A Swoony Marriage of Convenience & So Much Fun!
Second Duke's the Charm Book Cover Second Duke's the Charm
Her Majesty's Rebels (Book 1)
Kate Bateman
Regency Romance, Historical Romance
St. Martin's Press
December 26th, 2023
ebook, mass market paperback, audiobook

Meet Her Majesty’s Rebels: three brilliant women who run King & Co., London’s most exclusive investigative agency...

The wedding-night death of her much older husband left Tess Townsend the Dowager Duchess of Wansford—and still a virgin. Now she and her two best friends investigate London’s most scandalous crimes, and while Tess longs to experience physical pleasure for herself, she can’t risk losing her treasured independence...

Cynical shipping magnate Justin Thornton never expected to inherit a dukedom, but he’ll do his duty. When the ravishing woman he kissed at a party turns out to be the Dowager Duchess, Justin sees an obvious solution: a marriage of convenience that will suit them both.

But the passion that sparks between them is anything but convenient. As Tess works on a new case at the request of Queen Charlotte, her increasingly suspicious behavior makes Justin question her motives—and her past. The infuriating woman clearly can’t be trusted, but Justin doesn’t believe in love, so there’s absolutely no danger of him falling for his own wife...is there?

“I don’t care if it’s a fairy-tale castle made entirely out of gingerbread. I don’t want it. Give it to someone else. Whoever’s next in line.”

Kate Bateman’s newest series “Her Majesty’s Rebels” is sure to win over hearts because she’s already won mine with the first installment: Second Duke’s the Charm. Between the marriage of convenience plot, the mystery to be solved for the Queen by a not-so-secret gang of lady sleuths, Second Duke’s the Charm should easily be at the top of any list for historical romance lovers.

Our intrepid heroine, Tess Townsend is a dowager duchess, widowed on her wedding night before any festivities occurred (luckily for her), she’s left to her own devices and forms an agency that helps correct misfortunes that might befell other members of the ton in a very discretionary way. Unfortunately, Tess’ current way of life might come to a quick stop as she’s informed that—after an extensive search—an heir to the Duke of Wansford has been located.

They’d never met in person, she was sure, but she knew him: he was every wicked fantasy she’d ever dreamed, come to life.

The newly-found Duke of Wansford, Justin Thornton is a successful and prominent fur trader and traveler to the American Continent and in Canada as well. He’s more than reluctant to take up the mantle of a duchy. However, in a chance encounter with a masked woman in a siren’s call of a red dress, who also happens to be the dowager duchess to his title, Justin might make exceptions to the concept of marriage.

While Tess needs to keep her own secrets of what exactly she does with her two friends, Justin has his own secrets as well. Never mind any trivial things such as falling in love with the woman you just married even if the agreement was for a short tryst and then live amicably apart.

“And the way he says my name.” An involuntary sigh escaped Tess. ” As if it’s his dying breath, and it’s the last thing he wants on his lips before he leaves this world. Nobody else says it like that.”

My favorite parts of a marriage of convenience plot are all safely found in Second Duke’s the Charm. Bateman writes both Tess and Justin’s inevitable fall into love with such practiced ease. I adored the fast pace of the plot and the inclusion of the mystery that Tess is attempting to solve. Getting to know her two best friends was half the fun as well.

Second Duke’s the Charm is as charming as it is spicy. I love it when the chemistry between two characters outmatches their stubbornness to follow societal expectations. Trust me when I tell you that Tess and Justin’s chemistry is off the charts! I absolutely cannot wait to see what Kate Bateman has in store for us readers with her next installment of “Her Majesty’s Rebels”! Congrats on a brilliant new series!