The Duke of Ruin, an all-new historical standalone from USA Today bestselling author Darcy Burke, is LIVE!
With her betrothal to a duke in tatters and scandal imminent, Diana Kingman has two choices: live in certain ignominy or flee into obscurity. Diana wants solitude. She never wished to wed in the first place. However, her father will stop at nothing to betroth her to one of the finest titles in the realm…no matter how loathsome the bearer. Escape is Diana’s only option, and she’ll pay any price to achieve freedom.
Universally blamed for the death of his wife and unborn child, Simon Hastings doesn’t dispute his guilt over an accident he cannot even remember. He hasn’t had a drink since, nor a moment’s peace. Determined to be a better man, Simon rescues a young woman in need—only to be accused of kidnapping. They must marry to save him from prison. But how can a man haunted by the love he lost and a woman afraid to get too close find happiness together?
I loved Simon in the previous series book, The Duke of Ice , and so had high hopes for his story. I am so happy to say that he did not disappoint! Though his heroine, Diana, was a bit hard to get to know in the last book–and very prickly for much of this one–coming to understand what makes her the way she is is what really “made” this book for me. Growing up in her father’s household was truly terrible, and made Simon’s job of gaining her trust that much harder–practically a Sisyphean task. Fortunately, he is most definitely the man for the job. 🙂
Simon and Diana, though they get off to an extremely rocky start and appear doomed to failure–she doesn’t trust love and is convinced that she’s probably incapable of it, he lost his first wife under suspicious circumstances and believes he deserves nothing less than eternal torment because of the role he *might* have played in her death–these two make a wonderful couple. He helps her to discover her own inner strength, and she helps him to heal. The fact that Diana’s instrumental in figuring out what really happened the night the previous duchess died doesn’t hurt, either.
I loved, loved, loved that Ms. Burke made Simon a widower who loved his wife, and who continued to love his wife even after she was gone and he’d moved on with another. (The conversation he has with his mother about this nearly moved me to tears 🙂 So. Good.) I just haven’t been able to find enough widow/widower stories that do that, and it makes my heart happy to find one that also such a lovely romance on top of that.
Diana’s cousin, who looks enough like her to be her sister and who’s had a similar experience growing up, is being set up as the next book’s heroine, and I can’t wait!
Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A-
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
Darcy Burke is the USA Today Bestselling Author of sexy, emotional historical and contemporary romance. Darcy wrote her first book at age 11, a happily ever after about a swan addicted to magic and the female swan who loved him, with exceedingly poor illustrations.
Join her reader club at http://www.darcyburke.com/readerclub. A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her guitar-strumming husband, their two hilarious kids who seem to have inherited the writing gene, two Bengal cats and a third cat named after a fruit.