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 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?
I received an Advanced Reading Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
My Rating: 4 Stars
Alright friends, buckle up – this is NOT your average historical romance. Of course, none of the Maiden Lane series novels are what I would describe as typical for their genre. In fact, the entire series has been more dark and full of danger than any historical romance novel I’ve read. However, in Duke of Desire Hoyt goes darker than any of her previous novels and it. Is. GLORIOUS.
At the end of Duke of Pleasure, Hoyt introduced the dangerous and mysterious Duke of Dyemore. From the moment he danced with Iris, I began hoping that he would be the hero of the next book in the series. With the exception of Val, Raphael is my favorite male lead of the series. He’s the perfect combination of damaged and compassionate, not to mention insanely sexy. He has a seriously twisted past – he was raised by the former leader of The Lords of Chaos, a group of depraved men who abuse women and children. Forewarning: this book is not for readers with delicate constitutions. Though I don’t want to delve too deeply into the plot, I will say that some characters in the book suffer the repercussions of physical and sexual abuse. However, there are no scenes actually depicting the abuse, it is merely discussed.
When Raphael saves Iris from the Lords of Chaos, he is forced to marry her to protect her from the group’s new leader. While I understand that Raphael and his issues needed to be at the forefront in this book, I unfortunately did find Iris lacking as a female lead. I understood her motivations, and she was likable enough, but she wasn’t as strong, sarcastic or witty as previous female leads. Though that was likely by design, as a more argumentative character would’ve had a difficult time marrying the Duke of Dyemore, I found myself missing some of Hoyt’s more bold lead characters.
Naturally, Duke of Desire is loaded with steamy sexual encounters, action, adventure, and quite possibly the most hate-able villain I’ve encountered thus far in one of Hoyt’s books. I would’ve liked to know more about the villain, but really enjoyed the scenes written from his POV.
My Takeaway: As a fan of this series, I was beyond thrilled to get my hands on an ARC of Duke of Desire. If you’re looking for a historical romance novel that is more adventurous and darker than the average bodice ripper, I highly recommend the entire Maiden Lane series. With a darker theme than previous novels in the series, and a damaged hero to love, Duke of Desire is a fantastic edition to the series.