12 Dukes of Christmas #2, Back in Cressmouth, also known as Christmas, the perpetually snow covered mountain town lives Penelope Mitchell a lady chemist, and natural philosopher. Her latest claim to fame is the perfume that took the ton by storm, Duke. She didn't do it for the money she just wanted to prove to the men of the Natural Philosophers Society that she, a woman, deserved admittance. But as soon as Beau Brummel told the Prince Regent about it every man has gone out and bought a bottle.
Not everyone was happy about it though, Nicholas Pringle the heir presumptive for his cousin Duke Silkridge, thinks the perfume is cheating; it's an unfair advantage to men who don't normally possess that kind of charm. Nick, who was dubbed St. Nick ironically because he is anything but a saint, is shocked and pleased when he finds out the creator of Duke is a woman and decides he can seduce her and get her to stop production of Duke. But Penelope is not what he expected and she seems immune to his charms but for some reason he can't stay away from her.
Penelope had already decided to create Duchess the female equivalent to Duke and give women the same chance. Now she just needs to test it and what better way to test it than on a notorious rake. But the more time Penelope spends with him the more she likes him, he is so much more than the man the world sees he has hidden talents and is a much better man than he lets on. Now she starts feeling guilty and ashamed because she thinks her perfume seduced him but she's also scared that telling him the truth will break her heart.
Overall, I really liked this one. Nick is a rake but as soon as he sets eyes on Penelope that's it for him he has eye for no one else. The people of Cressmouth are wonderfully quirky, and I can't wait for Virginia and Gloria's stories. It's not necessarily a Christmas read, it takes place after, but it could be read as one. This is a delightfully fun read and as always Erica Ridley delivers a great story with wonderful characters.