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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DUKE OF DESIRE– Short Excerpt
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 save you.”
4 “The Light to His Dark” Stars!
Lovers of Beauty and the Beast styled romances will be the most intrigued by Duke of Desire. Building on this theme, Ms. Hoyt delivers another installment of the beloved Maiden Lane Series featuring a scarred hero who has become bitter and a recluse due to a terrible past at the hands of the man who should have loved him the most (his father). Fortunately though the hero does come back to life, not just with a kiss but with the perseverance of the love that the heroine shines upon him. For those of you who have been following the series, you will also be thrilled to know that Duke of Desire shares some light on the long-running Lords of Chaos plot and who the Dionysus (the leader of the wicked group) actually is.
One word of caution though. For those for whom child/domestic abuse is a trigger, this may not be a book for you. Please note that the plot of this story has some very emotional and traumatic events–though thankfully they are not described in detail (mostly alluded to and eventually revealed in a limited number of words).
Lady Iris Jordan finds herself in the most dire of circumstances when she is kidnapped by the Lords of Chaos and strewn up to be violated and sacrificed. For those that read the prior book in the Series, Duke of Pleasure, Iris was long believed to be the intended wife of the Duke of Kyle (the hero of that book). The Lords of Chaos, believing that she had actually married the Duke of Kyle (rather than Alf, the true heroine of the Duke of Pleasure), kidnap Iris shortly after the wedding (which she attended as a guest) with the intent of exacting their revenge on the Duke of Kyle through Iris.
Fortunately for Iris, Raphael, the Duke of Dyemore, has infiltrated the ranks of the Lords of Chaos with the intention of taking them down for their debauchery and depraved ways (something which as the son of the former Dionysus he is unfortunately intimately familiar with). Having previously seen Iris at a ball and her having caught his eye though, he determines to blow his cover by saving her instead. An act which he performs and then immediately feels guilt over. No woman could possibly ever really want him given his past and genes. Never mind his physical state which marred by horrible scars.
Can there possibly be a happily ever after under the circumstances? Moreover, will Raphael be able to keep Iris safe from the Lord of Chaos long term? Indeed will he be safe given how strong and influential this underground group is?
All in all, I enjoyed the Duke of Desire, though perhaps not as much as some of the other books in this series. I think this may have been because the plot was somewhat predictable. Nonetheless, I’m a huge fan of the underdog, and loved rooting for both Raphael and Iris. Moreover, after his sad past, it was so satisfying to see such a strong determined woman finally shed some light and help Raphael experience joy for the first time after thinking himself beyond hope.
Additionally, as this is the last book in the series, I’m sad to see the Maiden Lane Series end! This has been a favorite series of mine for years. For those of you who have not yet had the pleasure of experiencing this great series, I highly recommend that you do!
Source: Review copy provided for review purposes.
About the Author:
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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