on September 26th 2017
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After killing his opponent in a duel, Lionel Maitland, Marquess of Axbridge, is known as the Duke of Danger. Tortured by guilt, he shields himself with a devil-may-care attitude. However, when he kills another man in another duel, he’s beyond redemption, even though it wasn’t his fault. He refuses to smear a dead man’s name, especially when he’s left behind a blameless widow who doesn’t deserve an even bigger scandal.
Widowed and destitute, Lady Emmaline Townsend must marry the man of her parents’ choosing or beg unsympathetic relatives for support. The only way out is to ask for help from the one man she’s sworn to hate, the man who owes her anything she asks, the man who killed her husband. They strike a devil’s bargain in which passion simmers just beneath the surface. But her dead husband’s transgressions come back to haunt them and threaten their chance at love.
~~Reviewed by Monique~~
Lionel Maitland, the Marquess of Axbridge, had truly earned his nickname of THE DUKE OF DANGER: three duels, and two men dead. The latest had occurred eight months prior. Geoffrey Townsend had cheated, and Lionel acting on a reflex had shot Townsend, who subsequently expired. Lionel had never gotten over his guilt over the two previous duels, and this one almost undid him. Lionel had gone to see Lady Emmaline, Townsend’s widow, to offer his condolences and tell her that were she ever to need anything at all, he would be there for her. Emmaline could hardly contain her fury at the man who made her a widow and now burdened with her late husband’s debts. Yet, to her everlasting shame, Emmaline is secretly relieved: her marriage had been a love match until it quickly deteriorated. After a suitable period of mourning, her parents decide it’s time she remarried, and choose a husband to their liking, again. Rather than marry the horrid man they have in mind, Emmaline remembers Lionel’s promise: he will help her.
I will say not one more word about what ensues because Darcy Burke stunned me with several plot twists I would never have imagined! THE DUKE OF DANGER is one of those books where you must look at the situation from every angle, and Ms. Burke had me on the edge of my seat until the epilogue. THE DUKE OF DANGER has one of the most intricate plots I have ever seen in a historical romance that does not involve spying or a real mystery as such. Still, as one revelation follows another, the situation becomes more and more complex. The almost untenable tension between Emmaline and Lionel ever so gradually begins to ease, when both realise they must try to make the best of an impossible situation.
THE DUKE OF DANGER is daring, smart, intense, dramatic and thought-provoking. Each and every character is meticulously drawn and as complex as non-fictional individuals can be. Readers who might have read my reviews know that sex scenes are often a sore point for me in historical romances, but in THE DUKE OF DANGER, they are essential to advance the story and contribute vastly to character development; they are also very sensuous and beautifully done. THE DUKE OF DANGER is a riveting story with unusually strong and unique characters that kept me enthralled. Darcy Burke is a remarkable storyteller and I am already waiting with bated breath her next story.
I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book.