A Publishers Weekly Best Books of Summer Selection
From New York Times bestselling author Madeline Hunter comes the latest sexy tale of three untamable dukes and the women who ignite their decadent desires . . .
HE MAY BE A DEVIL
He’s infamous, debaucherous, and known all over town for his complete disregard for scandal, and positively irresistible seductions. Gabriel St. James, Duke of Langford, is obscenely wealthy, jaw-droppingly handsome, and used to getting exactly what he wants. Until his attention is utterly captured by a woman who refuses to tell him her name, but can’t help surrendering to his touch . . .
BUT SHE’S NO ANGEL EITHER . . .
Amanda Waverly is living two lives—one respectable existence as secretary to an upstanding lady, and one far more dangerous battle of wits—and willpower—with the devilish Duke. Langford may be the most tempting man she’s ever met, but Amanda’s got her hands full trying to escape the world of high-society crime into which she was born. And if he figures out who she really is, their sizzling passion will suddenly boil over into a much higher stakes affair . . .
Madeline Hunter’s novels are:
“Brilliant, compelling. . . . An excellent read.”
—The Washington Post
“Mesmerizing.” —Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Madeline Hunter is a New York Times bestselling author with more than six million copies of her books in print. She has twenty-nine nationally bestselling historical romances in print, including most recently, The Most Dangerous Duke in London, The Wicked Duke; Tall, Dark, and Wicked; and His Wicked Reputation. A member of RWA’s Honor Roll, she has won the RITA Award twice and been a finalist seven times. Her books have appeared on the bestseller lists of the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly, and have been translated into thirteen languages. She has a PhD in art history, which she has taught at the university level. Madeline also writes the Romance Unlaced column for USAToday.com’s Happy Ever After site. Madeline loves to hear from her readers, and can be reached through her website at www.madelinehunter.com, on Facebook, www.facebook.com/madelinehunter/, and at twitter.com/madelinehunter.
Read an Excerpt
Lady Farnsworth ceased caring about the ton's opinion after her husband, the baron, died. Within a month of his funeral, she took to dressing and behaving as she pleased. Three years later, generous members of society called her an original. The rest employed crueler words.
No one, however, approved of her bizarre decision to hire a female secretary. Some claimed it an indication that the lady had gone quite mad.
The secretary in question, Amanda Waverly, knew only gratitude for her employer's rash act, especially since Lady Farnsworth had taken her on with only the thinnest of references. Amanda sometimes experienced relief along with gratitude, due to knowing more about her background and character than Lady Farnsworth ever would.
That history was in the back of Amanda's mind while she worked at her desk in Lady Farnsworth's library in late May. She used her fine hand to copy an essay that Lady Farnsworth had written. Her source document had seen many changes and cross-overs so she took great care to incorporate all of them in this draft.
The necessary concentration proved difficult because the loveliest breeze glided through the open library window. When she looked out, she could see Green Street and its activity, and the fine carriages that rolled toward Hyde Park. She liked the open carriages best, because they displayed the bonnets and ensembles worn by the ladies. Bits of conversation and gossip entered her window when they passed, but she enjoyed their carefree laughter the most. It created a little music that set her to humming one of her favorite songs.
Normally the view brought her contentment at how well her life had turned out, despite its beginnings. Today, however, that reaction sent her mind immediately to the letter in her reticule, and to an errand she had set for herself this afternoon.
That mission would surely end her advantageous situation should Lady Farnsworth ever learn the reason for it.
"Are you finished with that?"
Amanda looked up to see Lady Farnsworth bearing down on her. Dark of hair and eye and long into her middle years, the lady favored a type of dress that only increased the smug humor about her. Declaring that the high waists of the day looked sad on mature figures, she had taken to having dresses made that resembled those worn forty years ago.
Since she eschewed the corsets of yesteryear as too confining, these dresses made her appear more matronly than she ever would look in the latest fashions.
Over these laced, ruffled, and beribboned garments, she usually wrapped a long shawl. She flung one end of it over the opposing shoulder like a toga. Today, her ensemble consisted of rose raw silk adorned with blue embroidery and white lace, all beneath a multicolored wrap replete with a detailed pattern of pastel blooms. That shawl's fabric bore an unfortunate similarity to the flowers that decorated the upholstered furniture in the chamber.
"I am almost finished." Amanda focused on her pen. "Perhaps an hour more."
"For the first draft? Are you unwell? Normally you are quicker."
"There were many changes. I did complete the two letters, however."
"Allow me to see." A strong hand stretched under Amanda's nose and snatched the papers. "Tosh. You do not need an hour. A quarter hour at best, and this is so well done that we will not require another draft. We will bring this one to the meeting."
"Did I neglect to tell you? I want you to accompany me so I can introduce you." She directed a critical gaze at Amanda's dress. "Why are you wearing that sad green thing? I gave you some of my dresses to have remade so you would not have to live in such an unflattering color."
"I appreciate your gifts, truly. As you have seen before, I have made good use of them. I did not want to get ink all over one of them, however." She spoke without faltering even though she had worn this old dress for a different reason and she always donned an apron anyway.
"It will have to do for our visit. No one there will care, but you are so lovely when you do not present yourself poorly." Lady Farnsworth patted her head the way a kindly aunt might. "They all know what a treasure I have found in you, Miss Waverly, and how helpful and competent you are. That is all that will matter."
"I had intended to do some shopping while you went to your meeting. Will that still be possible?" "The shops near Bedford Square should suit your purposes. We will not need you for more than a quarter hour. Now finish that so we can depart in good time. Oh, and sign the letters for me. I daresay you do it even better than I do, and I do not want ink on my garments either."
Need me for what? Amanda assumed all would be revealed in due time. A quarter of an hour's worth. She prayed it would not take longer than that, although Bedford Square would be very convenient to her errand. So convenient that it seemed fortune had smiled on her.
She glanced at her simple knitted reticule. The letter inside, obtained from her mail drop yesterday evening, all but shouted its contents.
She had been too optimistic in thinking that by obeying one command, she might be spared more. An iron edge of rebellion spiked in her at how she was being used, and at the evidence that the scheme was not over yet. Until she learned the name of the person behind it all, she would have to comply, however. Her mother's freedom, maybe even her life, depended upon her.
* * *
Gabriel St. James, Duke of Langford, fumed with impatience while his carriage slowly rolled east through town. At this pace, his visit would take all afternoon.
The slow progress soured a mood less than bright from the day's events thus far. He was damned tired of people congratulating him on doing what was by birth and inheritance his duty. The smiles and acknowledgments were hellishly patronizing. Had he known that giving that speech in the House of Lords last week would result in so much smug approval, he would have drowned the notion in a bottle of good claret.
Now here he was, suffering because his younger brother had bought a house so far out of the way.
Why couldn't Harry have remained right on hand in the family home? There certainly was plenty of space. Or if he insisted on misplaced notions of independence, he could have taken chambers or a house in Mayfair. But no, Harry had displayed his confounding eccentricity by choosing a townhome near the British Museum. It wasn't as if he even needed to visit there. He had been so often that he probably knew every item in its inventory.
Feeling put upon by the world in general, Gabriel tried to distract himself by plotting a few days of decadent excess. Unfettered debauchery always made him feel better. He intended to lure a certain lady into enjoying the indulgence with him. She had been coy thus far, but he knew progress when he saw it and, at their last rendezvous, her eyes had shown all the right signs.
The carriage took a turn and picked up a bit of speed. Not enough, however. Gabriel cursed himself for not riding his horse. That was always faster.
Finally, the carriage stopped in front of his brother's townhome on Bainbridge Street. Gabriel stepped out and eyed the façade.
He did not care for this house and not only because it inconvenienced him. Standing alone, its brick face and limestone window headers and sills might have passed muster, even if, with three levels, it hardly spoke of the home of a lord.
The problem was the next building on this street. A huge house owned by Sir Malcolm Nutley loomed cheek to jowl with Harry's. It was an old one that had been designed in the day when houses had not shown restraint. An abundance of stone carvings marked its age and made it appear even more imposing. They diminished the modest brick dwelling alongside all the more too.
The effect could be seen in the reaction of the woman who had paused to gaze at the architecture. A servant, from the look of her plain green dress, she bent her head back until the deep brim of her straw bonnet angled to the clouds. The old-fashioned gray mansion must have impressed her because she paced away to its far corner to get another view.
Gabriel turned his mind to the matter that had brought him here. This was a brotherly call, a matter of duty but also affection. Harry's heart had been broken for the first time and it was unlikely he knew how to accommodate the disappointment.
Gabriel, on the other hand, possessed wide and deep experience with matters of the heart. Inconvenient though it might be, of course he had to ride across town to help Harry out.
* * *
The house appeared closed. Amanda examined it while half her mind thought about the peculiar quarter hour she had just spent in another house, the one on Bedford Square.
A pretty, delicate blond woman named Mrs. Galbreath had greeted her and Lady Farnsworth. Then they all sat in a library with too many chairs and divans while Mrs. Galbreath gently asked questions of Amanda. They were the sort of questions one might pose to a new acquaintance, only a tad more pointed.
Had she not known better, she would suspect she was being considered for another position. Lady Farnsworth would warn her if she intended to let her go, however. In fact, Lady Farnsworth had looked on indulgently. Only at the end had she mentioned that Mrs. Galbreath was the publisher of Parnassus, that journal she wrote for. Mrs. Galbreath, in turn, had mentioned meeting again soon. Then Lady Farnsworth had excused her to go shopping.
She forced herself to stop ruminating on the peculiar meeting, and brought all her attention to the big house she faced. She moved her shopping basket full of basic household items to her right arm, so it would be visible to anyone in the house. No one inside would wonder why a woman dressed in this poor garment had stopped to gawk at this house while on her way home from the shops.
It helped that Sir Malcolm Nutley lived in a huge house worthy of note. It must date from King Charles's time. Nothing in Mayfair looked like this, and even the famous London mansions like Montagu House and Somerset House displayed less flamboyance. Along with excess decoration, this house also displayed considerable mass. She could not imagine how many chambers it held.
A coach that had stopped at the house next door still stood there. She had seen a tall, handsome man get out and pause while he glanced at this neighbor's pile of stone. He had glanced at her too, but not suspiciously.
She, in turn, had noticed him. Anyone would. He was very wealthy from his dress and equipage. He possessed the bluest eyes she had ever seen. He carried his hat. That was just as well. She doubted it sat easily on the thick, fashionably unruly dark curls decorating his head.
He had entered the house now. She strolled back toward that coach, keeping her gaze on Sir Malcolm's abode. A footman lounged against the hip of the coach while a coachman fussed with a horse's bridle.
She stepped close enough for the gray-haired coachman to notice her. He nodded to her and smiled. She gestured to the big house. "Do you know who lives here?"
"That is Sir Malcolm's house. Sir Malcolm Nutley. Elderly fellow. It's the family home. Don't see many like that. Something papist about it. Not to my taste, but I'm a simple man."
"It is quite fancy and impressive, but not to my taste either. I much prefer this brick one here. I expect a tradesman lives in it."
The coachman grinned. "Did the man I brought here look to be a tradesman?"
"It is his house?"
"No, but he's not the sort to pay calls on a tradesman either. If I had the state coach instead of this one, you would know what I mean." He leaned in confidentially and jabbed his thumb at the brick house. "The brother of a duke lives there, and it was the duke hisself that you might of saw entering."
"Oh, my! I am sure I have never seen a duke before. My friend Katherine will be so awed on my behalf. Can you tell me which one it was? If I don't know, she probably will never believe me."
"Langford. His brother what lives here is Lord Harold St. James."
She looked back at the bigger house. "I would have expected a lord to live in that one."
"Well, Lord Harold is ..." He rubbed his chin while he searched for the word. "Unusual. Not the sort to notice his surroundings much, is my guess. This house probably suits him just fine. No need for lots of servants and others about to bother him and such."
"He may be a lord, but I would much rather see the inside of Sir Malcolm's. I suppose it is very grand."
"More likely very dusty. Sir Malcolm has not returned to town since he left last summer. Ailing, I hear. Is down in the country where the air is good."
The house indeed was closed. What a stroke of good luck. "Perhaps, if the family is not in residence, the housekeeper would let me see inside."
He gave her garments a long look. "Bold one, aren't you? I would wager a pound she would never allow that."
"It cannot hurt to try."
"I will apply at the service entrance. Katherine will be so jealous if I succeed. Then she will tell me that I have more courage than sense. She always says that." She turned to the big house. "The worst that can happen is I am turned away."
She felt the coachman's gaze on her while she approached the gate on the side of the house. She pushed through, into the little pathway that flanked the house and led back to the garden. Once the gate closed, she stopped.
The pathway was quite narrow, barely a yard wide, and along its other side ran a high wall that separated this property from Lord Harold's. She turned her attention to the windows above her. Even the first-story ones were a good twenty-five feet up.
She fingered the masonry of the side of the house, noting the depth of the mortar between the rusticated stones of the corner quoins. She eyed the deep windowsills above her. While she walked down the pathway, she saw that the windows down here not only were locked but also barred. She turned the corner of the house and found the service entrance.
No one responded to her knock. She bent to peer in a window. The kitchen appeared unused. No provisions on the table, no knives lying about. Nothing. Apparently a cook did not work here if Sir Malcolm went down to the country. If there was no cook, there probably were not more than a few servants either.
She had not really believed that a housekeeper would give her a tour, but it was worth a try. How much easier her task would have been then. Two minutes of distraction and — done.
She examined the door itself. It was made of solid wood, with hinges that indicated it swung inward. Three locks kept it secure. She would not be surprised if a bar also provided security. Sir Malcolm took no chances. He probably knew that a house like this attracted thieves, and his home was not in a neighborhood like Mayfair.
No easy way in. That meant she would have to use a hard way instead.
She returned to the passageway. This time, while she slowly strolled down its length, she examined the brick house next door.
* * *
"I do not think it wise for you to leave town right away." Gabriel voiced his mind while he watched Harry stuff shirts into a valise. One would think Harry did not have a valet, which he didn't as such. However, he did have a manservant who could pack for him, but the man was elsewhere doing whatever general chores menservants did.
"I can't think of one reason to stay," Harry muttered.
"You too readily give in to disappointment. Too quickly admit defeat."
Harry stopped packing. He gazed down at the valise, then over at Gabriel. "I saw her kissing another man last night, in the back of that theater box."
"Then speak to her. After all the time you spent courting her —"
"Emilia did not see it as courting, apparently." He spoke bitterly. "I should have known that after her sister's wedding, once she was out this Season, this would happen. Actually, I did know. I felt it in my heart. It is best if I become scarce. I refuse to be one of those rejected suitors who sits in the corner of drawing rooms, looking poetic and miserable."
Gabriel had to smile. Even in the best of humors, Harry looked a little poetic and miserable. It had more to do with his serious, contemplative nature than with his physical qualities.
They had much in common in their appearances, and probably would all the more as Harry got older. The same blue eyes and dark hair, the same jaw and mouth. Harry was an inch shorter, but still taller than most.
Excerpted from "A Devil Of A Duke"
Copyright © 2018 Madeline Hunter.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I love Madeline Hunters books but this book was just boring. Where there should have been excitement there was none. For a woman who was raised by theives and taught to be a theif she was very naive. I expected her to by dynamic and savy. There where so many places in this book where the characters could have exhibited more chemistry, more strength but it fell flat. The romance between the characters was blah. I found their intrest in each other to be forced, random and unbelievable. The situation between Harry and Emilia was more interesting then the drama with the main characters. If your looking for smoky, sexy , face paced, chemistry, that is not this book. I couldn't finish the story. I skipped chapters to find out the answers to the great mystery. I'm a fan of the author but this book was not what I expected.
I absolutely loved Gabriel and Amanda's story!! The chemistry between these two was red hot from the very beginning!! Gabriel was so intrigued by the mystery woman (I think the mystery was half of the appeal), but as he got to know her as a person, it became so much more! When Gabriel found out who she was, he became a little high handed, but Amanda didn't let him run all over her! I loved her spirit and independent nature. This was a great addition to the Decadent Dukes Society series and I can't wait to read the last story in the series!!
In the second book to the Decadent Dukes Society series author Madeline Hunter creates a story of intrigue and star-crossed love that takes the reader into a roller coaster of emotions. Amanda Waverly is an extremely strong woman in an impossible situation of saving her thieving mother from unknown circumstances. She is a woman with a sense of morality unlike her parents. This causes a conundrum for her because she hasn't been around her mother in a long time, but she feels obligated to save her. Raised to be resourceful like her mom and dad she is called upon to use skills taught to her when she was a child. Gabriel St. James, Duke of Langford is worried about his brother and gets caught up unwilling in Amanda's drama. Their meeting intrigues him and since he always gets what he wants he continues to pursue her against all her protesting. As the story progresses the reader will see there is more to him than meets the eye. Throughout the book the reader is taken on a lively hunt to find select items required to save Amanda's mom and the reader will be puzzled with WHY. More importantly is the development of the relationship and the steamy love scenes between Gabriel and Amanda. Throughout reading this book it is emphasized that the relationship is temporary, and it kept me quite emotional because they really were perfect for each other. I give this book 4 STARS for dealing with maternal love not deserved, living in integrity and making decisions based on caring and love not based on what society dictates.
Another great book by Madeline Hunter! The plot was interesting, the characters excellent. Highly recommend!
I enjoyed going along on the journey with Gabriel and Amanda and getting to know them. I thought Amanda was a strong woman and liked how she does whatever she much to to help and protect her family. I also liked the historical aspect of this book. As always I thought the author's writing style was good and like her attention to detail. I am looking forward to the next book in this series to see who we get to know next.
This is the second book in Decadent Dukes Society ---and has all the elements I enjoy in historical fiction: heroes/heroines vs. villains, romance, strong characters, humor and some steam. Amanda Waverly leads two lives: as a respectable secretary to a fashionable woman and as a thief. She has tried to overcome her upbringing at thievery, but someone has kidnapped her mother. The ransom is a series of artifacts that she must steal. The latest one is a cloisonné brooch in the house next door to Harry St. James, the Duke of Langford’s brother. Amanda notices that she can gain entry to the targeted house from Harry’s. Now she must figure out a way to get into his house. Harry has just been disappointed to discover that the woman he has been courting loves another. He wants to flee London, but his brother, Gabe, talks him into staying and attending a masked ball. Amanda decides to attend the masked ball as a shepherdess--- no one will challenge her because of the masks. She engineers a meeting with Harry, pretending to feel faint and must get some air. Gabriel notices Harry’s agitation and follows her instead. Amanda is dismayed to find Gabriel at her side. She refuses to give her name or any personal information. He challenges her to meet him at Harry’s house. Even though Gabriel has a rogue’s reputation, she is attracted to him. And her mystery intrigues him. Does she successfully steal the cloisonné brooch? Does a thief and a duke have a future? When Gabriel is asked to find the thief, what happens to Amanda? Although I received an ARC of this book, I would have bought it!
Great read. Fun book
I liked the heroine. She was strong, though she didn't think so. She was good at hiding her troubles and secrets. She was talented, though she didn't want those talents. She lived a life of crime though she didn't want to. She was an interesting dichotomy. She was reluctant, but drawn. She was struggling, but elusive. He was 'entitled', arrogant, & spoiled and relished it. He was used to getting his own way and really didn't care who got hurt. He was intrigued.
Annoying and unlikable characters. Annoying plot.
Amanda Waverley is not your typical young woman. In A Devil Of A Duke, she is the personal secretary of an eccentric old lady. While most ladies choose to employ a male secretary it is considered bizarre that Lady Farnsworth has chosen a young woman for the position instead. Amanda’s background is also unusual. Thankfully Lady Farnsworth did not look too closely into her background and accepted the rather meager references provided. The worst part is that she is being blackmailed to obtain items on behalf of someone who has kidnapped her mother. If she does not comply, her mother’s life may even be in danger. The Duke of Langford, Gabriel St. James, is one of the Decadent Dukes. A club created in childhood with two other boys who were destined to become Dukes. And he is not a huge fan of Lady Farnsworth. That venerable lady had written an article about the nobility neglecting their responsibilities, which had shamed him deeply. It had hit home. Since the article, he has been trying to correct his neglect by attending sessions of Parliament. He had delivered a rather good speech too, but if he was reminded of that journal article one more time he wasn’t going to be responsible for his actions. When Amanda attempts to seduce Gabriel’s brother in order to gain access to his house, which is next-door to the one she needs to break into, Gabriel intercepts. But that might not be too bad, she is able to manipulate the situation and is still able to obtain the item which will help her mother. After falling asleep during their assignation, Gabriel is starting to become obsessed with finding out who this young woman is. He set up another meeting through an advertisement in the newspaper. Unusual Story And Characters Most novels set in this time period Involve members of the ton. And while St. James is clearly a prominent member Amanda most assuredly is not. It is refreshing to have such unusual characters and a unique storyline. It isn’t your average young lady who would consider Breaking into a home, let alone being able to do so successfully. This is the second installment of The Decadent Dukes Society series but works very well as a standalone book. I very much look forward to reading more from Madeline Hunter. Reviewed for LnkToMi iRead in response to a complimentary copy of the book provided by the publisher in hopes of an honest review.
As we reached our teen years, we all probably tried to rebel against our “raisings” and to reinvent ourselves; but not to the degree of Amanda Waverly in A Devil of a Duke. Amanda was raised and trained by her parents to be a thief of high-end objects. But now, having completely rejected her background; Amanda has been reluctantly forced by circumstance to re-visit her past. She is now the unusual but respected private secretary to Lady Farnsworth by day and a reluctant thief by night. What Amanda has not counted on is her friendship with her employer Lady Farnsworth and the other women publishing Parnassus, a journal for women. What Amanda has really not counted on is her encounters with Gabriel St. James, the Duke of Langford, a charter member of the Decadent Dukes Club. Never giving her name, using him shamelessly at first to commit a theft and then passionately as her lover, the Duke is lured into her web of deceit and love. St James is the typical Regency novel man-ho and Waverly is the typical Regency woman who doesn’t care. In spite of this annoying but standard trope, both Amanda and St. James are likeable. Hunter has given St James more depth than usual, shown by his love for his brother, the steadfast friendship with the other two Dukes and his willingness to help Amanda. Aiding Amanda strongly goes against his sense of honor. The independent Amanda carries off her double life with verve and courage. Many of the other characters are featured in The Most Dangerous Duke in London, and their return is welcome both for their warmth and support of each other and women in general. It’s easy to see that I think Madeline Hunter writes charming characters, even the rogues and criminals. The writing is smooth and does well evoking a time period that so many writers and readers enjoy visiting. Humor, sadness, and passion are to be found in this book that deftly manages to mix romance and mystery
A Devil of a Duke Madeline Hunter This was a fun Regency Period Romance Novel. I always really like Madeline Hunter books. I have read the first book in the series but it is not necessary to understand this book. Gabriel St. James, Duke of Langford, is known for his charm and conquests with women. Shall we say a "Decadent Duke". He became intrigued with Amanda at a masquerade ball that she was not invited to. Amanda was there for his brother who lived beside the house she needed to somehow get into to steal a priceless piece of antiquity. The Duke of Langord replaced her brother at the party and soon the sparks flew and trouble ensued. This book had romance and mystery. Duke versus Secretary/thief. The Duke getting his comeuppance for all his public affairs. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It wasn't my favorite of Madeline Hunter's but it was still a very good fun read. You won't be disappointed if you purchase it. I received an ARC for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
Madeline Hunter doesn't know how to do simple. Her stories are enduring, complicated, mesmerizing works of art. A Devil of a Duke is a tale of risk that seduces the heart, even as it stirs the soul. Amanda and Gabriel will have readers on the edge of their seats. What would you do for love? She's fighting to escape her birthright... Amanda was born into a family of thieves. Desperate to escape the family trade with the help of her mother, she set about rebuilding her life and striving for something better than the family legacy. Now a respectable woman, circumstances are pulling her back in to the world she fought to escape. He's working to redeem himself... Gabriel is a duke. He doesn't care about his reputation, but he does care about the welfare of his people. So when his title is called in question, he decides to try to do better. When he loses his heart and mind over a beautifully mysterious woman, is when his resolve starts to unravel. He has a choice to make and his heart is at the center of both.
3.75* I’ve received an eARC at no cost to the author. The second book in the Decadent Dukes series brings us the story of Gabriel St. James, Duke of Langford, and Amanda Waverly, a secretary whose parents were thieves and taught her the trade – until she didn’t want to do it anymore. Gabriel never really believed in getting married – or actually loving someone. Love for him was just an infatuation that would eventually disappear – until he met Amanda Waverly. As a simple secretary, Amanda was happy with her life, at least in most aspects. That is, until she is blackmailed to do something that could get her in jail…. or worse. I really liked Gabriel, he was dashing and sweet, more than your regular roguish duke. He was helpful, and always there for Amanda, almost no questions asked. Amanda, on the other hand, wasn’t one of my favourite characters. I liked how she was with the ladies that wrote the Parnassus (a newspaper of sorts) but I didn’t like how she handled the situation that actually got her in danger. At the end of the book, however, she was way more likeable. It was a pleasure to reunite with the other dukes, both Stratton and Brentworth as such amazing characters, and I can’t wait to read Brentworth’s story – I have a feeling it’s going to be the best of the series. The plot was interesting, with theft, blackmail, and love all in the mix, but because I couldn’t connect so much with the main female character, I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the previous one. But I still recommend it, it’s a book with a good and strong hero, good friends that back up the whole story and keep the plot going by keeping the main characters mostly in line and, in the end, it’s a pleasurable read.
Entertaining from beginning to end, A Devil of A Duke made me remember why I love stories by Madeline Hunter!! Amanda Waverly is trying to get her life together Working as a secretary to Lady Farnsworth she feels respectability is within her reach. That is until she finds out her mother needs her help, she has to go back to the criminal life as a thief at night to raise funds. Our hero, Gabriel, the Duke of Landford has come to be know for his wastrel life. Wanting to take a seat in the House of Lords, he tries to become more serious and starts to think about his life. An unexpected encounter at a masked ball between Amanda and Gabriel, has her using him to acquire the object she is searching for to steal! She is very attracted to him (did I mention he was a handsome rake?) and he is enchanted by her but they do not know each other's names at this point. Gabriel is determined to find out who she is but watching the passion that erupts between the two is sizzling!! Can a thief and an high member of society ever be together? How does Amanda save her mother? I loved this story and although this can be read as a standalone, I intend to go back and read the first book! Don't miss this wonderful tale, sure to keep you thinking about it after you turn the last page!! Lori Dykes
I was lucky enough to be chosen to receive an ARC of A Devil of A Duke by Madeline Hunter. This is the 2nd in the series of the Decadent Dukes Society. The Society consists of three dukes that became friends as boys at school. This book is about Gabriel, the Duke of Langford, and Amanda Waverly, who was trained to be a thief by her parents, but is trying to stay on the straight and narrow. Langford is in the upper echelons of society, and Amanda is making her way in the world as a secretary to a society Original when her former life calls. I enjoyed reading about Langford and Amanda's developing relationship and how they overcome the obstacles facing them. I did think there were a few points at which Amanda gave in to Langford a little too easily where it concerned the intrigues she was involved in. I thought the wrapping up of that part of the story line was a little anticlimactic. I was thinking there would be a little more drama. However, I thought that the ultimate conclusion of that was very clever with property being returned to its rightful place.
I enjoyed the adventure of the two main characters. The thief took the duke to task and I enjoyed how she turned his world upside down. He was so stubborn and a great fit for her. Their banter back and forth made for an entertaining story. It had the highs and lows and emotional tension that makes for good romance. At times you truly think he is going to put her on a ship for America once they get the stolen items back, which built up the tension and sadness when she truly felt she was slowly losing him as the time drew near to end things. I also think this walk on the criminal side was exactly what he needed to break his rakish ways and force him to see the value of friendship and freshness that she brought to his life. I don’t think a woman of his ilk would ever have satisfied him or caught him. It truly took someone like her to get him out of blind rut and show him how to truly live. Their adventure and plot were great and I like that she kept him on his toes and continuously kept surprising him with her reactions and responses to things. They were perfect together and the story was great.
I think this is one of Madeline Hunter’s best books and I’ve read them all. You will laugh, cry, and love the hero and heroine. There’s even some mystery in it. Amanda Waverly is Lady Farnsworth’s secretary. She also does other things on the side which may or may not be legal or proper. Amanda wants to move to America where she can start a new life where no one knows her past. When she meets Gabriel St. James, Duke of Langford, she falls in love. Knowing she must leave England soon and that a Duke would never marry her, she has an affair with him. If you want to know all the secrets and how they reach their HEA, read this wonderful book. I highly recommend it!!