Type: Historical Romance
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
My Copy: Sent
A MAN OF SIN
Devastatingly handsome. Vain. Unscrupulous. Valentine Napier, the Duke of Montgomery, is the man London whispers about in boudoirs and back alleys. A notorious rake and blackmailer, Montgomery has returned from exile, intent on seeking revenge on those who have wronged him. But what he finds in his own bedroom may lay waste to all his plans.
A WOMAN OF HONOR
Born a bastard, housekeeper Bridget Crumb is clever, bold, and fiercely loyal. When her aristocratic mother becomes the target of extortion, Bridget joins the Duke of Montgomery’s household to search for the incriminating evidence-and uncovers something far more dangerous.
A SECRET THAT THREATENS TO DESTROY THEM BOTH
Astonished by the deceptively prim-and surprisingly witty-domestic spy in his chambers, Montgomery is intrigued. And try as she might, Bridget can’t resist the slyly charming duke. Now as the two begin their treacherous game of cat and mouse, they soon realize that they both have secrets-and neither may be as nefarious-or as innocent-as they appear . . .
This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. I love how well Ms. Hoyt writes this tale of an irredeemable man, yet she weaves her magic and I am in love.
Bridget Crumb is the housekeeper at the Duke of Montgomery’s home, yet there is something intriguing about her and her reasons for taking a job for one of the most hated men in England. And although she is more than she seems, she is vulnerable and you can’t help but like her and cheer for her throughout the story. She was born a bastard and although her mother is well known, no one knows about their relationship. Bridget was raised in the country by a loving woman and a man “who was not too mean”, in her own words and although she knew who she was, did what she was told. But now she does what is right and is on a mission for two people who are being blackmailed while she is working for the Duke. She needs to find evidence to stop the crime, yet the Duke is on to her and he is intrigued.
Valentine Napier is the Duke of Montgomery, a man we have met several times; he is an enigma and has been the villain in Ms. Hoyt’s previous books. He is vain, a rake, a kidnapper and blackmailer all rolled up into one, and he has his own agenda. He is blackmailing several people at the same time to get what he wants, but there is something endearing about him, and as we peel back the layers that surround him we gain a picture of his life and background.
Bridget has her own secrets and between the two of them they dance around each other trying to find out what makes each other tick, and the performance is phenomenal.
I have read and enjoyed the Maiden Lane series from the start and although I love some more than others I was not sure I had a favorite, until now, this is amazing. This is book ten and while the author explains many things to help new readers it is best to have read at least the last few because Val is the villain in them and a reader needs the full effect to understand why I was not sure how he was to be redeemed.
Bridget seems prim and proper on the outside, but beneath the surface is an intelligent, crafty woman who is hiding her true intentions. She can lie with the best of them as she tries to find Val’s faults to stop his blackmailing schemes. I love how she comes across as a nobody and blends in with the staff, keeping the household running like a tight ship, but Val sees her and watches.
Valentine is one of the most intriguing characters I have ever seen, we met him several books ago and he played a pivotal role in his sister’s book, Sweetest Scoundrel where he disrupts several scenes. He is hungry for power even though he is already a very powerful man and does not need more. Bridget often questions him about this, why does he need more, because he wants it. Yet he reminded me of a five year old, wondering why he could not do something, and has a hard time with right and wrong, at times unwilling to see the difference.
The pace works well here and I love these two together, their conversations are witty and the banter between them is amazing. Their chemistry is electric, she can’t seem to take her eyes off of him and he is often near her in different stages of undress. An amazing book that is part of an amazing series, I highly recommend this one.
I give Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt 5 stars!
About the Author:
Elizabeth Hoyt is the New York Times bestselling author of over seventeen lush historical romances including the Maiden Lane series.Publishers Weekly has called her writing “mesmerizing.” She also pens deliciously fun contemporary romances under the name Julia Harper. Elizabeth lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with three untrained dogs, a garden in constant need of weeding, and the long-suffering Mr. Hoyt.
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“I was told you had need of me, Your Grace,” she reminded him, folding her hands at her waist to hide the trembling that had begun again. She’d been in demand before this position. Duchesses and lionesses of society had wanted her.
“So practical,” he mused, tilting his golden head back to gaze, presumably, at the gaudy sky-blue velvet canopy of his bed. She’d always thought it rather vulgar, actually. “I suppose that would be considered a good thing in a housekeeper.”
“It’s generally considered so, Your Grace.”
“And yet, I find it somewhat…”—he raised his naked arm straight up above his head and twirled his hand as he thought—“irksome.”
“I am sorry, Your Grace,” Bridget said as pleasantly as she could, which, sadly, was not very.
“Oh, don’t be,” the duke murmured silkily. “One can’t help one’s nature, no matter how irritating it is to others.”
His azure eyes suddenly dropped to pin her, hard and merciless, and she lost her breath as she fell into his predator’s stare. It was like looking into the eyes of something inhuman, almost otherworldly. Her chest ached as she stared at him, the air still locked within her, but at the same time the place between her legs ached as well.
Then she inhaled, filling her lungs with sweet air, as he watched her still, his eyes half-lidded, and she felt an odd exhilaration, as if a gauntlet had been thrown down. As if they were adversaries, equal on the field.
Which was completely ridiculous.
Possibly she shouldn’t have indulged in that third cup of tea this morning.
“I wonder whom you work for, Mrs. Crumb?” he whispered.
“Why, for you, Your Grace,” she replied, holding his gaze.
She felt a bead of perspiration trail down her spine.
He strode, nude, to his desk, and, bending over it, afforded her a quite scandalous view of his muscular bottom. He seemed to have a dark mark of some kind on the left cheek. Good God, it looked like a tattoo. What—? “Why, Mrs. Crumb,” he drawled, and she snapped her gaze belatedly up to find that he’d turned back to her—damn it! “Were you ogling my arse?”
She opened her mouth and then wasn’t sure, exactly, what to say. Was he about to dismiss her or not? “I…I—”
“Ye-es?” He took one long stride toward her.
She was suddenly, overwhelmingly aware of what she’d until now successfully ignored: He. Was. Nude.
His shoulders were wide, his chest highlighted by pale-pink nipples drawn tight, with but a few curling golden hairs between. His torso narrowed in a perfect V to a slim waist and a shallow belly button. A thin line of slightly darker hair led to his genitals.
During his supposed absence Bridget had had plenty of time to study the life-size nude portrait of the duke hanging next to his bed. She’d long thought the dimensions of his manhood exaggerated.
They were not.
She hastily glanced up to find him standing far too close to her, a wicked smile playing about his mouth.
“Oh, Mrs. Crumb, such a look,” he murmured, his voice a deep purr, his bare chest brushing against her snowy white apron. “Why, I don’t know whether to guard my bollocks…”—his gaze dropped to her mouth—“or to kiss you.”