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Duke of Desire

(Maiden Lane, #12)

Genre: Historical Romance (Georgian, 1742)

Cover Blurb:

A LADY OF LIGHT

Refined, kind, and intelligent, Lady Iris Jordan finds herself the unlikely target of a diabolical kidnapping. Her captors are the notoriously evil Lords of Chaos. When one of the masked-and nude! Lords spirits her away to his carriage, she shoots him . . . only to find she may have been a trifle hasty.

A DUKE IN DEEPEST DARKNESS

Cynical, scarred, and brooding, Raphael de Chartres, the Duke of Dyemore, has made it his personal mission to infiltrate the Lords of Chaos and destroy them. Rescuing Lady Jordan was never in his plans. But now with the Lords out to kill them both, he has but one choice: marry the lady in order to keep her safe.

CAUGHT IN A WEB OF DANGER . . . AND DESIRE

Much to Raphael’s irritation, Iris insists on being the sort of duchess who involves herself in his life-and bed. Soon he’s drawn both to her quick wit and her fiery passion. But when Iris discovers that Raphael’s past may be even more dangerous than the present, she falters. Is their love strong enough to withstand not only the Lords of Chaos but also Raphael’s own demons?

PUBLICATION DATE: 17th October 2017

♥♥♥♥♥♥

This is the final full-length book in Elizabeth Hoyt’s fabulous Maiden Lane series but there are two novellas to come – ONCE UPON A MAIDEN LANE (14th November) and ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS EVE (5th December).

From the moment he made his first appearance in Duke of Pleasure, I was intrigued by the scarred Raphael de Chartres, Duke of Dyemore, who recently returned to England to claim the dukedom, following the death of his estranged father, former leader of the evil Lords of Chaos, Mystery surrounds Raphael’s whereabouts during his years of absence and rumours abound concerning how he acquired the scar on his face. It quickly becomes clear that he is driven by a relentless determination to destroy the Lords of Chaos.

Raphael was obsessed with the Lords. He let nothing stand in the way of his revenge.

Lady Iris Jordan has been a widow for five years and although her late husband, twenty years her senior, had been a good and kind man, their three-year marriage had been a miserable one for her.

He’d never loved her, never cherished her, and never spoken to her as an equal.

She has lived with her older brother and his wife since her husband’s death but longs to be part of a family with children of her own. She has always hoped to remarry for love but is willing to settle for affection provided the gentleman enjoys the same things she does.

Throughout this series, I have admired Ms. Hoyt’s ability to pair the most improbable heroes and heroines and create the perfect couples, as she does here. Iris’s warmth, intelligence, patience, caring and quiet strength are the perfect foil for the dark, autocratic, unsmiling, stubborn Raphael.

I think Raphael is the most tormented and complex of all the heroes in this series. It is not only revenge that drives his obession to destroy the Lords of Chaos but also a deep sense of guilt. In all the years since he left England, he never tried to stop his father or eradicate the society, even knowing the evil they perpetrated. Raphael fears that, carrying his father’s blood in his veins, he will one day become a monster just like him and has vowed that the bloodline will end with him, but Iris will test this resolve. He has never met anyone as pure as Iris before and needs her to bring light into his dark world of despair, but is determined to distance himself from her rather than see Iris tainted in any way.

He’d vowed that he wouldn’t corrupt her, and he’d keep that vow no matter what it cost him.

I love how Iris refuses to allow Raphael to dictate the terms of their marriage and is resolved to try to make it a real marriage, with or without sex. Realising that he keeps all his thoughts and emotions carefully hidden, she is determined to break through his ‘frozen exterior’ and discover the real man beneath. I love how she refuses to give up on him no matter what he says or does.

When Raphael tells Iris of the traumatic events that happened all those years ago when he was twelve years old, it was so heart-wrenching knowing what he had endured and how it had left him so emotionally damaged. When Raphael fears that Iris will be repulsed by him, I love how she believes in him and convinces him that he could never be like his father.

“You are not a demon or a beast. You are my beloved husband. I know you, and you are not your father. You are good and kind and valiant. You are stubborn and intelligent and sometimes very witty. You will never hurt a child of ours, I promise.

I felt that the romance was somewhat overshadowed by the prominence of the darker elements in the book and found it difficult to feel the all-important emotional connection between Iris and Raphael. The love scenes tended to be raw and earthy and perhaps I was looking for something with a little more warmth and tenderness, although the lovely Epilogue did go a long way to appeasing me.

I liked Raphael’s brave and loyal Corsican servants who were willing to defend Iris with their lives. I also adored his Aunt Donna Pieri who had rescued Raphael from his father’s clutches and obviously loved her nephew. With various twists and turns, Ms. Hoyt kept me guessing as to the identity of Dionysus, the leader of the Lords of Chaos, and the final reveal definitely came as a surprise. 

MY VERDICT: DUKE OF DESIRE is a worthy addition to the superb Maiden Lane series. This series is a MUST read for anyone who loves unforgettable characters, compelling plots and sensual romances.


REVIEW RATING: 4/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

 

Maiden Lane series (click on the book cover for more details):

Wicked Intentions (Maiden Lane, #1) by Elizabeth Hoyt Notorious Pleasures (Maiden Lane, #2) by Elizabeth Hoyt Scandalous Desires (Maiden Lane, #3) by Elizabeth Hoyt Thief of Shadows (Maiden Lane, #4) by Elizabeth Hoyt Lord of Darkness (Maiden Lane, #5) by Elizabeth Hoyt Duke of Midnight (Maiden Lane, #6) by Elizabeth Hoyt Darling Beast (Maiden Lane, #7) by Elizabeth Hoyt Dearest Rogue (Maiden Lane, #8) by Elizabeth Hoyt Sweetest Scoundrel (Maiden Lane, #9) by Elizabeth HoytDuke of Sin (Maiden Lane, #10) by Elizabeth Hoyt Once Upon a Moonlit Night (Maiden Lane, #10.5) by Elizabeth Hoyt Duke of Pleasure (Maiden Lane, #11) by Elizabeth Hoyt Duke of Desire (Maiden Lane, #12) by Elizabeth Hoyt Once Upon a Maiden Lane (Maiden Lane, #12.5) by Elizabeth Hoyt Once Upon a Christmas Eve (Maiden Lane, #12.6) by Elizabeth Hoyt

 

 

**I received a complimentarycopy of this book from Grand Central Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. **

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duke-of-pleasure

(Maiden Lane, #11)

Genre: Historical Romance (Georgian, 1742)

Cover Blurb:

IN THE ARMS OF DANGER

Bold. Brave. Brutally handsome. Hugh Fitzroy, the Duke of Kyle, is the king’s secret weapon. Sent to defeat the notorious Lords of Chaos, he is ambushed in a London alley—and rescued by an unlikely ally: a masked stranger with the unmistakable curves of a woman.

IN THE HEAT OF DESIRE

Cocky. Clever. Courageously independent. Alf has survived on the perilous streets of St. Giles by disguising her sex. By day she is a boy, dealing in information and secrets. By night she’s the notorious Ghost of St. Giles, a masked vigilante. But as she saves Hugh from assassins, she finds herself succumbing to temptation.

ONE KISS WILL CHANGE THEIR LIVES FOREVER

When Hugh hires Alf to investigate the Lords of Chaos, her worlds collide. Once Hugh realizes that the boy and the Ghost are the same, will Alf find the courage to become the woman she needs to be—before the Lords of Chaos destroy them both?


**PUBLICATION DATE: 29th November 2016**

♥♥♥♥♥♥

This is the 11th book in Elizabeth Hoyt’s fabulous Maiden Lane series and it still amazes me that she can consistently enthral me with her fascinating characters, engrossing plots and sensual romances.

Ms Hoyt excels in writing unconventional heroines, none more so than Alf who first appeared in Lord of Darkness where it was revealed that this young street urchin is in fact a woman. Alf survived the dangerous streets of St Giles, where she was born and bred, by disguising herself as a boy.  Bold, tenacious and quick-witted, she had made a living as an informant. Godric St John (hero of Lord of Darkness and retired Ghost of St Giles) saw her potential and trained her to become the Ghost of St Giles. During the day, she is Alf, but at night she is the Ghost of St Giles, willing to put her life on the line to protect those weaker than herself.

At night she was the Ghost of St Giles. She protected the people of St Giles—her people, living in the big, dark woods. She ran out the monsters—the murderers and rapists and robbers. And she flew over the roofs of the city by moonlight, free and wild. During the day she was Alf, a boy. 

I was pleased to see the return of the Ghost especially as Ms Hoyt chose a woman for the role. I had this wonderful vision of Alf gracefully “darting, wheeling and spinning” whilst wielding her two swords.

Hugh is the illegitimate son of King William but had been formally acknowledged by his father and granted the title of Duke of Kyle, together with considerable land, money and an education befitting a duke. The King has now charged Hugh with destroying the Lords of Chaos, a secret club committing terrible acts of debauchery.

Hugh suffered emotionally in the past. A man of deep passions, he married Katherine with whom he was besotted, but it wasn’t long before he realised that he a had made a terrible mistake. Desperate to get away, he took a commission in the army and went abroad; his only regret was leaving his two young sons, Christopher and Peter. When news reaches him that his wife has died after falling from her horse, he resigns his commission and returns home. He has vowed never again to be swept away by passion for a woman.

…never let passion for a woman sweep away reason, self-preservation, and sense, for that way led to devastation.

I like how Hugh’s relationship with his sons is explored because it gives his character greater depth. It is obvious that he loves them but both boys are still coping with the recent loss of their mother and he doesn’t know how to reach out to them. The eldest, Christopher, hates his father for not being there for them, while the youngest, Peter, suffers from terrible nightmares. Some of the scenes where Hugh tries to comfort Peter are heart-rending to read.

In this series, Ms Hoyt always pairs the most unlikely hero and heroine but she makes the romance work beautifully. A duke and a street urchin shouldn’t work on many levels but it does, and I was rooting for Hugh and Alf to find the happiness they deserve.

I understood why Hugh fights his feelings for Alf but it is a lost cause because…

She made his heart beat fast. Freed all those wild emotions he thought he’d safely locked away when he’d left England three years ago.

and Alf’s feelings are just as potent…

She wanted him with every breath she drew, a painful longing inside her lungs, until it felt as if she’d break apart and shatter into tiny pieces of glass if she could not touch him.

The air positively sizzles when these two are together and there is a particularly erotic scene where Alf has a rather inventive way of evading capture when they are being chased by members of the Lords of Chaos!

I love the scenes between Alf and Hugh’s children. She connects with them in a way that he hasn’t been able to, but she also paves the way for Hugh to reconcile with his children. It also gives Alf something she has never had before – a family.

It was as if her heart had been a tiny seed, alone in a dark box, and Hugh and his boys had shone light on it.

Murder, kidnapping and code-breaking – there’s plenty of action, danger and mystery to keep the story moving as Hugh and Alf work to track down the Lords of Chaos.

Godric St John and his wife, Megs, make an appearance and two new characters are introduced.

  • The widowed Iris Daniels, Lady Jordan, a friend of Hugh’s who takes Alf under her wing when plans require Alf to dress as a woman for the first time.
  • The mysterious, scarred Raphael de Chartres, Duke of Dyemore

After reading the Epilogue, I can’t wait to read their story in Duke of Desire!!

MY VERDICT: Another highly recommended addition to this outstanding series.


REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

The Maiden Lane series so far (click the book cover for more details):
Wicked Intentions (Maiden Lane, #1) by Elizabeth Hoyt Notorious Pleasures (Maiden Lane, #2) by Elizabeth Hoyt Scandalous Desires (Maiden Lane, #3) by Elizabeth Hoyt Thief of Shadows (Maiden Lane, #4) by Elizabeth Hoyt Lord of Darkness (Maiden Lane, #5) by Elizabeth Hoyt Duke of Midnight (Maiden Lane, #6) by Elizabeth Hoyt Darling Beast (Maiden Lane, #7) by Elizabeth Hoyt Dearest Rogue (Maiden Lane, #8) by Elizabeth Hoyt Sweetest Scoundrel (Maiden Lane, #9) by Elizabeth Hoyt Duke of Sin (Maiden Lane, #10) by Elizabeth Hoyt Once Upon a Moonlit Night (Maiden Lane, #10.5) by Elizabeth Hoyt Duke of Pleasure (Maiden Lane, #11) by Elizabeth Hoyt– 29th November 2016

**I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review. **
 

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Scandalous Desires

He treasured her, treasured her tears, treasured her love for others. Her heart might even be big enough to fill that empty space in his own chest. Perhaps she could be his heart as well.

(Charming Mickey O’Connor and Silence Makepeace)

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(Maiden Lane, #10.5)

Genre: Historical Romance (Georgian, 1741)

Cover Blurb:

From New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Hoyt comes a delightful Maiden Lane novella that begins once upon a moonlit night—and ends wickedly, wonderfully ever after…

Hippolyta Royle is running for her life. Pursued by hounds on a cold rainy night, the heiress flags down a passing carriage and throws herself at the mercy of the coach’s occupant. Whoever this handsome traveler may be, he is her only hope to escape a terrible fate. But should he agree to escort her to safety, he’s in for much more than he bargained for.

At first Matthew Mortimer doesn’t believe Hippolyta’s story, that she’s a fabulously wealthy heiress who’s been kidnapped. He assumes she’s a beggar, an actress, or worse. But once his new travel companion washes the mud from her surprisingly lovely face, and they share a breathtaking kiss, there is no turning back.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

I really enjoyed this latest addition to Elizabeth Hoyt’s fabulous Maiden Lane series. This novella follows Hippolyta Royle’s “adventures” after escaping the clutches of the wicked Duke of Montgomery (DUKE OF SIN)

I love the unconventional first meeting between Hippolyta and Matthew. I had a vivid picture of the wet, bedraggled, dirty, smelly Hippolyta trying to convince a disbelieving Matthew that she is telling the truth and she really is an heiress! It’s hardly surprising he doesn’t believe a word and is convinced that she is either a beggar, an actress or a whore. Given the circumstances, I can forgive his boorish attitude and rather coarse language and to his credit he does take pity on her and offer to give her a lift to the next town.

Well, it was a cold and wet night after all, and he had a bit of soft spot for scamps who could tell a cock-and-bull story with a straight face.

Matthew is both surprised and impressed by Hippolyta’s intelligence and wit and starts to have doubts about his original assumptions. He also feels very protective towards her while she feels safe with Matthew. I love the scene where Matthew walks in on Hippolyta while she is soaking naked in a tin bath, and he sees for the first time just how beautiful she is.

Ms Hoyt is excellent at building sexual tension and those who enjoy their romances with a goodly dose of sexy times will be more than satisfied (no pun intended).

I admire Hippolyta’s spirit when she attends Viscount D’Arque’s ball, knowing the potential scandal it would create, and I love how Matthew is a solid presence, supporting and encouraging her.

…she stumbled a bit.
But Matthew caught her so that none of those watching could see the hesitation. “Head held high, Princess, “he murmured in her ear.

D’Arque and his grandmother, Lady Wimple, also rally round to offer their influential support and it was wonderful to see Hippolyta triumph. I think Lady Wimple sums it up perfectly.

“Well! This is all very satisfactory. I can’t think when I’ve seen a scandal with greater dash.”

I cheered when the blackmailer is well and truly hoisted by his own petard and thoroughly thrashed by Matthew. I also enjoyed seeing, Sir George, Hippolyta’s father, put the final nail in the blackmailer’s coffin.

Last but not least, I must mention Tommy Teapot, Matthew’s pet mongoose, a real charmer who steals every  scene he’s in.

My only criticism is that I would love to have spent more time with Hippolyta and Matthew and see them enjoying their Happy Ever After.

Favourite Romantic Quotes

“Beggar or heiress. Princess or pauper. I didn’t give a goddamn who or what you were, Hippolyta, I just wanted you.”

He’d stood by her, had believed in her when she’d been hopeless. Had rescued her and argued with her and made love with her and she…She loved him, her pirate, her husband, her Matthew.

MY VERDICT: This novella is a must read for all fans of the Maiden Lane series. For  those who have yet to read this brilliant series…what are you waiting for?


REVIEW RATING: 4/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read June 2016


Maiden Lane series so far (click on the book covers for more details):

Wicked Intentions (Maiden Lane, #1) by Elizabeth Hoyt Notorious Pleasures (Maiden Lane, #2) by Elizabeth Hoyt Scandalous Desires (Maiden Lane, #3) by Elizabeth Hoyt Thief of Shadows (Maiden Lane, #4) by Elizabeth Hoyt Lord of Darkness (Maiden Lane, #5) by Elizabeth Hoyt Duke of Midnight (Maiden Lane, #6) by Elizabeth Hoyt Darling Beast (Maiden Lane, #7) by Elizabeth Hoyt Dearest Rogue (Maiden Lane, #8) by Elizabeth HoytSweetest Scoundrel (Maiden Lane, #9) by Elizabeth Hoyt Duke of Sin (Maiden Lane, #10) by Elizabeth Hoyt Once Upon a Moonlit Night (Maiden Lane, #10.5) by Elizabeth Hoyt Duke of Pleasure (Maiden Lane, #11) by Elizabeth Hoyt– 29th November 2016

 

**I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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(Maiden Lane, #10)

Genre: Historical Romance (Georgian)

Cover Blurb:

A MAN OF SIN

Devastatingly handsome. Vain. Unscrupulous. Valentine Napier, the Duke of Montgomery, is the man London whispers about in boudoirs and back alleys. A notorious rake and blackmailer, Montgomery has returned from exile, intent on seeking revenge on those who have wronged him. But what he finds in his own bedroom may lay waste to all his plans.

A WOMAN OF HONOR

Born a bastard, housekeeper Bridget Crumb is clever, bold, and fiercely loyal. When her aristocratic mother becomes the target of extortion, Bridget joins the Duke of Montgomery’s household to search for the incriminating evidence-and uncovers something far more dangerous.

A SECRET THAT THREATENS TO DESTROY THEM BOTH

Astonished by the deceptively prim-and surprisingly witty-domestic spy in his chambers, Montgomery is intrigued. And try as she might, Bridget can’t resist the slyly charming duke. Now as the two begin their treacherous game of cat and mouse, they soon realize that they both have secrets-and neither may be as nefarious-or as innocent-as they appear . . .

PUBLICATION DATE: 31st May 2016

♥♥♥♥♥♥

This is the tenth book in Elizabeth Hoyt’s Maiden Lane series and I have so much admiration for her ability to continue to give readers stories that are unique and engrossing; characters that are complex and fascinating, and romances that are erotic and sensual.

“Never mistake me for the hero of this tale, for I am not and shall never be. I am the villain.”

I have been fascinated by Valentine Napier, Duke of Montgomery, ever since his first appearance in DUKE OF MIDNIGHT and I was intrigued to know how Ms Hoyt would set about redeeming such an anti-hero. He may be handsome, sophisticated and charming but he is also vain, amoral, unscrupulous, unpredictable and an evil, scheming blackmailer with a desire for power over people.

Although the bastard daughter of an aristocratic lady, Bridget Crumb’s birthmother has ensured she was brought up in a foster home in the country. When Bridget decides to find employment in London, her mother has also provided her with references enabling Bridget to gain employment as a housekeeper. At the age of twenty-six, she is now regarded as the best housekeeper in London. She is competent, down-to-earth and loyal but rather plain and prim.

Val finds himself attracted by Bridget’s very normality which is in sharp contrast to his own mercurial nature. He is also impressed and aroused by her refusal to be intimidated by him, something he is not used to.

…she didn’t seem cowed by either his silence or his stare. She held her head high and she met him stare for stare, her eyes dark and intense and oddly arousing. Really, she was very self-possessed for a housekeeper when one came to think about it.

Against her better judgement Bridget is attracted to Val and I can see why she might find it hard to resist someone so delightfully wicked. He has no qualms about talking to his housekeeper while completely starkers and saying the most outrageous things.

“Oh, Mrs. Crumb, such a look,” he murmured, his voice a deep purr, his bare chest brushing against her snowy white apron. “Why, I don’t know whether to guard my bollocks . . .”—his gaze dropped to her mouth—“or to kiss you.”

There’s oodles of sexual tension between these two and the love scenes are definitely HOT (in fact I think they are steamier than any I’ve read so far in the series) and I love how Bridget reveals that she isn’t quite so prim!

I love seeing the little glimmers of hope that Val isn’t completely irredeemable. His sister Eve has always been a chink in his formidable armour and the scene where he confronts Asa, after discovering they are getting married, shows just how much he cares for her and wants to protect her. He also rescued an Arab youth, Mehmed, from a terrible fate on his travels abroad and bought him back to England as his second valet. Mehmed also provides some amusing moments with his broken English.

When Val tells Bridget of his childhood experiences at the hands of a sadistic, depraved father and a mother who hated him, it is easy to understand how Val could have become so damaged…so flawed and believing himself incapable of love. He no longer has any concept of what is right or wrong; he does what he likes, when he likes without any conscience. Only Bridget sees the real Val and knows he can be a better man. She becomes his moral compass, but he only realises this when she leaves him…

Fair Seraphine had tried to explain to him the difference, right from wrong. It made sense to her because she burned and was an angel. But to him, a creature of hollow ice and pain, it was sound and confusion without her to filter it for him.

When Bridget’s life is in danger, he finally has to make a choice between good and evil, knowing the action he decides to take may lose him Bridget’s love forever. For the first time, he puts someone else first, regardless of any personal cost. It is this more than anything that made me believe that Val is truly redeemable. It won’t happen overnight but I feel that with Bridget by his side, he has every chance of becoming a better man. The scene where he says he loves Bridget is a such an emotional one.

We learn more about the notorious Lords of Chaos and their evil pursuits and a new character, Hugh Fitzroy, the Duke of Kyle, makes his appearance. As the cover blurb for the forthcoming DUKE OF PLEASURE (29th November 2016) is available to read on Amazon’s site, I don’t think I’m giving away any spoilers by saying that Hugh is the hero to Alf’s heroine and expect the return of a certain masked crusader.

The Epilogue provides further proof that Val has definitely changed for the better but I love that he is still  wicked in certain ways. 😉

Val hasn’t quite managed to topple Charming Mickey off his pedestal as my favourite hero of the series, but he ties with Winter Makepeace as a close second!

MY VERDICT: What can I say other than this is another outstanding addition to this fabulous series. I can highly recommend both the book and the series!

 

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT!

Read April 2016

 

The Maiden Lane series so far (click the book cover for more details):

Wicked Intentions (Maiden Lane, #1) by Elizabeth Hoyt Notorious Pleasures (Maiden Lane, #2) by Elizabeth Hoyt Scandalous Desires (Maiden Lane, #3) by Elizabeth Hoyt Thief of Shadows (Maiden Lane, #4) by Elizabeth Hoyt Lord of Darkness (Maiden Lane, #5) by Elizabeth Hoyt Duke of Midnight (Maiden Lane, #6) by Elizabeth Hoyt Darling Beast (Maiden Lane, #7) by Elizabeth Hoyt Dearest Rogue (Maiden Lane, #8) by Elizabeth Hoyt Sweetest Scoundrel (Maiden Lane, #9) by Elizabeth HoytDuke of Sin (Maiden Lane, #10) by Elizabeth Hoyt – 31st May 2016

Duke of Pleasure (Maiden Lane, #11) by Elizabeth Hoyt – 29th November 2016

 

**I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review. **

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I have been tagged to do the Disney Book Tag by the lovely Frankie of Chicks, Rogues and Scandals Blog

 

This was one Tag Game I was happy to do because it presented such an interesting challenge. So without further ado, here is my selection.


The Little Mermaid: a character who is out of their element, a fish out of water.


My choice is Mick Tremore from Judith Ivory’s The Proposition, a cocky Cornish ratcatcher who has to pass himself off as a gentleman.

 

Cinderella: a character who goes through a major transformation.

This has to be “Charming” Mickey O’Connor from Elizabeth Hoyt’s Scandalous Desires (Maiden Lane, #3), the ultimate bad boy who transforms into a swoon-worthy hero.

 

Snow White: a book with an eclectic cast of characters.


I’m selecting Renee Bernard’s Devil May Care which is full of unique and off-beat characters.

 

Sleeping Beauty: a book that put you to sleep


I can’t really recall any books that put me to sleep so I’m selecting Lisa Kleypas’s Crystal Cove (Friday Harbor, #4) which turned out to be a tremendous disappointment.

 

The Lion King: a character who had something traumatic happen to them in childhood.


Amy Masters from Catherine Anderson’s Comanche Heart (Comanche, #2) is my choice here. She suffered a terrible ordeal at the age of twelve, when captured by a band of Comancheros.

 

Beauty and the Beast: a beast of a book (a big book) that you were intimidated by but found the story to be beautiful.


This is not so much a book as a whole series. J. R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series is now on its 13th book and that equates to an awful lot of pages!!

 

Aladdin: a character that gets their wish granted, for better or worse.


Sebastion St. Vincent in Lisa Kleypas’s The Devil in Winter (Wallflowers, #3) is in need of a fortune and wishes for a miracle which comes in a unlikely form.

 

Mulan: a character who pretends to be something or someone they’re not.


In Tessa Dare’s Any Duchess Will Do (Spindle Cove, #4) barmaid Pauline Simms pretends to be a future duchess.

 

Toy Story: a book with characters you wish would come to life.

It has to be all the characters from Lisa Kleypas’s wonderful Wallflowers series.

 

Disney descendants: your favourite villain or morally ambiguous character.


No hesitation here, it has to be the deliciously wicked Viscount Ludovic DeVere from Victoria Vane’s The Devil DeVere series.

 

I am not tagging anyone but, if any of my fellow bloggers would like to take part in the Disney Book Tag, please feel free to do so.

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(Maiden Lane, #9)

Genre: Historical Romance (Georgian – 1741)

Cover Blurb:

SHE’S TAKING CHARGE

Prim, proper, and thrifty, Eve Dinwoody is all business when it comes to protecting her brother’s investment. But when she agrees to control the purse strings of London’s premier pleasure garden, Harte’s Folly, she finds herself butting heads with an infuriating scoundrel who can’t be controlled.

HE’S RUNNING THE SHOW

Bawdy and bold, Asa Makepeace doesn’t have time for a penny-pinching prude like Eve. As the garden’s larger-than-life owner, he’s already dealing with self-centered sopranos and temperamental tenors. He’s not about to let an aristocratic woman boss him around . . . no matter how enticing she is.

BUT LOVE CONQUERS ALL

In spite of her lack of theatrical experience-and her fiery clashes with Asa-Eve is determined to turn Harte’s Folly into a smashing success. But the harder she tries to manage the stubborn rake, the harder it is to ignore his seductive charm and raw magnetism. There’s no denying the smoldering fire between them-and trying to put it out would be the greatest folly of all.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

This is the ninth book in the excellent Maiden Lane series and each time I marvel at Elizabeth Hoyt’s ability to make every book such an outstanding read.

At the age of nineteen, Asa was disowned and disinherited by his sanctimonious father for wanting to work at Harte’s Folly. Luckily he found a home with the kindly Sir Stanley Harte who was more like a father than his own father ever was. Even after his father’s death, he no longer feels he fits in with the rest of the family and rarely visits his brothers and sisters. Now owner and manager of Harte’s Folly, it has become the most important thing in his life, leaving no room for anything else.

It was his life’s work, his soul and heart.

The illegitimate daughter of a duke, Eve was raised in her father’s house but is constantly haunted by terrifying events from her childhood; events which have convinced her that she could never enjoy a normal relationship with a man.

She knew that she would never feel “nice” with a man.
It would never be beautiful for her.

She has never had any friends and the only people she really cares about are her half-brother, Valentine, to whom she owes so much, and her loyal servants.

Pairing the big, crude, hot-headed, virile Asa with the plain, prim, naïve Eve seems like a recipe for disaster but, once again, Ms Hoyt takes the most unlikely couple to create an unforgettable romance. The romance builds slowly with the inevitable clashes at first.  Asa sees Eve as “one of those harbingers of doom that were always lurking about some hapless hero of classical myths”, and Eve regards Asa as “proud, bombastic and very, very annoying.” Gradually Asa becomes intrigued by Eve’s mixture of outspokenness, courage and vulnerability she tries so hard to hide. He’s certain that behind that cool exterior lies a passionate woman. Although she hates and fears Asa’s savage, unrestrained nature, he stirs an excitement in her and makes her feel alive for the first time.

I love Asa – such a larger than life character – and I soon discovered that, beneath that fierce exterior, he has many unexpected sides to him; to quote Eve – a lover of opera, fighter of highwaymen, saviour of stray dogs.

Despite her traumatic childhood experience which was truly terrifying, Eve still has an innocent inquisitiveness about sexual matters; one Asa is more than happy to satisfy in both words and deeds! This leads to some highly charged and explicit scenes, but ones which I feel are totally in keeping with Asa’s blatantly sexual nature.

He had no shame. No, more: he reveled in shamelessness.

I love their conversation about the castrato in which Asa’s words alone leave Eve “wide-eyed and breathless”. She wasn’t the only one left breathless!! When they first make love, Asa is so tender and considerate and his asking “May I?” before he removes each item of her clothing is so endearing. I also adore how he calls her “his little harpy” and would do anything to keep her safe, including murder.

A happy ending is never in doubt, but I love an author who can keep me on tenterhooks until the very last minute. I cheered Eve for not being willing to accept anything but a man who loved her above all else and there were frustrating moments when I wanted to knock some sense into Asa until he realises what is truly important to him.

As always in this series, the secondary characters play a major role in the story and I particularly like Eve’s friend and bodyguard, Jean-Marie. When Eve persuades Asa to visit his brothers and sisters, it’s an opportunity to catch up with many of the characters from the previous books, who certainly have their hands full when the family gathering doesn’t go exactly to plan!

We learn that Bridget Crumb, the Duke of Montgomery’s housekeeper, has an agenda of her own and there are also a few surprising revelations about the duke himself. The scene towards the end of the book certainly has me anticipating their story in Duke of Sin!

MY VERDICT: Another wonderful addition to this superb series and one  which ranks among my other favourites, Scandalous Desires and Thief of Shadows. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALTY RATING: HOT!

 

Read November 2015

The Maiden Lane series so far (click the book cover for more details):

Wicked Intentions (Maiden Lane, #1) by Elizabeth Hoyt Notorious Pleasures (Maiden Lane, #2) by Elizabeth Hoyt Scandalous Desires (Maiden Lane, #3) by Elizabeth Hoyt Thief of Shadows (Maiden Lane, #4) by Elizabeth Hoyt Lord of Darkness (Maiden Lane, #5) by Elizabeth Hoyt Duke of Midnight (Maiden Lane, #6) by Elizabeth Hoyt Darling Beast (Maiden Lane, #7) by Elizabeth Hoyt Dearest Rogue (Maiden Lane, #8) by Elizabeth HoytSweetest Scoundrel (Maiden Lane, #9) by Elizabeth Hoyt

 

**I received a free copy of this book from Grand Central Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. **

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