Review: Duke of Desire by Elizabeth Hoyt

Reviewed by Jen

The Maiden Lane series has long been one of my favorites in historical romance and this 12th installment had me glued to the pages from beginning to end. I need to tell you before we get too far, though, that this book is dark—darker than anything I have read from Elizabeth Hoyt in the past. That was more than ok with me, and frankly was what I signed up for with a scarred, tortured hero whose father once ran a debauched sex club featuring rape, child abuse, and torture. But still, I’ve seen some reviews that were taken aback by this, so go in with your eyes open.

We were introduced to the Lords of Chaos in earlier books of the series. They are the meat of this story. No Ghost of St. Giles or other Maiden Lane storylines. Raphael, the Duke of Dyemore, is back to take down the sadistic men who his father once led. As the story begins, he has infiltrated the group, posing as one of them, just as Iris has been taken captive. The bad guys think she is the Duke of Kyle’s new wife, and they want to get even with him for trying destroy them. Obviously, she is not Kyle’s wife, but Raphael can’t let her get gang-raped and killed. He spirits her away, intending to save her, but she doesn’t know his intentions and ends up shooting him. He survives, but he offers to marry her so he can keep her safe from the other Lords.

Raphael had a horrible childhood. His dad was a child-rapist. You do the math.

Now he refuses to carry on his family line, afraid of passing on his sick blood to a child. It doesn’t take Iris long to fall for him, despite the huge scar on his face or all of his broody and angst-ridden behavior. She wants their marriage to be one in truth, but he’s just not capable of it. His only mission is to keep her safe long enough to rid the world of the Lords; he doesn’t even expect to live through it all. It’s pretty bleak.

But it’s also amazing. The romantic pull and the sexual tension between these two was off the charts. Raphael hates himself but he grows to love Iris and she is a temptation he just can’t resist. This book gave me so many feels!

I think this may be the last novel in the series, and though it does wrap up the Lords of Chaos arc, it doesn’t feel like a big finale. There are a couple of novellas on the horizon, so maybe they will give me the series closure I need.

Still, I loved this book, in all its angsty tortured-hero glory.

Rating: A-

*ARC provided by publisher

Click to purchase: Amazon

Duke of Desire
by Elizabeth Hoyt
Release Date: October 17, 2017
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

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