Series: The Duke's Men #1
Published by Pocket Books on 18 June 2013
Genres: Adult, Historical Romance
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Lisette grew up with her brother and her mother, her father visiting when he felt like it. Her mother being French was her father's excuse for never marrying her and making Lisette and Tristan his legal children. When he died, his oldest son George got his revenge by chasing them from the little cabin where they lived - even holding the possible hanging of Tristan for horse-stealing over their heads.
Years later, Lisette is back in London, with her other half-brother Dom, helping him witih his investigation firm. Until the day when a Duke shows up at dawn, demanding answers, saying Tristan has been trying to exhort money from him. A wild chase through Paris and other places ensues, during which Lisette and the Duke pretend to be husband and wife.
*I received a free ARC of What the Duke Desires from Pocket Book via Edelweiss in exchange of an honest review*
What the Duke Desires has everything I look for in a historical romance! A strong female lead, a handsome and slightly rogue Duke. A mystery. Hot romance. Steamy bedroom-scenes. Yes, all the boxes are checked to my immense reading pleasure. The writing is really good as well, I feel like I actually got to know Lisette and Maximillian, Dom and Tristan. And the plot was well done, and made the mystery just too mysterious for me to figure it out!
I love reading historical romances, the way the characters act and speak is so different from today, and What the Duke Desires certainly made me happy in that way as well. The little dearling mon coeur and others made me grin while reading on. I also really love it when the female lead isn’t some delicate flower who can’t take care of herself. Lisette is the perfect heroine, she knows what she wants, and she needs to be able to take care of herself without having to completely depend on a man. She grew up seeing what it did to her mom, and ultimately to her and her brothers as well, when the man in the family has all the power.
Lisette and Max got off on the wrong foot completely, and even that delighted me! Max acted like an arrogant Duke (and of course, he really is one) and Lisette would not let him get his way. Instead, she came up with an amazing scheme to make sure Tristan’s honor would be safe, even if he had somehow done what Max accused him of. As the pair take off for Brighton first, none other than Lisette’s neighbors are traveling with them – and to Lisette’s utter shock, Max says they are married!
As they travel to France, What the Duke Desires changes from being only a mystery, the romance starts to slip in little by little, as both Lisette and Max let their masks slowly fall away, along with the walls they have erected to protect their hearts. The way it unfolds is very sweet, and also believable. Lisette has seen a lot, even if she is a woman, and most of what she knows about relationships has nothing to do with happiness. Max has to live with his parents’ lies, as well as a well-guarded secret, but he can’t help but let Lisette tear away at the armor he has erected around his heart and his feelings.
If you enjoy historical romance novels, What the Duke Desires is definitely a book for you! It’s masterfully written, with spies, family secrets, a mystery, a vengeful half-brother and a strong woman who is very much able to take care of herself! And the humor is ever-present as well, I laughed out loud in different places, as the banter between Lisette and Max went on and they got to know each other better. I enjoyed it immensely, and look forward to the second book in The Duke’s Men series!
“Of course you’re pretty, ma chérie. You’re my daughter, aren’t you? Don’t fret, one day men will vie for your attention.”She wasn’t sure she wanted that. Maman’s looks had only gained her a lifetime of waiting around for the man she loved to marry her.
Lisette dashed away fresh tears. Well, she would never be so foolish. First chance she got, she would make her own way in this world, no matter what it took. She wasn’t going through this kind of betrayal ever again.
But every duke she’d seen depicted in the papers or in satirical prints was gray haired and stooped. This duke was neither. Tall and broad-shouldered, he was the most striking man she’d ever seen.
She shouldn’t let him do this, shouldn’t let him plunder her like the rakish adventurer she’d glimpse this morning, but she couldn’t seem to help herself. He did it so very well.
He was kissing her as if she held the key to the meaning of life.
But Lisette treated him like an equal. It was bloody intoxicating. It made him want her as his duchess so badly, he would slay dragons to have her.