Camden Rothermere, the future Duke of Sedgemoor, has no
use for love. He's seen how the emotion has destroyed
many lives, including his own parents. So now that his
friend's younger sister, Penelope, is nineteen years old,
he decides that she's the one he'll marry. After all,
he's known Pen all her life, and he likes her better than
any other female. She won't expect any messy emotions
from him, and they should have a satisfying marriage.
Little does Cam realize that Pen has been in love with
him forever, and would like nothing better than to be his
wife - but not on those terms. Cam's matter of fact
proposal leaves her cold, and when he can't say anything
more than that he "likes" her, Pen decides to turn him
down. A life with him without his love would be
unbearable. In order to avoid seeing him constantly, Pen
takes off for the continent with her aunt, where she
travels for nine years, creating a scandalous reputation
For those years, Cam has kept track of all Pen's
exploits. He tells himself that he's lucky she refused
him, as the last thing he needs is a notorious duchess.
He's spent years living an exemplary life, trying to
offset the scandals his parents created. Now he believes
he has found the perfect woman, and is close to
proposing. Then he receives an urgent request from his
friend Peter, Pen's older brother. Pen' s aunt has died,
and left her stranded. Peter was to meet her and escort
her home, but took ill himself. Now he's dying, and has
requested that his old friend Cam find her and escort her
back home. It's the last thing Cam wants to do, but he
Pen's love for Cam never diminished, so she's horrified
at having to face him again. On their journey home, they
discover an intense sexual attraction, but Pen is
determined not to become entangled with him. As can be
expected, they are discovered travelling together
unchaperoned, and rather than cause a scandal, Cam
finally convinces Pen to marry him, to save HIS
Anna Campbell has taken a familiar trope, that of a
person who won't love, and written a story with a little
different twist. Despite his refusal to love, Cam is
still an engaging hero. He is honest, protective,
caring, and honorable. He treats Pen admirably, and
supports her. Pen is determined to protect herself, and
never admit her love. She's impulsive, and makes a
decision that has near disastrous consequences, but it
came from her heart. There was a secondary romance
involving Pen's younger brother, Harry. While it was
integral to the plot of the book, I found it a little
distracting, as it encompassed much of the story. I'd
have preferred to see those pages devoted to the main
WHAT A DUKE DARES is Book three of the Sons of Sin
You don't have to have read the first two to enjoy this
one, it stands on its own, though the two couples from
those books make appearances here. This book is
engaging, sometimes heartbreaking, but thoroughly
enjoyable on the way to a well deserved happy every
after. Your really can't run from love. WHAT A DUKE
DARES is a
What woman in her right mind would say no to marrying the
dashing Duke of Sedgemoor? Miss Penelope Thorne, that's
She's known Camden Rothermere since they were children-and
she also knows she'd bring nothing but scandal to his
Cam can hardly believe Penelope turned down his proposal.
But if she wants to run off to the Continent and set the
rumor mill ablaze, he can't stop her. Then her brother's
dying request sends him to bring home the one woman he
thought he'd finally gotten over.
The only way they'll both get back to London without their
reputations in tatters is to pretend they're married
the journey. That means kissing like they mean it and even
sharing a bed-until it becomes hard to tell where the game
ends and true desire begins . . .
Houghton Park, Lincolnshire, May 1819
Every young lady dreamed of a proposal from the heir to a
dukedom. Especially when the heir was rich, feted, in
possession of his wits, and still young enough to have all
Every young lady except, apparently, Penelope Thorne.
From the center of her father’s library, Camden Rothermere,
Marquess of Pembridge, eyed the girl he’d known from the
cradle and wondered where the hell he’d slipped up. He
straightened and summoned a smile, struggling to bridge the
awkward silence extending between them.
Damn it. He never felt awkward with Pen Thorne. Until now.
Until he’d spoken the fatal words.
Until, instead of radiating delight at the prospect of
marrying him, Pen’s black eyes sparked with the rebellious
light that always boded trouble.
“Why?” It wasn’t the first time this afternoon that she’d
asked him the question.
Stupidly he couldn’t summon an adequate answer. He’d
blundered into this halfcocked. It was his own fault.
Knowing Pen as he did, he should have prepared a
comprehensive list of reasons for their marriage before
broaching the subject.
Right now, he wished he’d never broached the subject at
all. But it was too late to retreat, or too late if he
hoped to salvage a shred of self-respect from this dashed
“Devil take you, Pen, I like you,” he said impatiently.
Despite her inexplicable and irritating behavior today, it
was true. There wasn’t a girl alive that he liked so much
as the chit currently regarding him as if he’d crawled out
of a hole in the ground.
He knew her better than any other girl too, even his sister
Lydia. Through their childhood, he’d rescued Pen from a
thousand scrapes. She’d been a hellion, riding the wildest
horses in her father’s stables, climbing the tallest trees
in the park, throwing herself into brawls to defend a
friend or mistreated animal. Cam had long admired her
spirit, loyalty, and courage.
Those were qualities he wanted in his duchess. And if she
needed some guidance in deportment, he was perfectly
prepared to teach her proper behavior. She was a Thorne and
Thornes weren’t renowned for their prudence, but while Pen
might be impulsive, she was intelligent. Once she’d become
the Duchess of Sedgemoor, he was sure she’d settle down.
Or he had been, until her unenthusiastic response to his
“I like you too,” she said steadily, regarding him with
Cam wondered why her admission didn’t reassure. Inhaling
deeply, he strove for forbearance. “Well, there you have
That bitter note in her laugh was unfamiliar. He could
hardly believe it, but the possibility of failure hovered.
Pen was clever, determined, headstrong—he’d get that out of
her soon enough—and stubbornly inclined to take a positive
view of events. Or at least so he’d believed until today.
He’d also believed that she’d leap at the chance to marry
Clearly he’d been wrong.
He wasn’t used to being wrong. Confound her, he didn’t like
Her voice remained curiously flat. “I’m sorry, Cam. ‘There
you have it, then’ won’t pass muster. You’ll need to do
better than that.”