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17 April 2014

Short Story Review: The Duke's Shotgun Wedding by Stacy Reid

Author: Stacy Reid
Publication Date: April 14, 2014
Publisher: Entangled: Scandalous
Genre: Adult Historical Romance
Find It: GoodreadsAmazonB&N
Source: Publisher

Victorian Era England...

As far as rash decisions went, it was formidable. But Lady Jocelyn Rathbourne's will remained strong. If the only way to save her family's estate and reputation was by aiming a small pistol at the Duke of Calydon, then so be it.

Lady Jocelyn demands satisfaction--and she will have it at any cost. Even if it means demanding the hand of the intense and foreboding Duke himself. But she's made the first move against a very dangerous opponent. Sebastian Thornton is no stripling to be trifled with. The lady has played her hand; now it's his turn.

Sebastian is in need of a wife, and to find a wife with spirit and fire--even if she means to only marry for his money--would be a great prize indeed. He intends to thoroughly take his pleasure with her, and demand his own satisfaction in return...

Jilted woman holds a peer at gunpoint, secures hand in marriage, title, and huge financial settlement in one go: this is just the kind of ludicrous set-up that makes me want to pick up a novella!

The arrogance with which Sebastian deals with the world, conferred upon him by his station as a duke and judgments about women and marriage that he formed long ago, makes him easy to dislike. Jocelyn, meanwhile, is suspect as well--her intentions to marry into money were clearly borne out of desperation, and she makes no secret of this. Again, the common weakness of novellas like these is that they are utterly predictable. From the moment he accepts her unconventional proposal, it's clear they will end up falling in love.

I admired Jocelyn's willingness to risk gossip (and at worst, jail--what if he had called the magistrate down on her instead?) for her family's benefit, as well as Sebastian's endeavors to knock down the walls inside their marriage--though he at first only does this literally. Based on his own parents' cold and disappointing relationship, he had had the walls between the master bedrooms knocked down so that it was a single, huge room (with a single, huge bed!), but he did this without even the real intention of marrying anyone, let alone this brazen hussy who had walked into his life just a day ago.

However obvious the destination is, the journey towards that happy ending is engaging enough. Their sensual wedding night is followed immediately by conflict. I found myself rooting both for stubborn, straight-shooting Jocelyn, as well as for the wounded and cagey Sebastian. The sultriness of their reconciliation makes up for any lack of surprise as to how their relationship is mended.

This was a well-paced, quick read with interesting and sympathetic characters. Stacy Reid gets the Regency voice down pat on her first try and deftly twines sensuous romance into her work. While I definitely wish for a little more complexity to the plot, that is understandably hampered by the short format she writes in. Still, I'll definitely look for further novellas from this author.

*I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.

Visit the author online at www.stacyreid.com, Facebook and follow her on Twitter @st_reid

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