General Mark Grimaldi is devoted to his service for the Crown, risking his life and giving up everything for his career. The political promotion he’s always wanted is now within his reach, but he needs to convince his estranged wife to return to England and play the role of happy bride in order for him to get the position.

Nicole Huntington Grimaldi has spent the past ten years in France, not having seen her husband since she left England. But now he’s on her doorstep, asking her to return with him, and Nicole sees the opportunity to get something out of this deal. So she agrees, on one condition: she wants a baby.

Titles in the Playful Brides series include:  The Unexpected Duchess – The Accidental Countess – The Unlikely Lady – The Irresistible Rogue – The Unforgettable Hero – The Untamed Earl – The Legendary Lord – Never Trust A Pirate – The Right Kind of Rogue – A Duke Like No Other – Kiss Me At Christmas –

Title:  A Duke Like No Other
Series:  Playful Brides #9
Author:  Valerie Bowman
Genre:  Regency Romance
Published:  May 1, 2018
Publisher:  St. Martin’s Press
My Rating:  4.5 stars

I will freely admit that I always look forward to the newest release from Valerie Bowman.  She gives us a view of Historical Romance that is unique, at times funny and other times so serious that you’ll cry.  The adventure of falling in love, even when that trip is rather rocky, is always entertaining when seen through Ms Bowman’s eyes and words.  So, it’s probably no surprise that I completely loved A Duke Like No Other.  If falling in love and then losing everything wasn’t enough for this couple, now they’re going to be put to another test one of pretending, and maybe falling all over again.  But time will tell on that part.

Mark is looking at a major promotion, and his chances of getting it are increased if he is a “settled, married man”.  Well, the settled is questionable but the married part he can provide.  Unfortunately, that will require that he come face to face with Nicole after ten years apart.  There were so many reasons that they should never be in the same place with each other again.  Pride, mistrust and unanswered questions are among those reasons.  Yet in order to pull off this pretend real marriage Mark and Nicole will need to spend considerable time together again… especially as Nicole’s requirement for this show needs a bit more intimate time together to reach her goal.  As if the deck wasn’t stacked enough against this couple add in a mystery with deadly intent and you’ll watch some sparks fly during A Duke Like No Other.

I had such fun with this story.  It’s obvious, even beneath their tensions around each other, that Nicole and Mark did share a true love at one time, a love that hasn’t conveniently faded away.  Through flashbacks we get a glimpse of what drew them together the first time.  Watching two extremely stubborn people begin to soften toward each other again was an emotional journey.  Second chances don’t always come around, and it’s up to this couple to decide what matters more – their pride or their love for each other.

If you’re in the mood for a really good, fun, emotional, steamy Regency Romance then you’ll want to get your hands on A Duke Like No Other.  Like all the stories in the Playful Brides series you’ll find a couple to root for, even when it seems that luck is just not on their side.  I loved this romance and would not hesitate to recommend it to any Regency or Historical Romance reader.

*I received an e-ARC of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley. That does not change what I think of this story. It is my choice to leave a review giving my personal opinion about this book.*

Available in paperback and for the Kindle