The Duke is the forth book in the Victorian Rebels series by Kerrigan Byrne and is currently scheduled for release on February 7 2017. The previous books are (in order) The Highwayman, The Hunter, and The Highlander. You do not need to read the previous books to enjoy this one, but the books are all great fun and give series readers a little extra insight on the secondary characters of this story and the missing time of Collin's life. I some how missed reading book two, which I do plan on remedying as soon as possible.
They say that now His Grace, Collin Talmage, Duke of Trenwyth has only one hand, he might finally be a mere mortal, but no one seems willing to test the theory. Rich as Midas, big as a Viking, beautiful as Adonis, and lethal as a feral wolf, he is the English Empire’s golden son. But now he’s lost everything. Most of his family died in a terrible accident, his protégé and closest friend betrayed him on the battlefield, and his left hand was cut off while he was a prisoner of war. The only thing that’s kept him going until now is the memory of a night spent in the arms of a mysterious raven-haired woman almost a year ago. Imogen Pritchard is a nurse by day, but a fallen woman by night. Seduced on the job years ago by a Duke who mourned for the loss of his family, Imogen has never shaken the memory of the man’s despair or the pleasure he brought to her. But as the threat of betrayals, blackmail, and secrets abound, Imogen and Collin are thrown back together in a dizzying swirl of dangerous games.
The Duke covers a good chunk of time, and like the previous Victorian Rebels books features a strong broody male and a woman that has seen some of the worst ills of society and the treatment of women and the poor of their time. Imogen's struggles to pay off her father's gambling debt lead her to working to jobs to protect what is left of her family. When fate turns against her she takes steps to hide the things she has been forced to do, and to secure her younger sister's future. The fact that she cannot forget the man that took her virtue and than her job despite saving his life makes things even harder. Collin has faced loss and betrayal. He hunts for the woman that granted him peace before a disastrous mission does nothing but offer disappointment. Little does he know that she saved his life and is right next door. The secrets and danger color every exchange and keep things very interesting. I liked the level of intrigue and think that the understanding of both sides of the story make it very compelling. Stubbornness and fear are at the heart of the conflicts between Collin and Imogen- and seeing them find their way to each other was highly entertaining, though very emotional at times. I will admit to not knowing the full extent of who the serial killer was, and that aspect of the story was full of twists and turns. I am interested to see what might be next for one secondary character in particular, and fully expect more in this series.
The Duke is another solid historical romance from Byrne. Readers that are already fans will not want to miss it, and new readers who enjoy romance with secrets and strong characters will become new fans.