Series: Maiden Lane, #12
Release Date: October 17, 2017
Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars
Raphael, the Duke of Dyemore is one of the most tortured heroes I have ever read, but beneath the scars and the pain is a man with a huge capacity for love. His mission is to destroy the Lords of Chaos, the depraved group of men that was lead by his father until his recent death. Raphael fled England and his father and went to live with his mother’s family in Corsica at the age of twelve and hasn’t returned since. But now that his father is gone and Raphael is the new Duke, he is home to take his rightful place and to bring down the LoC.
Lady Iris Jordan is kidnapped from her carriage on her way home from Alf & Hugh’s wedding and kept captive by the LoC as revenge against Hugh (the Duke of Kyle) for his attack on them in the previous book (The Duke of Pleasure, Maiden Lane #11). So when Iris is taken to the revel and announces that they have taken the wrong woman, a very naked man in a wolf mask claims her as his prize. The leader of the LoC grants the wolf the right to woman, but tells him to kill her in the morning.
When Iris is thrown into the wolf’s carriage, she frantically looks for a weapon while he is speaking to his men, finding a gun she shoots the wolf as he enters the carriage. This is when she learns that the wolf is actually Raphael, the mysterious scarred man she met and danced with at a ball a few months ago and rather than planning on ravishing her, he was trying to save her.
Raphael had planned to send Iris to London, but now that he is wounded and he realizes that she is not married to Hugh, he decides the best way to keep her safe is to marry her himself. At first Iris resists, but then agrees that marriage is necessary. They marry in a brief ceremony before Raphael passes out from his wounds. Iris spends the next couple of days nursing Raphael and trying to learn more about her new husband’s past – she thinks she has an idea of what happened, but no one, especially Raphael is willing to give her the whole story. Iris wants answers and she wants a true marriage with Raphael. Her first marriage was not happy and she has no desire to repeat that fiasco with Raphael, but much to her dismay, he intends to keep her close, but in name only.
When the LoC come calling and learn that Iris is not only alive, but married to Raphael, he knows he must get her to London. They set out almost immediately and Iris decides to use the time to make her new husband come around to her way of thinking. But Raphael is firm in his convictions and Iris wonders if the problem is her – even as she ponders this, she makes a discovery that makes it clear that desire is not the problem. She goes to confront Raphael and stumbles upon an ambush. When the attack is over they spend the night together and Iris believes that they have turned a page and will be able to have a real marriage, but the next morning Raphael is more remote than ever.
They return to London and slowly grow closer until Raphael finally tells her the truth of his scars and the reason he is out to bring down the LoC. Iris is horrified by Raphael’s tale (an rightly so) but it only makes her realize how much she cares for him and how much he needs that love and acceptance. They share an incredible night of passion and finally consummate their marriage, Iris believes that they are finally going to have a real marriage but the next morning Raphael is more remote than ever and tells her that their night will never be repeated.
When the LoC kidnap Iris again and force a confrontation with Raphael, he knows that he loves her and will do whatever he can to make her happy, even if that means letting her go.
This was an amazing story, it was well written, flowed perfectly, had some truly horrific, dark moments, some steamy love scenes, lots of secrets, lots of pain and sorrow, some sweet moments and finally a well deserved HEA. I loved this book and would have no problem recommending it, but I would strongly suggest that you read the Duke of Sin (book 10) and the Duke of Pleasure (book 11) before reading this installment.
I am sorry to see this series end but I can’t wait to see what Elizabeth Hoyt comes up with next!
*I am voluntarily leaving a review of an eARC*