Wednesday, November 22, 2017

4 stars-- Duke of Desire (Maiden Lane #12) by Elizabeth Hoyt

Compelling, dark, passionate. Hoyt holds no punches with Duke of Desire and her edgy Maiden Lane series.

The Gist: Mistaken identity, kidnapping, winding up the center of a debauched orgy filled with evil men of the ton who prey on women and young boys. Yes, Iris has had better days.

As has her rescuer who she kinda maybe shoots accidentally on purpose. Woosh.

Light and fluffy...this was not. There's a dark edge to Hoyt's writing and the storylines can be hard sometimes. From tortured characters to trying to eliminate a secret society that feeds on rape, incest and pedophilia.

And talk about a tortured hero. Raphael's childhood was painful, traumatizing and even though he's grown into a wealthy and powerful man that trauma still haunts him physically-- with terrible scars-- and emotionally. He was a hero who just made me ache for him.

Now, Iris? Well she goes through a hell all her own but keeps up the fight. She's not a simpering miss in any way. She's got backbone and isn't afraid to fight. For her life or her new husband.

Their romance is different. Doesn't get off on quite the right foot-- hello, she did shoot him!-- and was a marriage of necessity. Things do get steamy but in a different way for most of the book which was... interesting. I enjoyed watching the two together trying to deal with their individual lives and the dangers from the secret society.

All in all, Duke of Desire was a solid conclusion to the series. I wasn't completely enamored with the ending --the suspense or Raphael's epiphany-- which seemed a little rushed and anticlimactic. But it was still a good read and worth the time. Honestly you can't go wrong with Hoyt.

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.

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.

Much to Raphael's irritation, Iris insists on being the sort of duchess who involves herself in his life-and bed. Soon he's drawn 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?

Amazon | Goodreads | Hoyt on HCBS
*covers link to Amazon

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