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Scandal and the Duchess

Scandal and the Duchess, September 2014
Mackenzies Series #2
by Jennifer Ashley

Featuring: Steven McBride; Rose Barclay
160 pages
ISBN: 1101615931
EAN: 9781101615935
Kindle: B00DGZKJ5C
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"A self-serving, drunken rake comes to the defense of a scandal ridden duchess and sparks ensue."

Fresh Fiction Review

Scandal and the Duchess
Jennifer Ashley

Reviewed by Christina Fashant
Posted September 22, 2014

Romance Historical

Captain Steven McBride is a self-described drunken rake. He has never done anything that wasn't self-serving or for a lark. Life has a way of changing things, though. Back in London on an early leave from his company in West Africa, he has some unfinished -- and unwelcome - business to attend to before heading north to his family in Scotland for the holidays. Trying to drink away his demons he lands, drunkenly, in the arms of the most beautiful angel his eyes have ever beheld. If only he knew exactly how much of a guardian angel she truly was.

Mistaking Steven for a drunken, homeless veteran, Rose, the scandalous Dowager Duchess of Southdown, takes him home and offers to assist him in regaining his feet. However, upon discovery of the truth, it is Steven who offers to be of assistance. Deciding to create a sensation and give the press precisely what they want, the two of them embark on a scandalous engagement with the full intent of re- establishing her fortune and reputation. After which, she will be free to travel wherever she wishes, and he can go back to Africa with an assuaged conscience. But will that be enough for them?

As SCANDAL AND THE DUCHESS is about the youngest of the McBride brood, Steven, who was raised by Patrick and has always been a bit wild, it is no surprise that it opens with Steven being dead drunk. However, the fun loving, devil- may-care soldier who has appeared in many other books is not so carefree in this book. There is a brooding darkness that envelopes him and causes him to take his drinking a little too far. He is still likable and charming, but with an edge that surprisingly fits him nicely.

Jennifer Ashley wields her pen like a sword when it comes to wit, and there is certainly no shortage here. From the cheeky back and forth to the blistering set-downs, there is no phrase that is not meticulously placed for its very own reason. This also applies to the wonderful cast of characters that she has built up over the years in this magnificent series. As a bonus, we get to see some of those characters play a part in this novella. Ian, Beth, Cam, Ainsley, and Sinclair all make appearances in support of Steven, and it feels like a joyous reunion every time. Bottom Line: SCANDAL AND THE DUCHESS is a very quick read that feels satisfying, not because it needed to be short, but because readers will be grateful to get their Mackenzie/McBride fix where ever they can get it, and this story is a worthy fix indeed.

Learn more about Scandal and the Duchess


Scandal follows Rose Barclay, young widow of the Duke of Southdown, wherever she goes. It's never her fault, but newspapers love to write about the young woman from Scotland, and the much older duke she married, who died on their honeymoon. The duke left her with a large widow's portion, now contested by his younger brother, who kicks Rose out of the estate's dower house and uses it to kennel his dogs.

Rose does not need to be found with a large, handsome Scot passed out at her feet, fueling gossips and giving her brother-in-law more ammunition. The Scot is Steven McBride--a decorated soldier who is notorious for heavy gambling and womanizing during his leave time. Steven is happy to open his eyes and find the beautiful woman standing over him, and happy to help spirit her away. But the journalists get wind and start a campaign to couple Rose with the scandalous Steven McBride.

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