DUKE OF DESIRE by Elizabeth Hoyt (October 17, 2017; Grand Central Publishing Mass Market; The Maiden Lane Series #12)
A LADY OF LIGHT
Refined, kind, and intelligent, Lady Iris Jordan finds herself the unlikely target of a diabolical kidnapping. Her captors are the notoriously evil Lords of Chaos. When one of the masked-and-nude!-Lords spirits her away to his carriage, she shoots him…only to find she may have been a trifle hasty.
A DUKE IN DEEPEST DARKNESS
Cynical, scarred, and brooding, Raphael de Chartres, the Duke of Dyemore, has made it his personal mission to infiltrate the Lords of Chaos and destroy them. Rescuing Lady Jordan was never in his plans. But now with the Lords out to kill them both, he has but one choice: marry the lady in order to keep her safe.
CAUGHT IN A WEB OF DANGER…AND DESIRE
Much to Raphael’s irritation, Iris insists on being the sort of duchess who involes herself in his life—and bed. Soon he’s drawn to both to her quick wit and her fiery passion. But when Iris discovers that Raphael’s past may be even more dangerous than the present, she falters. Is their love strong enough to withstand not only the Lords of Chaos but also Raphael’s own demons?
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Rating : 4.5 out of 5 Stars
“Duke of Desire” is the wrap up of an outstanding series. As the last full length installment in the Maiden Lane series, this book was one of my most anticipated read of the year. And I absolutely loved it! The characters are so beautifully drawn, the growth of their love, and the obstacles to it, so believable, that I was completely captivated by their story. It was gripping, intense and heartbreaking, the pace of the story, the angst and the action kept me riveted to the pages!
Iris Daniels, Lady Jordan, has been kidnapped by the Lords of Chaos, a secret society of rapists and murderers. She is saved from sure death by Raphael de Chartres, the Duke of Dyemore. Raphael is a fascinating hero, deeply scarred and damaged. As the son of their former leader, he was a victim of the Lords of Chaos’ debauchery. He has vowed to take revenge for their crimes and, after years of planning, he has been able to infiltrate their secret order, with the intention of bringing them down. And yet, he risks everything to rescue Iris.
After a chance encounter, Raphael’s attraction to Iris fuels his drive to protect her. But he has set a strict path for his life, and she is a distraction he can’t afford. I loved this character, he is arrogant, dark, secretive and yet so vulnerable and broken. His past is similar to the Duke of Montgomery’s childhood. But their personalities are completely different. Raphael is a good person, he is plagued with feelings of guilt because he hasn’t yet destroyed the Lords of Chaos. The man he is at the start of the story is very different to the hero we end up with. This story is his journey of healing, and you get the feeling that it could only happen with the heroine by his side, she is his game changer. I loved how protective, possessive and caring he was with Iris. He marries her to protect her, but their marriage of convenience soon becomes so much more.
Iris is a strong heroine, kind, thoughtful, she has a sweet personality. She wants a real marriage, a family life with Raphael. And even though it is very difficult for her to break through his pain, she stands her ground. I loved seeing Iris and Raphael’s relationship slowly blooming and growing. It is a slow burn that was perfectly executed by the author.
Elizabeth Hoyt never ceases to amaze me, with her riveting storytelling, elegant writing style, richly drawn settings and wonderful characters. I have read each and every book in her Maiden Lane series and all of them have been perfect or near perfect reads for me. A novella featuring Mary from the Home for Unfortunate Infants and Foundling Children, all grown up, will soon be released. But it seems that this outstanding series is coming to an end. It is definitely time for me to plan a re-read! I highly recommend this book and the Maiden Lane series!
ARC generously provided by the publisher, via NetGalley.
Desperately she flung herself at the opposite seat and tugged it up. Thrust her hand in.
She cocked it, desperately praying that it was loaded.
She turned and aimed it at the door to the carriage just as the door swung open.
The Wolf loomed in the doorway—still nude—a lantern in one hand. She saw the eyes behind the mask flick to the pistol she held between her bound hands. He turned his head and said something in an incomprehensible language to someone outside.
Iris felt her breath sawing in and out of her chest.
He climbed into the carriage and closed the door, completely ignoring her and the pistol pointed at him. The Wolf hung the lantern on a hook and sat on the seat across from her.
Finally he glanced at her. “Put that down.”
His voice was calm. Quiet.
With just a hint of menace.
She backed into the opposite corner, as far away from him as possible, holding the pistol up. Level with his chest. Her heart was pounding so hard it nearly deafened her. “No.”
The carriage jolted into motion, making her stumble before she caught herself.
“T-tell them to stop the carriage,” she said, stuttering with terror despite her resolve. “Let me go now.”
“So that they can rape you to death out there?” He tilted his head to indicate the Lords. “No.”
“At the next village, then.”
“I think not.”
He reached for her and she knew she had no choice.
She shot him.
The blast blew him into the seat and threw her hands up and back, the pistol narrowly missing her nose.
Iris scrambled to her feet. The bullet was gone, but she could still use the pistol as a bludgeon.
The Wolf was sprawled across the seat, blood streaming from a gaping hole in his right shoulder. His mask had been knocked askew on his face.
She reached forward and snatched it off.
And then gasped.
The face that was revealed had once been as beautiful as an angel’s but was now horribly mutilated. A livid red scar ran from just below his hairline on the right side of his face, bisecting the eyebrow, somehow missing the eye itself but gouging a furrow into the lean cheek and catching the edge of his upper lip, making it twist. The scar ended in a missing divot of flesh in the line of the man’s severe jaw. He had inky black hair and, though they were closed now, Iris knew he had emotionless crystal-gray eyes.
She knew because she recognized him.
He was Raphael de Chartres, the Duke of Dyemore, and when she’d danced with him—once—three months ago at a ball, she’d thought he’d looked like Hades.
God of the underworld.
God of the dead.
She had no reason to change her opinion now.
Then he gasped, those frozen crystal eyes opened, and he glared at her. “You idiot woman. I’m trying to you.”
About the Author:
Elizabeth Hoyt is the New York Times bestselling author of over seventeen lush historical romances including the Maiden Lane series. Publishers Weekly has called her writing “mesmerizing.” She also pens deliciously fun contemporary romances under the name Julia Harper. Elizabeth lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with three untrained dogs, a garden in constant need of weeding, and the long-suffering Mr. Hoyt.
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