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?
Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link: Duke of Desire (Maiden Lane)
Iris Daniels, Lady Jordan, has been kidnapped by the notorious Lords of Chaos, who mistakenly believe that she is married to the Duke of Kyle. Iris and the duke did have an informal courtship, but he fell in love with another and married her. Though the Lords now realize their mistake, they also know that Iris can’t be allowed to live. When one of the masked Lords claims Iris for himself, the leader agrees, under condition that she be killed when he’s finished playing with her. This man is Raphael de Chartres, Duke of Dyemore, who has infiltrated the secret society with the intent of destroying them, and only intends to rescue Iris. When he deposits her in his coach, she finds a gun under the seat and shoots him, not realizing his real purpose.
Raphael, though badly injured, finally convinces Iris of his innocence and takes her to his nearby home. He decides that the only way he can fully protect her is to marry her, and they wed that very night. Raphael trusts no one, and won’t summon a doctor, so Iris calls on the knowledge she absorbed while following her now-deceased husband and soldier, James, and removes the bullet herself. She nurses Raphael through the ensuing fever and ponders her fate and her new husband. He would be one of the world’s handsomest men, if not for the slashing scar down one side of his face from brow to chin.
As Raphael begins to recover, he knows it’s just a matter of time until the Lords realize that Iris is still alive, and come to kill both of them. He starts to formulate plans on how to keep Iris safe and still destroy the Lords, while resisting the lovely charms of his new wife. Raphael’s own father was the leader of the Lords of Chaos until his death last year. His evil and perverted actions destroyed Raphael’s childhood, and left him a man who feels he is sullied and unfit to be loved. It’s heartbreaking to watch such a strong and vibrant man shy away from any intimacy with Iris. He’s courteous, attentive, and generous, but whenever Iris tries to get close physically, his walls go up.
Iris is determined not to give up. She endured a three year marriage of convenience, and she wants this marriage to be different. She can see the desire in Raphael’s eyes, but he won’t give in. I love how she shows her own desire to Raphael and is sensitive to his vulnerability. When Raphael finally opens up and confesses some of his past, it’s obvious that the thing Iris most desires in the world is the one thing Raphael will never give her. If they even survive, it would seem they have no chance at happiness.
DUKE OF DESIRE is a fantastic all around read. The mystery dealing with the Lords of Chaos is well written and intriguing. Raphael, the wounded hero, is to die for, and his sad history broke my heart. Iris is well deserving to be Raphael’s love and salvation, and their eventual sexual intimacy is off the charts steamy. Elizabeth Hoyt delivers on all levels, and reading DUKE OF DESIRE is bittersweet, as it’s the final full length novel in the magnificent Maiden Lane series. To me, this series never got old or stale, and I’m truly saddened to see it come to an end, though this final book is a stellar conclusion. I know that I’ll be revisiting Maiden Lane many times in the future.