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Heiress for Hire In This Stunning Series Debut From New York Times Bestselling Author Madeline Hunter, A Duke S Mysterious Bequest Brings Fortune And Passion To Three Young Women Minerva Hepplewhite Has Learned The Hard Way How To Take Care Of Herself When An Intruder Breaks Into Her Home, She Doesn T Swoon Or Simper Instead, She Wallops The Rogue Over The Head And Ties Him Up Only To Realize He Is Chase Radnor, The Man Who Nearly Got Her Convicted Of Her Late Husband S Murder Now, He S Insisting That Minerva Has Inherited A Fortune From His Uncle, A Wealthy Duke Only One Thing Could Surprise Her Her Sudden Attraction To This Exasperating Man Chase Can T Decide Whether Minerva Is A Wronged Woman Or A Femme Fatale Either Way, He S Intrigued Since The Scandal Surrounding Her Husband S Death, She Has Set Up A Discreet Detective Business To Rival Chase S Own She May Be The Perfect Person To Help Him Uncover The Truth About His Uncle S Demise But As Proximity Gives Way To Mutual Seduction, Chase Realizes He Craves A Much Deeper Alliance

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • 328 pages
  • Heiress for Hire
  • Madeline Hunter
  • English
  • 21 October 2019
  • 1420149970

About the Author: Madeline Hunter

Madeline Hunter is a nationally bestselling author of historical romances who lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two sons Her books have won two RITA awards and seven nominations, and have had three starred reviews in Publishers Weekly In a parallel existence to the one she enjoys as a novelist, Madeline has a Ph.D in art history and teaches at an East Coast university.



10 thoughts on “Heiress for Hire

  1. says:

    I ve given this a B at AAR.Madeline Hunter s new series, A Duke s Heiress , opens with Heiress for Hire, a nicely done combination of romance and cosy mystery in which a young widow is left a large sum of money by a man a duke, no less she never met There s also a mystery to be solved surrounding the duke s death was it due to natural causes or somethingsinister I didn t realise, when I started the book, that that question would remain unanswered at the end clearly we re goi I ve given this a B at AAR.Madeline Hunter s new series, A Duke s Heiress , opens with Heiress for Hire, a nicely done combination of romance and cosy mystery in which a young widow is left a large sum of money by a man a duke, no less she never met There s also a mystery to be solved surrounding the duke s death was it due to natural causes or somethingsinister I didn t realise, when I started the book, that that question would remain unanswered at the end clearly we re going to have to wait until the third book for that but the central characters are likeable and their romance is engaging enough for that not to have been too much of a disappointment.Having survived an abusive marriage and then narrowly avoided being accused of having had a hand in her husband s death, Minerva Hepplewhite changed her name and removed to London with her faithful friend and housekeeper Beth and Beth s son Jeremy On the night the book opens, Minerva and Beth are hovering over the intruder Minerva has just konked on the head with a warming pan who eventually manages to introduce himself as Chase Radnor, a gentleman who on occasion conducts discreet enquiries, and to explain that he had not planned on stealing from her, but had been searching for evidence that she is the same Minerva Hepplewhite who has just inherited a fortune from the recently deceased Duke of Hollingburgh It s Minerva s turn to be stunned at that she never met the duke or anyone connected with him, so to discover that he left her a large sum of money plus a stake in his business that s worth evenis a complete surprise.Minerva s assertion that she has no connection whatsoever to the duke surprises Chase, too The late duke who was Chase s uncle was widely known as an eccentric who almost never did what was expected of him, but giving away his entire monetary fortune to three ladies nobody within the family has ever heard goes way beyond eccentricity, and Chase has been quietly working on locating the three beneficiaries His task is complicated still further when, the morning following his er meeting with Minerva, he is asked by the Home Secretary, Sir Robert Peel, to conduct a discreet and unofficial enquiry into Hollingburgh s death to ascertain if it was accidental or if he was murdered and if so, by whom.Of course, the most likely suspects should the duke have been murdered would be those who stood to gain most by his death although suspicions that Minerva Hepplewhite may be the guilty party aren t the only reasons she hasn t been far from Chase s mind since their inauspicious encounter the night before.The news she is an heiress doesn t exactly fill Minerva with giddy glee Establishing her identity, as will be required before she can claim her inheritance, will almost certainly mean digging up aspects of her past she d hoped to leave behind when she moved and changed her name As Margaret Finley, she was suspected of the murder of her violent husband and should that come out, she realises it will only increase speculation as to her involvement in the duke s death As she, Beth and Jeremy have already successfully completed a number of enquiries in the past, Minerva decides to tackle things head on and investigate the death herself if she can identify the culprit, she will be exempt from suspicion And now she has the means to do so, she decides to set up an enquiry agency of her own, one that will cater to women and other people who are unlikely to be able to access the services of men like Chase Radnor.Chase and Minerva are likeable, intelligent and well written, and their romance is based on a solid foundation of mutual respect as well as strong mutual attraction They converse with good sense and humour, and once they agree to collaborate and share information about the investigation into the duke s death, they do so without arguing for arguments sake or withholding information for the other s own good , which I found refreshingly mature I also appreciated that Minerva, while engaged in an unusual profession for a woman not to mention the fact that her being engaged in any profession was unusual for the time isn t one of those look at how unconventional and awesome I am heroines that are so prevalent in historical romance these days She s perceptive and intuitive, although she does make one rather large miscalculation about the nature of the job she s doing, which was a bit na ve But she s also strong and resilient, and the way she has re invented herself after the truly horrific abuse she suffered at her late husband s hands treatment that could easily have broken her is admirable.Chase is perhaps a little less well rounded, although I liked that he isn t your usual marriage shy, bored aristocrat, and how perceptive he is when it comes to Minerva Realising there s something holding her back from moving their relationship to the next level, he never pushes her and lets her lead the way.There s a great secondary cast, consisting mostly of Chase s disgruntled relatives, all of whom have had their noses put out of joint by the duke s will and which provides a great pool of possible suspects On the downside, there s a lot of set up, which takes time away from the romance, I wasn t completely convinced by Minerva s investigative abilities, and the book doesn t have a strong sense of period Apart from the mention of Peel as Home Secretary, which puts events as taking place between 1822 and 1830, the story could have taken place at any point during the nineteenth century I wasn t too worried about the central mystery remaining unsolved, although perhaps the blurb should have indicated that and it s misleading in another way, because it indicates Minerva and Chase have met before, or at least knew of each other, but it s pretty clear within the novel that neither of those things is true.Heiress for Hire wasn t one of those books that compelled me to pick it up at every opportunity, but it was an entertaining read, and one that is at least mercifully free of overdone mental lusting, feisty heroines and aristocratic gambling hell owners If you re looking for a well written, sensual romance featuring engaging characters who behave like adults, it s worth a look

  2. says:

    The first in a new series by this seasoned author which follows the change in the destinies of three women as they each unexpectantly inherit sizable fortunes bequeathed to them by a recently departed duke known in life for his eccentricities Chase Radnor is the nephew of the late duke and cousin of his successor As an active private investigator, he is thus in the perfect position to look into the suspicious death of his uncle and what better way to start than to track down the mysterious rec The first in a new series by this seasoned author which follows the change in the destinies of three women as they each unexpectantly inherit sizable fortunes bequeathed to them by a recently departed duke known in life for his eccentricities Chase Radnor is the nephew of the late duke and cousin of his successor As an active private investigator, he is thus in the perfect position to look into the suspicious death of his uncle and what better way to start than to track down the mysterious recipients of his uncle s generosity His head soon becomes acquainted with the frighteningly quick hand of Minerva Hepplewhite, who is not going to let one handsome intruder threaten her safety and that of her little household Once conscious, he realises that her wit is even quicker andeffective than her walloping hand.Minerva is as perplexed and curious by her sudden change in fortune as Chase and they soon realise they are better joining their investigative minds than to work independently of one another Except despite their tentative partnership agreement, they both continue to withhold information from the other Minerva especially has many skeletons in the closet Rumours is that one of the skeletons might even be that of her deceased husband, who himself suffered an abrupt and unnatural death.Minerva is a great character Hunter s heroines tend to bemature, independent and strong minded and she certainly fits the bill The problem is that the mystery of the old duke s death and Minerva setting up her detective business overwhelmed the romance and nice guy Chase is just a bit toohow to say it nicelybland It was okay I understand with the introductory book to a new series, that page time has to be dedicated to setting the scene and introducing the characters I just need a bit of oomph factor This is an ARC from NetGalley

  3. says:

    I enjoyed this book though I am not sure what stands out to me I liked the characters and the way their lives entwine Generally, Hunter s writing style suits my tastes.Chase is the grandson of a recently deceased duke and is investigating the circumstances of his death and trying to locate the unanticipated benefactresses the Duke left much of his non entailed fortune to One of those benefactresses is Minerva, who is living under an assumed identity due to the suspicious circumstances of her I enjoyed this book though I am not sure what stands out to me I liked the characters and the way their lives entwine Generally, Hunter s writing style suits my tastes.Chase is the grandson of a recently deceased duke and is investigating the circumstances of his death and trying to locate the unanticipated benefactresses the Duke left much of his non entailed fortune to One of those benefactresses is Minerva, who is living under an assumed identity due to the suspicious circumstances of her deceased husband s death several years ago She starts out as a possible suspect but the problem is that she has never even met the old duke And of course, the potent attraction between Minerva and Chase would make it very inconvenient if she was a murderess Minerva is also an investigator and she ends up pairing up with Chase.This story started out strong, with a big family that felt entitled to the fortune and suspicion in nearly every corner It reminded of the movie Knives Out with the expectation of a good mystery unfolding And while there are clues and intrigue explored, I did find the mystery portion disappointing There is back story and resolution in each of the main character s stories, but the only thing that really happens with the duke s inquiry isthreads to investigate I assume these will be explored further in future books in the series, and I understand the reasoning for this in a series, but I wish this would have had some resolution here, especially with two leads who are investigators.Ultimately, the romance was good here but the complimenting mystery was a let down Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book This is my honest opinion

  4. says:

    I found this to be worth the read I ve had a fondness for Madeline Hunter s work for years and, although that fondness has lessened over the years, I like to give her the benefit of the doubt when she begins a new series Sothis isn t a bad read Although done before in various manifestations, the plot held my interest.I ve read HRs with private investigators, even female private investigators and I ve also read HRs about women receiving windfall inheritances, but Hunter always manages to st I found this to be worth the read I ve had a fondness for Madeline Hunter s work for years and, although that fondness has lessened over the years, I like to give her the benefit of the doubt when she begins a new series Sothis isn t a bad read Although done before in various manifestations, the plot held my interest.I ve read HRs with private investigators, even female private investigators and I ve also read HRs about women receiving windfall inheritances, but Hunter always manages to stay within the norms of 1800s England fairly well If she has enterprising women characters in her books, they are not as anachronistically annoying as those created by other HR authors with feminist themes.The inevitable, ubiquitous, young, handsome HR duke is present here but he is not the hero in this first book of the series But you can bet he ll be the star of one book of this trilogy No, our hero here is cousin to that duke, an ex soldier with some kind of secret in his past which we will eventually find out about, who, although independently wealthy somehow or other, works as an inquiry agent or private investigator.At the moment our hero, Chase Radnor, is working, trying to find three mysterious women to whom his uncle, the late duke, left hefty inheritances Since the duke died in mysterious circumstances, that also figures into Chase s investigations.And then there s our heroine Minerva Hepplewhite She s the only one of the three heiresses Chase has located so far Minerva has secrets in her past also In the first place, perhaps Minerva Hepplewhite isn t even her real name and she may have a past she wants no one know about.Since Minerva s connection to the late duke is such an unknown she claims never to have met the man even though she is receiving a sizable amount of money in his will, naturally Chase is suspicious that she may have had something to do with his death Aha Let the story begin.As he investigates, Chase begins to admire Minerva s poise and self reliance and beauty When she begins her own investigations in order to clear herself of the crime, it s inevitable that they will eventually work together, even though they will remain a bit suspicious of each other BTW, it must be noted that Minerva has been dabbling in private investigation work of her own for a few years Who would have thunk A P.I P.I romance.There are lots of relatives of the late duke and other secondaries to be suspicious of So we have a romance cum whodunit The romance here comes to a satisfactory HEA The mystery does not quite, so readers who feel the need for closure there will have to continue with the trilogy And, of course, readers who want romance for the hero s two cousins, a duke and an entrepreneur of sorts, will need to read the next two books for that also.This is a pleasant read I enjoyed it but nothing about it felt particularly special Just a typical Hunter HR She writes well and isn t especially anachronistic, so I m not sorry to have read this and will probably read the whole trilogy

  5. says:

    The premise of this book is intriguing a wealth duke dies, leaving a large portion of his fortune to three women totally unknown to his family The focus of this book is Minerva Hepplewhite, one of those women, and Chase Radnor, the duke s nephew, who is investigating the three women and his uncle s suspicious death The mystery of the duke s death plays a big part in the plot, as both Chase and Minerva are conducting investigations into it The other major plotline is Minerva s past She s a w The premise of this book is intriguing a wealth duke dies, leaving a large portion of his fortune to three women totally unknown to his family The focus of this book is Minerva Hepplewhite, one of those women, and Chase Radnor, the duke s nephew, who is investigating the three women and his uncle s suspicious death The mystery of the duke s death plays a big part in the plot, as both Chase and Minerva are conducting investigations into it The other major plotline is Minerva s past She s a widow whose husband was abusive and left her with a lot of trauma and baggage surrounding sex and he also died under suspicious circumstances.While the romance wraps up in this book, the mystery remains, presumably to be solved as we move on to the next two heiresses, who it appears will be paired with Chase s cousins Overall I liked this, but it was perhaps a bitserious than what I m currently in the mood for in a romance The romance itself is not very angsty although Minerva s past abuse is pretty heavy subject matter , and it s fairly steamy, it s just not particularly lighthearted or humorous, and I could have used someof that I didn t especially connect with the characters, but I did enjoy the mystery both of the duke s death and just how he knew the heiresses and I m invested enough that I will probably read the next book I received a free ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

  6. says:

    Review originally published at Romancing RomancesI received an eARC at no cost from the publisher, and I am leaving a voluntary and honest review Thank you.4.25 I ve been a fan of Madeline Hunter s books for a long time, even if her most recent ones haven t always had the charm of her earlier books But this one it was a book that got out of a reading slump I really liked the premise of the book, a duke dies, and three unknown women get almost all of his inheritance Why That s what the whole Review originally published at Romancing RomancesI received an eARC at no cost from the publisher, and I am leaving a voluntary and honest review Thank you.4.25 I ve been a fan of Madeline Hunter s books for a long time, even if her most recent ones haven t always had the charm of her earlier books But this one it was a book that got out of a reading slump I really liked the premise of the book, a duke dies, and three unknown women get almost all of his inheritance Why That s what the whole family is thinking And Chase Radnor, pretty much the only one who knew he wasn t getting any money let s face it, he didn t need it wants to know what happened to his uncle, because his death was not an accident in his mind And, of course, we understand very quickly that he was right So, was it one of the women Was it a family member A business partner A member of the household A complete stranger These are the questions that go with us as we read the book, and follow the inquiries of both Chase Radnor and one of the mysterious women, Minerva Hepplewhite.When Chase finds her, he knows there s something she s hiding Is it that she s killed the duke He doesn t think so Even if his intuition had disappointed him once, he believed he was right.Minerva has survived her fair share of problems, and she is immensely grateful to Beth and Jeremy, her friends and former employers in her household When this mysterious inheritance appears, she s afraid it might disturb their recent peace And she s found she s good at conducting discreet inquiries very much like Chase And she wonders why would someone she s never met give such a large amount of money And this is how Minerva and Chase get involved I really liked their relationship, how it evolved, with a slow burn, andthan just a physical thing, they admired each other s minds, and worked so well together.I loved the mystery, and following along with our main couple, learning what they learned and seeing their love and steaminess grow.I also enjoyed seeing how Minerva got through her own fears and past experiences to enjoy her new life, and fall in love again.It was a great story, filled with romance, and mystery I can t wait to find outabout the other heiresses

  7. says:

    Series Duke s Heiress 1Publication Date 4 28 20Number of Pages 304This was a very nice introduction and set up for an interesting new series There is an overarching mystery in the series who murdered the duke We meet the duke s siblings and his nephews and learn enough about each of them to wonder if they could possibly be the murderer We learn evenabout Nicholas and Kevin who I assume will be the heroes in the upcoming books I really liked both of them I think the author handl Series Duke s Heiress 1Publication Date 4 28 20Number of Pages 304This was a very nice introduction and set up for an interesting new series There is an overarching mystery in the series who murdered the duke We meet the duke s siblings and his nephews and learn enough about each of them to wonder if they could possibly be the murderer We learn evenabout Nicholas and Kevin who I assume will be the heroes in the upcoming books I really liked both of them I think the author handled the mystery of the duke s death very nicely and didn t let it overpower the romance The book is well written, the characters are fully developed and relatable, the mystery is nicely plotted, and the romance is sweet and very believable between two people who are shaped by their pasts The story starts off a bit slow but soon gets ramped up It also nicely sets up the remaining books in the series and I will be excited to see what the author has in store for our next hero and heroine.Chase Radnor, the nephew of the Duke of Hollinburgh, isn t having a particularly good evening It certainly isn t going as he planned He had planned to break into the house and find evidence against the occupant instead, he is trussed up, bleeding, and has a big knot on his head He is the one being interrogated How had that happened It had all started with his uncle s will nobody in the family received anything, and three totally unknown women received very large bequests Needless to say, that didn t sit well with the family Chase, who is an investigator, is tasked with tracking down these women, finding their relationship with the duke and, maybe discrediting them and maybe, just maybe, finding out whether they had a hand in the duke s death He found the first woman, Minerva Hepplewhite, broke into her home to look for evidence against her and now here he sits, totally at her mercy.Minerva cannot believe what this intruder into her home is telling her She is an heiress because she has been left ten thousand pounds AND a lucrative partnership in an investment While this bequest would solve most of her problems, she s never met this duke nor any other duke Not only that, with the duke s death being suspicious, but she d also be a very likely suspect if they dug into her past.As Chase continues with his investigation, Minerva starts her own, and they often end up at the same places As they are thrown togetherandoften, there is a lustful attraction added to the mix Kisses soon lead to other things, but Chase knows it can t lead to anything further because of Minerva s past She ll never marry again she has told him so, and after hearing her story, he doesn t blame her Can he convince her Can she learn to trust again You ll just have to read the book to see.This is definitely a book I can recommend I loved the characters, the writing, and the mystery I can t wait to read the next book.I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book All thoughts and opinions are my own

  8. says:

    Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for an e galley of this novel.I suppose this book should be classified as a cliffhanger but I m not so concerned about that as I might normally be since I picked up the book to read knowing it was a trilogy all wrapped around a basic premise A Duke has died and his will reveals that he has left a veritable fortune to three women his family don t know anything about Naturally the relatives had been counting on any fortunes to be coming their way so th Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for an e galley of this novel.I suppose this book should be classified as a cliffhanger but I m not so concerned about that as I might normally be since I picked up the book to read knowing it was a trilogy all wrapped around a basic premise A Duke has died and his will reveals that he has left a veritable fortune to three women his family don t know anything about Naturally the relatives had been counting on any fortunes to be coming their way so they are upset with the terms of the will When the Home Office gives one of the family members the charge of gathering evidence to show whether the death was an accident or something else the private lives of the family members begin to be revealed.In this first book in the series the plot revolves around Miss Minerva Hepplewhite who has begun Hepplewhite s Office of Discreet Inquiries to earn a living Minerva has quite an interesting backstory which is uncovered pretty quickly by Chase Radnor who has been charged by the Home Office with uncovering the circumstances of the death of the Duke Miss Hepplewhite might be one of the missing women who have been left a large legacy so Chase is investigating her past Can these two strong willed people join forces to solve the investigation Hmm, I wonder.This book is liberally peppered with people who are inquiry agents Minerva, Chase and one other I liked the writing style of Madeline Hunter and the gathering of evidence was handled well so that portion of the novel was satisfactory for me also As expected Minerva and Chase soon begin to establish a romantic relationship which felt pretty rushed to me but what s an author supposed to do with only a certain number of pages to accomplish all that needs to happen Vague hints were given about who the next recipient of a legacy might be but we will have to wait to see how that portion of the story plays out

  9. says:

    Chase Radnor s evening is not going as planned His plan was to learnabout Minerva Hepplewhite aka Margaret Finley, it was NOT to be bashed on the head and tied up He tells Minerva that he is the nephew of the late Duke of Hollinburgh and that Minerva Margaret was left a rather large bequest by the duke Ten thousand pounds and a partnership in an investment Minerva is stunned, she has never met the duke and though this inheritance is a blessing, giving her the money she needs to open he Chase Radnor s evening is not going as planned His plan was to learnabout Minerva Hepplewhite aka Margaret Finley, it was NOT to be bashed on the head and tied up He tells Minerva that he is the nephew of the late Duke of Hollinburgh and that Minerva Margaret was left a rather large bequest by the duke Ten thousand pounds and a partnership in an investment Minerva is stunned, she has never met the duke and though this inheritance is a blessing, giving her the money she needs to open her own inquiry business, but it could also be a curse, especially since Chase knows who she is What else does he know She decides her first order of business will be to find outChase has his own inquiry business and has been tasked with finding the three mystery women his uncle left his personal fortune to completely cutting out his family He is also certain that the duke didn t accidently fall off the roof of his county seat and hasthan one person including the Home Secretary, Robert Peel He is pretty sure his uncle was murdered but by who None of the family, save himself knew his uncle changed his will and cut out the family so Minerva becomes his prime suspect.Their investigations cross and they get to know one another, Chase is no longer certain that Minerva is his uncle s killer, but he isn t quite ready to cut ties with her Minerva is equally intrigued by Chase, which comes as a shock, she was sure that she would never be interested in a man after the horrors she lived through with her late husband, but intrigued she is, which could be dangerous for her inways than one I thought this was a good book, a little slow to take off, but well written and interesting The mysteries in the book are well done and while I am not sure how I feel about the outcome of his uncle s death, I think the way that was handled perfectly complements the mystery of Minerva s husband s death Chase and Minerva are both complexed characters, they are both shaped by their pasts, both clever and observant and clearly perfect for each other In addition to the mysteries, the book has a large cast of secondary characters, a slow burn romance, steamish love scenes and a HEA that is nicely executed This is the first book in the series and it nicely sets up the series without taking the readers focus from Chase and Minerva I am happy to recommend the book and look forward to the next book I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to by NetGalley and the publisher

  10. says:

    I generally enjoy Madeline Hunter books, although lately I ve been steering clear of some of her older romances, which feature a marriage averse rich guy who tries to seduce the spirited heroine and make her his current mistress, until he realizes she s amazing and marries her instead For the moment, I m over that This book is NOT like that At first the plot seems ridiculous Minerva is a private investigator Chase really In 19th century England is also a private investigator Minerva ju I generally enjoy Madeline Hunter books, although lately I ve been steering clear of some of her older romances, which feature a marriage averse rich guy who tries to seduce the spirited heroine and make her his current mistress, until he realizes she s amazing and marries her instead For the moment, I m over that This book is NOT like that At first the plot seems ridiculous Minerva is a private investigator Chase really In 19th century England is also a private investigator Minerva just inherited a boatload of cash from Chase s uncle, a duke Chase thinks she might have killed the duke to get the money They both want to find out who killed his uncle Along the way we re introduced to two other future leads, Chase s cousins, Kevin inventor and quasi pauper and Nicholas the new duke They presumably will get their own books As with most Hunter books, there s a mystery plot, good chemistry and intellectual connection between the leads, compelling dialogue and well written love scenes What makes this book stand out, though, is that Chase is capable, protective and sexy without being your garden variety jobless rich guy who spends his time seducing women He s respectful of Minerva s boundaries in a way that s both considerate and sexy she was married to a real creep who abused and tormented her He is attracted to her, but makes no attempt to seduce her, convince her, browbeat her into his arms By virtue of his being a really smart, solid, capable man, she is attracted to him and chooses to be with him On the whole, it looks like Hunter is trying to meet the expectations we have in 2020 for historic romance capable woman with a life outside of a man, strong man who respects women For me, it works.Four stars for this excellent book Note I got this book as an ARC via Netgalley

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