What the Duke Desiresby Sabrina Jeffries
From the New York Times bestselling author who “delivers lively lovers” and “entertaining, sensual historical romance” (Booklist) comes the first in her new Regency The Dukes Men series, featuring the Duke of Lyons and the illegitimate daughter of a viscount.
They are The Duke’s Men—an investigative/i>/b>/i>/i>
From the New York Times bestselling author who “delivers lively lovers” and “entertaining, sensual historical romance” (Booklist) comes the first in her new Regency The Dukes Men series, featuring the Duke of Lyons and the illegitimate daughter of a viscount.
They are The Duke’s Men—an investigative agency born out of family pride and irresistible passion . . . and they risk their lives and hearts to unravel any shocking deception or scandalous transgression!
Maximilian Cale, the Duke of Lyons, accepted long ago that his kidnapped brother was dead. When a cryptic note from investigator Tristan Bonnaud claims otherwise, Max seeks out Tristan’s sister, Lisette—and is infuriated to learn that Tristan has mysteriously vanished. Have the siblings perpetrated an elaborate hoax? Or is the fiercely protective beauty as innocent as she claims?
Fearful that the powerful duke will destroy Tristan’s career in his zeal for the truth, the clever Lisette convinces Max to accompany her to Paris in a joint search for their loved ones. But their journey takes a seductive twist when they pose as an ordinary husband and wife—not an English duke with a tarnished family name and the illegitimate daughter of a viscount—and discover an exhilarating passion free from the damning secrets of the past. With the line between danger and desire enticingly blurred, they discover that some mysteries, like those of the heart, are answered tenfold in the bliss of a true and trusting love.
Verdict An appealing, no-nonsense heroine who’s written off love because of her illegitimate birth and a driven, responsible hero haunted by a family history of insanity find answers and love amid a tangle of lies, treachery, and deception in this intricately plotted romantic adventure that will keep readers curious and riveted to the end. First of a promising new series, this engaging story cleverly sets the stage for the adventures to come. Jeffries (’Twas the Night After Christmas) lives in North Carolina.Kristin Ramsdell, Libn. Emerita, California State Univ.–East Bay
(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Read an Excerpt
What the Duke Desires
THERE WASN’T A single letter from Tristan in the whole lot.
As the misty morning brightened to a less gloomy gray, Lisette tossed the mail onto the desk in Dom’s study. Typical. When she’d left Paris, Tristan had promised to write her once a week. But though he’d started out well, two months had now passed without so much as a line from him.
She was torn between worry over what had stopped the flow of letters, and a desire to string her feckless brother up by his toes and let him see what it was like to be left hanging.
“Are you sure you don’t want to accompany me to Edinburgh on this case?” Dom asked. “You could take notes for me.”
Lisette looked over to see her half brother lounging in the doorway. At thirty-one he was leaner and harder than when they were young, and he now had a scar across his cheek that he wouldn’t talk about, which came from God knew where. But he was still in her camp.
Most of the time. She scowled. Sometimes he could be as bad as Tristan.
Ever since Dom had fetched her here from France six months ago, she’d worked hard to turn his rented town house into a home. Just because it also served as the office for Manton’s Investigations didn’t mean it had to feel cold and impersonal. But what had her efforts got her? Nothing but another man to govern her behavior.
Sitting back in the chair, she lifted an eyebrow. “You don’t need me to take notes—you remember everything word for word.”
“But you’re better at descriptions than I am. You notice things about people that I don’t.”
She rolled her eyes. “I will only go if you let me do more than describe things and make you tea.”
He eyed her warily. “Like what?”
“Interview witnesses. Follow suspects. Carry a pistol.”
To his credit, he didn’t laugh. Tristan would have laughed. And then tried, again, to find her a suitable husband from among his swaggering soldier friends in Paris, who acted as if a half-English bastard like her should be grateful for every crumb of their attention.
Instead, Dom eyed her consideringly as he came into the room. “Do you even know how to use a pistol?”
“Yes. Vidocq showed me.” Only once, before Tristan put a stop to the lessons, but Dom needn’t know that.
He was already cursing Eugène Vidocq, the former head of the French secret police. “I can’t believe our brother allowed you anywhere near that scoundrel.”
She shrugged. “We needed the money. And Vidocq needed someone at the Sûreté Nationale whom he could trust to organize all his index cards containing descriptions of criminals. It was a good position.”
And to her surprise, she’d enjoyed it. After Maman’s death three years ago, when Lisette had moved to Paris to live with Tristan, she’d craved useful work to take her mind off her grief. Vidocq had offered it to her. She’d learned about investigating crimes from him. Vidocq had even proposed hiring her as an agent for the Sûreté, as he’d done with other women, but Tristan had refused to allow it.
She snorted. Tristan thought it perfectly fine for him to be an agent for the Sûreté all these years, but his sister was to be kept wrapped in cotton until she found a husband. Which got more unlikely by the year. She was already twenty-six, for pity’s sake!
“What is your answer, Dom?” she prodded her half brother. “If I go with you, will you let me do more than take notes?”
“Not this time, but perhaps one day—”
“That’s what Tristan always said.” She sniffed. “Meanwhile, he was plotting behind my back to get me married, and when that didn’t work, he packed me off to London with you.”
“For which I’m profoundly grateful,” Dom said with a faint smile.
“Don’t try to distract me with compliments. I’m not going to marry any of your choices for husband, either.”
“Good,” he said cheerily. “Because I don’t have any. I’m too selfish to want to lose you to a husband. I need you here.”
She eyed him uncertainly. “You’re just saying that.”
“No, dear girl, I’m not. You’ve got a wealth of information about Vidocq’s methods stored up in that clever head. I’d be mad to marry you off and lose all that.”
Lisette softened. Dom had been much more accommodating about her learning his business than she’d expected. Perhaps it was because he’d struggled so hard to gain it, after George had cut him off entirely. Or perhaps it was because he remembered their childhood together fondly.
Whatever the case, she would allow him some time. Perhaps eventually he would consider giving her broader duties. More exciting duties. She might finally get to travel, to satisfy the wanderlust she’d inherited from Papa. It was a measure of how much Dom trusted her that he was leaving her here for a week with only the servants for company. This was the first time he’d done so.
“So you think I’m clever, do you?” she said.
“And managing and opinionated and a pain in the arse—” At her frown, he softened his tone. “But yes, also very clever. You have many good qualities, dear girl, and I do appreciate them. I’m not Tristan, you know.”
“I know.” She thumbed through the letters spread out on the desk. “Speaking of our rapscallion brother, I haven’t heard from him in months. It’s not like him to be so silent. Generally he writes once a week.”
Dom strode up to the desk to collect some papers for his trip. “He’s probably on a case for Vidocq.”
“But Vidocq was forced to resign as head of the Sûreté last year.”
After Vidocq had left, Tristan had retained his position as an agent by the skin of his teeth. Because she hadn’t been an agent, she’d lost her position entirely. So her brother had decided it was time that she find a husband, even an English one. And since he dared not return to England because of the theft warrant against him, it had been left to Dom to take her to London.
“Then he’s probably on a case for the new fellow,” Dom said as he shoved documents into his satchel.
“I doubt that.” She rose to wander toward the window. “The new head of the Sûreté doesn’t exactly like Tristan.”
“That’s because Tristan is damned good at what he does. That new fellow couldn’t investigate a fruit seller for bruising an apple, so he resents anyone who shows him up.” He shot her a side glance. “Although, to be fair, our brother can try any employer’s patience. He makes his own rules, keeps odd hours, and has a tendency not to tell anyone what he’s up to.”
“You’ve just described yourself,” she said dryly.
A laugh sputtered out of him. “All right, I’ll concede that. But I work for myself, so I can act that way—he has superiors who expect regular reports.”
“True,” she said absently as she gazed out the window, her attention caught by a man in a gray surtout across the street, who was staring at the town house most intently. He looked familiar. He looked like . . .
She moved closer to the glass, and the man disappeared into the fog. A chill skittered down her spine that she forced herself to ignore. It couldn’t be Hucker. He wouldn’t be in London; he’d be in Yorkshire with the rest of George’s minions. If he even still worked for George.
Dom walked toward her. “There’s also the fact that he has an annoying tendency to land himself in trouble without even trying.”
“Who?” she asked, startled into turning from the window.
“Tristan.” He steadied a curious gaze on her. “That is who we’re discussing, isn’t it?”
“Yes, of course.” She forced herself to forget about Hucker. “His penchant for getting into scrapes is precisely why I’m worried. Even Vidocq used to say that Tristan purposely courts danger.”
“True, but he always manages to extricate himself from it, too. He doesn’t need you for that.” Dom’s gaze on her softened. “I, on the other hand, need you for lots of things.” Holding his gloved hand out to her, he pointed to a rip in the palm. “You see? I did that just this morning. Can you fix it?”
He was trying to distract her from her worries, which was sweet of him, though completely transparent. Wordlessly, she drew off his glove, took out her mending box, and began sewing the rip closed.
As she worked, her mind wandered to the man she’d seen outside. Should she mention him to Dom? No, that would be foolish. He might decide to stay in London, which they could ill afford. His business was growing by the day, but he still couldn’t pass up a case as lucrative as the one in Scotland.
Besides, she wasn’t even sure it was anything to be concerned about. It had been years since she’d left the estate—the man might not be Hucker at all. No point in alarming Dom for no reason.
She’d nearly finished repairing his glove when Dom’s lone manservant—butler, valet, and footman all in one—entered the room. “It is nearly nine, sir. You have only half an hour to make it to the docks.”
“Thank you, Skrimshaw,” Dom drawled. “I know how to read a clock.”
The florid-faced fellow stiffened. “Begging your pardon, sir, but ‘Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore, So do our minutes hasten to their end.’ ”
When Dom began to scowl, Lisette smothered a laugh and said hastily, “I’ll make sure he gets off in time, Shaw. He’ll be along soon.”
Skrimshaw looked unconvinced but turned and left.
“I swear, if that man quotes any more Shakespeare to me, I’ll turn him off,” Dom complained.
“No, you won’t. You’ll never find another who’ll do what he does for so little salary.” She tied off the thread and handed the glove to Dom. “Besides, you provoked him by using his real name.”
“Oh, for God’s sake,” he said as he jerked his glove on, “I’m not going to call my servant by a stage name, no matter how he spends most of his evenings.”
“You should be kinder to him, you know,” she chided. “Because of your insistence that he stay here to look after me at night while you’re gone, he gave up his minor role that begins rehearsals this week. And in any case, he’s right. It’s time for you to leave.” She fought a smile. “All those minutes are hastening away.”
With a muttered oath, Dom turned for the door, then paused to glance back at her. “About Tristan. If you haven’t heard from him by the time I return from Scotland, I’ll see what I can find out.”
“Thank you, Dom,” she said softly, knowing what a concession that was.
“But don’t think I’ll be running off to France after the rascal,” he grumbled. “Not unless someone pays me for it.”
“Perhaps while you’re in Edinburgh I’ll solve a case or two,” she said lightly. “Then I can pay you.”
He scowled. “That’s not remotely amusing. Promise me you won’t try any such fool thing.”
Casting him an enigmatic smile, she glanced at the clock. “You’ll miss your ship if you don’t leave.”
“So help me, Lisette, if you—”
“Go, go,” she cried as she pushed him toward the door. “You know perfectly well I’m teasing you. Don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine.”
At last he left, muttering about insolent servants and troublesome sisters. With a laugh, she returned to dealing with the mail, sorting each letter by the case it involved, then putting the inquiries for new cases into a pile to go through last.
She spent the day responding to the correspondence, making notes on the cases she thought Dom might take, and dealing with household matters. It was nearly midnight before she got to bed. There was no point in retiring before then—crowds of theatergoers thronged the streets most evenings. She enjoyed the noise and the bustle, which reminded her of the theaters where Maman had acted in Toulon.
The streets were a bit quieter once she did go to bed and they generally stayed that way until midday, at least at their little end of Bow Street.
So when a pounding on the door downstairs awakened her just past dawn, she nearly had heart failure. Who could be coming here so early? Oh dear, had something happened to delay Dom’s ship to Edinburgh?
Hastily donning her dressing gown over her night rail, she hurried into the hall just in time to hear Skrimshaw grumbling to himself as he headed for the door downstairs. He’d scarcely gotten it open when a male voice snapped, “I demand to see Mr. Manton.”
“I beg your pardon, sir,” Skrimshaw said, donning his butler role with great aplomb. “Mr. Manton does not see clients at this early hour.”
“I’m not a client. I’m the Duke of Lyons,” the man countered, his tone iced with the sort of anger only the aristocracy could manage. “And he’ll see me if he knows what’s good for him.”
The bold statement sent Lisette rushing forward in a panic.
“Otherwise,” the duke went on, “I will be back with officers of the law to search every inch of this house for him and his—”
“He’s not here,” she said as she flew down the stairs, heedless of how she was dressed. The last thing Manton Investigations needed was an officious duke barging in with a crowd of officers merely because he was up in the boughs over some foolish matter. The gossip alone would ruin them.
But as she reached the bottom of the stairs and caught sight of the man, she skidded to a halt. Because the fellow looming in the doorway beyond Skrimshaw did not look like a duke.
Oh, he wore the clothing of a duke—a top hat of expensive silk, a coat of exquisitely tailored cashmere, and a perfectly tied cravat. But every duke she’d seen depicted in the papers or in satirical prints was gray-haired and stooped.
This duke was neither. Tall and broad-shouldered, he was the most striking man she’d ever seen. Not handsome, no. His features were too bold for that—his jaw too sharply chiseled, his eyes too deeply set—and his golden-brown hair was a touch too straight to be fashionable. But attractive, oh yes. It annoyed her that she noticed just how attractive.
“Dom’s not here,” she said again.
“Then tell me where he is.”
The expectation that she would just march to his tune raised her hackles. She was used to dealing with his sort—the worst thing she could do was let him bully her into revealing too much. After all, she still didn’t know what this was about. “He’s on a case out of town, Your Grace. That’s all I’m at liberty to say.”
Eyes the color of finest jade sliced down, ripping away whatever flimsy pretensions she might have. In one savage glance he unveiled her age, family connections, and station in life, making her feel all that she was . . . and was not.
Those all-seeing eyes snapped back to her. “And who are you? Manton’s mistress?”
His words, spoken in a tone of studied contempt, had Skrimshaw turning positively scarlet, but before the servant could speak, she touched his arm. “I’ll handle this, Shaw.”
Though the older man tensed, he knew her well enough to recognize the tone that presaged an epic set-down. Reluctantly, he stepped back.
She met the duke’s gaze coldly. “How do you know I’m not Manton’s wife?”
“Manton doesn’t have a wife.”
Supercilious oaf. Or, as Maman would have called him . . . English. He might not look like a duke, but he certainly acted like one. “No, but he does have a sister.”
That seemed to give the duke pause. Then he caught himself and cast her a haughty stare. “None that I know of.”
That really sparked her temper. She forgot about his threat, forgot about the early hour or what she was wearing. All she could see was another George, full of himself and his consequence.
“I see.” She marched forward to thrust her face right up to his. “Well, since you know so much about Mr. Manton already, you obviously don’t need us to tell you when he’s returning or how you can reach him. So, good day, Your Grace.”
She started to close the door, but he pushed forward to block the motion. When she lifted her livid gaze, she found him staring at her with the merest hint of respect. “Forgive me, madam, it appears that you and I got off on the wrong foot.”
“You got off on the wrong foot. I merely watched you shove it into your mouth.”
He raised an eyebrow, clearly unused to having people of her inconsequence speak to him in such a fashion. Then he nodded. “A colorful way to put it. And perhaps apt. But I have good reason for my rudeness. If you will allow me in to explain, I promise to behave like a gentleman.”
When she eyed him skeptically, Skrimshaw stepped forward to murmur, “At the very least, miss, come away from the open door before someone sees you dressed as . . .”
It suddenly hit her that she was standing here practically in view of the street wearing only her night rail and dressing gown. No wonder the duke thought her a mistress. “Yes, of course,” she mumbled and backed away, allowing him to enter.
The duke closed the door behind him. “Thank you, Miss . . . Miss . . .”
“Bonnaud,” she finished.
Before she could even explain why her name was different from Dom’s, the duke said in a strained voice, “Ah. You’re that sister.”
The wealth of meaning in his words made heat rise in her cheeks. “The bastard one?” she said tightly.
“The one who’s also a sister to Tristan Bonnaud.” His hard gaze flicked down her again.
Alarm rose in her chest. “You know my other brother?”
“You might say that. He’s the reason I’m here.” His eyes narrowed on her. “I was hoping Manton would reveal where the scoundrel is hiding in London. But I don’t suppose there’s much chance that you will do so.”
A chill coursed down her spine. This wasn’t good at all. If Tristan had been fool enough to come to England . . .
No, it was impossible. “You must be mistaken, sir. Tristan hasn’t visited London in years. And if he did, we would be the first to know. But Dom and I have had no word from him.”
He searched her face. “Which only proves me right about his character. I did think it odd that a man of Manton’s sterling reputation would countenance Bonnaud’s actions, but if he was unaware of them—”
“What actions, sir?” she asked, her pulse jumping up a notch with the duke’s every word. “What has my brother done?”
“Forgive me, madam, but I prefer to discuss this with a more disinterested party. Tell me where Manton is, and I will leave you in peace.”
After hinting that Tristan had done some awful thing? Not a chance. “As I said before, I’m not at liberty to do so. But if you’ll reveal what it is you think Tristan has done, I promise to be as impartial a judge of his actions as you have been.”
Skrimshaw let out what sounded like a laugh, which turned into a cough beneath the duke’s withering glance.
“It seems that we have come to an impasse,” the duke told her icily.
She crossed her arms over her chest. “It does appear that way, doesn’t it?”
“I’m not leaving without the information I seek.”
“And I’m not telling you anything without knowing what’s going on. So you have two choices, Your Grace. You may speak to me clearly and honestly of your grievance, and I will help you resolve the matter. Or you can bed down in our parlor for the next week or so until Dom’s return.”
“A week!” the duke exclaimed.
“As I told you, he is on a case. Sometimes they go on for a while.”
Lyons muttered an oath under his breath. “You realize I could bring half a dozen officers in here to search the place for the information I seek.”
It was her turn to cast him a withering stare. “You could. But you’ll find that such behavior will only make me more recalcitrant. By the time you can return with officers, I will have spirited away any information of use to you. And then you’ll have to toss me in gaol to get anything out of me.”
He blinked, then surprised her by letting out a harsh laugh. “You make a formidable adversary, Miss Bonnaud.”
“I take that as a compliment,” she said archly.
“Of course you do. Very well, I’ll tell you what I know if you’ll tell me what you know.” He nodded at Skrimshaw. “But only if we can continue this conversation in private.”
Now that she’d won the skirmish, she began to be worried about the battle. If he wanted privacy, Tristan must have done something very bad indeed.
“Certainly, Your Grace,” she said shakily, then turned to Skrimshaw. “If you’d be so good as to ask Mrs. Biddle to bring us tea, we shall take it upstairs in the study. I believe this discussion is going to require it.”
“It will require something more than tea, I expect,” Skrimshaw muttered as he took the duke’s hat and coat, then headed for the back of the house.
Lisette began climbing the stairs. “If you’ll follow me, sir, I’m sure we can sort out this muddle.”
The duke fell into step behind her. “I damned well hope so.”
So did she. Because if she couldn’t handle this to the duke’s satisfaction, she had a feeling the result would be disaster for both of her brothers. And she would do just about anything to prevent that.
Meet the Author
Sabrina Jeffries is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of several Regency-set historical romance series, including the Royal Brotherhood, the School for Heiresses, the Hellions of Halstead Hall, the Duke’s Men, and the Sinful Suitors. When she’s not writing in a coffee-fueled haze, she’s traveling with her husband, caring for her adult autistic son, or indulging in one of her passions: jigsaw puzzles, chocolate, music, and costume parties. With more than nine million books in print in twenty languages, the North Carolina author never regrets tossing aside a budding career in academics for the sheer joy of writing fun fiction and hopes that one day a book of hers will end up saving the world. She always dreams big.
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Just finished this Nook book last night. I loved this story. I wasn't sure how the author would tie it all together with quite a few mysteries, but she did it. Perfect ending. Every thing fit like a puzzle piece. I could tell the author did a lot of research due to the details of the places and customs. I find these detail make the story so much more than just a romance book, because you actually learn something you didn't know before. For instance, how and why they quarantine a ship. The romance in this story starts out gentle and ends up as a storm of passion. I like a story that lets the romance and love build gradually rather than full steam ahead. The author has allowed her character's personalities to grow and change slowly and perfectly in context with their life style and station in life. I will definitely look for more Nook books by Sabrina Jeffries. *Since this program wouldn't allow me to choose a pen name I have to be anonymous. It freezes when I try to create a pen name.
I've loved all of Ms. Jeffries' stories, and I loved this one as well. Ms. Jeffries knows exactly how to have her heroes and heroines play the courtship game, how to let the sensual tension build between them while mysteries and problems are solved. Her storytelling about Max and Lisette kept me enthralled through the ups and downs and all-arounds of their romance drama - until their very happy ever after ending. I will continue to read Ms. Jeffries' stories as I've always done, with anticipation, joy and satisfaction. She has not and does not disappoint this reader. I recommend this book highly to Regency romance fans.
AT THE DUKE DESIRES by Sabrina Jeffries is an exciting Regency Historical Romance set in 1816-1828 England. #1 in the "Duke's Men" series. Fast paced and filled with passion, secrets, a bit of danger,family, betrayal,madness,romance and love. What a delightful way to begin a series. Maximilian Cale, the Duke of Lyons and Lisette Bonnaud, an illegitimate daughter of a viscount are on a mission to find Lisette's missing brother, and Max's kidnapped, long to believe dead brother. What they find is passion and love. Well written with Ms. Jeffries' usual style,her engaging,charming,although,battered, characters and her interesting,intriguing plots,you can not go wrong reading one of her stories. An interesting and intriguing story where passion sizzles and love holds fast. A must read! Well done indeed! I can hardly wait for the next in the "Duke's Men". This was a personal buy. RATING: 4.5 HEAT RATING: MILD REVIEWED BY: AprilR, Review courtesy of My Book Addiction and More
If you enjoyed Sabrina Jeffries Hellions of Halstead series, you will love this one. The heroine, Lisette is a strong willed, fun and sassy female. The hero is Maximilian Cale, the Duke of Lyons who is very male, but has a tender side. Max receives a message from Lisette's brother Tristan to meet him because he believes Max's brother, Peter is still alive. When Tristan doesn't show up, Max goes to Tristan's brother Dom's place looking for him. Here Max meets Lisette and fireworks explode. She cons Max into the two of them traveling together to find Tristan. Look for funny, sexy times between the two. I loved this story and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a fun, sassy, sexy Regency story.
Sabrina Jeffries is at her best with this enthralling first entry in the new Duke's Men series. Lisette is a spirited, plucky heroine that has you rooting for her right from the prologue. Max, the Duke of Lyons, is accustomed to being in charge. Their exchanges are witty and engaging. The love story is truly compelling as these two complex characters learn to trust one another during their journey from England to France to search for their missing siblings. There's passion, intrigue, family secrets, and adventure all leading to true love and happily ever after. Everything a romance should be that's made so much more by the talents of its author who never fails to create memorable, heart touching stories. Looking forward to the second installment, When The Rogue Returns.
Once more Sabrina does it again. Characters that make you fall in love with them and want to know everything! I could not put it down once I started to read. Lisette and Max are perfect for each other. If you are wondering if you should try this book, DO IT!! You will not be disappointed.
Like all of Sabrina Jeffries books What the Duke Desires is a great read. Sabrina pulls you in, captures your heart, and makes you feel every moment of the characters wild ride. If you have read Sabrina's books but haven't read What the Duke Desires well then it needs to join your "To Read List", and if you have never read a Sabrina Jeffries book then this is your start and end to finding a great author. What the Duke Desires is also the beginning to a new series the Dukes Men.
Thanks for a writing such a great book. I would recommend it.
LOVE this book. Definitely recommend it!
I loved this so much! The characters were smart and likable and the story was really fun and adventure-y. (My favorite kind!) And, as with all Sabrina Jeffries books, you get LOTS of great sexual tension. (Also my favorite.) Don't miss this one! It's the first in the new Duke's Men series, and I can't wait to read the rest of them!
3.75 stars: 3.75stars WHAT THE DUKE DESIRES is the first storyline in The Duke’s Men historical romance series by Sabrina Jeffries with the introduction of Maximilian Cale aka The Duke of Lyons and the woman who will steal more than his heart but his soul and the very air that he breathes-Lisette Bonnaud. The storyline focuses on the Duke’s search for the man who claims to know the whereabouts of Max’s missing and presumably dead brother and how this search will bring Max up close and personal with Lisette. When it is discovered that Lisette’s brother Tristan is also missing, the couple will embark on a cross continent journey that will force Max and Lisette to pose as husband and wife to ensure her reputation stays intact. There is much family background history revealed throughout the storyline including the introduction of Lisette’s brothers and extended family of Maximilian Cale. Lisette is more than conscience and aware of her lack of social standing within society and therefore entering into any sort of relationship with the Duke, she fears will tarnish his reputation. And the Duke’s family history, although most of it not public knowledge, has the man denying his feelings for the woman with whom he has fallen in love. A history of secrets, betrayal and lies will be revealed forcing Max to walk away from a future with Lisette. When spiteful and heartbreaking words are exchanged, Max knows he has damned himself to a life without the woman he loves. The sexual tension within the storyline was hit and miss due to the continuous battle of words between the couple and, in particular the Duke’s (Max) occasional snippy attitude and highbrow manner. His constant need to use words in anger, against Lisette, made him a difficult character at times to embrace even though Lisette was more than willing to forgive the man every time. In many novels, the back and forth banter fuels the sexual pressure but there was something missing in this particular story. Max’s attraction to Lisette was cooled with thoughts of his own family secrets, and Lisette knew that her mother’s reputation would push away any thoughts of a future with the Duke as her own reputation by tarnished by association. Whenever the couple appeared to make headway in their relationship, painful memories and potential legal liabilities would interfere. Most of the storyline focuses on the developing relationship between Max and Lisette and, the build-up to discovering the truth behind the Duke’s missing brother. The big reveal and identity of everyone concerned read like a who’s who in the family tree. There were so many different branches the family tree started to look like a forest-but for the trees. What The Duke Desires is a fast-paced introductory storyline that reveals the tainted history behind two different families, yet very similar on many levels. Money does not make one immune to gossip and disease, and a life of struggle will soften a woman’s heart towards a man who has lived an entire life built on a lie. see al of my reviews at : thereadingcafe(dot)com
I love all of her books!
The Duke's Men Book One. When Maximilian Cale, Duke of Lyons, receives a letter from Tristan Bonnaud about his long-lost brother (thought to be dead) he is furious to discover Bonnaud stood him up. He seeks out Tristan's family and finds Lisette, his sister. When Lisette learns of the letter, she forces Max to take her with him so that he will not destroy her brother's career. To avoid scandal, they travel as husband and wife to France. However, every answer turns up more questions. If you're looking for a historical mystery with a strong-willed woman and a lonely duke, this is the book for you.
When Lisette's father dies suddenly, and she and her two half brothers and her mother (her fathers mistress) gets kicked out of their home by their fathers heir and their eldest brother, they run to France, knowing that its the only safe place they can go to. Now years later, Lisette and her brother Dom have returned to England, where Dom has been working on setting up his investigating business, with his sister aiding him. But then Dom is called away on a case up in Edinburgh, and Lisette is left on her own. Then the Duke of Lyons comes knocking on her door, insisting on the location of her other brother, Tristan, who knows the location of the Dukes brother, but Tristan has disappeared. So to safeguard her brother, so goes with Maximillian in search of her brother. On their journey they are forced to pretend to be husband and wife, and as they are alone, a desire builds between the two, a desire that threatens to consume them both. What The Duke Desires is the first book in the "Duke's Men" series, which is the most recent series by this author. Sabrina Jeffries is a favorite of mine, when it comes to romances, and has been for many years. Many of her titles are at the top of my list as favorites. So I knew I was going to fall in love with What The Duke Desires and I was right, I could barely put this one down, and I haven't read a story so fast in quite a while, I was so immersed with the story I could barely put this down last night to go to bed. What The Duke Desires is a book I found through my local library. What The Duke Desires is a story that is set in Regency England, but most of the book is set in France. When I started reading this book, there is quite a overwhelming feeling of emotion from the beginning. We get introduced into the Bonnaud family, and as this is the first official book of the series, I felt like it did a well job in setting up the series, and I loved seeing these two together. There was such a sizzling connection between this couple from the very beginning. Maximillian, is the type of hero that gives you tingles. Max, is a Duke, and ever since his older brother disappeared as a child when he was a boy, he has been raised to that position. He is very arrogant, commanding, and must get his own way at all times. So when he meets Lisette he is astounded that a little piece of a woman would even think of standing up to him. I love the scenes, especially in the first meeting, definitely will give you giggles and balls of laughs. As their connection deepens, the plot thickens, and tensions rise, and passion erupts. A Delightful romance that will take you breath away. I loved the style of this story and especially the way this series began. I couldn't help but fall in love with Lisette and Max and their families. This story was intoxicating and addicting, a love story that is intense at times, and sweet at others. The heat in this story isn't way hot, but isn't light either. I felt like it had the perfect balance, that is my favorite style of sensuality. A remarkably written romance that stole my heart!!! BREATHTAKING!!! A Must read for historical romance lovers.
Truly entertaining book!
One of my favorite authors. I enjoy the series and the connections to other series that Sabrina Jeffries has written.
She done it again and its a pleasure to know whenever one buys her books what adventures lie ahead but I WARN you that her books should only be read when you have nothing to do Why? Because you will not be able to put it down until the very end. Enjoy Ms. D from Bronx,NY