I think this final installment is the best of the four in the Wild Quartet series. For me, it did the most to make me care about the characters. I already was intrigued by Julian from Caroline’s book. I recall clearly liking him more as a love interest than the hero of who brought her a HEA. But the real draw of this book is Jane, the heroine –and her backstory that seemed to make the romance doomed from the start.
It’s never been a secret that Julian has a shady past. The mysterious paintings he has hidden have been a continuing thread throughout the series. Apparently, he acquired the artwork in a failed attempt to smuggle a French family to safety during the revolution. He was successful in saving the art, but the family was not so lucky. They were captured and killed moments after walking out their front door. What Julian didn’t realize is that the oldest daughter survived. And she has lived every day since with a burning desire to see him dead.
Jane doesn’t know the details of who betrayed her parents, but she knows a man named Mr. Fortescue was supposed to save them. It only stands to reason that since he got away with her father’s artwork that he is to blame for turning them in. Unfortunately, she doesn’t know WHICH Mr. Fortescue it was, only that he was related to the duke. It’s been years since then, but now she is in a position to seek her revenge. So she seeks out the most prominent Fortescue, the duke himself, to track down her quarry.
We, as readers, know that Julian is her target, but for one reason or another, she discounts him as she ingratiates herself into his household as a governess to his sisters. We know his guilt and her heartbreak. But neither knows the true identity of the other as an attraction –and tender feelings—grow between them.
I wasn’t sold on the romance right away, since Julian was a little off putting in the beginning. He wasn’t very good to his sisters and we didn’t get to see his good side for awhile. But I really liked the building angst as the romance progressed. Poor Jane has been through so much, it’s easy to relate to her need for revenge. As I read, I wanted her to have it. Yet, I had empathy for Julian, knowing his shame and self-recrimination over something that wasn’t really his fault.
The sexual tension is very well done. The plot unfolded in a way that kept me interested –and I rooted for the romance. On top of that, I really enjoyed the relationship that developed between Jane and Julian’s sisters. The girls were great secondary characters and I really grew to care for them. We also get a good epilogue, checking in with the couples from previous books.
I liked it.
*ARC Provided by Avon
Click to purchase: Amazon
The Duke of Dark Desires
by Miranda Neville
Release Date: December 30, 2014