. Ms. Grey has again proved her writing and storytelling abilities. The characters are outstanding and entertaining. Rath is a rake that ends up becoming guardian to Marlena. Marlena doesn't want Rath as her guardian because she has secrets. Their story is full of drama, humor, sizzle and action. I was captured at page one and couldn't put this book down. I loved It's All About The Duke and look forward to my next book by Amelia Grey. It's All About The Duke is book 3 of The Rakes of St. James Series but can be read as a standalone. This is a complete story, not a cliff-hanger. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Pinky1979 Reviews 10 months ago
Although I am thrilled to see all the Rakes of St. James settle down with their duchesses, I have to admit that I am upset to see this wonderful series come to an end! Even though the Dukes of Griffin and Hawksthorn were both very mesmerising and rakish, the Duke of Rathburne has always been my favourite. There is just something undeniably magnetic about a rake who doesn’t deny his ways and proves time and time again why we love a bad boy hero. The Duke of Rathburne has been fighting convention and respectability his whole life. He may be a Duke, but he has no intention of living in the straight and narrow. When he finds himself having to accept the guardianship of a young lady, he feels that he might have to change - not too much of course. And even though he has vowed to never touch an innocent, his feisty and beautiful ward is proving to be testing his patience and good intentions. Will he be able to keep his promise or give into temptation? Orphaned when she was just a toddler, Marlena Fast has lived with her relatives and later under the guardianship of a peer. The last thing she expected was to find the infamous rake, the Duke of Rathburne as her new guardian. What makes this situation even more disconcerting is the fact that she has a secret that she can never share with the Duke, a secret that she needs to take to the grave. But with each day, she sees that there is more than meets the eye and that sometimes rakes can be much more than womanising scoundrels - especially ones like the Duke ;) A great and fitting ending to a delightful series! Hope that Amelia Grey returns with a new series soon! Can’t wait!! Thank you Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
KriisGaia 10 months ago
The Duke of Rathburne had a few regrets. In It’s All About The Duke, “Rath” admits that he was the one responsible for the idea that embarrassed several young women after a prank went wrong many years ago. The second was that he was standing on the doorstep of another young woman about to advise her that he was her guardian. Her long-time guardian believed himself nearing the end of his life, and wanted to see his beloved ward settled with a new guardian before his death. It was now up to the Rath to launch her into society and find her a husband. He had met Miss Marlena Fast many years ago when she was a young hoyden and didn’t hold out much hope for success. Miss Marlena Fast may enjoy doing her own gardening, and without the benefit of the hat, but she was no hoyden. The young woman who greeted him was strikingly beautiful and not at all what he had expected. Marlena was quite startled to find the Duke in her garden. She feared her secret was out. For the last several years, Marlena has been the author behind the “Miss Honora Truth’s Words of Wisdom and Warning About Rakes, Scoundrels, Rogues, and Libertines” scandal sheet. Since the Duke was regularly featured in those pages, she worried the Duke was there to expose her. Finding out he was to be her guardian was not much of an improvement on her initial supposition. Having one of the “Rakes of St. James” as her guardian was not what she considered a good idea. Opposites Attract It’s fun to watch two people who think they want one thing get another and be perfectly happy with it. Marlena spends years outing the Duke for his behavior, only to find that he is what she wants. The Duke thinks he wants a typical young lady, only to find that he is very much attracted to someone quite different. Reading the two of them dance around each other was a lot of fun. The author, Amelia Grey, managed to paint a very entertaining picture in this novel. I can’t wait to find it what the other Rakes of St. James are up to. Reviewed for LnkToMi iRead in response to a complimentary copy of the book provided by the publisher in hopes of an honest review.
grammyx3 10 months ago
They were three young noblemen; drinking, gambling and mistresses were what their lives were all about. One night a wager was placed; how many of the twelve young ladies about to be presented for their first Season in London would agree to meet with a secret admirer? Whoever got the most positive responses would win the wager! No one would ever know what they did, or so they thought. That was before what they did was blasted all over London in all the scandal sheets so popular during that time. All three future Dukes would end up paying the piper and became known as the Rakes of St. James. In It's All About the Duke, the third book in author Amelia Grey's The Rakes of St. James series it is Rath, the Duke of Rathburne who meets his match and faces the consequences of his earlier deeds. The Duke of Rathburne becomes the guardian of Miss Marlena Fast when her former guardian becomes too ill to present her to Society for her first Season. Miss Fast has a secret, a very worrisome secret when she finds out who her new guardian is. I have immensely enjoyed the previous two books in the series as well as this one. I find it extremely likeable when an author includes the characters in the previous books in the series throughout. Amelia Grey has treated her readers to some very charming characters who for me seem to have lept off the pages of the book to become familiar friends. I am very pleased that all three Rakes of St. James found true love and their "Happily Ever After."
georgia1 10 months ago
What could be worse? Trying to outlive an old scandal or trying to make a new one by writing about it? This series is about three rakes who made a wager long ago that has haunted them for years. With two happily married, the third, Rath, the Duke of Rathborn is left. Marlena Fast, has been writing a column under the pen name Miss Honora Truth, using her gossip sheet to keep reminding the public of the three men's misdeeds. When fate steps in and Rath accepts a request to assume guardianship of Marlena and help present her to society, the irony is not lost on her. Has he found out who she is? Of course there is an automatic attraction that they both try to fight. Each chapter began with a quote of her witticisms from her column or thoughts. But the chemistry between the two is just overwhelming. There are several twist and turns with many delightful side characters coming into play. The story runs its course and comes to a page turning conclusion. Although part of a series, this book can be read as a standalone. But be sure to read the others and you will be glad you did!! Lori Dykes
Candace-LoveyDoveyBooks 10 months ago
In the third Rakes of St. James novel, It's All About the Duke, the last unattached rake of St. James has met his match in young Marlena Fast. Amelia Grey's feisty heroine secretly writes a scandal sheet lest the three Dukes, whose secret admirer letters ruined her neighbor's chance at a prosperous marriage, forget their rakish pasts. She writes in order to keep her best friend and her older sister from facing poverty, but when she meets the very people she writes rumors about, her secret causes an inner turmoil she could have never foreseen. It's All About the Duke is filled to the brim with wit and banter between the Duke of Rathbourne and Marlena. She's proper, but knows her own mind and is not afraid to speak it. Especially, not afraid to tell the Duke he's a rake and should behave in a manner befitting his station. Rath prefers to live by a lax set of rules and doesn't particularly care what others think of him. This slow burning connection between Rath and Marlena is pretty low-key until their desires can no longer be contained. I liked that they weren't all over each other from the beginning, because it made their experience more believable. At certain points throughout the story it's more talk rather than action, so the story lags a little. However, this doesn't detract from connecting with the characters and enjoying their path to happily-ever-after! If you've enjoyed stories from Valerie Bowman or Jana McGregor, you'll love It's all About the Duke! *ARC provided in consideration for review*
Candace-LoveyDoveyBooks 10 months ago
In the third Rakes of St. James novel, It's All About the Duke, the last unattached rake of St. James has met his match in young Marlena Fast. Amelia Grey's feisty heroine secretly writes a scandal sheet lest the three Dukes, whose secret admirer letters ruined her neighbor's chance at a prosperous marriage, forget their rakish pasts. She writes in order to keep her best friend and her older sister from facing poverty, but when she meets the very people she writes rumors about, her secret causes an inner turmoil she could have never foreseen. It's All About the Duke is filled to the brim with wit and banter between the Duke of Rathbourne and Marlena. She's proper, but knows her own mind and is not afraid to speak it. Especially, not afraid to tell the Duke he's a rake and should behave in a manner befitting his station. Rath prefers to live by a lax set of rules and doesn't particularly care what others think of him. This slow burning connection between Rath and Marlena is pretty low-key until their desires can no longer be contained. I liked that they weren't all over each other from the beginning, because it made their experience more believable. At certain points throughout the story it's more talk rather than action, so the story lags a little. However, this doesn't detract from connecting with the characters and enjoying their path to happily-ever-after! If you've enjoyed stories from Valerie Bowman or Jana McGregor, you'll love It's all About the Duke! *ARC provided in consideration for review*
ChristineH 10 months ago
The third installment of her Rakes of St. James series is as entertaining as the first two. The sins of his youth weigh heavily on the Duke of Rathburn's conscience. Just when he believes the antics of his friends and himself are resolved, he's appointed guardian to a young lady about to start her first season. Miss Marlena Fast is an independent young lady. She saw the results of the pranks by the Rakes of St. James and has worked to see justice for their victims. Then, through fate and some unlikely legal technicalities, the most notorious rake is appointed her guardian. This is a delightful story of how getting to know someone can change preconceived ideas. It's a fitting novel to round out the Rakes of St. James series.
julieford 10 months ago
It's All About the Duke is the third and final in the trilogy of The Rakes of St. James series but can also be a standalone. This is a great conclusion to the trilogy, secret identities are revealed, and redemption for past mistakes are made. The story flows with witty banter, sexual attractions, and some comically intense meetings. The characters are somewhat flawed but also strong and personable. The Duke of Rathbourne agrees to take on the ward of a friend of his father's and all he remembers of her is that she shoved a frog in his face when she was younger. Needless to say, she has definitely grown up and Rath finds himself attracted to her. Upon meeting Rath on her doorstep, Marlena is afraid that Rath is there for retribution, but learns that he is now her sponsor. She is instantly attracted but also guilty for her secrets. The story that follows will have you laughing, cringing, sighing and just enjoying the interplay between characters. This book was provided by the author but all thoughts and feelings are my own.
book_junkee 10 months ago
I really liked this premise and was pretty excited to get to it. Sadly, it just wasn’t for me. I liked Marlena and Rath well enough. They’re both stubborn and they have some fun banter together. I felt like the chemistry between them was told, not shown. There are a lot of other characters, but everyone was just so bland. Well, except Justina, but I don’t have energy to deal with her. Plot wise it was slllllllllllloooooooooow. A whole lot of nothing happens in this story. The build up is quite small and by the time the reveal happens, it was a relief. Somehow, I felt compelled to finish this book. Overall, it was the characters that kept me reading, but I have no desire to read anything else in this series...and mostly likely nothing else from this author. **Huge thanks to St. Martin’s paperbacks for providing the arc free of charge**
Historical_Romance_Lover 10 months ago
I really enjoyed Rath and Marlena's story! When Rath comes sweeping in and tells Marlena that he is stepping in as her guardian, she doesn't know what to think. She has a secret that she must keep from him at all costs. Of course this causes many interesting situations and misunderstandings. But as the two spend more and more time together, Marlena finds it harder to keep her secret. What will Rath do when he learns the truth?? This was a great conclusion to an awesome series!
LynnLTX 10 months ago
In this third and final installment of The Rakes of St. James series, Rath the Duke of Rathburne gets his turn at love with the feisty and, unusually for her time, independent Miss Marlena Fast. Rath and his two duke friends caused quite a bit of trouble with their prank of sending letters pretending to be secret admirers to twelve young women some years ago. Now as he has matured, Rath feels guilty for the damage that may have been done by their selfish and juvenile behavior. He is trying to be a better a man, a gentlemen even, when Rath agrees to be Marlena’s guardian whose duty is helping his ward through her first season in high society. Marlena grew up as an orphan, living first with rowdy boy cousins who taught her independence and fortitude. She then became the ward of an elderly gentlemen who allowed her much freedom. Marlena now lives with a cousin who wants to stamp all that unconventionality and free spirit right out of her. The Duke is immediately drawn to the lively and beautiful Marlena, but desires to do the right thing by her and see a good marriage is made. Marlena is equally enchanted by Rath; however, she has a secret relating to him and his fellow Rakes that if it were known, could have devastating consequences for her and some close friends. The fact Rath and his friends emerged relatively unscathed from their earlier behavior caused much turmoil for Marlena as she loathed what they did, but now, she finds herself very attracted to the Duke of Rathburne. Marlena is intriguing because she is quite different than the ladies of her station and time period. Her independent nature and desire to be something other than someone’s wife sets Marlena quite apart. Usually, only the very rich could indulge themselves in such a manor not bowing to society’s rules and restrictions. Rath realizes living the life of a reprobate is less than satisfying. He finds himself drawn to Marlena feeling things about a woman he has never felt before. Although this book is part of a trilogy, it can be read as a standalone as enough information is given to understand the backstory set down in the previous books. Fans of Ms. Grey and Regency Romance will enjoy this conclusion to the series.