Duke of Desire

Duke of Desire

by Elizabeth Hoyt

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Duke of Desire by Elizabeth Hoyt

An instant USA Today bestseller!

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 maskedand 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 lifeand 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?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781455539147
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 10/17/2017
Series: Maiden Lane Series , #12
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 215,907
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.10(d)

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.

The winters in Minnesota have been known to be long and cold and Elizabeth is always thrilled to receive reader mail. You can write to her at: P.O. Box 19495, Minneapolis, MN 55419 or email her at: Elizabeth@ElizabethHoyt.com.

You can learn more at:
Twitter @elizabethhoyt

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Duke of Desire 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
gaele More than 1 year ago
A far different tone and weight than earlier titles in the series, Holt is telling the story of Raphael de Chartres, Duke of Draymore. Scarred, aloof and determined to bring down the Lords of Chaos once and for all, he’s a rather anti-heroic hero, and full of trauma and pain from his past. Believing that the Lords had been disbanded, everyone in society had breathed a sigh of relief until a new leader is chosen, one believed to be more ruthless and unconcerned with society’s censure than ever before. When Lady Iris Jordan discovers she is the target of their next plot, and is hied off to a carriage by a man, the story starts. Unfortunately for Iris, her story almost stalls here, and while she is determined to play a part in Raphael’s investigation, and has agreed to marry him despite his not really wanting a relationship, particularly not with someone who won’t do his bidding, her story and character becomes a sort of window dressing: always there, constant, allowing Raphael’s story and struggle to take center stage. And Raphael’s story is a traumatic one: scarred and closed off from much real emotion BUT anger and his desire to do something major, a childhood of sexual and emotional abuse stalled and hindered his well-being, and his attraction to Iris was like a plant turning to the sun – he wanted it, but at a distance. Unfortunately he was so broken and closed off for so much of the book that interactions (what few there were) that could be considered ‘romantic’ and allow the development of true feelings between Iris and he were few, and lacked much of the quick-fire banter, flintiness and lightness of Hoyt’s previous works. Yes, I understand this is a new character with plenty of baggage and a little black cloud that seems to follow him, but even Iris’ attempts to show him (as telling wasn’t even close to acceptable) that she was in his corner, wanted to be there and he was worth having that didn’t make much of an impression. Sadly, the balance of issues with hope and light was off, and the pacing in the first and second halves of the book were uneven, leaving me with conflicted feelings. Hoyt gave us a character in Raphael who was palpable and developed, with enough issues to warrant empathy and sympathy, but he didn’t move from that aloof and suspicious man until far too late. And Iris never really grabbed me: it would take a strong and determined woman, one not afraid of conflict and willing to push, prod and insert herself, challenging his reserve and remove – and she never quite hit those marks. An interesting installment that diverges greatly from others in the series, and works well on its own as none of the other characters from this world of Maiden Lane appear or move their own earlier stories forward in this one. The highlight for me in this book was Raphael and his own struggles with a past and present that were not the easiest, and his determination to move on, if not exactly forward. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Melissa_W More than 1 year ago
There's something holding me back from giving it the full five stars and I'm not sure what it is (I'll let it percolate a bit). The timeline feels too compressed, in my opinion, to really allow the romance to develop. Also, I think Raphael's original plan - infiltrate the evil cult - was pretty half-baked (because you sort of have to participate in something icky then?) and lucky for him Iris showed up. Iris surprised me as a heroine. She may not fight with swords like Alf but she stands her ground and picks apart Raphael's mental blocks until he is able to function as a human again. (Speaking of Alf, boooo, no Alf. Kyle shows up, but not Alf. Humph) But this book gets dark, really dark. Hoyt had been dancing around depicting what the Lords of Chaos get up to for a few books now, but she really goes for it in Duke of Desire. Raphael has PTSD and I think Hoyt really gave a true depiction of what it was like to suffer from psychological trauma at a time when those issues weren't recognized. TW for descriptions of child abuse and rape. However, 1,000,000 negative points to the cover designer. Got a scarred hero? Sure, put an unscarred dude on the cover. *eyeroll* At least put half his face in shadow or something (also, I feel like the cover model for Duke of Pleasure looks far more like Raphael than this guy).
sportochick More than 1 year ago
The author is brilliant in how she develops this story. Having read or listened to almost every book to this series I was looking forward to this story regarding Raphael and Iris. Though this book was a little darker than the previous books regarding the Lords of Chaos, it honestly was perfect for the plot of this story. With the dramatic chapter one the reader is quickly drawn into the drama of what the Lords of Chaos do for entertainment. It is described in clear spine tingling detail making this reader wonder how this book could possibly end up a love story. But never fear this author is brilliant in how she develops this story. The somewhat meek and loving Iris shines in this story as a woman who finds her backbone and becomes stronger than she could ever imagine. I enjoyed watching her character expand on each page to create a fearless woman with a loving heart. From the start Raphael is just plain dark with no heart. But as the story progresses the reader will get a detailed glimpse into how he became the person he is and why he does what he does. From the first page his tortured soul spoke to me and I wanted him to have something more out of his life. His character brought to mind the saying "Never judge a book by its cover". This book will get your heart racing, your heart aching and your tears flowing. For this reason I give it 4 STARS. Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
BananaTricky More than 1 year ago
Four and a half stars. I have wanted to read this book ever since I read the teaser at the end of the last book. The shadowy Lords of Chaos led by the mysterious Dionysus kidnap Lady Iris Jordan in the mistaken belief that she is the new bride of the Duke of Kyle, who has sworn to eliminate the Lords. After she informs the Lords of their error Dionysus charges his minions with killing her anyway, but one of the naked, masked men, the man in the wolf mask, claims her, promising to make sure she is dead within 24 hours. Iris is dragged to a carriage and spirited away but she finds a pistol under one of the seats (in a hidden compartment) and shoots the Wolf in the shoulder. The Wolf is actually Raphael de Chartres, the Duke of Dyemore, lately returned from Corsica and determined to destroy the Lords of Chaos as his perverted, abusive father was one of the previous leaders. Raphael has a horrible disfiguring scar running down his face that gives his mouth a perpetual sneer, he and Iris danced once at a ball and he feel hopelessly in love with this quiet woman who chased away the shadows the haunt him, if only for a little while. Raphael decides that the only way to protect Iris is to marry her, immediately, although it will be a marriage in name only, he intends the de Chartres name to die out with him to prevent the birth of more monsters like his father. All Iris has ever wanted is a family to love and cherish, and to be loved and cherished in return. While Iris tries to persuade Raphael to make theirs a real marriage, Raphael is fighting to discover the identity of Dionysus and bring down the Lords once and all. This has a delicious, dark gothic feel to it, full of ruined abbeys and secret societies . Loved it and Raphael was such a tortured hero.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A bit dark but great story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. This couple were doomed to fail, but they never gave up!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was a beautifully written ending to a wonderful, and very different, series. But, in my opinion, you MUST read the series in order to fully understand the growth of the story and the development of the characters. Elizabeth Hoyt is amazing!!
Sandy-thereadingcafe More than 1 year ago
emotional and dramatic DUKE OF DESIRE is the twelfth installment in Elizabeth Hoyt’s adult MAIDEN LANE historical romance series. This is the Duke of Dyemore Raphael de Chartres, and Lady Iris Jordan’s story line. DUKE OF DESIRE can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty . Any important information from previous installments is revealed where necessary. We were first introduced to our heroine in book eleven DUKE OF PLEASURE. Iris is Hugh Fitzroy’s sister. NOTE: DUKE OF DESIRE contains references to pedophilia, rape, abuse and torture, and may not be suitable for all readers. Told from several third person perspectives DUKE OF DESIRE is a story line that focuses on a dark secret within the notable society of Georgian England. Kidnapped just days after her brother’s marriage to Alf, Lady Iris Jordan comes face to face with the evil that permeates the rich and famous-the Lords of Chaos- a group of sick, twisted and perverted aristocratic men who use their power and position to kidnap and destroy the innocent and young. Enter Raphael de Chartres, the Duke of Dyemore, Iris’s savior, and the man with whom our heroine will fall in love. What ensues is the building romance between Iris and Raphael, and the potential fall-out as Raphael seeks revenge against the Lords of Chaos for destroying his life, and the lives of so many others. DUKE OF DESIRE is a darker story line that follows the abduction and rescue of our story line heroine, and the subsequent search for the leader of the Lords of Chaos. Raphael is the reluctant Duke of Dyemore but with his father’s death, Raphael assumes more than his rightful place as Duke but that of his father’s membership and mantle within the group that destroyed Raphael’s life. Iris never thought of herself as a potential target until the Lords of Chaos kidnapped our heroine in a plot against her newly betrothed brother. Her would-be rescuer is familiar; possibly evil but definitely the man with whom Iris would fall in love. Raphael wants nothing to do with consummating his marriage while our heroine struggles to seduce a man who isn’t willing to play along. The $ex scenes are intimate although Raphael battles too many demons, and memories from his past making for some heartbreaking moments between our newly married couple. DUKE OF DESIRE is an emotional read about one man’s struggle to move on from the past. Raphael’s need for revenge is all consuming to the point of suicidal actions that could very well end his life, as well as the life of the woman with whom he is falling in love. The premise is sensitive, dramatic and tragic; the characters are broken, strong, passionate and intense; the romance suffers with one man’s inability to let go of the past. My only concern is the cover image that does not match our hero’s horrific physical scars.
Alyssa75 More than 1 year ago
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Duke of Desire by Elizabeth Hoyt Book Twelve of the Maiden Lane series Publisher: Grand Central Publishing Publication Date: October 17, 2017 Rating: 5 stars Source: ARC sent by the publisher Summary (from Goodreads): 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? What I Liked: This book. Was. Perfect. Friends, I wanted to weep after finishing it. It was so excellent for so many different reasons - I can't even begin to describe how wonderful this book was to me. I definitely won't do the story justice with this review. You all know how much I love this series? This is only the third of twelve books that I've rated five stars. It's definitely tied with the other two as my favorite. I will be thinking about this one for a long time. We met Raphael and Iris in Duke of Pleasure, in which Iris and the Duke of Kyle (Hugh) are friends. Iris attends Hugh's wedding and they fool society into thinking that they (Iris and Hugh) got married, because they don't want anyone to know that Hugh married Alf... at least not yet. Little does Iris know that the Lords of Chaos have it out for Hugh, and they kidnap her, thinking that she is the new Duchess of Kyle. But she is rescued by a man whom she never would have expected - the Duke of Dyemore. Raphael de Chartres wants no part of the Lords of Chaos, but he does want to destroy them. Rescuing Iris from them isn't part of his revenge plan, and it only makes things harder, because he must defy the Dionysus (the leader of the Lords of Chaos). He does not kill her - instead, he marries her, to protect her. Iris slowly learns more about her new husband, and she finds out that his past is even darker than she might have imagined. This book broke my heart and made me swoon at the same time, which is pretty difficult to do. The story is darker than any of the other Maiden Lane books, with the heart of it involving the horror of the Lords of Chaos. Raphael's father used to be the Dionysus, and Raphael was to be initiated into the Lords. The tone of this book is bleaker than any other book in this series, but this makes the book so much more compelling and intriguing. I enjoyed it so much, darkness and all. Much like Raphael. Read the rest of my review on my blog, The Eater of Books! - eaterofbooks DOT blogspot DOT com :)
Hfowler More than 1 year ago
The next installment in the Maiden Lane series brings us the dark and moody scarred Duke of Dyemore who we glimpsed at a ball where he warned Iris to leave immediately. Since then she was kidnapped and found herself surround by nude men in masks who planned to rape and kill her, and Dyemore deciding to rescue her from the Lords of Chaos.  Of course, he didn't expect to get shot in the process by the very woman he set out to rescue or married to her to protect her from the other Lords. He thinks this will be a simple thing, marry her to protect her and then continue on with his quest for revenge. He doesn't expect that his new wife has dreams and desires of her own and that includes children and a husband who isn't afraid to come to her bed. The story was full of tension, banked and controlled passion, a woman who isn't afraid to fight for what she wants, and a man who can't resist the wife that has come to represent the light amongst all of his darkness. I enjoyed their adventure. The Dionysus was definitely hard to figure out, which kept you guessing as to who the bad guy was and it, of course, took almost losing her for Raphael to realize that he can't live without Iris. The conclusion of the story was emotional and I am glad that Iris didn't give up fighting for Raphael and their marriage.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a good ending to the series. I was glad to see some reoccurring characters from previous books. Of course it was good to see the end of the l of c. I did miss the ghost though. Still, my favorites are the books with Silence, Eve, and "Diana."
PegC51 More than 1 year ago
Duke of Desire is a deeply emotional story that brings together a scarred hero with horrible dark secrets and a woman whose light he craves, but is afraid to reach for. Believing she is the new wife of the Duke of Kyle, the leader of the Lords of Chaos has Iris kidnapped as sacrifice in the group’s evil ceremony. Raphael de Chartres, the Duke of Dyemore, interrupts his quest to destroy the Lords of Chaos to rescue Lady Iris Jordan. To protect her from the group, he marries her. There are actually two themes to the rest of the story. Raphael is still determined to crush the Lords of Chaos. Iris is determined to break through Raphael’s barriers, gain his trust, and give them both a happily ever after. Tough challenges for both. The Maiden Lane series ends with a heart wrenching love story and a battle to end the nightmare of the Lords of Chaos. Memorable characters and a captivating plot make Duke of Desire an exciting end to a fantastic series. A great read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Honestly, by the end I was more interested in the pre-chapter story of the Rock King than what was happening in the actual novel. The idea that you can change someone just because you want to is my least favorite romance trope. The Duke is completely against changing, but through manipulation with feminine whiles; ta-da. There just wasn't romance, it was a desire to possess and the insistence that she make the best of it while making sure she gets everything she wants and she also obviously knows what's best for him.
TammyS32 More than 1 year ago
Iris is mistakenly kidnapped by the Lords of Chaos. Raphael is there and happens to rescue her but she shoots him in the carriage thinking he plans to hurt her. The only way that Raphael can now protect her is by marriage. Will it be a marriage of convenience or can it become more? I was hooked on the read from beginning to end. Raphael is a wonderful hero and Iris perfect for him. The story is fast paced with loads of drama and suspense. I loved it!
etoile1996 More than 1 year ago
except for one last novella, which will hopefully bring together some old favorite characters, the maiden lane series comes to a close with duke of desire. we've met both raphael and iris before, namely in duke of pleasure, and i was happy to see both characters again. when raphael saves iris from the lords of chaos she isn't sure she can trust him. and maybe she shouldn't because once he has her in his home, raphael finds he can't let her go. he says this is for her safety, but it runs deeper than that. it's something he's not ready to explain or explore. but he knows all the same that letting iris go is not an option for him. and once iris gets over her initial distrust, she doesn't want to leave. she sees the things that have hurt and damaged this beautiful, broken man and she doesn't shy away from them or from him. she never sees him as the monster he sees himself as. but until he lets go of this warped view of himself, their future together hangs very much in the balance. on top of that there is still imminent danger from the lords of chaos. the new dionysius is possibly more evil and depraved than raphael's father was. and he knows that raphael wants the lords destroyed and intends to do everything in his power to get to raphael and iris first. it's hard to say what is more challenging to raphael and iris's romance, the lords of chaos or raphael's demons. needless to say there is a lot of healing and acceptance that needs to happen in this book for everything to work, and i think it is handled quite beautifully. i've so enjoyed this series, even as it tackles some heavy topics like child abuse, rape, and poverty, the romances are heartfelt and emotionally satisfying. **duke of desire will publish on october 17, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/grand central publishing in exchange for my honest review.
zsoccerbrat More than 1 year ago
To start with, this book should come with a trigger warning. Beyond this, the book is very descriptive and you can feel the emotional pain the hero, Raphael, feels. The heroine, Iris, is strong and independent and I absolutely love her character. Scattered throughout the book are messages of strength that I wish the world took to heart. I would recommend Elizabeth Hoyt based on her writing style, but if you are easily triggered then I would not recommend this book. ***I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review***
def618 More than 1 year ago
Raphael de Chartres, Duke of Dyemore, is determined to bring down the secret Lords of Chaos and their evil doings. His deceased father was their leader when he was a boy and had him marked with their tattoo. At their spring revels he recognizes Iris Daniels, Lady Jordan, as the sacrifice. The masked lords believe her to be the new Duchess of Kyle. Raphael tells their leader, the Dionysus, they made a mistake and claims her as his. He takes her to his carriage and locks her in. She finds a hidden gun and when he returns, she shoots him in the shoulder. When she pulls off his mask, she recognizes him and tries to stop his bleeding. He informs her the only way he can protect her is to marry her. His guards bring the vicar to his house and they married before he passed out from his wound. Iris removed the bullet but doesn’t know if he’ll survive. She hopes he does as she would very much like to have a family. Raphael survives but informs her he doesn’t want children. His goal is to end the Lords of Chaos by discovering the identity of the Dionysus. When he is visited by 3 of the Chaos members, he immediately takes Iris to his London home as he thinks she’ll be safer there. Iris learns about his childhood from his aunt who resides in his London house while he tries to find the Dionysus. The Duke of Kyle is also working to destroy the group but Raphael does not want his help until she is in danger. There is a lot more going on in this book, but I do not like to write plot spoilers. I believe that too much info will ruin your enjoyment of the story. I loved this wonderful book and couldn’t put it down. Thank you, Elizabeth Hoyt, for the ARC.
SMeeko More than 1 year ago
"Considering how extremely dull her life had been up until this point, Iris Daniels, Lady Jordan had discovered a quite colorful way to die." FINAL DECISION: Haunting, filled with angst and drama and, of course, intense, deeply emotional passion and love, DUKE OF DESIRE is a worthy final novel in a superlative series. THE STORY: Lady Iris Jordan wants nothing more than a happy marriage and children after enduring a polite but unhappy marriage. Instead, she has found herself captured by the Lords of Chaos (a group of men who engage in sexual assaults on women and children). When one of the masked participants carries her away in his carriage, Iris shoots him only to discover that the man is the Duke of Dyemore, Raphael de Chartres, who claims to be rescuing her. Raphael says that he is attempting to infiltrate the Lords of Chaos in order to destroy them. In order to protect Iris, Raphael insists they must marry. The challenge is that Iris insists on taking their marriage seriously no matter how it starts. But the possibility of happiness is challenged not only by the Lords of Chaos but also by Raphael's own dark past. OPINION: Is there anything better or worse than the final book in a beloved series? I'd like to begin by admitting that the Maiden Lane series has been one of my all time favorite series. I have been immensely impressed with how consistently fantastic the books have been. For me, there hasn't been one book in the series that I would skip in a re-read, and I've re-read all of the books numerous times. But there is always the possibility of the last book failing to live up to expectations. I'm happy to report that this book exceeded my expectations in every category except one. Intense and dark, the book managed to leave me with an overwhelming feeling of joy and hope by its end. There is a real sense that the darkness may not have been completely defeated, but that love is triumphant and will always manage to beat down the tendrils of darkness that might pop up. DUKE OF DESIRE is the final novel in the series and the final book in the "trilogy" concerning the Lords of Chaos. (Although book number nine, SWEETEST SCOUNDREL, also has a connection to the group). The Lords of Chaos have wrecked destruction and pain upon many of the heroes and heroines of the Maiden Lane series and this book brings that story to a final conclusion. Iris Jordan is a widow who readers were introduced to in DUKE OF PLEASURE. What I liked best about Iris is that she is a strong, grounded woman. After enduring a marriage that failed her as a person, Iris realized in DUKE OF PLEASURE that she deserves something more. And if things don't present themselves like a fairytale love story (like being forced into marriage to save herself from the Lords of Chaos), Iris is determined to make her voice heard and demand a life she wants. Raphael has been attracted to Iris from the moment he saw her and when circumstances force their marriage, he thinks he will be able to control Iris and control his feelings for her. But Iris will not be placed in a protective box by Raphael. Instead she challenges him at every turn, breaks down his walls and barriers. Iris will not allow herself to be controlled, but it is clear that her pushing of Raphael comes from a place of caring and a desire for relationship.
julieford More than 1 year ago
Duke of Desire is the final in the Maiden Lane series. Throughout the series, the Lords of Chaos have played a somewhat minor role to the romances but in this story they play a major part. This is a dark, steamy, intense and emotional conclusion. I loved how it didn't wash over the history of the atrocities and fully explained what happened to the hero. Raphael, Duke of Dyemore. He is a scarred hero both inside and out. Lady Iris Jordan is a strong, intelligent and feisty heroine who is willing to fight to the last breath. When Raphael rescues Iris and then marries her to protect her in a marriage of convenience, the danger and intrigue that follow will keep the reader enthralled. The love and healing is endearing in that it doesn't just happen automatically but gradually. A great finale. I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
sweetpotato101 More than 1 year ago
Every time I open a new Elizabeth Hoyt book, especially one in the legendary Maiden Lane series, I’m always engulfed in magic. I just adore this author’s way with words, how she brings characters to life in this particular time-period, how she deftly integrates anti-heroes with dark pasts and the fierce maidens who bring them to their knees. Duke of Desire is no exception. Iris is in a bit of pickle. Kidnapped, Iris is saved from a horrible fate by a man she met once—a scarred duke who hasn’t been able to get Iris out of his head. Whisked away, Iris finds herself married to Raphael, the Duke of Dyemore, but Iris wants a real marriage. Something that can’t be with the secrets and shadows looming in the duke’s eyes. But the Lords of Chaos are formidable and they expect Iris to be dead. Time is running out for them both. Iris is a spectacular character! She came off very sweet in the previous books, but she’s also got one heck of a backbone, and she needs it to slay the duke’s dragons. I really enjoy that it’s she who wants to jump the duke’s bones, but the duke can’t quite commit to anything of a sexual nature. Too bad Iris is a force to be reckoned with and he’s tempted. Oh, is he tempted! (*fans self*) The Duke of Dyemore is such a tortured hero. I cried for him. He’s got a scar that leaves people talking, a family built of nightmares, and a quest that has him keeping himself away from his new wife. Between the chemistry, the mystery and the constant maneuverings, I was breathlessly anticipating each new scene. Every moment. Ms. Hoyt always brings something new to the table, and it’s a perfect blend of spine-tingling adventure and toe-curling lovemaking. Anyone who loves historical romance—that feeling of being swept away into another era and time, of being lifted to the heights of pleasure and passion, intrigue and danger—needs to read this book. This entire series. It’s a guarantee that I’ll be kept on my toes and charmed to my bones, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. 5 stars!
MsGodiva1 More than 1 year ago
*Review of ARC from author newsletter offer* which means I generally adore anything this author produces and had a complete book nerd moment getting the latest book before publication/arrival at my local library. This is the final book in a lengthy series based in Georgian England/London, so it is best enjoyed in context of the other eleven books, but if this one falls into your hands it works just fine on it's own to entertain and then lure you back to the rest of the series. (fair warning) Also going to assume you've read the cover blurb...professionals summing up the book better that I can, even as I'm waving it at you saying *read this.* The series has taken us thru the multitude of ways people can be hurt, physically and emotionally, how it changes them, and then how they heal, who and what around them makes the changes possible-necessary-alluring...without falling into the Love of a Good Woman fallacy. The sex scenes are diverse and smoldering for their consensual intimacy, with desire starting in the mind, not just body parts and zero purple prose. It's also nice that H&H don't go from zero to sex everywhere immediately. All of Hoyt's books have parallel original fairy-tales heading each chapter, a dear wish that someone will collect them into one volume, illustrate them, and make them available to fans. *tosses wish into the world* Iris is an interesting heroine in normalcy. She isn't traumatized; she wants some basic life goals: her own home, kids, a multi-faceted relationship with a husband/partner. She's attractive but not a Diamond or Heiress. She's generally kind, doesn't do anything too stupid to live (even in the book opening when she could), is caring but isn't a doormat. Her family seems fairly normal, not too distant, nor tight clan-ish. Her Every Woman-ness is appealing. Raphael also manages to be conflicted/tortured without being a complete Drama Queen. He survives similar childhood to a previous hero in the series with very different reactions/results from age 12 right thru the HEA. I do wish the cover showed his scar or put him in profile to hide the scars. His communication with Iris drives the plot as much as external forces. Part of what I really enjoy with this series is the overarching look at society, how power/patriarchy/entitlement, violence, perversion, can damage individuals/society and then how perseverance, compassion, and hope can heal the damage...complete with scars. Dark themes are addressed throughout while being hopeful. So curl up in a chair, or the tub, and settle in for an enjoyable read by a master of the genre.
MADreaderMD More than 1 year ago
This is one of the darkest books in the Maiden Lane series, since it centers around destroying the Lords of Chaos and dealing with the effects of that evil secret society on all those it has touched. Raphael, the Duke of Dyemore, has pledged to hunt down the members of the Lords of Chaos and put an end to their revels. He knows exactly what they are capable of since he grew up as part of the society. He's hoping to infiltrate the current society and learn the identity of the leader, but when he sees the Lords have kidnapped Lady Iris Jordan, he can't let them harm her. Iris has no idea why she's been kidnapped, but she wants to make every effort to escape. When one of the mysterious Lords claims her as his own and throws her in his carriage, she has no way of knowing he's actually trying to help her. So when she finds a pistol in the carriage, she shoots him. Too late, she realizes he may be her only hope. Even though she still doesn't quite trust him, she goes along with his plan to marry her and offer her protection. Now she has to work to save Raphael's life. Since she's already been widowed once, she'd rather not lose another husband. And even though this marriage starts off in a most unusual way, Iris hopes that it can be a real marriage with a family like she has always wanted. I thoroughly enjoyed this story. The connection between Raphael and Iris was so complex--at times sweet and tender, but at other times fiery and passionate. I liked how the author used the themes of light and darkness, with Iris bringing light into Raphael's tortured dark soul. There was plenty of action, adventure, and intrigue to go along with the sizzling romance. Since a good part of the story was set in a remote estate with a slightly crumbling abbey, the atmosphere was more like a Gothic romance. I loved the descriptions of the abbey and its grounds, as well as the journey to London, the inns along the way, and the mansion in the city. While I'm sad that this is the last Maiden Lane novel, this story provided a satisfying ending to the Lords of Chaos storyline. Raphael and Iris may be one of my favorite Maiden Lane couples! WARNING: There is discussion of sexual abuse in this book, so be warned if that is something you don't want to read about.
tsmb02 More than 1 year ago
Iris Daniels, the Lady Jordan has found herself in a rather interesting predicament and she believes she is going to die. Imagine her surprise when one of the masked and nude Lords of Chaos removes her from the situation. When the man throws Iris into his carriage she finds a guns and ends up shooting him. What she didn't realize was that the man was Raphael de Chartres, the Duke of Dyemore and he was actually trying to rescue her. From there the fun begins! Raphael is trying to bring down the Lords of Chaos for personal reasons but he also wants to protect Iris. He decides that in order to protect her, they must marry! Iris, being a widow would rather remarry for love but Raphael convinces her it is for the best. Iris accepts but wants a real marriage along with marital relations. Too bad Raphael is against that. It was hysterical when Iris kept trying to seduce Raphael. Love a girl who knows what she wants! While Iris is trying to put herself into Raphael's life, he is trying protect her and bring down the Lords of Chaos. It was so enjoyable watching these two start to become more meaningful to each other. When Iris starts pushing harder, she realizes that there are some ugly things from Raphael's past. Only the power of love could really help Raphael escape from his past. It was such an emotional road for these two to get to their happy ending but is was so worth it! I just have to say....where have I been? This was the first time I have read this author and all I can say is wow! I can't believe there have been 11 other books in this series! These characters are wonderful and perfectly flawed....and their story is beyond wonderful. Plain and simple....read this story!