My name is Kimberly and I'm the reader/reviewer behind Wit and Sin. Wit and Sin is a website that provides honest reviews and publicity. I primarily read and review Romance titles, but I also review Urban Fantasy, New Adult, Young Adult, Mystery, and Non-Fiction titles. In addition to Wit and Sin, I am a reviewer for Joyfully Reviewed (pen name: Shayna) and Romance Junkies (pen name: Lily).
My review cross-posted from Wit and Sin
All it took was one dance and Raphael de Chartres, Duke of Dyemore, was captivated by Lady Iris Jordan. But she is lightness personified and he’s trapped in the dark. All he has is his mission: infiltrate and destroy the Lords of Chaos, a powerful secret society of rapists and murderers. When Iris is kidnapped by the Lords on the way home a friend’s wedding, Raphael risks his cover to rescue her. To protect her from the Lords, he convinces her to marry him. What he doesn’t expect is that Iris isn’t content to settle for the friendly but passionless marriage he envisions. She’s determined to break down his barriers, and as it becomes increasingly difficult for him to resist her, Raphael has to wonder if there’s a chance their unconventional marriage could become a love match. But if he hopes to find out, he and Iris will have to outwit the leader of the Lords of Chaos who is determined to destroy them.
Duke of Desire has is a dark, emotional book that will definitely tug on your heartstrings. Raphael and Iris’s story starts off with a blast of action, followed by an almost Beauty and the Beast-like period of the two near-strangers-turned-newlyweds getting to know one another, followed by a romance intertwined with a struggle to defeat dangers past and present.
Raphael is a man whose life is consumed by one mission: destroy the Lords of Chaos. Raphael’s father was the leader of the vile society, and he was a monster. Because of his actions, Raphael is scarred inside and out, tortured, and my heart broke for him. His past is dark and author Elizabeth Hoyt doesn’t skirt around the demons that torment him. I wanted to see Raphael heal, to see him find love, and I knew it’d take a strong-willed heroine to break through his walls. Iris is just that heroine. She’s got an inner strength and huge heart that I adored. She doesn’t back down when Raphael tries to push her away, and the two of them were good for each other. Their love story is emotional and rewarding and I liked that they didn’t fall in love instantaneously. Their relationship felt organic and I had a hard time putting Duke of Desire down because I wanted to see them find happiness.
The Lords of Chaos and their path of destruction feature prominently in this book. I won’t spoil what happens, but these are villains who definitely make you want to vomit. Readers should be warned that this is the darkest of all the Maiden Lane books and that childhood sexual abuse is discussed. This is a heavy subject, and Ms. Hoyt treats it with respect. Needless to say, I was as invested in Raphael’s mission to destroy these monsters as I was in his romance with Iris. And though the ending of the story felt a bit rushed, Ms. Hoyt wrapped up both plotlines in a satisfying way.
Duke of Desire is the twelfth full-length Maiden Lane book, but whether you’re new to the series or are a long-time fan, you can jump in without any issues. Ms. Hoyt’s writing is always compelling, and even with such dark subject matter, the themes of love and hope shine through.
FTC Disclosure: I received the e-book version of this story for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.