Title: An Affair in Autumn
Author: Jennifer Haymore
Series: A Year Without a Duke #4 (House of Trent #3.5)
Genre: Regency Romance
Available: Feb 1st
On a mission to locate the missing Duke of Beckworth, Lord Markus Hawkins boards a ship bound for America, where he finds himself trapped in close quarters with his childhood friend-turned-enemy, Caroline Addison.
Caro is headstrong, frustrating, selfish, wickedly intelligent, and so damn beautiful Mark can’t see straight when she’s near. Torn between wanting to kiss her senseless and wanting to strangle her, Mark has no idea how he’s going to survive the torture of the long weeks ahead.
Source: ARC via NetGalley
Two old foes who used to be friends, one very strong but unspoken attraction between them, and a sailing ship bound for America in search of their mutual friend who has just become a duke – what could possibly go wrong? Or, should that be, how much can go deliciously right?
I do love a good antagonistic romance, and this novella, while short, delivers up a thoroughly enjoyable tale. Caro is an independent, determined woman who always planned to marry her best friend, Nate, but ended up marrying a much older viscount instead. While Markus is the man who has always had feelings for Caro, but put them away because she was in love with his friend, then allowed his feelings to turn bitter when she married her viscount instead. They have very little to say to each other at the start of this book, except that Mark needs Caro’s help to locate Nate, the new duke – and Caro is determined to be there when Nate learns of his new fortune.
I really liked Caro, even if her attitude is a bit modern for the period. She’s strong and confident and she never lets Mark walk all over her. Mark is a bit more of a dark and brooding type, but there’s no denying that the pair of them have some impressive chemistry. Their romance is well paced, with a lot more heat than the other books in the series so far, and the shipboard setting really helps to bring their feelings out.
Unlike the rest of the series so far, the main characters aren’t reliant on the new duke to forge their futures, so it definitely has a more finished air than the others. There was one aspect of the ending that I didn’t think fit particularly well with all that had gone before (*SPOILER* I was really disappointed at the way the pair of them abandoned Nate to return to England alone, just when he would surely need his friends the most.), but on the whole this was yet another really enjoyable read from this great little series. Now bring on that duke!