Book Review: Duke of Desire (Maiden Lane) by Elizabeth Hoyt

Duke of Desire is part of the Maiden Lane series by Elizabeth Hoyt. I have read some of the books in this series, but not all of them. I think newcomers to the series will be able to fully enjoy the read, while those that have been following the series might have a better understanding of the underlying plot that brings out characters together.
Refined, kind, and intelligent, Lady Iris Jordan finds herself the unlikely target of a diabolical kidnapping. Her captors are the notoriously evil Lords of Chaos. When one of the masked-and nude!-Lords spirits her away to his carriage, she shoots him only to find she may have been a trifle hasty. Cynical, scarred, and brooding, Raphael de Chartres, the Duke of Dyemore, has made it his personal mission to infiltrate the Lords of Chaos and destroy them. Rescuing Lady Jordan was never in his plans. But now with the Lords out to kill them both, he has but one choice: marry the lady in order to keep her safe. Much to Raphael's irritation, Iris insists on being the sort of duchess who involves herself in his life-and bed. Soon he's drawn both to her quick wit and her fiery passion. But when Iris discovers that Raphael's past may be even more dangerous than the present, she falters. Is their love strong enough to withstand not only the Lords of Chaos but also Raphael's own demons?

Duke of Desire is a historical novel with great characters. I loved Iris's spirit and loving nature. While she stands up for herself despite her fears, she is also sacrificing and loving. Raphael is a wounded man, scarred inside and out. He is protective of those in his protection, and those weaker than himself. I found the tangled history and danger of Raph and the Lords of Chaos make his character so much more compelling than he would have been if just a powerful man trying to fix things. The combination of Iris and Raph was delightful, and I really enjoyed their give and take, and the development of their relationship. I think the hidden evil was well done, and while I had my suspicions as to who was behind it all, the reveal was worth the ride. I do think that on occasion the overall danger and that part of the plot verged on melodramatic or Gothic, I think that could also be the catalyst that was needed to get Raph to admit he might need help, and love.  This was a great ride, and Iris's spunk made me smile many times.

Duke of Desire is a story of love and redemption. I liked the characters and their story. I think the danger aspect of the plot might seem a little overdone for some readers, but it was quite the ride. 
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