duke with benefits, sees dalton beauchamp, the duke of maitland, connect with lady daphne forsyth beyond her mathematical skills. though not known for her social graces, in fact she has none, lady daphne isn't uncaring or unkind. she is abrupt and suffers no fools, and in polite society, this behavior, especially given her status as an unmarried woman is quite beyond the pale.
she is attracted to the duke and tried unsuccessfully to proposition him. she has no interest in marriage or being any man's property. three months later she is actively trying to ignore him, even as he is regretting having rejected her advances. he is fascinated by her—her brilliant mind, her adorable confusion when dealing with people, her beauty that he finds so alluring. but when the reason she inherited a portion of lady celeste beauchamp's estate comes to light and a dangerous figure from lady daphne's past is murdered in the priest's hole in their library, she finds herself working closely with the duke to solve the mystery.
they are the perfect team to investigate matters, he has all the people skills. she has the smarts. they work well together. and when they are finally able to talk things through regarding the ill-fated proposition, lady daphne finds that the duke's position wasn't so far from hers after all. and seeing that she is a rational being, she finds his arguments for marriage quite compelling. and she also finds that the more time she spends with him, her worries about marriage are easily put aside. because the duke clearly values lady daphne for her brilliant mind. he would never use her to his advantage, but he also appreciates her talents for what they are and wouldn't stop her from her brain for any reason.
for the time period, dalton's views are definitely progressive. even nowadays having someone value a woman's contributions to math or science can be a hard-fought battle.we've come far, but still have so much farther to go.
**duke with benefits will publish on june 27, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/st. martin's press in exchange for my honest review.