The Forbidden Duke by Darcy Burke
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
He kept his back to her. "I would imagine so after being in London. Young women such as yourself are scrutinized in a horrid fashion."
She joined him at the bookshelf. "So are forbidden dukes. It makes one conclude that London, or rather Society, is the problem."
This was a little shorter (150ish pgs) than the average romance book length and the hero's character suffered a bit because of it. His almost completely removing himself from society seemed more sad and odd than understandable. The reason he does this is because he was a notorious rake when he was younger and now he shrugs off society by just eating alone in his club room and only showing up at his stepmother's ball for one dance. A longer page count could have delved into his character more; I felt we were just left with a completely solitary shell.
Heroine was pleasing to read about, with her having lived through a scandal and now older and wiser. She was enjoyable and refreshing as signs of naivety were completely absent. Although, I will say her eagerness to do scandalous things with the duke felt off because of how society turned its back on her the first time. The sexy library scene felt forced in to meet a requirement for at least one sex scene in a story; I think the book would have been better without it.
My favorite part of this story was actually the relationship between the duke and his step-mother. Heroes are broody and dark more often than not (not complaining) and usually their horrible childhood or dark pasts are the cause for this. It was so refreshing to see this step-parent relationship be so sweet and loving. This intangible bumped my rating from just ok to liked. I'll definitely be continuing on in this series.
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