Never Desire a Duke

Never Desire a Duke

by Lily Dalton

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A Marriage Beyond Hope

Lady Sophia has long been estranged from her husband, Vane Barwick, the Duke of Claxton, whose rumored list of amorous conquests includes almost every beautiful woman of the ton. Yet a shocking encounter with him in a crowded ballroom-and a single touch-are all it takes to reawaken her furious passion for him. But how can she trust the man who crushed her dreams and took away the one thing she wanted most?

A Love Beyond Reason

Claxton has never forgiven himself for the youthful mistake that ruined his marriage to Sophia. Now, after nearly a year abroad, the reformed rogue vows to win back the only woman he's ever truly loved. He'll do whatever it takes to prove he can be the honorable husband she deserves-and the passionate lover she desires. As the snowdrifts deepen outside their ancestral home, can they rekindle the flame that burned so bright and find a new path to forever?

(95,000 words)

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781455524006
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 09/24/2013
Series: One Scandalous Season , #1
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 386
Sales rank: 253,168
File size: 540 KB

About the Author

Lily Dalton grew up as an Army brat, moving from place to place. Her first stop after relocating was always the local library, where she could hang out with familiar friends: Books! Lily has an English degree from Texas A & M University and after graduation worked as a legal assistant in the fields of accident reconstruction and litigation. She now lives in Houston, Texas, with her family. When she isn't at work on her next manuscript, she spends her time trying out new recipes, cheering on her favorite Texas football teams and collecting old dishes, vintage linens and other fine "junque" from thrift stores and flea markets.

Learn more at:
Twitter, @LilyDalton

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Never Desire a Duke 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
WorldsCollide More than 1 year ago
A sweet holiday romance about second chances, Never Desire a Duke was a lovely historical romance. It was sweet and a wonderful read that I really enjoyed. Sophia was an okay heroine. She was my one problem with the book, though. On one hand, I thought she was strong to survive the heartbreak and scandal she dealt with. And, most of the time, she was nice and likable. But, then Vane came into the picture. And she became a shrew. She was really mean and judgmental and harsh to him. I can understand that she was angry that he wasn't there for her when she lost their baby. But, didn't she consider that he had his own grieving process to go through? And, why did she freak out over a note from one of his past lovers? He wasn't with that woman anymore, hadn't been with anyone else since they met. Her first reaction for everything seemed to be freaking out. She never let Vane defend himself or explain the situation. Instead, she listened to the rumors, turned against him, and took every chance she could to make him out to be even worse. But, the worst part was when she asked him to write a list of his previous (as in, before they met) lovers. She literally forced him to, saying that she wouldn't give up the idea of a separation unless he wrote down all the names. Then, when she sees the list, she freaks out and makes a huge problem out of it. Which was so unfair, I couldn't even deal with it. She asked him to write it. All the women were in the past. She knew his father forced him into a life of debauchery that he didn't want. Yet, she still carried that list around to remind herself not to trust him. Does anyone else see anything wrong with that? Because, I do. I apologize if I ranted a little, but it just really bothered me. The thing is, I still didn't dislike her, even with all of that. She irritated me beyond belief, but there were still moments where she acted like a nice person. And, that made me still kind of like her. So, while she wasn't my favorite heroine, I was okay with her. Vane, on the other hand, I completely adored. He was so sweet and wonderful and I thought he was brilliant. He has a rather sad past. While his childhood with his mother was happy, when his father took him in, things went downhill. His father was not a nice person and he tried to force Vane to be that way. But, Vane was still nice and sweet and adorable. I liked that, while he was determined to win back Sophia, he wasn't going to be a doormat, either. When he deserved it, he took his scoldings with good grace. But, when Sophia was being unfair, he turned the tables. I thought he was a wonderful hero and I really liked him. The romance was sweet. Despite my issues with Sophia, I really liked these two together. They were definitely a sweet couple. And, the attraction between them was constant. There were definitely some very hot sparks there. I thought they were a lovely couple. I really liked the scavenger hunt that Vane and Sophia did for most of the book. Vane's mother used to leave him and his brother little hints on a scavenger hunt to keep the boys entertained and Sophia finds one of them. So, to honor the memory of Vane's mother, they decide to go on the hunt. I thought it was really sweet and it made the book more fun and light. That was one of my favorite parts of the book. The plot was fast paced and I was hooked the entire way through. The secrets of Vane's past were a surprise and they definitely added an unpredictable element to the book. I really enjoyed the story and the ending was lovely. I'm excited to read more from the series, especially with how interesting the next book sounds. Can't wait to read it! Never Desire a Duke was a lovely historical romance. Despite my one complaint, I still really enjoyed the book and I thought it was a wonderful holiday read. It was a sweet, light read about second chances and I really liked it. Lovers of romance, if you want a great holiday read, this is one you'll want to pick up. *I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
AVoraciousReadr More than 1 year ago
*Book source ~ NetGalley Lady Sophia and Lord Vane Barwick, the Marquess of Claxton, have been estranged for a year. Mistakes on both parts have led to an increasingly untenable situation for Sophia and the next time she sees her husband she is going to ask for a divorce. But when he unexpectedly arrives in town making yet another bumbling stupid mistake his hopes for reconciliation are shot down with her words. However, this time he has no intention of running away like the moron he was. He intends to win Sophia’s love again, no matter what it takes. An historical romance with heat, love, and loss this is one that had me turning the pages to see what would happen next. Sophia and Vane seem to keep running afoul of bad circumstances and Vane is quite the idiot at times (to the point I truly wanted to beat his ass), but they eventually get things set right and come up with a HEA.
loverofromance More than 1 year ago
So I didn't realize until I started reading this one, that is was a Christmas themed story. The blurb does really give that away in any way, so you don't expect it, but as I was reading, I found that the Christmas theme really added a flair to the story. This story is about Lord Claxton and Sophia, who fell in love and got married. But things went downhill very quickly, mostly judgements and miscommunication and making presumptions. Which can happen in any relationship especially in a romantic relationship. Then the book starts off after they have been estranged for almost a year. At this point the author does a bit of background information on the couple., so that you aren't at a total loss. Then they end up stuck at a manor in the country while they get snowed in, and they are forced to resolve differences. Claxton wants to reconcile with Sophia, he loves her and is willing to do anything to get her to soften toward him. Sophia is a bit stubborn like a mule, and doesn't believe there is any hope for them. All she wants is a child and then be separated for the rest of their lives. We see the ways that Claxton goes about to convince Sophia to listen to reason. What I really enjoyed about this story, was seeing Claxton and Sophia interact with each other. They tend to get very intense with each other, and boy do they tend to say hurtful things, no wonder they are see why they have been separated for a time. But you also see the sincere feelings that they have for each other. I found that I liked the hero way more than the heroine in this story. I found Sophia to be a bit full of herself at times, as the story progresses you see how much she has gone through, but so has Claxton, they both have been hurt, but she does have some good qualities, but I didn't really like her all that much through the story. She rubbed off me the wrong way, which was a little sad since she seemed to have great potential in the beginning. Claxton, now he was so great, I adored his character. He is a fighter especially when it comes to keeping his marriage together, I loved how he refused to give up on it, no matter how Sophia could be about it. All in all though, this was a charming and romantic story that drew my attention. The writing is engaging and pulls the reader, the story line is simple yet complex at times, and the plot gives you some sexy twists and turns...a tender love story with a holiday twist.
ajenkins979 More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this, but still was only 4 stars. A historical romance that talks about a legal separation, so unheard of! I loved the plot/theme! As much as Sophia loves her husband, she just can't handle what has happened to them. Vane is still in love with his wife who wishes for them to separate. He however, does NOT. This book was all about whether they could work out their differences and let their love and marriage continue. Sophia, was very stubborn, and Vane (Claxton) not very open (typical male).  Snowed in together, they realized that their differences weren't really that major and that they needed to communicate more. That they still got along wonderfully. This book did have me laughing at some of the things that happened while snowed in in a little village. Also, there were some incidents that scared me!
skelley55 More than 1 year ago
A very good regency read.  Another reviewer commented on Sophia's list from Vane of his conquests.   Yes, it is a lousy idea.  But that is the only flaw in the story and  this character learned the lesson.
Stella_L More than 1 year ago
Wow!  I found a new historical author!  By far, I think this is one of the best romances of 2013.  RWA agrees with me as the story was nominated for the prestigious RITA. The novel is a second chance redemption story for both our hero, Vane, the Duke of Claxton and his bride, Sophia.  When Claxton and Sophia suffer a tragic loss early in their marriage, they must learn to find a way to forgive one another and themselves before their love can emerge from the heartache.  A beautifully told story with characters that jump of the page.  The author’s voice drew me in from the beginning and never failed in her delivery of a brilliant tale.  I liked the story so much; I bought everything she’d written.   What I loved best about the story is the author’s ability to tackle such a heavy topic while making the characters come alive in moments of lighthearted fun. She does this while never demeaning the trial and tribulations Claxton and Sophia must face. I defy anyone not to laugh then cry at the sledding scene.  For that scene alone, Never Desire a Duke will be on my keeper shelf.  
Doodlebug4444 More than 1 year ago
Written as a combined review with book 2 in this series 4 out of 5 for this reader folks! I love it when I discover a new author in a fave genre. The One Scandalous Season series by Lily Dalton had a great balance of all the elements I love in historical romance. We have some tradition, rakes, scandalous ladies, angst, sass, stubbornness, wealth, poverty, misunderstandings, action, a sense of friends and family and a secondary cast that make sure you have a chuckle here and there. Tie all these together and you get "Never Desire a Duke" and "Never Entice and Earl". BOOK 1 - Never Desire a Duke DESCRIPTION A secret from his past holds the key to their future... A Marriage Beyond Hope Lady Sophia has long been estranged from her husband, Lord Vane Barwick, the Marquess of Claxton, whose rumored list of amorous conquests includes almost every beautiful woman of the ton. Yet a shocking encounter with him in a crowded ballroom—and a single touch—are all it takes to reawaken her furious passion for him. But how can she trust the man who crushed her dreams and took away the one thing she wanted most? A Love Beyond Reason Lord Claxton has never forgiven himself for the youthful mistake that ruined his marriage to Lady Sophia. Now, after nearly a year abroad, the reformed rogue vows to win back the only woman he's ever truly loved. He'll do whatever it takes to prove he can be the honorable husband she deserves—and the passionate lover she desires. As the snowdrifts deepen outside their ancestral home, can they rekindle the flame that burned so bright and find a new path to forever? REVIEW OH MY! I listened to this book, and I have to say the narrator really nailed this performance. My heart pounded in my chest, leaving me a ball of emotion. She had the voices down perfectly, her pace and tones complimentary to the story!  Lady Sophia has just been living her life day by day. Married to Lord Claxton, yet estranged, she is shocked when one day out of the blue Claxton decides to pop back in her life with the desire to make their marriage work. Sophia however, so scarred from a past full of misunderstandings with Claxton, not to mention a huge loss that has left her heart broken, isn't interested in what Claxton has to say. After being stranded together in one of the ancestral homes due to a severe snow storm, Sophia proposes they separate but produce a child so that Claxton has an heir. Once their child is born, no more contact. Claxton is beside himself and decides to dig deep to woe his wife back. With the help of sweet little town and the amazing people that live there, Sophia and Claxton begin to face their past and decide on whether they will face the future together or apart. Of course, there are always a few nasties waiting to strike ...... LOL! BOOK 2 - Never Entice an Earl DESCRIPTION For fans of New York Times bestsellers Elizabeth Boyle, Jillian Hunter, Sabrina Jeffries, and Nicole Jordan... A ONE SCANDALOUS SEASON NOVEL A Deception Most Reckless Lady Daphne Bevington would do anything for her maid Kate-including masquerading as Kate and sneaking around the wrong side of London to settle the poor girl's debt. Yet her innocent ruse takes a scandalous turn when "Kate" runs into a handsome gentleman on a secret quest of his own. A moment of passion could cost Daphne her reputation, but how can she ignore the stranger's searing kiss? An Arrangement Most Wicked Lord Cormack Northmore is determined to find the immoral peer who ruined his sister. So when he learns that the irresistible woman he knows as "Kate" is the Season's most sought-after debutante, Cormack plans to use her connections to help him set a trap. Now, the closer Cormack gets to uncovering the villain who haunts the ton's ballrooms, the more he realizes that the lovely lady is in danger herself. Will he abandon his quest for revenge-or risk losing his one chance at love? (85,000 words) REVIEW I really enjoyed this book. it was slow to start but once it got going .. BAM! Lady Daphne is Lady Sophia's sister. She is sweet and kind, a realist in many ways, about to experience her first season and the most coveted of the ton. She does not like the idea of marriage and vows to never marry. She is fiercely protective especially to her lady's maid Kate who has found herself in a world of trouble. Deciding to disguise herself as Kate, Daphne plunges into the dangerous side of London to take care of Kate's debt. Lord Cormack is on a mission. He must find a certain villain that has done his family wrong, and serve a good dose of vengeance. When he rescues and shares a moment of passion with a beautiful woman on the wrong side of town, he is gob smacked when that same woman appears in the ballroom and apparently is a member of a wealthy family. Deciding that this information can aid his own cause, Cormack blackmails Daphne into helping him. Cormack suddenly realizes that the table are turning when the level of passion and perhaps love escalates, and he gets more than he bargains for. These two books are very different but have similar elements. Book one is more heart wrenching and angst filled, while Book 2 is more action packed. Both tell a great story of love, and the couples really are complimentary to one another. I am really looking forward to the third book anticipating the ride I'll be taken on next. If you love historical romance, this is a great series to add to your list! HAPPY READING!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the most endearing stories! Vane and Sophia are equally captivating as H/h. Genuine in their individual thoughts, emotions, beliefs. They come alive through their struggles and triumphs. I was compelled to care for them and hope for HEA. True to its Romance genre, the story focused on the H/h's relationship and love in all its wonderful nuances. The supporting cast was entertaining as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
RomanticReadsandSuch More than 1 year ago
I’m not usually a fan of stories where people let their pride, misunderstandings and miscommunications to drag out their reconciliation but I think Dalton does a pretty good job. There are reasons for each of them to feel the way they do but both are too pig-headed (and scared) to work it out quickly and easily. Their journey back together is a good one and I found myself rooting for them to get it all straightened out. It was enjoyable getting to know both Vane and Sophia, and the secrets about why Vane is the way he is were intriguing. Dalton had me glued to the pages as Sophia got to know her husband all over again. Full review available at Romantic Reads and Such on wordpress.
Bitten-By-Love-Reviews More than 1 year ago
Stranded with a Duke in a cosy mansion, I can’t think of a more spectacular way to spend a few cold winter nights. I loved experiencing the ups and downs with this couple. The heartbreak seemed insurmountable and the joy so genuine that I felt as if I was on a roller coaster ride of the greatest emotions. A sweet, sentimental romance with a scorching sensuality Vane and Sophia’s story kept me reading until the wee hours of the morning and not regretting my lack of sleep at all. The supporting characters added a dimension of entertainment and realism to the story that was refreshing and natural. This was a heartwarming adventure that had me smiling long after I finished reading the last word. This was my first Lily Dalton novel but I can bet it won’t be the last, especially if she gives Vane’s younger brother his own story plus I cannot wait to read about what Sophia’s sisters get up to.
krazymama_98 More than 1 year ago
Really liked the story. When a husband utterly fails and flees, its hard to imagine that a relationship could ever recover. When I wife is convinced that he has been unfaithful and that he can never be trusted, its very hard to imagine getting past that. But a well written story with believable human characters can make it real. Lily Dalton has done that.
HarlequinJunkie_ More than 1 year ago
Reading Never Desire A Duke by Lily Dalton was a pleasure. It is the story of Vane Barwick, the Duke of Claxton, and his wife, Sophia. The premise of the story is Vane and Sophia lost a baby and have grown far apart, living in separate countries. It is now Christmas of the same year and the couple are thrown together in celebration of Sophia's elderly grandfather's birthday. Vane has decided to get Sophia back, Sophia has decided she wants a separation....and so the battle begins. For most of the book, I wanted to slap Sophia. I didn't like her at all, found her to be a silly and immature. Vane, I liked immensely, if not for Lily Dalton's characterization of this Duke, I could not have gotten through the book. After a while, Sophia started to grow on me by showing compassion and charity towards others. By the end of chapter seventeen, I was misty eyed. I like both the ending and the epilogue. The secondary characters consist mainly of Vane and Sophia's family, and Vane's old paramours. I believe Lily Dalton intends to make a series of Sophia's sisters. I did not care for the sisters' characters anymore at the end of Never Desire A Duke than I did throughout the book, although I had come to like Sophia by the book's conclusion. I was confused to as how one of her sisters had a husband, I hope that will be later explained in Series. Overall, I pleasantly enjoyed Never Desire A Duke by Lily Dalton. I recommend it tremendously!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have to agree with World's Colide, Sophia demanding a list of Vane's lovers he had before they met was way over the top jealousy. And then to carry the list around with her inside her clothes? Makes me think she is the unbalanced one, who would want to be with a woman like that? Vane was definitely the more likable character. Although I didn't care for Sophia I did enjoy the writers style if writing. It was fast paced and intrigueing. It will keep you turning the pages .... I will look for more books by this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MyBookAddictionandMore More than 1 year ago
NEVER DESIRE A DUKE by Lily Dalton is an exciting Regency Debut Historical Romance. #1 One Scandalous Season. Fast paced and filled with danger,the past,and Christmas magic. This is the story of Vane Barwick, the Duke of Claxton and Lady Sophia,his lady wife,the one he left deserted right after a tragedy for parts unknown. Now he is back and wishes to re-unite with his beautiful wife, but will she accept him back with open arms? And so the story begins...... Filled with sensual tension,overcoming tragedy,witty banter,passion,a bit of romance and the magic of Christmas. "Never Desire a Duke" will fill your heart with Christmas cheer as these two lovers navigate their past, to find their future. With engaging characters albeit flawed ones, and an interesting storyline you are sure to enjoy this Christmas story of love,grief,loss and passion. A great read! Received for an honest review from the publisher and Net Galley. RATING: 4 HEAT RATING: STEAMY REVIEWED BY: AprilR, Review courtesy of My Book Addiction and More
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the book. Her characters dealt with real issues, ones that you can relate to in real life. The game of lookabout was interesting. It was a fun read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Historical_Romance_Lover More than 1 year ago
Vane, Lord Claxton, returns home to find his wife unconsolable after losing their child and learns that he is at fault. Lady Sophia is miserable after losing her child and having her husband abandon her. After many months, she has come to the conclusion that she must get a separation from Claxton but she wants a child. Can she convince her husband to give her the child she desperately wants and then grant her a separation? What Sophia doesn't know is that Claxton has never stopped loving her. He will do anything to get her back. Sophia has traveled to Claxton's childhood home to be alone and have time to think. Claxton finds out where she is going and quickly follows. Unfortunately, the place already has some uninvited guests and a misunderstanding ensues.  Lucky for Claxton, the weather has gotten worse and Sophia can not leave as she wishes. He uses that time to try and convince her to change her mind about the separation. Will Sophia get her wish for a child and a separation or will Claxton prevail and get his wife back? This is Lily Dalton's debut novel and it is wonderfully written. There were times in the book where I was laughing out loud and times my heart just broke for the characters. The secondary characters were very well written and I can't wait to read more about them.  Next up in the series is Never Entice an Earl about one of Sophia's sisters, Daphne. I can't wait to read it when it comes out on April 29, 2014. Thanks go to Netgalley and Grand Central Publishing/Forever for a free copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I simply LOVED Vane and Sophia's story! I've read over 600 historical romance books in the last 3 years and I have to say Vane and Sophia's characters will live long in my memory. I don't often read a book, finish it only to turn around and re-read it! You definitely don't want to miss this one. It's passionate, emotional and sexy. It's a keeper!
Karen_E More than 1 year ago
4.25/5 Stars Never Desire a Duke by Lily Dalton is a historical romance set regency England.  This is a book that made me smile, and gave me that romantic warm feeling in my heart.   This is Dalton’s first foray into writing and I will admit up until January of this year I was not a historic romance reader.  The book is filled with scandal, and rumors that have slid a ton (peerage) marriage off the road.  The book starts with a heart-wrenching prologue that sets up the rest of the book.  It seem that newly married Duke and Duchess Claxton, have hit a rocky patch because of his infidelities that the entire realm knows about except the poor pregnant Duchess.  What happens after the prologue was written in such a way that at times I was laughing and other times I felt like my heart was twisting, because of the betrayal that they young Duchess has felt. The estranged couple of Vane Claxton and his wife Sophia are snowbound at his childhood home, on the threshold of an impending legal separation.  In fact the couple have not seen each other in over seven month.  Claxton has been away on a diplomatic mission and left his wife to face London society and it’s wagging tongues by herself. Dalton has started out her historical romance career on good footing with hot passion and some funny exploits that kept the plot moving.  Dalton also was able to flesh out her characters, during quite moments that showed the power of couple’s commitment to the community in which they had become snow bound. Dalton wrote the characters with both emotion and heart felt sentiment, they are not cardboard cutouts; but breathing and bleeding characters.  I found this book a very enjoyable read, the main character are very likable and the minor characters endearing.  I look forward to more of this series
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You will love the characters!!!!!! Once I picked it up I couldn't put it down. This is the first book I've read by this author and it was exceptional!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a great fast romantic read. A wonderful start to the series. Hope the other 2 books are as good.