Dare to Love a Duke
by Eva Leigh
Series The London Underground
Genre Adult Historical Romance
Publisher Avon Books
Publication Date December 24, 2018
For a dashing duke and the proprietress of a secret, sensual club in the London Underground, passion could lead to love… if they dare.
Thomas Powell, the new Duke of Northfield, knows he should be proper and principled, like his father. No more dueling, or carousing, or frequenting masked parties where Londoners indulge their wildest desires. But he’s not ready to give up his freedom just yet. The club is an escape, a place where he can forget about society and the weight of his title… and see her, the woman he’s wanted forever.
Lucia—known as Amina—manages the Orchid Club, a secret society where fantasies become reality. But for Lucia, it’s strictly business, profitable enough to finance her dream: a home for the lost girls of the streets. Surrounded by lovers, she only observes, unwilling risk her future for any man. No member has ever intrigued her…until him, the masked stranger whose heated looks sear her skin. After months of suppressed longing, they dare to give in to temptation… But the late duke’s legacy comes with a shocking secret, and the scandal threatens to destroy everything Tom loves… his family, the Orchid Club, and even Lucia
She sensed someone’s gaze on her like a velvet glove stroking down the back of her neck.
Lucia looked around to find the source of the sensation. Her breath stuttered and her pulse came in a quick flutter when she saw its origin.
A rangy, dark-haired man in a blue mask strode purposefully toward her. He moved with fluid, masculine grace, his body muscular and strapping. The direct way he approached captivated her—as though nothing could keep him from being near her.
Lucia’s pulse leapt again. She shook her head, trying to dismiss her reaction to the guest’s approach. Clients often turned their interests toward her. Yet there was a palpable sensuality to the way he walked and the interest in his gaze. It held frank erotic intent, and the confidence that he could give her extraordinary pleasure.
Even at a distance, his eyes said, I. Want. You.
This one may be my favorite of the series…!
I absolutely loved Tom and Lucia. Both have weighty responsibilities–Tom because he was born to them, and Lucia’s because she worked her butt off to build a better life for herself and in the process has both made a new family for herself and decided that helping girls in situations similar to those she once faced to make a better life for themselves would be her new mission. They have equally precarious situations–Tom’s because of a socially dangerous secret that his father kept, and Lucia’s because her clandestine business and all of its employees depend on the fact that it is an (open) secret in London. Of course they are from wildly different social tiers–he’s a duke, and she’s the illegitimate daughter of a former Italian housekeeper and the son of a wealthy English family–a family that refused to take orphaned Lucia in, causing her to have to make her own way in a foreign country. She’d come a long way from the girl she’d been then by the time she meets Tom, but that vulnerability was still there, beneath the surface.
Ms. Leigh definitely takes her authorly responsibility to figure out what her characters are most afraid of and do that very seriously, because oh goodness, does she throw a lot at Tom and Lucia here. There were moments it was nearly impossible to see how they could possibly come through everything and still manage an HEA, but thankfully they manage to find a way, and it is brilliant.
The ending really should have come with a wear waterproof mascara when reading warning, though. I’m just saying. 😉
Dare to Love a Duke is the third in The London Underground series, but would work just fine as a standalone. Other series characters play small roles–the men as friends and sometime-supporters of Tom, the women popping up in the epilogue–but you don’t have to have read their stories to thoroughly enjoy this one.
(But do yourself a favor–read all three. They. Are. So. Good. Rulebreaking heroines and the men that love them FTW!)
Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
EVA LEIGH is a romance author who has always loved the Regency era. She writes novels chock-full of smart women and sexy men. She enjoys baking, spending too much time on the Internet, and listening to music from the ’80s. Eva and her husband live in Central California.