Genre: Historical Romance, Regency
Source: Received from Publicist for Review
Ten years ago Ivy Breckenridge’s life was ruined. She had to reinvent herself, and now, after painstakingly making her own way in the world, she’s nearly forgotten the dreams of home and family she’d once nurtured. Until one man peers into her soul and awakens every one of her hidden desires. But no matter how good he makes her feel, she can’t trust him—alone by choice is better than alone by necessity.
With a notorious reputation for training married women in the art of passion, Sebastian Westgate, Duke of Clare, is reviled by some and celebrated by others. He doesn’t allow anyone close enough to see past his charming exterior. When Ivy uncovers the man beneath, the seducer is suddenly the seduced. Enraptured by her mind and spirit, he wants more but revealing his darkest secrets is a price he won’t pay.
I had a lot of fun reading The Duke of Desire which I expected after having previously read The Duke of Deception, which was the book immediately preceding this. I will note that you do not need to read this series in order necessarily as they stand alone well, however some characters/couples from the prior books do pop up here. You do not need to have read those to fall right into what is occurring here, although a couple plot points from the earlier books might be revealed, but I didn’t feel that was an issue based on my expectations with historical romances.
Ivy Breckenridge has a veiled backstory and she is perfectly happy if she can keep it that way, however, anytime that is the case you know it is just going to cause all kinds of havoc for that character…and it does just that here. The Duke of Clare, variously known as Clare, West, and The Duke of Desire, is well known in the social circles for being a womanizer, however all isn’t what it seems about him and what he appears to be. West’s backstory was my biggest issue with this book. I found it hard to be believable and felt too much akin to the film Hitch in some ways (mind you, I also found the film to be hard to believe while I do still hold it in high regard in terms of rom-coms). While I fought constantly against this element, I LOVED these two characters. They were constantly pulling toward each other and repelling from each other just like magnets. They are intrigued by their defiance of society’s rules and expectations. West is a cool customer and seductive. Ivy is by no means a wilting miss, but she has no interest in finding love or marriage after some events of her past and is happy to simply remain a lady’s companion.
The romantic and sexual tension in this novel is so thick and well-written – both what is said to each other and thought within their minds. It is hot and heavy and absolutely appropriate to the story while continuing to move the plot forward. These characters really change each other and their outlook on the world.
The secondary characters were not as fleshed out if you look at this novel as a stand-alone, but if you have read any of the other novels you will feel like you know them already and it makes the experience more complete.
I found myself going back to pick up this novel anytime I had a spare few minutes, because it was such a fun, but complex, romp.
Reviews of this book by other bloggers:
Also by Darcy Burke:
The other titles in this series include:
The Duke of Deception (Book 3)
Check out the EXCERPT I Have for You!
“What are you doing?” She looked utterly bemused, her red-gold brows pitched. It was rather fetching. She was normally quite self-possessed.
“Waiting for the Travills to finish their rendezvous behind the bushes over yonder.”
“Their wh—” She blushed. “Never mind. How do you know they’re there?”
“I was going to conceal myself while I waited for you. Apparently it’s an excellent location for...concealment.”
“I see.” She looked around. “As is this.”
He took a small step toward her. “Are you suggesting we have a rendezvous?”
“Isn’t that precisely what we’re doing?” She blushed again. “Sort of.”
“I don’t know precisely what we’re doing. I’d be more than happy to copy the Travills, however.”
“I don’t—” She pressed her lips together. “No. I came to walk. If that no longer interests you, I’ll return to the house.”
She started to turn, but he touched her elbow. It was the slightest connection, but he felt it in every bone, every muscle, every nerve. “Please don’t. I’ll behave.”
She arched a brow at him. “Do you know how?”
He chuckled. “Clearly I do. I’ve been on excellent behavior since you took me to task.”
She nodded primly. “Indeed you have.” She exhaled and brushed her gloved hands down her skirt. “What are we to do then?”
“They shouldn’t be too long. I’ll keep an eye out.” He peered around the shrubs and looked toward where the Travills were hidden.
“How do you know?” she asked.
Given Travill’s open fall and the way his hand was lifting the hem of his wife’s dress, West was certain they wouldn’t be enjoying a protracted interlude. “If you recall, I’m very observant.”
She brought her hand to her mouth. “Oh goodness. Were they...in flagrante dilecto?”
He laughed and had to modulate his volume before he drew attention to their presence. “Not quite.”
“Then how do you know how long they’ll be? Maybe you ruined the mood.”
He laughed again then sobered, looking at her a bit differently all of a sudden. “What do you know of that?”
She turned her head, but he caught the slight coloring of her cheeks. “Nothing. Just what I’ve heard.”
Confident she was the most fascinating woman he’d ever met, he was eager to spend the afternoon with her. He peeked around the hedge again and saw the Travills making their way toward the house.
He turned to Miss Breckenridge. “They’re finished.”
“I’m beginning to think we should be too.”
He didn’t like the sound of that. “Why?”
She hesitated. “I don’t know. Because.” She looked as if she might say more but then only added another “because.”
“That’s a riveting reason to be sure. I think we should take our walk. It’s not raining, and the view atop Wendover beckons.” He held his arm out for her. “Will you allow me to escort you?”
She glanced at his sleeve and her lip twitched, as if she’d nibbled the inside. “What if someone sees us? If the Travills were out here, someone else could be too.”
She had a point, but he wasn’t deterred. “It’s unlikely. And if we do encounter someone, I’ll come up with an excuse. I’m quite good at that.”
She eyed him warily. “I’m sure you are.”
“Shall we then?”
She tentatively put her hand on his arm. “I hope I don’t regret this.”
He covered her fingers with his. “I promise you won’t.”
“Stop promising me things.” She took her hand back. “On second thought, I shouldn’t be touching you. That surely won’t help with any of your possible excuses should we run into anyone.”
“Fair enough.” He gestured for her to precede him. When she’d moved past him, he let her walk several steps before catching up with her. “And Miss Breckenridge?” She turned her head to look at him, her green eyes bright and intelligent. “I only promise things I know I can deliver.”
Tour Wide Giveaway
This giveaway is coordinated by the publicist and I have nothing to do with how it is run or with the drawing of a winner. Here is what is up for grabs:
A $35 Amazon Gift Card
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