Stacey is Sassy received a complimentary copy of this story. The copy provided was not the final version and may be subject to edits and changes
Published by Piatkus on May 31, 2016
Genres: Historical Romance
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 . . .
Duke of Sin (Maiden Lane #10)
By Elizabeth Hoyt
If I only had a heart…
I’m going to be brutally honest here…I had a few false starts reading Duke of Sin. Look, I’m all for falling for the bad boy, the rake, or even the arrogant jerk who thinks he’s better than others. BUT…for the hero to be all three…that could be pushing it. Valentine Napier, Duke of Montgomery, is one of the most hated, evil, vain and crass characters I have read in a historical romance. How could I force myself to be patient and see if he could “come good”? What will I have to witness? What will I have to endure? What will tip me over the edge? Well, it was nearly the time he…No, I won’t tell you, but I will say that there were a time or two. I ended up persevering and giving good old Val a fair go.
Bridget Crumb takes her job as housekeeper very, very seriously. She runs a tight ship but luckily has mostly a good staff. She is tasked with running the Duke of Montgomery’s household while he is banished overseas. While she does take her job very seriously and is honoured to be serving such an important man, she really has an ulterior motive. She needs to foil one of his Grace’s wicked and nefarious blackmailing schemes. Imagine her surprise when poor Mrs. Crumb is caught red-handed by the Duke himself. She hadn’t even realised he’d returned to England. Poor Mrs. Crumb has no idea what a challenge she has brought on herself now that she has her masters attention.
Val is intrigued with his housekeeper. She’s such a buttoned up, mobcap wearing mystery that he can’t help but want to know more about her. Now that Val has her in his clutches, he plans to unwrap her literally and figuratively. Mrs. Crumb hasn’t foiled his plans, but she sure has made his evil work more of a challenge.
Val always has a scheme going whether it be blackmailing the upper echelon of the Ton or bedding as many women as he can. With his good looks, position in society and money, not much is a challenge for him.
Val was brought up by very bad parents who took pleasure in making him feel bad. This leads him to turn off his heart, avoid emotions and only bring people into his life who serve a purpose. The thing is, he does do nice things, he doesprotect people in his care, and he does know right from wrong. He just doesn’t want anyone to know it.
The longer Val and Bridget are in each others company the closer they get. Val has a lot of enemies and he must stay vigilant if he wants to survive. Bridget knows of Val’s evil ways and has no hesitations in going behind his back to right some of his wrongs. She thinks he is redeemable and is determined to help him realise he is worthy of love.
Both Val and Bridget have secrets, but it doesn’t take long before they have to face them and deal with the consequences. Val’s are ones that have been hovering over his head for years. Once they are dealt with, he is concerned that people (Bridget) will turn her back on him. Bridget’s secret is one she has kept, but not her own. I found her story quite sad. I hated that she was made to live a life that wasn’t one she deserved. I loved that she made the most of it and took pride in her accomplishments. Once her secrets are exposed, she’s not sure whether it is for the better or worse.
With each secret exposed, feelings are hurt, lives are changed and futures are decided.
I ended up enjoying Duke of Sin against my better judgement. Seriously, Val is not a hero I would normally like let alone love by the end. Once we hear more of the stories of his youth and what he had to live through, my patience towards his theatrics increased. I still think he is BEYOND vain, conceited and rude, but I also know that he is capable of love, makes kind gestures hidden beneath evil intent and only murders the ones who need murdering (murder is bad, but I could totally get behind him killing off some of his victims).
This is a steamy read and Val is one of the most vulgar heroes I’ve read in a historical romance. He prefers nudity, aims to shock and lives to break the rules of society. Luckily, Mrs. Crumb is there to keep him straight…or straight…ish.