Four Nights with the Duke Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
Eloisa James returns with another fabulous romance in her New York Times best-selling Desperate Duchesses series!
As a young girl, Emilia Gwendolyn Carrington told the annoying future duke of Pindar that she would marry any man in the world before him - so years later she is horrified to realize that she has nowhere else to turn.
Evander Septimus Brody has his own reasons for agreeing to Mia's audacious proposal, but there's one thing he won't give his inconvenient wife: himself.
Instead he offers Mia a devil's bargain.... He will spend four nights a year with her. Four nights and nothing more. And those only when she begs for them.
Which Mia will never do.
Now Vander faces the most crucial challenge of his life: He must seduce his own wife in order to win her heart - and no matter what it takes, this is the one battle he can't afford to lose.
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|Listening Length||11 hours|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||March 31, 2015|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #44,706 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#293 in Regency Romance
#3,841 in Regency Romances
Top reviews from the United States
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Because of his familial background, Vander doesn't care to go about in Society, choosing instead to enjoy his stable of horses. In fact, he spent many nights in the stable when Mia's father was living with his mother - choosing to not be in the same house as the man who "turned his mother into a whore." Vander and Mia have some history as well. It seems she was in love with Vander when she was growing up to the point she wrote him a poem, which her father thought would be cute to show Vander's mother, who thought it would be sweet to pass along to the 15 year old Vander, which Vander couldn't resist sharing with his bud, Thorn Dautry (who by the way, you'll recognize from Three Weeks With Lady X (Desperate Duchesses Book 7) . At some point, the juvenile Vander and Thorn were discussing and making fun of the poem in the family library where the 15 year old Mia was hiding and the proverbially fat was tossed into the fire. Mia's self-esteem, which was always precarious due to her voluptuous figure is nearly destroyed, causing her to turn her anger on the boys, declaring she would "never marry either of them."
Mia swore off love with the exception that she began to write and eventually became a highly successful author of torrid romance novels. Fifteen years later, Mia finds she is desperately (hence the title "Desperate Duchesses, I suppose) in need of a husband and decides to blackmail Vander into marrying her. Her reasons are honorable, but Vander, who when Mia confronts him with her "demand" proposal, is one angry hulking sexy male and makes the mistake of burning the dang "explanation" note without reading it - in which Mia had further explained her intentions. Vander decides that yes, he will marry Mia, but he will be the one to set the rules. He has some stipulations of his own and writes out his own marriage agreement (demands). Wrongly believing Mia's still hey-go-mad for him, Vander's note states he will only give her four nights in bed each year. Here's where you may as well laugh long and hard, because Vander's "moonbeam" (you'll get his part after you read the book) is mostly stiff and hard all the time for his dumpy little wife.
The dumpy part is somewhat tenuous. I was never sure if Mia was dumpy or not. Yes, she dressed dumpy, mostly due to her damaged self-esteem, but although Vander was downright cruel when he described Mia's assets to her face - which contributed to further self-esteem issues - he was crazy in lust with her. If the story had a downside, it would be the crude manner in which Vander dealt with Mia during much of the book. His descriptions of Mia to her face contributed to this reader imagining this little short fat, squat Mia. Yes, he was angry. Yes, she was blackmailing him, but if she was so unattractive, why in the world was his moonbeam always in the condition it was in? He was angry, but could not keep his hands to himself. Plus, the roughness in which he handled Mia was very confusing to Mia and caused further relational problems. But then, Vander was a rough man in many ways - not your regular gentlemanly duke. No - a bad boy duke who didn't give much of a rip about people with the exception of a very select group.
We have some absolutely marvelous minor characters which play very well into the overall storyline. Although the Duke of Villiers, Thorn and India make some brief appearances, their initial reactions to Mia are a bit cold, mostly because they don't appreciate the blackmailing of their friend. But, Vander's Uncle Cuffy and Mia's nephew, Charlie, help turn the storyline into a lovely unraveling which reveals the sturdy foundation for a very beautiful family relationship. Once Vander and Charlie hook up, Vander's character stores up so much good will in the reader's heart, one is inclined to forgive our bad boy duke for any previous missteps as well as any future ones because he's just almost too good to be true and everything he should be to Charlie. Yes, Charlie has needed a man in his life and Vander. Is. The Man. Believe me, there's never a doubt about Vander's manliness. He's a standout, crude behavior and all.
THE STORY: At fifteen years of age, Emilia (“Mia”) Gwendolyn Carrington fell in love with Evander Septimus Brody, the future Duke of Pinder. When a love poem that Mia wrote Vander became public, Mia was humiliated by Vander and his friends reactions. Mia swore that she wouldn’t marry Vander if he were the last man in England. Thirteen years later, Mia is desperate and decides to blackmail Vander into marriage. Vander agrees to submit to the marriage, but decrees that he will only spend four nights a year in bed with his wife – and only when she begs. What Vander doesn’t know is that Mia has a secret as to why she wants marriage to Vander and it doesn’t have anything to do with wanting to spend her life with Vander. What Vander doesn’t expect is that he might be the one begging for the four nights.
OPINION: Warning! Spoilers included: FOUR NIGHTS WITH THE DUKE begins with utter heartbreak for Mia. She is a woman who ultimately doesn’t believe that she will find her happy ending because of her looks. Vander’s rejection of her when she was fifteen creates a deep scar for Mia. While she insists that she will never forgive Vander, the truth is that she obviously still loves him years later. She doesn’t really plan on having a real marriage with Vander because she doesn’t’ believe herself worthy. She is merely desperate to protect her young nephew. Mia is a strong woman who has been heartbroken again and again. She is willing to sacrifice herself for her nephew’s benefit. I loved her as a heroine. Strong, determined and yet vulnerable. I immediately connected with her vulnerable and I smiled and her nerve and determination to not hurt Vander even as she blackmails him.
Vander is wonderful. I loved him in THREE WEEKS WITH LADY X and is he is adorably clueless in this book. While he is blackmailed into marriage, one gets the sense that he doesn’t fight that hard. He is offered a way out by his friends, but instead he marries Mia. He mistakenly believes that she wants to marry him because she loves him so much (not knowing about her nephew) and is dumbfounded when he realizes that he is mistaken. Arrogant and yet adorably sweet. Vander is a hero that just makes me sigh in appreciation. The best parts of his character are demonstrated through his relationship with Mia’s nephew. I loved how immediately accepting and fatherly he is with the nephew.
The relationship between Mia and Vander is sweet and romantic and at times funny and tragic. Several times Mia and Vander almost got together and then were torn apart by their fears. This book demonstrates how precious their relationship is because so many times they could have been torn apart. By the end of this book, Vander is determined to be self-sacrificing but then realizes that he wants Mia no matter what. He wants her enough to fight for her and no one has ever fought for Mia before.
The writing in this book is lively and clever and deeply emotional. James has a wonderful ability to make her characters complicated and witty but not foolish. The book has numerous “Easter eggs” of references to cultural touchstones that readers can tease out and appreciate if they want but the book is accessible if a reader wants to concentrate only on the story told. In the same manner, James sprinkles references to prior characters and books that will please fans but do not exclude new readers.
This is a book that I loved reading the first time and am sure that I am going to read again and again.
WORTH MENTIONING: Fans of THREE WEEKS OF LADY X and A DUKE OF HER OWN will be pleased to see appearances by the main characters from those books.
FINAL DECISION: I loved this book. Deeply emotional, funny and complicated, FOUR NIGHTS WITH THE DUKE is the story of two people who were always meant for one another and had a long road to find one another.
CONNECTED BOOKS: FOUR NIGHTS WITH THE DUKE is the eighth book in the Desperate Duchesses series and the second book in the sub-series Desperate Duchesses by the Numbers. This book can be read as a standalone without missing anything from previous books in the series. Vander, however, appears in THREE WEEKS WITH LADY X and reading that book will give readers the most complete view of Vander.
STAR RATING: I give FOUR NIGHTS WITH THE DUKE 4.5 stars.
Top reviews from other countries
I would also add that if you read the whole 'Desperate Duchesses' series in order, you will see the changing face of society at that time. In the very first book, the heroine, who is a Duchess with a very independent nature and who is a very accomplished chess player, returns home to her husband when he basically orders her to do so so that they produce an heir. One can't imagine that happening - either the demand or the capitulation - in these later stories, set some years later. The women in these latest books are not only independent minded, they are doing something about it - in 'Three Weeks with Lady X' India chooses to be an interior designer and in this book Mia chooses to be an author - in fact, what I found very endearing was Vander's total acceptance of what she did, showing, I think, that he had no preconceived notions of how his Duchess ought to behave.
You don't need to read the whole series, but I would suggest at least the previous one, 'Three Weeks with Lady X' which is Thorn's story and introduces Vander, to get a better understanding of the ties of friendship and family.