Last Night with the Duke: The Rakes of St. James

Last Night with the Duke: The Rakes of St. James

by Amelia Grey

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250102492
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 03/07/2017
Series: The Rakes of St. James , #1
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 185,058
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.70(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 more than two dozen 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. Her first book with St. Martin's was The Duke in My Bed.

Read an Excerpt

Last Night With The Duke


By Amelia Grey

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2017 Amelia Grey
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-250-10250-8


CHAPTER 1

Don't say in private what you don't want to hear repeated in public.

Miss Mamie Fortescue's Do's And Don'ts For Chaperones, Governesses, Tutors, And Nurses


Benedict Mercer's impatience was beginning to grow, and it didn't appear that the fourth Duke of Griffin's disposition would improve, judging by the fact that there was no one in the front office when he stepped into Miss Mamie Fortescue's Employment Agency. He removed his damp hat while noting the room was sparsely furnished with an old, inexpensive desk and a couple of chairs, but little else.

"Not even a bed of warm coals in the fireplace to take the chill off the wet day," he grumbled to himself, holding his hat under his arm while he took off his leather gloves. Even the walls were bare of adornment, though they were littered with nails and the holes where paintings, mirrors, sconces, or something else had once hung.

That no one was in attendance at the front shouldn't have surprised him, considering the way his luck had been running. It was bad enough hearing yesterday that rumors were swirling there might be retaliation against his sisters because of his past misdeeds, but then this morning he'd received word his aunt had taken to her sick bed and couldn't accompany the twins for the Season. He would keep watch on them as much as possible in the evenings and make certain they didn't fall victim to a prankster or any bachelor seeking to get even with him, but he couldn't go to every afternoon gathering those two would want to attend.

The last thing he wanted to do for the better part of six weeks was follow his sisters around to shopping adventures, card and tea parties, and daily walks in the park. Their constant chattering, high-pitched giggles, and occasional arguments would drive him insane. He needed a chaperone for them. Preferably a strong, commanding one for those duties.

But apparently he wasn't going to find anyone to help him with that today in this establishment.

Griffin started to turn around and walk out when he heard a woman's voice from an inside door that was open. Someone was present after all. Good, he thought impatiently. He wanted to get this annoying business settled as quickly as possible and get on with other things he had to do. He walked toward the doorway and listened while he waited for a break in the conversation so he could announce himself.

"Clearly that's not acceptable, Miss Pennywaite. You are a well-trained, fully capable governess and have been for the better part of a year. You should know how to handle ill-behaved children by now. What is the problem?"

Judging by the woman's words and authoritative tone, Griffin would say she wasn't happy with whomever she was speaking to.

"But what am I to do?" This question came from a woman who sounded on the verge of tears. "I've tried. He won't obey me."

"Then you haven't taken control of your charge."

"I've tried," replied the timorous voice. "He refuses to listen to me and do what I say."

"You must try harder," came the firm answer.

Griffin eased a little closer to the doorway. The woman was not backing down. Showing no mercy to the poor soul on the receiving end of the effective lecture.

"You cannot allow a seven-year-old boy to master you, Miss Pennywaite, even if he is by all accounts the master of the house and will be an earl one day. You must take him in hand; show him you are the adult, you are the teacher. Let him know without hesitancy that he is the pupil and he will behave himself and act as a proper young man should while he is in your care or you will tie him to a chair if you must and then put him to bed without so much as a crumb of bread to eat."

Griffin blinked at that last statement.

He heard the timid voice gasp and then sniffle before asking. "Have you done that?"

"Oh, for the love of heaven, Miss Pennywaite," came the stronger, frustrated voice. "Of course not! Don't look so stricken."

Intrigued, he moved closer to the door again. Now she sounded like just the kind of woman he was looking for. He needed a passionate-talking chaperone with an eagle eye that could spot a mischief-maker a mile away. All the better if she was tall, big-boned, and wore a perpetual scowl that could scorch a man with a glance from twenty feet.

"I've never had to be so unkind and neither will you. You won't actually tie him to a chair or starve him to the point of fainting, but he must believe you will by the stern look in your eyes and the unyielding tone in your voice."

If this woman was Miss Fortescue, Griffin had come to the right place. It would take someone of this fortitude to handle his two spoiled sisters and keep them in line as well as being on the watch for gentlemen who were only out to get even with him for a wager that had left all of Polite Society and the rest of London stunned and in no mood to forgive or, it seemed, to forget.

Griffin eased to the center of the doorway and caught sight of a tall and, from what he could tell, supplely built young woman with finely molded features standing behind a desk. At first he thought she was the one getting dressed down to her unmentionables, but then she spoke and Griffin was surprised to discover she was the confident one.

"Now lift your chin and square your shoulders, Miss Pennywaite. There will be no handwringing or tears from anyone associated with this agency. You will not lose this assignment over an unruly child. You have outstanding credentials and excellent references. You are quite able for this post. I have all faith you can handle this youngster with firm diligence. But you must believe in yourself first."

Unable to take his gaze off her, Griffin studied the woman with determined concentration. Her face was lovely. She would easily be the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen, if not for her appearance. Her golden-blonde hair had been severely swept into a tight chignon at her nape and covered with a square of white lace. She wore a simple, long-sleeved high-waist dress in a dull and unbecoming shade of gray velvet. A brown woolen shawl hung loosely across her slim shoulders. He guessed her age to be near thirty yet she talked with the air and authority of one much older and wiser.

Perhaps he made a movement, a sound, or maybe she simply sensed his intense scrutiny, because he caught her attention. Something warm curled deep inside him when his gaze met hers from across the room. A flicker of shock in the depths of her eyes wasn't lost on him. Though she hid her surprise quickly behind the bold lift of her chin, a flush of pink lightly stained her cheeks, giving proof of guilt. She was unmistakably rattled for an instant to see him standing there watching her, listening to what could only be called a strong motivational speech.

She remained silent for a moment, taking in his unflinching scrutiny as intensely as he had hers. He knew she was trying to decide if he could have possibly overheard her conversation with the other woman, and if so, how much of it.

For now he'd let her wonder. He wanted to see how or if she tried to defend her rather hard perspective on what she considered the delicate woman's shortcomings.

Griffin watched as she inhaled a deep breath and drew on that confident strength she'd been displaying since he'd first heard her speak. She cleared her throat and in a quieter voice said, "We will continue this discussion at a later time, Miss Pennywaite. I suggest you return to your post now feeling resilient and more committed than when you left. I'm sure you'll do just fine."

The woman then adjusted the shawl higher on her shoulders and came around from behind her desk and walked toward him with a slow, assured stroll that allowed him time to peruse her lovely face. Her complexion was delicate and parchment pale. Her wide, golden-brown eyes were framed by fan-shaped brows and long dark lashes. She held a steady, uncensored gaze on him too.

There was a full, sensuous quality to her sweetly shaped lips. Her nose was small and nicely shaped. For the life of him, he didn't know why, but he had a sudden desire to reach down, kiss the tip of it, and say to her, "Well done." The corners of her beautifully formed mouth lifted slightly with a perfunctory smile, letting him know that whatever he may or may not have heard her say was not going to alter her appropriate response to him.

Her quick change in demeanor amused him, but impressed him too. He had a feeling she had no idea how much of herself she'd revealed to him in such a short time. For now, he wanted to keep that bit of information to himself.

As he watched her, he realized he was drawn to her in a way he hadn't been attracted to a woman in a long time. A very long time. He couldn't put his finger on what it was yet, but there was something more than just her understated beauty that beckoned him.

Griffin didn't know who she was, but she couldn't be Miss Mamie Fortescue. She was much too young. The employment agency had been a mainstay on the street for as long as he could remember. Perhaps she was a relative of the owner. One other thing he was certain of as she stopped a respectable distance from him and stared directly into his eyes as boldly as any man ever had — Griffin was already more than a little intrigued by her.

"May I help you, sir?" she asked as the other young woman hurried past with her head bent low and rushed out the main door without so much as a backward glance.

Oh, yes, he thought. But he said, "Possibly. I was looking for Miss Mamie Fortescue."

She clasped her hands together in front of her and answered, "I regret having to tell you she is no longer with this agency though it still bears her name. I'm Miss Esmeralda Swift, the administrator. Perhaps I can help you, Mr. —?"

He was silent for a moment as he pushed his cloak aside and stuffed his leather gloves into the pocket of his coat. Then he answered softly, "I am Griffin."

A flash of knowledge sparkled in her eyes and she quickly curtsied. "Your Grace, pardon me for not recognizing you. It's not every day a duke walks into the agency."

He'd wager on that statement.

He wouldn't have come inside today either, had he not noticed the sign as he was passing by and acted without forethought. All things concerning staff were usually left to his more-than-confident butler and housekeeper. However, on a rare streak of impulse, he decided he had to take matters into his own hands and exert a personal interest in who would be watching out for his sisters' best interest during the Season.

Ever since the ill-fated wager was made known years ago, Griffin seldom attended the large balls and parties where most of the ton assembled, preferring the smaller, quieter dinners during the Season. Now, he was forced to begin attending them again. He knew his sisters, and they wouldn't be easy to keep up with. It was up to him to escort them in the evening and keep an eye on them. It wasn't a responsibility he'd ever expected to have, and while he wouldn't look forward to it, perhaps it was the best he deserved for his past misdeeds.

"No need to concern yourself with that, Miss Swift. You may not have recognized me," he said ruefully, "but I can see there's no doubt you've heard of me."

Miss Swift opened her mouth to speak, but then as if thinking better of it, pressed her lips together and refrained from making a comment. He could only imagine what she must be thinking.

None of it good, he was sure.

Though he gave up worrying about what was thought or said about him long ago, Griffin's awareness of her as a woman who was not shy of courage continued to grow.

He wanted to know what she'd started to say, so he added, "Please don't be bashful with me, Miss Swift, or let my title keep you from speaking your mind. I assure you it won't upset me or alter the reason I'm here."

"Truly?" she asked with the first real sign of trepidation he'd seen her show.

He liked the fact she was inquisitive enough to want to test him yet wary enough to be cautious. "You have my word."

"In that case, aside from the fact that it's in my best interest to know the names of as many people as possible in Polite Society, I would venture to say every female between the ages of eight and eighty in all of England, Scotland, and Wales has heard your name, Your Grace, and knows what you and your friends did a few years ago."

That many?

So she had a sense of humor.

Her observance was cleverly stated. He smiled and relaxed his stance. It was refreshing that his being a duke hadn't intimidated her once he gave her permission to speak freely. All too often his title seemed to petrify young ladies. Most had no idea what to say to him or how to answer him with a direct response.

With a casual shrug, he said, "You forgot France, Portugal, Spain, and probably most of the Americas too."

A hint of good humor twitched at the corners of her mouth at the embellishment of what he stated. That pleased him too. Though in truth, he hadn't been many places that didn't know of him as one of the "Rakes of St. James."

"I stand corrected, Your Grace, but not surprised that Miss Honora Truth's Weekly Scandal Sheet is that widely known."

Her tone of voice lent veracity to her words, and his interest in her heightened. There was something about her self-confidence, and about how easy she was with it, that drew him.

"I have little doubt that writing about the Rakes of St. James these past weeks has made Miss Truth a wealthy woman by now, though the three of us have stayed out of Society the past few years except for an attending an occasional dinner party or ball."

"So I've heard."

Heard?

He smiled again at that softly spoken comment. She wasn't fooling him for a moment. He felt certain that she read, no devoured, every salacious word the gossip columnist wrote — and all the other tittle-tattle sheets too. From what he'd been told by his aunt, most all of London did too.

"Miss Truth is obviously very good at what she does," Miss Swift added confidently.

"No doubt. Since she revived the old story weeks ago, she somehow manages to mention one of us at least once and sometimes twice a month in her scandal sheet."

"Perhaps that means there are times that neither position nor fortune can shield a man from his guilt no matter the lapse of time."

Miss Swift had pluck in spades. He'd give her that, and his affinity for her increased. "Well said, Miss Swift. I found out long ago that there is no use in trying to bury the ghosts of one's past."

"I am quite willing to admit that can't be done. The best to hope for is to hide them in the closet."

He gave her only the slightest of nods. "And then one can only do that for a time."

"That is probably everyone's greatest fear."

Her response caught him off guard and stirred emotions in him he hadn't felt in a long time. Griffin digested what she'd said, as compassion for her rippled through him with disquieting speed. So were there regrets in her past that she was hiding too? If so, what? he wondered. Emotional hurts or something else?

Silently, he wished she'd said more.

Griffin looked deeper into the depths of her golden-brown eyes and saw clearly that there were unburied ghosts lingering around her. He couldn't help but wonder if she'd worked as hard to put her demons to rest as he had his.

Instinct and a fair amount of curiosity bid him to question her at length. He wanted to delve into her feelings, explore her past, and determine what haunted her, but he didn't. The sudden fragile expression on her lovely face caused him to resist the urge. This was not the time for such talk. Perhaps another time would be, but for this day he would repress his acute interest in her past and not rummage into such affairs no matter if she would be willing. He wasn't looking to become enamored of this young woman, yet one thing was certain — she had evoked more than mere curiosity.

"So that brings us back to my reason for being here in this establishment. I find that I have need of your services."

"Yes, of course," she said suddenly returning to her more-detached tone of voice, all vulnerability instantly gone from her face and her deportment. She retreated to the competent woman and glanced around the room before motioning to one of the well-worn chairs. "Please take a seat and tell me how I can help you."

Griffin didn't bother to sit down and neither did she. "Though I would rather spare the ton my presence at all the usual gatherings of the Season, I'm afraid that won't be possible this year. My twin sisters, Lady Vera and Lady Sara, will be making their debut when the Season starts."

"Twins. How fortunate."

"I consider it a misfortune, Miss Swift," he said sardonically.

"Because they are your responsibility?"


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Last Night With The Duke by Amelia Grey. Copyright © 2017 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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Last Night with the Duke: The Rakes of St. James 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
gaele More than 1 year ago
So, I have to begin by saying that this is not an action-packed, jump from one moment to the next story. In fact, it actually is a slow meander to the sprint at the end, and this did make for some interesting, and not so, moments in the overall impression of the story. But, there are good moments, and those were enough to keep me reading on, interested to see just where the story would go. Griffin is a Duke, more than mildly obsessed with keeping the family reputation free from scandal and seeing his twin sister’s off on a successful debut. As is not uncommon, he was tagged with the reputation of Rake as a younger man, and was privy to some scandalous behavior with his friends, but on the whole does regret those indiscretions. Now, with his Aunt ill, the need for a chaperone to guide Sara and Vera through their debut, he needs to hire a companion. Esmerelda is the granddaughter of a Viscount, unrecognized as her mother was disowned after marrying her father, an Irish Poet. Now without support or protection, and a young sister to care for, she has parlayed her skills and social knowledge into a business that provides governesses and chaperones to the tonne. She’s a wonderfully drawn character, with a gentle yet firm demeanor and a solid sense of ‘managing one’s charges”. Sight unseen, Griffin happens to hear her dispensing this advice to one of her employees, and is determined she should work for him. And here is where things got muddled: there was a general push and prod from Griffin, despite Esmerelda’s knowing of the secret he’d prefer not surface before his sisters’ debuts, he makes no secret of the fact that he finds her attractive, and he is not above throwing money at her to gain acquiescence. And he does. Now, the story is setting up, so the interplay between these two would be reasonable, if there weren’t such a sense of insta-love on Esmerelda’s part, and the lack of convention that would be properly (and rightly) expected for the time. Then just at the point of believing that nothing will happen, the sisters are introduced, and the interactions between them and with Griffin show humor and genuine fondness, as well as a touch of Griffin’s more honorable and protective side as the old scandal threatens to rear its ugly head. But still, the back and forth with our couple, combined with a rather slow development of a real regard that seemed to overtake any action or movement forward with anything: growth, the mystery, or even the events of a debut. Contrast this rather slow pacing with the rapid increase in the rush to tie up all of the ends, some better than others, and the story was uneven, even for the setup of a new series and world. I missed the whole ‘feel’ of a historical that Grey has done so well in stories I’ve read before, and while the humor and heart of the characters did come through, the secondary players were a bit thinly drawn, and no one seemed to really be ‘of their time’. Esmerelda was a bit too modern in outlook and approach while Griffin, while sweet, reminded me of the “when I was younger, this was how we did things”, sort of person. Neither quite fit into the Regency era for behavior or custom, and I was hoping for more. A decent start for readers who prefer the sweeter and less steamy historicals, particularly if they don’t mind taking the long way round to the end. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensat
Historical_Romance_Lover More than 1 year ago
I loved this story!! We have Esmeralda who, though nobly born, has to make her own way in the world. Griffin must find a chaperone for his sisters debut and has luckily stumbled upon Esmeralda's place of work. He believes that she would be the perfect person to fill the position. Unfortunately for him, she thinks the opposite. Griffin eventually talks Esmeralda into talking the job after giving into every single one of her conditions of employment. That acceptance leads us on a merry chase riding along with Griffin's twin sisters and aunt, Esmeralda's sister and her dog as well as the other two Rakes of St. James. Grey's books always enchant me with the witty dialogue and amazing secondary characters and this was no exception. I can't wait to read the rest of the Rakes of St. James series! To the Duke, with Love, will be out in Dec. 2017.
Pompie1999 More than 1 year ago
The story was really enjoyable. I really liked both of the main characters right away and all of the supporting characters as well. While this was sort of a story of 'insta-lust', you didn't get any real happenings until the end of the book. Both characters were strongly drawn to the other, but they did their best to try to keep from acting on that attraction because of the impropriety of it. They spent a lot of time together and got to know and admire each other in addition to the physical attraction. It was good to see that she was a strong woman who could make her own way and he was strong enough to admire her for that. I loved how loving and caring Griffin (Duke of Griffin) is with his sisters. He's definitely NOT one of those 'can't wait to wash his hands' of his sisters. He's very attentive and caring and devotes his time and efforts to assure that they have a wonderful first Season. I also like how sweet and attentive he becomes to Josephine, the sister of our heroine. Esmeralda Swift runs an employment agency for governesses, chaperones, tutors, etc. When the duke stops by the agency unannounced, he hears Esmeralda counseling one of the governesses that has been employed through her agency. He is immediately impressed with both her composure and her beauty and is determined that she will be the one he hires to chaperone his sisters through the sisters. It is a delightful tale of two people coming to find love while managing the demands of shepherding two lovely young women through their first season. I can't wait to see which of Rakes of St. James will be the next to fall! "I requested and received this book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher."
Anonymous 11 months ago
Its a little wordy boring in the beginning
BuckeyeAngel More than 1 year ago
The Duke of Griffin is determined that his reputation not tarnish his younger twin sisters’ reputations during their debut. He decides to hire a governess to make sure nothing goes wrong. He doesn’t plan on his attraction to his chosen governess to get in the way. This wasn’t a bad story. It was a pretty standard plot and relationship builder. Nothing really bad or notable stuck out to me. The book was pretty sweet and didn’t really include any hawt parts, but that’s pretty standard for this author, whose previous books I’ve read. **I voluntarily read and reviewed this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book a d I am looking forward to the series.
Lost-N-Love-N-Hopeless More than 1 year ago
Enthralling? Enticing? Enchanting? Exquisite . . . I loved this book from start to finished. I loved that a duke, Duke of Griffin, would take a fall so great that he could not fathom the results. He just wanted to make sure that his past deeds did not impact the debut season of his sisters. She was way more important than his reputation. He takes matters into his own hands by obtaining her a chaperone for the season. Never knowing that she, Esmeralda, would be the key to changing his world forever. I found these characters to be enticing, enthralling, and enchanting in various ways and at various times. The exquisiteness of it all coming together and making this historical romance just a bit more enchanting. The banter. The scenery. The characters. The whole of it all bright me to a different level of romantic endeavor.
Crazybooknerd More than 1 year ago
Last Night With the Duke by Amelia Grey The Rakes of St. James #1 5 Stars! Right from the beginning I fell in love with Ms.Grey’s writing style! Her characters are full, the story is engaging and the dialogue is wonderful. Griffin and Esmeralda were fantastic together. From the first moment they are on the page together you could feel the chemistry begin to simmer. I am intrigued by the secondary characters and look forward to their stories. I am very glad I took a chance and requested this arc from Netgalley and I am super excited to check out this author's back list! ~Paragraphs and Petticoats~
Queenbethanny More than 1 year ago
My first book by Amelia Gray. First in the Rakes of St. James series. What a delightful historical! It had everything you could ask for: descriptive backdrop, witty conversation, scandal, secret backgrounds and instant attraction. Join Esmeralda while she chaperones the Duke's twin sisters and tries to avoid the steamy attraction for the Duke. But once the Griffin discovers Esmeralda's background all bets are off.
Rhodes123 More than 1 year ago
The Duke of Griffin is one of the Rakes of St. James and hasn't been forgotten for his part in a prank that took place when he was "young and dumb". His twin sisters are about to make their debut but a rumor is swirling around that some unseen man could be out to ruin the season for them. So, hiring a competent chaperone is what Griffin sets out to do. He meets the no-nonsense, attractive Miss Esmeralda Swift. From the first there is something different about her that draws his attention, then arouses more than just his senses. Griffin will not take NO for an answer to hire her for the chaperone position. Esmeralda Swift has secrets of her own but is too smart to ever fall for a peer from "polite society". When Griffin walks through her door she stands toe to toe with him and doesn't allow him to get his way but has to fight the attraction she has for him. His job offer is to much to turn down, it will see her financially comfortable for the next several months and she does have her sister to think about besides herself. Essie makes a promise to herself to not be swayed by Griffins charms and sweet words. The sisters' debut is what she must keep focus on and not losing her heart to one of the Rakes who is famous for not giving his...
JosephinesLibrary More than 1 year ago
Amelia Grey's "Last Night With The Duke" was a mesmerizing tale! It's a story of finding love in the least likely place. It was riveting and heartwarming and honestly I adore tales where the Lord falls for the governess! It's an unconventional, definitely scandalous, but altogether alluring tale of forbidden love!
Virginiaw More than 1 year ago
This is a fun first book in this new series. I loved Esmeralda and Griffin. Esmeralda is outspoken and this Duke seems to like this. The duke needs to learn that he has done things wrong in his life. I enjoyed the characters in this book a lot. I looked forward to the next book in this series. I received a copy of this book the publisher for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
LEH0644 More than 1 year ago
When his aunt is attacked with a case of shingles and is unable to accompany her nieces to their debut in society, the Duke of Griffin comes to an employment agency to hire someone to act as a chaperone. He hires Miss Esmeralda Swift even though she operates the business. The Duke had cut a path through London in his earlier days (he is only 28) and now has a reputation to overcome and hopes his past won’t hurt his sisters. Rumors are going around that his sisters are at risk due to a stupid prank that he and his friends pulled some years before and he needs to ensure that someone will be with them at the various parties and balls. The attraction grows between Griffin and Essie and he tells her that nothing can come of it as he is a member of Society and she is a poor relation to a well-known family. In fact, Essie is the granddaughter of a Viscount and is just a member of Society as Griffin is. She doesn't tell him the truth but the truth comes out at a ball when a nosy lady questions Essie about her background. Griffin hears this and is angry with Essie because he feels she should have told him. But he soon realizes that a romance could bloom between them now.
sportochick More than 1 year ago
This is the perfect book to read when you want an entertaining easy read. It had well rounded characters with lots of personality and attitude to keep the reader laughing and involved with the plot. I admired Esmeralda and felt the author did a superb job of showing how a woman can move forward with her life creating a safe world for herself and her sister against all odds. The author did a phenomenal job of the plot development of Esmeralda's secret that was exposed further into the book. The chemistry between Esmeralda and Griffin is extremely hot and "fan your face" worthy. The Duke of Griffin was an attention getter in many ways but the time that stood to me was at the ending when he was helping Josephine deal with the Napoleon situation. What a surprising twist to this man! Secondary characters were all attention grabbing and I look forward to reading more about them in the next two books to this trilogy.
alterlisa More than 1 year ago
This was an enjoyable read that had me laughing out loud several times. However, it was lacking in several areas, mainly the pacing, which had me skimming rather than reading. I also don't like the insta-love trope, this had me grumbling through most of the book. I loved the idea of the mystery but this didn't come to fruition so I guess I'll have to come back to this series to see how it is resolved. ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley
grandmareads102 More than 1 year ago
The Duke of Griffin finds himself in the unenviable position of protecting his sisters from unknown rakes who wants to spoil their debut as payback for his actions when he was younger. This payback could be a disaster! Griffin is determined to find the culprits and stop them from hurting his twin sisters. He's found the perfect chaperone, Esmeralda Swift. The problem is she doesn't want the job. She hates Society and their snobbish cruelty. To take care of her sister, she'll take the job. Can she prevent the truth of her family drama from being a topic of gossip? Griffin is strong willed and used to getting his own way. Esmeralda is his match. She's won't be intimidated. Their chemistry is powerful and draws them together. I enjoyed their emotional interaction and flirtatious dialogue. I liked these characters and wanted them to get their HEA. The secondary characters add so much to the story. They are interesting and captivating especially Josephine, Esmeralda's little sister. The plot is well written and has a unique twist. I enjoyed this romance by Amelia Grey. Griffin and Esmeralda are a wonderful pair. This story enchanted me. I'm looking forward to reading about the other Rakes of St. James. A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book. My comments here are my honest opinions.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BookReview4you More than 1 year ago
Last Night with the Duke 'Last Night with the Duke' by Amelia Grey is book One in the "The Rakes of St. James"series. This is the story of Griffin and Esmerelda. Griffin is getting ready to present his twin sisters to the town. But fears that without proper supervision for his sisters and that his wild past might hurt their them he thinks to get a competent chaperone. When he overhears Esmerelda talking to one of her employees he knows that she would be strong enough to handle his sisters and his past behavior. But what they don't count on is their attraction to each other which is pretty instant. Esmerelda does try to talk him out of her being the one for his sister but he is not having any of that. Esmerelda is the granddaughter of a Viscount but her grandfather disowned her mother when she up and married what he thought was beneath her. So Esmerelda has settled into her life as a worker, servant, and businesswomen. Their story did play out somewhat slow but for me I loved watching it happen. Ms. Grey is one of the authors I go to when I want a good Historical Romance and this did not disappoint. "My honest review is for a special copy I voluntarily read.
TammyS32 More than 1 year ago
I loved this historical read. Great characters, great chemistry and very entertaining. A fun read.
julieford More than 1 year ago
I received this ARC from Amelia Grey and am writing a fair and honest review. There are not many books that can have me laughing one moment and crying the next but Last Night with the Duke did exactly that. This story is so well written and progressed so naturally that I couldn't put it down. Esmeralda is the granddaughter of a Viscount but doesn't acknowledge the family connection because her mother was disowned by following love and marrying a man her brother disapproved of. Now she is taking care of her sister and running an employment agency for chaperones, governesses and such. The Duke of Griffin is looking for a chaperone to attend his twin sisters since his aunt has taken ill and there have been rumors about causing the twins mischief and possible scandal during their season. Griffin convinces Esmeralda to become the chaperone by giving into her demands that her sister and their dog must come with her. A different kind of mischief begins filled with laughs and tears. Great story.
etoile1996 More than 1 year ago
amelia grey's latest regency romance series kicks off with a delightful romance between miss esmeralda swift and lord benedict mercer, duke of griffin. the duke finds himself in need of a companion for his twin sisters who are making their debut onto the london social scene when his aunt falls ill and is unable to complete the task. when he meets esmeralda he knows that she's absolutely the right woman to handle his sisters and even though she runs a whole agency he won't take no for an answer. so he makes her an offer impossible to refuse. even allowing her to bring her younger sister who she cares for and their dog. one might wonder at his determination, but though he is charmed by esmeralda he has no intention of seducing her. he already has a reputation to guard, given that he was somewhat reckless in his youth, and that reputation may be endangering his sisters' ability to navigate the london marriage mart safely. the problem is that there is no specific threat, just the possibility that someone might act dishonorably toward his sisters, and griffin won't have that. he also won't have his sisters' companion bedecking herself in drab grays and browns all the time. though why he should interfere in her wardrobe, esmeralda would like to know. and this is how it is between them. there's a constant spark, they are at cross-purposes all of the time, and yet, they can't stay away from one another. there is of course a huge misunderstanding. griffin is a jerk and esmeralda doesn't stick up for herself. but they figure it out in the end. they have to, because with all the bickering and back and forth they share, there isn't anyone else who could stand to be around them. esmeralda is smart and feisty and does stand up for herself most of the time. and griffin is domineering and entitled, but he genuinely loves his aunt and sisters, and he loves esmeralda and her young sister, josephine. griffin's two friends round out the rakes of st. james, so i expect we'll be seeing them in future novels. and maybe one of griffin's sisters will be in play? you never know, only one has settled her future by the end of last night with the duke. **last night with the duke will publish on march 7, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/st. martin's press in exchange for my honest review.
DebDiem More than 1 year ago
Last Night With The Duke by Amelia Grey is a well written book. Ms Grey has provided an entertaining read with fabulous characters. Griffin and Esmeralda's story is a fast paced read with plenty of drama, humor and sizzle. This was a fun book to read and I applaud Ms Grey's storytelling abilities. I enjoyed Last Night With The Duke and look forward to reading more from Amelia Grey in the future. Last Night With The Duke is book 1 of The Rakes Of St. James Series but can be read as a standalone. This is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book from NetGalley.
TanyaLK More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! It's the start of a new series, the hero is a bit alpha but gets put in his place by an even sassier heroine. The tension is palpable and I found myself having chills after reading passages where they didn't even touch. Yes, Griffin and Esmeralda are the perfect couple and I couldn't put the book down. Highly recommend and cannot wait for the next in the series!! This is one I'd recommend to any friend looking to read historical romance.
Vijetha_Kumar More than 1 year ago
Review Last updated on 05 Mar 2017 The Duke of Griffin has quandary. His twin sisters on the marriage mart can become the targets of a prank by his rivals. And before they do, Griffin wants to find out who exactly wants to cause the twins harm. Unfortunately for our hero, his aunt who was supposed to chaperone the twins has taken ill. Hence, now Griffin is in a dire need of a worthy companion who will make sure the twins stay out of trouble. Now, this is where he stumbles into Miss. Esmeralda Swift. The disowned granddaughter of a Viscount, Esmeralda is barely making ends meet. She is running an agency that provides service women for the ton and taken care of her teenage sister all alone. When Griffin barges through her door and demands her to chaperone his sisters, her buried feelings resurface. The handsome Duke sets her on fire and breathes life to her dull existence. Now, the two try to co-exist denying themselves their mutual attraction and try to keep their wayward sisters safe. Whether they succumb to the desire? What happens to the threat the opposes the twins? I suggest you read the book to find out. This book evoked a lot of mixed feelings in me. I could even say I kind of had a love-hate relationship with this book. There were times when the story had me in it's grip and I liked the plot and there were also times when I wanted to bang someone's head (pitifully my own). I did like the book overall, but I feel like there are still unresolved conflicts with the book. What I liked: ->The Narrative. The author obviously loves the regency era and it definitely shows in her writing. You actually feel like you are in the ballroom, living room or wherever she describes. ->The Story line. I think this was one of the most mundane story line I've read for a historical romance. It lacked the cliched excitement, entertainment, characters. The author kept the story simple and refreshing. I liked the simplicity in the story! ->Josephine. Whenever there have been teenage kids in a book they usually are either snotty or serene. But I felt kids are normally somewhere in between. I loved Josephine for that reason. She was snotty and stubborn at times, but the girl was sweet. All in all, It was a simple, uncomplicated love story. I give this book: 3 Stars. Member Links
astroyic More than 1 year ago
Loved this Sweet, heartwarming and captivating, historical, romance that was a delight to read. I love it, when the words can fade away and I’m pulled into another time and place, absorbed in it. Amelia Gray has created these engaging characters that are lovable, stubborn, witty, intelligent, and have an intense attraction. Her writing manages to bring you right into the scene with the characters. Her descriptive use of language makes each scene very realistic and the emotions, the characters are feeling believable. I loved their charming, witty and argumentative conversations. I also enjoyed their easy fun and playful demeanor. They try not to succumb to their desires but they continually think of each another, but since they are not from the same class will their desires ever be attainable. Their simmering chemistry and the sexual tension is so thick you could cut it with a knife and I loved every moment of it. 
There was good flow throughout with an excellent build, it had drama, mystery, sweet bits of emotion and it was super entertaining with great secondary characters. This story made me laugh, sigh, and cry. I couldn’t put it down and I didn’t want it to end. Highly Recommended! Loved it can’t wait for the next in this series. I voluntarily requested an arc through the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.