The day was as hot as the pond was inviting. It’s not as if anyone in Little Huffington was going to happen upon a secluded vale on the Duke of Greycliffe’s lands. And Venus Collingswood didn’t want to get her shift all wet. It was the perfect setting in which to plan her lovely bookworm of a sister’s betrothal to the mysterious new duke arriving seven days hence. If only she had a suitable accomplice…
Andrew Valentine, Duke of Greycliffe, never thought arriving at his own household a week early would cause so much trouble. The housekeeper thinks he’s his own cousin. Actually, the chance to not be the duke for a while is a pleasant opportunity indeed.
It might even help him interrogate the delectable little nymph he’s discovered swimming in his pond—if he can manage to get a word in edgewise…
And here is Maria's review:
This enchanting novella is the prequel to MacKenzie's series of the same name. [This is] the love story of how the duchess met her duke when she was a young woman in the sleepy village of Little Huffington (great name!). I'm glad I read this one first (and it's also my first book by MacKenzie) since I prefer reading series in order. The consecutive books in the series are about the duchess' matchmaking efforts for her sons.
What made this story so charming to me:
Venus' sparkling personality and take-charge attitude. Of course, she's young so this might get tiresome when she's older but I think that, with her positive attitude, she will continue to charm everyone. She's not afraid to go swimming in the duke's pond when he’s not at home and she's brave enough to encourage the duke and his cousin to meet her beautiful sister, thus furthering her matchmaking plans.
The duke's charm and confidence. Yes, he came into his title very young but he has taken the responsibility seriously. He's both sweet and devilish at the same time, a perfect match for Venus.
- The sweet secondary love story of Venus’ beloved older sister, Aphrodite, and the duke’s cousin, Nigel Valentine. They were so obviously a perfect match with their shared intellectual pursuits and love of books.
I now want to read the next books in this series (and more) by MacKenzie.