The Duke of Ice, an all-new historical standalone from USA Today bestselling author Darcy Burke, is available NOW!
Title: The Duke of Ice
Author: Darcy Burke
Genre: Historical Romance
Publishing Date: December 26th, 2017
Everyone Nicholas Bateman ever loved has died. Except Violet Caulfield, which must mean he never loved her. Eight years after she threw him over to marry a viscount, Nick is a widowed duke who prefers isolation. When a friend convinces him to leave his lair of self-imposed solitude, he considers taking another wife, provided she agrees to his terms: no emotional attachment of any kind.
Now widowed, Lady Violet Pendleton hopes for a second chance with the man she’s always loved. But she isn’t prepared for the desolation in his soul or the animosity he still bears toward her. Despite those obstacles, it’s clear their passion hasn’t dimmed. However, the heat between them isn’t enough to melt the Duke of Ice, and this time Violet may find herself the jilted party. Can love, once so tragically lost, finally be found?
“Looks like it’s you and Lady Pendleton,” Simon said. His voice carried a hint of something.
Nick snapped his head toward his friend and detected the glimmer of a smile in his gaze. He was enjoying this. He was playing matchmaker. And he had his sights set on Nick and Violet. Bloody hell.
Nick wanted to be angry, but his pull toward Violet was too strong. He’d felt it last night and again today when Simon had asked if it would be odd for him to pursue her. Nick had been jealous. Shockingly, blood-boilingly, desperately jealous.
The realization shook him to the core.
“Who’s to be the crier?” Simon asked.
“Why not Mr. Adair since he won Kiss the Nun?” Seaver suggested.
With everyone in agreement, Violet and Nick moved to the center of the room.
“Is this awkward?” she whispered.
“No.” His pulse quickened. Should he kiss her or should he fail?
His mind screamed the latter. And really, that was for the best. Jealousy aside, he and Violet had no future, not when their past was so painful.
And yet when they knelt with their backs to each other, he caught her scent of rose and an earthy spice. It was wholly feminine yet slightly wild. He hadn’t smelled a rose in the past eight years without thinking of her. His body reacted, heating at her proximity.
“Make ready,” Adair said.
Nick looked over his right shoulder and felt the air move as she looked over her left.
Nick leaned close to her cheek. He could feel her warmth, and his skin tingled.
He moved closer, but she sprang up. Instinctively, he reached for her, his arm curling about her waist. He pulled her back down. To stop her from hitting the floor, he spun to his back and sprawled, bringing her down on top of him. He cupped the side of her face and kissed her, his lips sliding over hers for a brief but delicious moment.
“The cheek,” she murmured, her gaze locked with his.
He leaned up and brushed his mouth against the soft flesh of her cheek. His lips lingered perhaps a second too long, but he didn’t care. Desire coursed through him, and for the first time in years, he felt alive.
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The Forbidden Duke (The Untouchables Book 1)
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Darcy Burke is the USA Today Bestselling Author of sexy, emotional historical and contemporary romance. Darcy wrote her first book at age 11, a happily ever after about a swan addicted to magic and the female swan who loved him, with exceedingly poor illustrations. Join her reader club at http://www.darcyburke.com/readerclub. A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her guitar-strumming husband, their two hilarious kids who seem to have inherited the writing gene, two Bengal cats and a third cat named after a fruit.
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Barbara’s Rating – 4 out of 5 stars
Series: The Untouchables #7
Publication Date: 12/26/17
This has been and is a wonderful series – I have thoroughly enjoyed every book in the series and anxiously await each new addition. However, I do have to say that this has been my least favorite so far. I tried and tried and tried and just never could warm up to Nick. I know he’s had a lot of pain in his life but his total abdication of responsibilities at the end just kept me from getting that happy glow – it is also why I have given a 4-star rather than a 5-star review. I believe it tells you something about the hero when you feel the real hero of the book is Simon and you fervently wished Simon and the heroine would get together. Both Violet and Simon have much worse issues in their life and yet they are still nice people. Nick seems to use his past as a weapon to be hateful to everyone around him.
This is a book of juxtapositions – fire and ice, love and hate, loyalty and disloyalty, cowardice and heroism – as well as second chances. Can two flawed people find their way back to each other?
Nicholas Bateman was never in line to become the Duke of Kilve. A lot of people had to die before that could happen and Nick mourned each and every one of them – most particularly, he mourned his brother Maurice who died at Badajoz. Then, after inheriting the title he lost his wife and child. He felt everyone he cared about died, so it was better to just not care – therefore, he became the Duke of Ice. He built a wall around himself, never letting anyone in – except his best (and only) friend Simon, the Duke of Romsey (aka Duke of Ruin).
Violet, Lady Pendleton, was forced to marry a Viscount she didn’t love to further her parent’s ambitions. They spirited her off from Bath to London to keep her from marrying the man she truly loved with all her heart. He was a sweet, happy, smiling, charming young man but he had no title. Her parents wouldn’t even let her say goodbye. She endured several years of living with a cruel, philandering husband before he finally sickened and died. Violet returned to Bath to live and has no plans to ever remarry – and she sees her parents as little as possible.
Nicholas and Violet have a history. He was the man she loved and had wanted to marry. She wrote him a letter when she had to leave Bath, but he never got it. So, he has hated her all these years and blamed her for leaving him for a title. Imagine her surprise – and his – when they attend the same house party. Violet was there because the party was given by her best friend and Nick was there because Simon had begged and cajoled him into attending.
Violet and Nicholas do spend some time talking at the party and get to know each other at least a little bit. Enough so that Nick decides to travel to Bath to further renew their acquaintance – to see if anything of their former relationship can be salvaged. Even though they have a physical relationship, he still can’t make up his mind about marriage. Then, when she gets into an accident and almost dies, he shows his true cowardice and takes off for London.
In London, he really gets himself into a mess that, frankly, I would just as soon he didn’t escape. He certainly deserved what he had gotten himself into. Leave it to sweet Simon to clean up Nick’s leavings. When Nick left without cleaning up any of his own mess and left it all to Simon, that was it for me, I was done with him and he was un-redeemable from then on.
Nick and Violet get a sweet epilogue that was one of my favorite parts of the book. You’ll just have to read the book!
The next book is Simon’s story and I am really looking forward to it. However, I’m concerned that I’ll dislike his heroine as much as I disliked Nick in this book. It will be interesting to see how Ms. Burke treats Miss Kingman. I didn’t dislike her and suspect that there are scars under that cool demeanor.
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“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”