(Duke’s Club, #5)
Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)
A Duke With A Scandalous Secret:
The Duke of Aston has always been the talk of the ton. Wild, passionate, and eccentric, women fall at his feet and gentlemen won’t dare to meet him on the dueling ground. But the duke has a secret. A secret that could destroy his family. While the world sees him as a prince of the realm, he knows that in truth, he’s worthless. So, when Lady Rosamund enters his life demanding he teach her the artful ways of seduction, he’s happy to oblige until he realizes she is the best woman he has ever known and therefore a woman he can never have.
A Lady Who Won’t Be Intimidated:
Lady Rosamund, only sibling of the Duke of Blackburn, is lonely. Raised in the remote glens of the Western Highlands, Rosamund has lived a sheltered life where only books and long walks have relieved her isolation. When she meets the Duke of Aston near her home, a man as delicious as the heroes she’s read about, the passion that sparks between them in undeniable. Adventurous spirit that the duke is, Rosamund knows he’s the man for her. But as she grows closer to the duke, opening her heart to him, his own heart closes.
Can she teach this tortured duke that he is worthy of love or will his past drive them apart forever?
I have enjoyed all the books in Eva Devon’s Duke’s Club series and DUKE EVER AFTER is no exception. Her stories are always entertaining, emotional, romantic and sensual.
The handsome, scandalous, fun loving Duke of Aston was a loveable secondary character in the earlier books who seemed to have everything. Now we discover that behind this jovial mask is a man burdened with a family secret which he is determined to keep at all costs. His bon vivant air, a love for life, and a desire for all things mad-capped tend to keep people at bay and his secret secure. The only person who truly knows him is his illegitimate son, Tony.
Rosamund loves her Scottish home but, since the death of their profligate father, her brother, Duncan, has become a rigid, dour man…the epitome of everything that is proper. He is no longer the laughing, teasing brother she once knew and Rosamund is discontented with her lonely, unfulfilled life and craves adventure.
As she stared out at the towering bens that were a beautiful boundary she’d only escaped through books, she couldn’t help wishing she could step foot over them once. Just once.
I love how in all the books in this series, the hero and heroine’s first meeting has been unconventional and most memorable. No ballrooms or soirees for Ms Devon. No indeed. In fact, Derek and Rosamund meet while each is swimming naked in a Scottish loch.
She then grinned a most gamine grin, her lips, due to the cold, a striking red against her pale skin. “Lovely day for a swim!”
And with that, she struck off, her feet leaving a froth of water in her wake.
Aston gaped as she swam rapidly away.
Rosamund is kind, good humoured but also obstinate and headstrong which makes her the perfect match for Derek. I love how she refuses to be intimidated by him and isn’t afraid to pursue the man she wants. She is the only one to see through his carefully constructed façade and is determined to uncover the real Derek beneath.
She seemed to sense the cracks in his facade and she wasn’t content to just look at them. Oh no. She wanted to know him. And to know him, she’d have to pry at those cracks and break through to the man he was underneath.
Derek has always distanced himself from everyone since childhood, but he finds he has feelings for Rosamund and is totally at sea when it comes to dealing with them. His genuine fear is that, once she knows his secret, she will see him as unworthy of her. I understood Derek’s fears given the nature of the secret he has carried all these years and the way his father succeeded in destroying Derek’s sense of self-worth. However, I was frustrated by his constant refusal to confide in Rosamund but this was tempered by her heart-warming words when he finally reveals the truth.
“From the moment I saw you in the loch, I knew you were the man for me. Not the duke. Not the privileged, titled, legitimate son of some powerful peer. You were the man I wanted. The man who saw into my soul and I saw yours.”
A tear slipped from Derek’s eye. With a groan, he pulled himself into a sitting position. “Then you’ll have me?”
She smiled. A smile so wide and true it almost hurt. “Today. Tomorrow. Every day. Until we are old and wrinkled.”
Derek’s determination to protect his mother’s memory and his overwhelming love for his son, Tony, reveals what an honourable and caring man he is.
I adore Tony with his boyish charm and such a wise head on young shoulders. I enjoyed seeing the rapport between him and Rosamund, who regards him as a younger, cheeky brother. I like how Tony sees his father as a great duke and a great man but isn’t afraid to stand up to Derek if the occasion arises.
Duncan, Rosamund’s brother, and fellow members of the Duke’s Club cause some problems for Derek and Rosamund before everything is sorted out so they can marry, and the Epilogue promises them a long and happy ever after.
It is worth pointing out that Duncan and Imogen’s story (Wish Upon a Duke) runs concurrently with Derek and Rosamund’s.
MY VERDICT: A thoroughly entertaining romance which I can definitely recommend.
REVIEW RATING: 4/5 STARS
SENSUALITY RATING: WARM
Duke’s Club series (click on the book cover for more details):