Reviewed by Marieke
TITLE: Duke in Hiding
SERIES: Dreamspun Desires
AUTHOR: M.J. O’Shea
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 204 pages
RELEASE DATE: May 1st 2016
Every gentleman has something to hide.
Meeting Heath Blackwood, a gorgeous English farmer, is probably the most exciting thing to ever happen to small-town landscaper Theo Brody, who has lived in quiet Mapleton, New Hampshire, all his life. The sexy and secretive Brit shakes the foundations of his orderly world as they are swept up in a springtime romance neither can resist.
But Heath’s secrets run deeper than Theo ever imagined. He’s actually Heathcliffe Pierrepont Blackwood, Seventh Duke of Kingston, in hiding from recent death threats. Suddenly there’s more separating them than the Atlantic Ocean, and Theo doubts he’ll ever fit in with English nobility. Though Heath and Theo are opposites in almost every way, their love might bridge the gap-if they’re willing to take the risk.
Theo is a nice and quiet guy, living in a tiny town in New Hampshire. He has one close friend––Gilly–– two jobs and no relatives. His parents had died when he was a teenager, but thankfully he was sort of adopted by his best friend’s family.
Theo is gay in a town where no one else is, so it’s kind of lonely. He’s had one sort of relationship once, with the only other gay guy to ever live in Mapleton, but the guy was a jerk and left to go to college.
Enter Heath Blackwood. Heath stumbles into the bar where Theo works in the winter to supplement his income when his landscaping business is slow. Heath and Theo bump heads immediately. Even though Theo dislikes Heath for his behavior, he can’t help but be attracted to the handsome man. A shared breakfast in the local café lets them see another side of each other and a friendship forms. Of course the friendship evolves into more and they fall in love.
When Heath’s assistant suddenly appears at his door to take him home to England and deal with whatever it was he was running from. Theo makes an impulsive decision to go with Heath and find out what the hell is going on. Turns out, Heath had death threats and his own sister was behind it. It also turns out that Heath is a Duke with lots of land, money and a little bit of fame. And that last bit has the paparazzi haunting him… that is what sends Theo running.
The start of this story was very amusing, Theo and Heath bumping heads and trading barbs is quite funny. Gilly and her family stole my heart, just like the town’s residents. But somehow Theo just didn’t become my favorite person, and him being one of the main characters makes it’s just a bit awkward.
Heath is a nice guy, though a bit clueless at times. It’s sad that he has to live with the knowledge that his own sister hates him enough to want him dead. But if he had just said something to Theo about his situation it might not have been so hard on Theo. In the end Gilly lets Theo believe that he’s being silly for running away from the press, but truthfully…I think he was damn right. It’s a horrifying thing to experience. Thankfully Heath does understand and comes back to Mapleton to work things out.
This story is sort of a happy end, but not a perfect one. They have a relationship, they do love each other, but there’s still an ocean between them. Visiting is nice and all, but it’s still visiting. So, yes it’s a lovely idea that a Duke and a blue collar, average guy can make it work, but I wasn’t wowed. For me it lacked chemistry and a little more attachment from both characters. Nice, but not amazing.