on May 30th 2017
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
Three sinfully handsome dukes, three scores to settle, three hearts about to meet their matches. All in one thrilling new trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Madeline Hunter . . .
NOTORIOUS NOBLEMAN SEEKS REVENGEName and title: Adam Penrose, Duke of Stratton.Affiliation: London’s elite Society of Decadent Dukes. Family history: Scandalous.Personality traits: Dark and brooding, with a thirst for revenge. Ideal romantic partner: A woman of means, with beauty and brains, willing to live with reckless abandon. Desire: Clara Cheswick, gorgeous daughter of his family’s sworn enemy.
FAINT OF HEART NEED NOT APPLYClara may be the woman Adam wants, but there’s one problem: she’s far more interested in publishing her women’s journal than getting married—especially to a man said to be dead-set on vengeance. Though, with her nose for a story, Clara wonders if his desire for justice is sincere—along with his incredibly unnerving intention to be her husband. If her weak-kneed response to his kiss is any indication, falling for Adam clearly comes with a cost. But who knew courting danger could be such exhilarating fun?
Madeline Hunter’s novels are:
“Brilliant, compelling . . . An excellent read.” —The Washington Post
“Mesmerizing.” —Publishers Weekly
“Pure passion.” —Booklist
Adam Penrose, Duke of Stratton, has agreed to answer a few questions about himself.
Madeline Hunter (MH) is visiting with him
MH: Welcome, Duke. It was good of you to agree to an interview.
Stratton: Clara insisted. A few questions, she said. Polite ones, she promised.
MH: Not too polite, I’m afraid. That might be dull.
Stratton: This was what I feared. Fine. Do your worst.
MH: Let us start with the Decadent Dukes Society. When did it start?
Stratton: We were boys at school. We found each other and discovered we could be normal people with each other, instead of always separated as heirs to dukedoms. Fortunately we also enjoyed each other’s company. As for the title, it was a schoolboys’ tongue in cheek joke about decadent nobility, which was a common discussion then.
MH: So you were not really decadent dukes? How disappointing.
Stratton: I did not say that. There was a period of enormous excess after we left university when—well, young men on the town and all that. We all have enjoyed our privileges to the fullest.
MH: I assume Langford was the worst.
Stratton: Of course you do. However, it might be good to remember that discretion is not the same thing as reserve. And lack of discretion is not the same thing as true decadence.
MH: You are implying that someone else was the worst. You?
Stratton: If I agree or deny, you will have your answer, so I will decline to respond.
MH: In your story, you are presented with a perfectly lovely young woman who would be an ideal duchess. Instead you become attracted to a woman who lacks the character to fit that role. Did your preference surprise you?
Stratton: Not at all. If you had a choice between someone who was dutiful and staid and proper and another who was wild and fun and trouble, which would you choose?
MH: I see what you mean. It explains Langford’s popularity as opposed to Brentworth‘s.
Stratton: So we are back to Langford, are we? You do understand that you will be disappointed. Nothing good will come of any fascination on your part.
MH: There is no fascination on my part. You are all quite appealing in your own ways.
Stratton: So you say. Just know that you have been warned.
MH: You pursue Clara even though she has sworn not to marry. Did you not consider that you might be wasting your time?
Stratton: I thought it was clear that I intended to have her one way or another. I never lied about that, to her or anyone else. There would be no time wasted.
MH: Yes, but her emphatic refusal of you—-
Stratton: Not so emphatic, as it turned out.
MH: I confess that I found your strategy very appealing, if risky. Do you think your French background helped?
Stratton: I am only half French. However, my experiences with French women may have affected my strategy.
MH: The conversation you had in the park where you described you intentions in specific detail was quite shocking. Was that a French sort of thing to do?
Stratton: It certainly sounds better in French. English words are hardly poetic about physical pleasure.
MH: If you had not been in the early throes of love and passion, do you think you would have agreed to Clara’s demands regarding her fortune?
Stratton: A man does what he has to do. There may be moments when I regret that, I know. I would not want her with clipped wings, however.
MH: Clipped crow wings, you mean.
Stratton: You would remind me that I once called her a crow.
MH: To her face.
Stratton: She became so beautifully angry that I could not regret it.
MH: In the end you received much more in this relationship than you ever expected. Did that surprise you?
Stratton: Yes, but it should not have. I knew that Clara has a brave heart.
MH: Will we see you in your friends’ stories?
Stratton: Of course. I will be there irritating Langford and sticking pins into Brentworth.
MH: Sticking pins?
Stratton: He has become a bit puffed up recently. I think the problem is what in your age you call “believing your own P.R.” He is due for a deflation, don’t you think?
MH: Maybe some woman will do that.
Stratton: We can but hope.
MH: Thank you so much for visiting with us, Duke.
“I am wondering why you bought this house if you did not intend to live in it. It is idle curiosity on my part, nothing more.”
Not too idle, from the look he gave her.
She really shouldn’t. Truly she ought not. But— “You have found me out. I needed a secret place to meet that my lover.”
“Ah. Well, we cannot have that now.” He walked back through the room, his attention all on her. “I will have to post a guard at the door to discourage such visits. Should no lover arrive, I am left with the conclusion you spoke of the future, and of me.”
He stood too close now, looking down in a way that did not bode well for her composure. She was determined, however, not to make a fool out of herself the way she had in the park. “That is a shocking thing for you to say. It is bad enough for you to make assumptions regarding a marriage. It is far worse to imply what you just did.”
“If you would prefer marriage to a love affair, the offer still stands. However, if you are set against it, as you claim, I will accommodate your desire.”
She never found herself speechless, but she did now because she could not conjure up a good response. How had she allowed him to trap her between two options that consisted of the same thing, only one was honorable and one not? It did not help that his eyes all but glowed when he added that accommodate your desire part. She could not ignore the double entendre, nor the way an unhelpful thrill streaked through her body.
He appeared amused at her predicament. “This house will be convenient in either case.”
“It would not be appropriate for you to call on me here with any frequency, if that is what you mean.” She stammered it out. She felt as though a cloud had entered her head.
He reached out and softly stroked her lips. Only then did she realize they were trembling. She was being an idiot again but could not stop, especially since that feathery touch felt very nice and made her face and neck tingle.
“I will be very discreet. There will be no scandal. However, I like the idea of visiting you here, where the dowager and your brother cannot interfere.”
Interfere with what? She had no idea if she said it or thought it.
“With this.” He bent until his lips met hers.
That kiss stunned her in the best way. Marvelous little sensations multiplied while vague observations floated in her dulled mind. She marveled at how surprisingly soft his lips were, and how he did not merely press her mouth but made impish nips and movements that increased the enchantment. She noted when he took her head in his hands and held her to his exploration. She enjoyed too much when those hands dropped and embraced her until she pressed his body and felt the tension in him. Then she was accepting kisses to her neck and chest and caresses down her body.
He intends to seduce me. She did not know how that thought emerged, but it was in her head while Stratton lured her deeper with pleasure. Stratton. The Duke of Stratton. Some of the cloud dispersed while that name fixated in her mind.
Just then, when a modicum of rationality tried to stake a claim, he escalated his tactics and slid his tongue into her mouth.
She liked it. She did not lie to herself about that. It stirred her deeply and hinted at intimacies to come. However, it also startled her enough that her mind actually found itself. The Duke of Stratton is trying to seduce me.
She turned her head. She pressed against his hold, hard. She stumbled out of his embrace and turned away to compose herself.
She heard his breathing, and her own, and knew she had permitted too much to occur. This man had been impossible already. She did not think he would get any better now.
“You should go,” she said.
No? Rather suddenly she felt very much herself again. She turned to face him.
A mistake that. He smoldered there, his gaze on her, his jaw and mouth hard. He looked dangerous and sensual and too handsome to bear.
Too much passed between them in the silence. That she had lost ground and he had gained it, that she might hate his family but she did not dislike him nearly enough, and that something had started here that he at least intended to finish.
“You must go,” she said firmly.
Oh, he was bold. “Because I must too. I am to meet my sister at a dressmaker’s, and I need to start out.” She brushed past him and walked to the door. She stepped into the reception hall and called up the stairs to Jocelyn to bring down her pelisse.
“At least you do not live here all alone,” he said, following her out.
“Of course not. There will be more servants soon. The notices have been published. I expect to hire an army. In a week I daresay I will be tripping over them.”
“I assume that means you do not yet have a coachman. I have my carriage here. I will take you to your sister.”
She had planned to hire a hackney. “I will permit that because I am late. However, if you so much as try to touch me, I will stab you with a hatpin.”
Copyright 2017 Madeline Hunter
Today we have two giveaways, one from Ms. Hunter’s publisher, Kensington and one from Ms. Hunter.
From Ms Hunter-
She is giving away 1 (one) set of my Wicked series books.
She would like you to….
Pick your favorite hero type: Charmer, Paragon, or Devil.
~~Reviewed by Monique~~
The Dowager Countess of Marwood summons her grandson Adam Penrose, Duke of Stratton, and she orders him that to solve the long-time feud between their family and the Cheswicks, he should marry the granddaughter, Emilia. Adam wants to avenge the wrongs done to his family, so be it; he doesn’t care. Adam is not precisely enthralled by Emilia however, but when he sees her older sister Clara, it’s another matter; the indomitable Clara might just make him more amenable to a political union. Clara is a spinster; nobody has proposed to her because she is believed to be quite difficult, and it suits her just fine. Adam’s reputation as a dangerous man precedes him, he is not dangerous to women, but after a while, Clara is not so sure about that.
THE MOST DANGEROUS DUKE IN LONDON was my first incursion into the magnificence of Madeline Hunter’s oeuvre, and it won’t be my last. Oh my, this is a marvellous book! The very beginning grabbed my attention right away, and it only got better from then on. Clara is a true manifestation of feminine power: she has her own home, she is the publisher of a journal, she is independently wealthy; she is a force of nature. Adam is quite a novel character: he is handsome, titled, well-off, and the marriage-minded mamas don’t shove their daughters at him. His reputation is based on facts: he has fought duels when he was in France, and there are family matters he won’t discuss which also affect his demeanour. While there is some initial attraction between Adam and Clara, she sees him as a major inconvenience in her life, and he sees her only as a means to an end; there is definitely no insta-anything there.
THE MOST DANGEROUS DUKE IN LONDON has two strong angles to the story: while it is a romance, and a splendid one at that, the story of Adam looking into his father’s misfortune is riveting, and the resolution took me entirely by surprise; it was glorious. I could go on and on about the wonderfully drawn characters that are Clara, Adam, Emilia, the terrifying Dowager Countess, and the other two delectable dukes of the Decadent Dukes Society: Brentwood and Langford. The dialogues were just as fabulous as everything else in this book: the men’s conversations sounded natural and masculine, while Clara and Emilia came across as loving sisters.
Adam and Clara have one of the oddest courtships I have ever read, it felt entirely genuine and it was simply wonderful! There is no silly bickering; there is nothing silly or implausible at all, in fact, in THE MOST DANGEROUS DUKE IN LONDON. The romance between Adam and Clara slowly smoulders until it becomes a full-fledged blaze, and the sex scenes are extremely sensuous, beautiful and while not very explicit, the pillow talk is erotic, playful, and utterly sublime. I also thoroughly enjoyed a look at Regency women who had a life, outside of the home, and in a realistic way. Madeline Hunter’s prose is perfection itself: elegant, subdued, nuanced, and so smooth, I barely had the impression I was reading; I was buried in this wonderfully imagined world. Towards the end, I also realised that the author does not dwell excessively on the characters’ physical attributes, for which I am ever so grateful.
THE MOST DANGEROUS DUKE IN LONDON is a feast for the mind, and also for the eyes, because of Madeline Hunter’s mastery at stringing words and sentences together to present her fictional world in such vivid colour. THE MOST DANGEROUS DUKE IN LONDON was a most joyous discovery, and to say that I am eagerly awaiting the next two instalments in the Decadent Dukes Society series would be a major understatement. What a glorious read this was!
I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book.