What I Did For a Duke - Julie Anne Long I was so so so tempted to bump this one up to a five, but I ultimately chose a four because I don't love the heroine enough to give it a five. Alex (the titular duke) is perfect - stoic, enigmatic, complex, confident, and a little cold such that when he cracks a little over his emotions for Genevieve (our heroine), it's swoon-worthy. He was just a wonderful H, and, despite his bold words, he carried his seduction out with such finesse and grace that I sat here wide-eyed, waiting to see what would come next. He more than delivers on his promises, and, in this case, he has sigh-worthy actions to lend emotional depth to his provocative words.

Note that I'm not a big fan of the revenge plot or the love triangle, and this book has both, with the triangle comprised of Alex, Genevieve, and Harry, the lordling whom Genevieve thinks she loves. Another issue (which I'll throw into this paragraph because I can't figure out where else to put it) is the author's (mis)use of titles, particularly for daughters of non-earls/marquesses/dukes. For example, "Lady Abigail" is supposedly the daughter of a baron, which (from my understanding) should mean she's Miss [last name] if she's the oldest or Miss Abigail if she's not the oldest. I don't see how she can be "Lady Abigail" as the daughter of a baron. She would be Lady [title] if she were a widow. There were other instances of botched address, which distracted me a little.

*deep breath* MOVING ON...

This book hops along at a brisk pace, with Alex ruthlessly determined to take his revenge on Genevieve's brother by seducing and abandoning Genevieve. Thankfully, this revenge aspect of the plot is wrapped up pretty tidily and quickly between the characters, which leaves us with the emotional angst of the love triangle and how it will play out. Here's where we really get the focus on our H and h's learning about, discovering, and appreciating each other. They recognize each other's hidden layers almost as though they were the counterpart to each other. Many scenes are filled with subtle observations of each other's character and actions until you really get the feeling that they truly know and understand each other in ways others have never tried or been permitted. They actually don't even kiss until over halfway into the book, and the chemistry and tension leap off the pages up til that point. Their physical scenes are intense and emotional and follow this highly anticipated kiss in explosive succession.

I really really liked this book, but as I said before, my main quibble is with Genevieve. For the most part, I liked her and her clever yet subtle witticisms (which were revealing to Alex of her true character but remained hidden from others) very much...until she started bothering me around two-thirds into the book. She's smart and has all of these hidden and under-appreciated depths - great. So why does it take her sooooooo long to wise up to her actual feelings and lose her "but it's Harry I love!" mantra? In the meanwhile, she's putting Alex through the emotional ringer (though you may not guess it because he's so damned outwardly composed all the time). In truth, by the time we got to her revelation, I actually thought we needed a little more heroine groveling to wrap things up appropriately and give Alex the emotional payoff he deserved. Then again, maybe that just goes to show how much I liked him. *grins*

So, yes, a very strong four, and I think I will seek out more from this author and series.

P.S. Note that I had not read any of the other books in the series, and, although it's apparent that Genevieve's siblings are some of those characters from prior books, I think this book reads perfectly fine as a standalone. I didn't think there was "background" story that I was missing from not having read the other books.

Edit: P.P.S. In retrospect, I must also say that I think the title is a bit misleading because our heroine doesn't actually do much for her duke. It seems quite the opposite, to be honest, but I guess "What I Did For Genevieve" doesn't carry the same punch, does it?