The Duke of Ruin, an all-new historical standalone from USA Today bestselling author Darcy Burke, is LIVE!
With her betrothal to a duke in tatters and scandal imminent, Diana Kingman has two choices: live in certain ignominy or flee into obscurity. Diana wants solitude. She never wished to wed in the first place. However, her father will stop at nothing to betroth her to one of the finest titles in the realm…no matter how loathsome the bearer. Escape is Diana’s only option, and she’ll pay any price to achieve freedom.
Universally blamed for the death of his wife and unborn child, Simon Hastings doesn’t dispute his guilt over an accident he cannot even remember. He hasn’t had a drink since, nor a moment’s peace. Determined to be a better man, Simon rescues a young woman in need—only to be accused of kidnapping. They must marry to save him from prison. But how can a man haunted by the love he lost and a woman afraid to get too close find happiness together?
Series: The Untouchables, #8
Release Date: March 27, 2018
Simon Hastings, Duke of Romsey (aka Duke of Ruin) is probably one of the most wonderful heroes to ever grace the pages of a romance book. A man with a heart of gold, but overcome with grief, guilt and shame. Two years ago his beloved wife Miriam died along with their unborn child. Most assume that Simon killed her and he makes no move to clear his name, he was drunk at the time and doesn’t remember anything other than holding his love in his arms as she died. Unable to move past the heartbreak and the memories, he avoids the home he shared with his wife and instead travels extensively, never touches alcohol and is very much alone. Simon offers to help his friend Nick (aka the Duke of Ice) break his poorly conceived betrothal to Diana Kingman, so he can marry the woman he loves.
Simon meets with Diana and tells her that Nick is gone and asks her to break the betrothal. Diana can’t do that, her father is a cruel, overbearing man who expects complete obedience from her, he will never let her cry off. Simon offers to take her away, anywhere she wants and help her establish herself anew. Diana is terrified of her father, but longs to be free, she didn’t really want to marry Nick, he was just the means to escape.
As Diana and Simon set off, I was surprised to find myself really liking Diana, she was so cold and aloof in the previous book, that I didn’t know if I would be able to warm up to her, but beneath the cool façade, is a delightful young woman. Diana decides that she will go to her cousin Verity’s home in Lancaster, it is a long trip and gives our lovers plenty of time to get to know each other. They travel incognito as Mr. & Mrs. Byrd and are having a great adventure until they are recognized by a notorious gossip. They continue to her cousin’s home, where Verity convinces them, marriage is the only logical option.
Simon, wants Diana, but he is consumed with guilt, he can’t seem to let go of his past or believe that he can love Diana while Miriam is still in his heart and he vowed to love her (Miriam) for all time. They travel to his home and Diana knows that she loves him, but doesn’t believe that he can love her and she doesn’t want to compete with his lost love. She instead turns her attention to finding out the truth of the night Miriam died.
This is a lovely story of forgiveness, friendship and the power of love, both old and new. There are steamy love scenes, moments of heartbreak, more than one shocking secret, forgiveness, acceptance, snowball fights, awful relatives and an epilogue with a great reunion.
I thought the writing was superb, the story was great and the characters memorable. What I had a hard time with was Simon’s love for his first wife – logically, I know humans have a great capacity for love and can romantically love more than one person, but in my books, I long for the “soulmate” or “love of a lifetime” type of love – I like that he was so steadfast in his affections, but the constant reminders of his previous love grated at me and made me feel like while I believed he loved Diana, Miriam was his soulmate and Diana is and always will be, second best.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by the author*
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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.