Those folks at Amazon.com are sneaky, I tell you. SNEAKY. After I searched for the link to LORD OF SCOUNDRELS by Loretta Chase, they kept recommending THE OTHER DUKE by Jess Michaels as something I’d like to read. I’d heard of Jess Michaels, and was looking for a historical romance to read as a palate cleanser after the torture that *Name Redacted* subjected me to over the weekend, so it seemed like a good time to give her a try.
Perhaps a little background first. This is the first book published by Jess Michaels after her decision to leave the publishing houses behind. She talks a little bit about what a scary transition it’s been in the foreword, but that it ultimately feels like the right choice. It should also be noted that I often hear Ms. Michaels referred to as a writer of “Romantica,” but this effort reads like a straight up Romance instead. That’s not to say there isn’t sex, because of course there is, it’s just very vanilla and not particularly special in any way.
Serafina has been engaged to Cyril practically since birth due to an arrangement made by their respective fathers. She’s spent her whole life learning how to be a perfect duchess just for him, even though she loathes him and he abuses her abominably. Needless to say, when he is killed in a tragic carriage accident while being “entertained” by a lady of the evening, Serafina is not too broken up about it. In fact, she’s looking forward to her freedom.
Her father shuts that notion down QUICKLY. Evidently the betrothal is so iron clad, that Cyril’s estranged cousin and heir, Raphael, inherits not only the title and holdings, but a fiancee. Rafe and Sera know each other less than a week when they agree on some unusual terms for their marriage, and then spend the rest of the book trying to wriggle out of them as they grow to sincerely care about each other.
Sera’s got some pretty serious baggage thanks to her father and Cyril, and Rafe has some commitment issues, but there’s never any doubt as to how the story is going to play out. If you need a piece of romantic fluff to read in a couple of hours to take your mind off things, this is perfect. If you’re looking for something nearing the quality of a Milan, this is not that, but it’s not a Kristen Ashley either. Jess Michaels isn’t going on my must read list, but she isn’t going on the avoid at all costs list either.