Published by Avon on May 30, 2017
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
Eva Leigh launches a seductive new series that sizzles with the dark secrets of London’s underworld...
Years ago, the Duke of Greyland gave his heart—and a princely sum of money—to a charming, destitute widow with unparalleled beauty. After one passionate night, she slipped from his bed and vanished without a trace. And just when he’s given up hope of ever seeing her again, Greyland finds her managing a gaming hell. He’s desperate to have her… until he discovers everything about his long-lost lover was a lie.
In truth, Cassandra Blake grew up on the streets, picking pockets to survive. Greyland was a mark—to be fleeced and forgotten—but her feelings for the duke became all too real. Once he learns of her deception, however, the heat in his eyes turns to ice. When her business partner absconds with the gaming hell proceeds—leaving unsavory investors out for blood—Cassandra must beg the man she betrayed for help.
Greyland wants compensation, too, and he’ll assist her under one condition: she doesn’t leave his sight until her debts are paid. But it’s not long before the real Cassandra—the smart, streetwise criminal—is stealing his heart all over again.
A woman laughed, and Alexander Lewis, Duke of Greyland felt the sound like a gunshot to his chest.
It was a very pleasant laugh, low and musical rather than shrill and forced, yet it sounded like The Lost Queen’s laugh. Alex could not resist the urge to glance over his shoulder as he left the Eagle chophouse. He’d fancifully taken to calling her The Lost Queen, though she was most assuredly a mortal woman. Had she somehow appeared on a busy London street at dusk? The last time he’d seen her had been two years ago, the spa town of Cheltenham, in his bed, asleep and naked.
The owner of the laugh turned out to be a completely different woman—brunette rather than blonde, petite and round rather than lithe and willowy. She caught Alex staring and raised her eyebrows. He bowed gravely in response, then continued toward the curb.
Night came on in indigo waves, but the shops spilled golden light in radiant patches onto the street. The hardworking citizens of London continued to toil as the upper echelons began their evening revelries. Crowds thronged the sidewalk, while wagons, carriages, and people on horseback crammed the streets. A handful of pedestrians recognized Alex and politely curtsied or tipped their hats, murmuring, “Good evening, Your Grace.” Though he was in no mood for politeness, responsibility and virtue were his constant companions—had been his whole life—and so rather than snapping, “Go to the devil, damn you!” he merely nodded in greeting.
He’d done his duty. He’d been seen in public, rather than disappearing into the cavernous chambers of his Mayfair mansion, where he could lick his wounds in peace.
The trouble with being a duke was that he always had to do his duty. “You are the pinnacle of British Society,” his father had often said to him. “The world looks to you for guidance. So you must lead by example. Be their True North.”
This evening, before dining, Alex had taken a very conspicuous turn up and down Bond Street, making certain that he was seen by many consequential—and loose-lipped— figures in the ton. Word would soon spread that the Duke of Greyland was not holed up, sulking in seclusion. His honor as one of Society’s bulwarks would not be felled by something as insignificant as his failed marriage suit to Lady Emmeline Birks. The Dukes of Greyland had stood strong against Roundheads, Jacobites, and countless other threats against Britain. One girl barely out of the schoolroom could hardly damage Alex’s ducal armor.
But that armor had been dented by The Lost Queen. Far deeper than he would have expected.
Standing on the curb, he signaled for his carriage, which pulled out of the mews. He tugged on his spotless gloves as he waited and adjusted the brim of his black beaver hat to make certain it sat properly on his head.
“Always maintain a faultless appearance,” his father had reminded him again and again. “The slightest bit of disorder in your dress can lead to rampant speculation about the stability of your affairs. This, we cannot tolerate. The nation demands nothing less than perfection.”
Alex’s father had been dead for ten years, but that didn’t keep the serious, sober man’s voice from his mind. It was part of him now—his role as one of the most powerful men in England and the responsibilities that role carried with it. Not once did he ever let frivolities distract him from his duties.
Except for one time . . .
~~Reviewed by AnnMarie~~
From Duke till Dawn is the first book in The London Underground series by Eva Leigh.
The Duke of Greyland is in a gaming hell, a speciality one that allows both men and women to attend and one that is only operating for a month before closing its doors. He is absolutely stunned when he spots a woman there whom he had a dalliance with 2 years prior. A woman who he loved well and then lost when she disappeared.
That woman is Cassandra Blake. She is part owner of the gaming hell and unknown to Greyland, she is a con artist and a thief. She isn’t the vulnerable widow that he knew her as. One who he gave £500 just before she disappeared! She is shocked to see Greyland. She has true feelings for him and it hurt her when she had to take his money and run. She is even more shocked when he confronts her when he overhears her conversation with her partner and realises just who she is and how she has used him.
When her partner in crime does a runner with all the profits he leaves her in dire straits with no money for herself and more importantly no money to pay the staff or the investors in the gaming hell. The only person she can call on to help her is Greyland. But will he help to keep her safe and to find her runaway partner in order to get the money back? He has every reason to turn her away. Thankfully he does decide to help her but tells her she isn’t to leave his side until the money is recovered and the debts are repaid including the £500 she cheated out of him before.
What follows is the exciting story of the chase which takes them into the most disreputable places in London, and in one instance one of the most debauched. In that particular place, there is the most sensual waltz you will ever read about.
The writer excels at keeping the reader on the edge of their seat wondering if our hero and heroine will stay safe, and with circumstances adding up against them, will they have any chance of a future together. There were emotional scenes, passionate scenes and of course moments of horror when murder was afoot. There really was never a dull moment in the book, and most importantly there was a happy ever after!