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The Naked Duke [Mass Market Paperback]

Sally MacKenzie
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: 4.17 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

Feb 2005
Sophisticated. Scandalous. In fact, Miss Sarah Hamilton, a proper Philadelphian, finds London society altogether shocking. How can it be that she has awakened from her innocent slumber to find herself in bed next to a handsome - and exceedingly naked - man? The laughing onlookers standing in the doorway are no help whatsoever and surely this amorous lunatic cannot be a duke, as he claims. She is compromised - though she most certainly will not marry him! James, the Duke of Alford, is enchanted by his unexpected bedmate - and not at all afraid of her pink-cheeked fury. True, the circumstances and place of their meeting are most unusual, but the spirited American who's pummeling him with a pillow is an incomparable beauty. If Sarah will only listen to his perfectly reasonable explanation, James is sure that he can capture her heart...forever.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 317 pages
  • Publisher: Zebra Books (Feb 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1420111868
  • ISBN-13: 978-1420111866
  • Product Dimensions: 3 x 10.3 x 16.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 224,401 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A pretty good read with some steam! 22 April 2005
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I liked this book. The hero, a 28 year old duke whose evil cousin Richard was trying to eliminate him, rather obviously I thought, needs to get married and procreate rather quickly.
Enter the heroine, an American whose father having died, requested that she return to his homeland England and ask his brother to further look after her.
From one romp to the next, the story is often incongruent but James and Sarah feel real. I love the fact they come across as very honest with each other as well. Sarah has her moments of doubt, but usually being the good American girl that she is, she voices them and resolves them.
The murder attempts on James' life could be cut back, I think I counted 6. The reason given was that the Duke wasn't taken seriously when he tried to convince everyone that Richard was trying to kill him. I found it hard to believe that no one would believe a Duke if he told them anything. Especially in the regency period.
The writing was solid and correct for the time period, something that I have found is increasingly not the case lately in many so- called regency romances, which made the book also more believable for me.
The only downfall is that the Duke at 28, was supposedly still a virgin. I can't imagine it. In any way, shape or form. But still, it didn't detract too much from the story and I managed to finish it in a day anyway.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Decent Debut! 25 Oct 2005
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Ms. Mackenzie has penned a strong debut effort with her story "The Naked Duke." Although a light hearted read is hinted at in the back blurb the fact is this story truly covers some dark subjects and comes complete with a really nasty bad guy.
Sarah Hamilton of Philadelphia finds herself in a very compromising situation after falling asleep in bed alone at an inn on her way to her Uncle's. She is shocked when morning arrives and it finds her in bed with a very naked, handsome man and a crowd in the doorway. Who is this man and why is he in her bed? This question is soon answered by James himself. Problem is...Sarah doesn't see the need for marriage, a job will work just fine. After all they didn't do anything wrong and James is a Duke for crying out loud.
James is off to London to find himself a bride. After a stop at an inn, and one druken prank later, James feels that his search has come to an end when he finds Sarah in his bed. She's beautiful and kind, and James feels an attraction for her. Now he just needs to court this little lady until she realizes that they are meant for each other. But this is not the only thing that he needs to worry about. His wretched cousin Richard is doing all he can to bring about the untimely end of James. Will Richard and his malice win out in the end? And will James find the happy ending he knows he can find with Sarah?
This was a finely crafted read for a debut effort. Ms. MacKenzie has brought a fresh look to the Regency time period. Readers may find Sarah a bit over done at times but for the most part she along with James are finelly drawn charactes. There is truly no doubt that Richard is evil and Ms. MacKenzie manages to do a more than credible job bringing his evil to life. This is not a overly light hearted read, but the interaction between James and Sarah does bring a lightness to a read that may seem a bit dark for the genre. In any event Ms. MacKenzie is an author that you may want to keep your eye on.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Ok 31 Dec 2013
By maggie
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I buy Sally Mackenzie because of her very funny light regency romances. This was more of a murder mystery type and I was disappointed because I love the humour in this series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars naked duke 5 Jun 2012
By Chris
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Again loved this book well worth your time reading this ... take your time on a rainy day and enjoy
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.4 out of 5 stars  45 reviews
69 of 70 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't expect a lighthearted romp! Pretty good debut 16 Feb 2005
By baltimore0502 - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In some ways this book seems to be a throwback to the 70's/80's bodice ripper-type books. Extremely naive virgin, sleazy, psycho villain and rape, so you are forewarned. But the book also has some nice humour, some charming moments between the h/h and the hero is not an overbearing alpha male, so it's a bit of a mixed bag.

Sarah Hamilton is an American who has traveled to England on the death of her father. She is to locate her uncle, the earl of Westbrooke, but she has gone quite as far as she can this day and is desperate for a room at an inn before continuing on to her uncle's home. She is directed to a room by a rather drunk gentleman (who he turns out to be is rather funny) but she's grateful to sink into a bed and sleep. She wakes to find herself in bed with a man - both of them naked - and soon, with an audience! The gentleman, who turns out to be the duke of Alvord, tells her that she has been thoroughly compromised and now must marry him! Coming from America where she did not really mix with society, she can't see why such drastic action is necessary. Nothing happened afterall! But everyone around her seems to agree and so she agrees to consider marriage to James, the naked (very handsome and charming!) duke.

James has been considering marriage lately as he feels some pressure to get himself an heir. Lately there have been one too many strange "accidents" leading James to conclude that his cousin Richard is trying to kill him in order to grab the dukedom for himself. James cannot let that happen for Richard is unstable, selfish and cruel. He will not let his lands and his people fall into Richard's hands. And now this beautiful young American has just fallen into his lap, so to speak. He has the perfect excuse to marry her quickly, but she is reluctant. They agree to get to know one another, to let him court her until/unless the story of what happened at the inn gets out. If that happens marriage is definite.

And so, Sarah is launched into society (along with James' younger sister Lizzie) and he does his best to charm her and convince her to marry him, though he knows that this may put her in danger. For Richard is desperate that James not marry and certainly does not want him to have an heir. As Richard gets more desperate, James becomes more worried and more determined to keep Sarah safe. But who is in more danger - Sarah or James? Can Richard be stopped before someone gets killed?

This is a mix of charming romance, culture clash and dark suspense. Though I liked Sarah's character overall and admired her more republican attitudes toward the aristocracy, I don't think I've come across a more clueless virgin in years! She's the daughter of a physician but has no clue where babies come from! If that type of virgin drives you crazy you may have a hard time with her. Richard is without doubt a very dark character who does some very evil things. And I haven't read a book in years that contained multiple rape/attempted rape/near rape scenes, so again, if that type of thing creeps you out you are forewarned. But James is entirely yummy! He's very charming, sweet, good natured, witty and warm. He's the real star of this book IMO.

Bottom line, this is a pretty good debut that shows promise for this author in future. I can just feel books coming for James' friends Major Charles Draysmith and Robbie Hamilton, who also happens to be Sarah's cousin and the new earl of Westbrooke.
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Really 3 1/2 stars -- Promising debut novel! 23 Mar 2005
By ellejir - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I agree with the other reviewer that said that this book is not what one would expect based on the catchy, titillating title and light-hearted summary on the back cover, but "The Naked Duke" is a very readable Regency romance with an engaging hero and reasonably good heroine.

Miss Sarah Hamilton, in compliance with her father's deathbed wish, has traveled from Philadelphia to England (*very* improbably--completely *alone*) to visit her uncle, the Earl of Westbrooke. Exhausted, she stops for the night at an inn near her uncle's estate and is nearly turned away by the innkeeper (as a presumed whore) because of her solitary, disheveled state. When a semi-drunk gentleman offers her a open room, she believes that it is a case of mistaken identity (and, of course, she is right!), but is too grateful for the shelter to investigate exactly *whose* room she is taking. When she awakens the next morning, she finds a naked and amorous man in bed with her and her screaming protest brings them quite an audience. Her bedmate turns out to be the Duke of Alvord, who offers her marriage since he has unwittingly compromised her. She, of course, refuses his offer because he is young, handsome, charming, rich and titled and she is penniless and alone in a strange country with a ruined reputation and no references or employment. (Ha! No really, she has some other reasons for refusing his amazingly generous offer, but they make just about as much sense as that!)

James, the Duke of Alvord, is a really good hero--a gorgeous paragon really (except for his rakish reputation and the problem of his evil cousin Richard who keeps launching murder attempts against James in an effort to usurp the dukedom.) Sarah is an okay heroine but a bit inconsistent--by turns stunningly naive and improbably competent (has *no idea* how babies are made, but *does* know the basics of dirty street-fighting....) James is crazy about her (although he spends more time fantasizing about getting her back into his bed than he does talking to her.) Richard, the evil cousin, is a pretty one-dimensional psychotic villain and insane rapist (no redeeming qualities *at all*!) All the villains in the book are homosexuals or bisexuals (a not very PC move by the author.)

The plot moves along pretty well, but takes some dark turns (so be warned--Richard is *really* a bad guy!) I found Sarah's repeated refusals of James's offers of marriage and insistence that she would look for employment to be ultimately annoying, and the details of James's sexual history (Sarah's real reason for rejecting his proposal is James's reputation as a rake) to be inconsistent with the rest of his behavior in the book. The dialogue is generally witty, but with many, many modern phrases (except for Sarah's cousin Robbie, who seems to be the only one in the book talking "Regency-speak" like an escapee from a Georgette Heyer novel.)

In summary, this is a quick, enjoyable read with a really great hero and some very clever dialogue.
Recommended to Regency romance lovers, particularly to those who like a good bodice-ripping villain.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An innocent American in regency England 6 Dec 2004
By booksforabuck - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
When her father dies, American Sarah Hamilton travels to England hoping to meet up with her uncle, an Earl. When she arrives at an inn, too late to impose on her uncle, she decides to spend the night--only to be mistaken for a whore and to awaken in the morning having spent the night with a very handsome, and very naked, duke. Now, her reputation is in ruins and James, Duke of Alvord is pressured to offer for her hand in marriage. But she's a good republican. Couldn't everyone just sort of forget about that one night--a night where she's pretty sure nothing happened--and help her get a decent job as governess?

James is not immune to the attraction of a beautiful woman, but there's something about Sarah Hamilton that sends his senses into overdrive. Persuading her to kiss him isn't too hard, but Sarah continues to resist his efforts to persuade her to marry him. When James' evil cousin Richard discovers that James is considering a wife, and potential heirs, Richard becomes a menace to both Sarah and James.

Sarah and James try to work through misunderstandings that are encouraged by Richard--while Richard unleashes one plot after another aimed at destroying Sarah--or murdering his cousin. Although misunderstandings drive them apart, though, the deep passion each feels for the other continue bringing Sarah and James back together.

Author Sally MacKenzie combines humor and suspense in her debut-novel, a regency-set historical. Innocent Sarah, with her ignorance about exactly what it takes to become pregnant makes for a charming fish-out-of-water in sex and status-obsessed London. James makes her perfect foil. MacKenzie's engaging writing keeps the reader entertained as she foils Richard's evil plots.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous DEBUT - An Author to Watch! 29 Jan 2005
By M. Rondeau - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Miss Sarah Hamilton, a very proper Philadelphian, couldn't wait to have her journey end. If she thought traveling by ship was bad, squeezed into a fully loaded carriage wasn't any better from the fetid air coming from her fellow passengers mouths and bodies. Finally arriving at the Inn near her uncle's home, the Earl of Westbrooke, she was truly looking forward to a clean bed and chance to clean up before presenting herself on his doorstep. Unfortunately, the innkeeper taking one look at her scruffy appearance thought she was `in the profession'. If not for an amiable drunken lord she would never have gotten a room, but after a bath she tumbled into the bed and was out like a light. Sarah didn't wake up until she heard a commotion at the door to her room and saw several onlookers, laughing and pointing fingers at her and - oh my God, a naked and exceptionally good looking man in her bed!

James, the Duke of Alvord, was in fact, quite delighted with his beautiful bedmate and though he'd not take advantage of the sweet thing who was sleeping so soundly when he'd arrived - was about to do just that before the interruption. Though his bedmate did not look, smell, or act like most whores, as she was pummeling him with a pillow and ordering him from her bed. Once he discovered that she was, not only the product of mistaken identity on the part of his best friend's good intentions, but related to said friend - James, was not at all adverse in doing the honorable thing by marrying the spirited American beauty. The only problem was - she was not about to marry a duke!

**** I have to admit - I am truly enjoying these newer authors who are debuting in the regency romance genre who delight us with some fresh new slants and spicy, original and enchanting stories. Sarah was a truly likeable heroine and James was well met, though he was an absolute little devil with his double entendres that leant spice and humor to the dialogs. What I was not expecting, though it added another layer to this excellent debut, was the drama injected with James' very evil cousin Richard. The secondary plot of Richard trying to wrest the dukedom by eliminating James was extremely dark and based upon the cover artwork and the cover description, quite a surprise and very well done. Based on this, I must say to all you lovers of romance - we just might have a new star in the making! This is definitely a new author that one should take a closer look at. ---[...]
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Save your money, read a library copy 22 April 2006
By bbvector, LORE Reading Group - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
First book in the Naked series.

American Sarah Hamilton promises her dying father to go to her uncle, the Earl of Westbrooke, after her father dies. She goes to England, unchaperoned, to find her uncle, unaware he died a few months previously.

Sarah ends up in bed with James Runyon, Duke of Alvord. They're both naked and compromised. And Sarah's cousin Robbie, the new earl, mistakenly put them there.

James is a war hero, in the market for a wife and has an unjustified rake reputation. He instantly likes Sarah and decides to marry her. But his nasty cousin is trying to kill him to take the title. Now Sarah's in danger also.

This story was ridiculous, from the unchaperoned part to the sleeping naked part (she should have slept in her dirty clothes, for crying out loud!) to the meddlesome aunt and her friend to James - a duke! - not being able to stop his cousin - not a duke! - just to name a few of the ridiculous parts.

But the most unbelievable part was the secret James reveals to Sarah just before they're going to make love. That was a ~WHAT?!?!!!~ moment. Since this was Ms. MacKenzie's first book, I'll cut her a little slack; otherwise it would get 1 star. I felt I should read this because we chose THE NAKED MARQUIS for our reading group book for April. I sincerely hope it's better than this one.
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