A DUKE NEVER YIELDS – Juliana Gray
Third in the Never Series
Two separate groups of English travelers set out for Italy. Unbeknownst to them, they have signed a year's lease on the same rundown castle in Tuscany. One group consists of a widowed marchioness with financial troubles, her maiden sister who longs for adventure, and their married cousin escaping from an abusive husband with her young son.
The men are also related to each other. One is a self-made man, a genius inventor with an electric motor car to refine and enter into a competition in Rome. He's the natural son of a duke who happens to be a grandfather of the other two members of the party, making him their uncle. One is a duke himself, whom their common grandfather is plotting to trap into marriage. He's planning this escape…er, trip with his uncle and his popular younger brother as a sabbatical of study and self improvement without the distraction of women, drink, and gaming. Good luck to all three with that first one!
A DUKE NEVER YIELDS and its prequels (A LADY NEVER LIES and A GENTLEMAN NEVER TELLS) are unusual in not only having three heroes and three heroines appearing in all three, they run concurrently in time. While they have some scenes in common, those are presented from different points of view. They also have differing plot lines and moods. A LADY NEVER LIES has strong elements of romantic suspense; A GENTLEMAN NEVER TELLS is sweet and emotional. But it's A DUKE NEVER YIELDS that concerns us today. It's humorous and sprightly due to the lively give and take between the virgin and the womanizing duke.
The maiden mentioned above, Miss Abigail Harewood, long ago decided she wished never to marry. As an intellectual with an independent spirit, she wants no man to rule her, and she doesn't care what anyone thinks. Yet, as a woman, she's curious about one thing marriage offers, and she wants a taste of it…and decides to take a lover. She kisses a few good-looking men as experiments but doesn't settle until they are on the continent and meet the Duke of Wallingford on their way to the castle (that they still don't know they are to share). He's a terribly handsome man with a reputation as a lover, but he's made vows of sobriety and celibacy for a year! And besides, he never dallies with virgins. Oh, and when Abby enters the castle, she senses a supernatural mystery as well.
Each of these novels can stand alone, but if you haven't read any of them, why not start at the beginning? Any historical romance reader will be more than pleased.