by Sabrina Jeffries
Series: The Duke's Men #1
Genres: Historical Romance
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
Maximilian Cale, the Duke of Lyons, accepted long ago that his kidnapped brother was dead. When a cryptic note from investigator Tristan Bonnaud claims otherwise, Max seeks out Tristan’s sister, Lisette—and is infuriated to learn that Tristan has also mysteriously vanished. Have the siblings perpetrated an elaborate hoax? Or is the fiercely protective beauty as innocent as she claims them to be? Fearful that the powerful Duke will destroy Tristan’s career in his zeal for the truth, the clever Lisette convinces Max to accompany her to Paris in a joint search for their loved ones. But their journey takes a seductive twist when they pose as an ordinary husband and wife—not an English Duke with a tarnished family name and the illegitimate daughter of a viscount—and discover an exhilarating passion free from the damning secrets of the past. With the line between danger and desire enticingly blurred, they discover that some mysteries, like those of the heart, are answered tenfold in the bliss of a true and trusting love.
Sabrina Jeffries knows how to weave a tale filled with swoon-worthy men, strong-willed woman, and suspense. Her new series The Duke’s Men starts off strong with What the Duke Desires the first book in the series. Her tale captured me in the first few pages and kept me enthralled till the end. A tormented Duke, a lost brother, a bastard daughter and a pretend marriage all created a suspenseful, romantic tale as we traipsed around Europe. Three-word review: romantic, suspenseful and hot.
A knock at the door arouses Lisette Bonnaud from her sleep, as she and her butler find Maximilian Cale, Duke of Lyons at the door demanding to see her brother Tristan. He claims Tristan is in London and has sent him a cryptic note about his dead brother. Max fears that the siblings have created some sort of hoax, but Lisette knows Tristan would never return to London; the risk is too great. However, Tristan hasn’t sent a letter in ages and she fears something has happened. To protect her brother, Lisette convinces the Duke to travel with her disguised as siblings to find her brother and seek answers. Thinks quickly go amuck when a local woman spots Lisette, alone and unchaperoned with Max. The quick-thinking Duke announces they are newlyweds. The tale that unfolds is action-packed, romantic, suspenseful and funny as they travel incognito.
The players in this new series are quite delicious, flawed and yummy! First, we have Max Cale, the handsome and intimidating Duke of Lyons. His childhood has left him with serious trust issues and a real fear concerning his future. Traveling in disguise with the outspoken Lisette shows him an entirely new world. He finds himself intrigued and drawn to Lisette. She awakens new fears in him and astounds him as she treats him as an equal. I loved how he was undone by her and how she made him review his fears and ideas. We see both the ducal side of him and the tender. Lisette has always been aware of exactly who she is and her opinion of Dukes and the ton aren’t very high. She loves her brothers and will stop at nothing to protect them. Her reactions to Max were fun to watch and I enjoyed this strong, stubborn woman. The romance developed slowly and the chemistry felt genuine. Tristan fled London after the death of his father and works for the Paris police. While we didn’t get much time with him I am looking forward to hearing his story. Dom is their half-brother and owns his own private investigative service. His interaction with Lisette was delightful and I am already in love. Secondary characters were memorable and helped propel the tale forward.
I have always loved arranged and pretend marriages within a plot as it makes for delicious situations. Jeffries has this remarkable gift for taking a storyline and crafting her own unique take on it. The Duke’s Men is the perfect title for this series and I giggled when it clicked in the story. The character’s banter felt genuine and each was well-developed. The romance was fun with some hot moments that sizzled the pages. The tale is fast-paced and filled with danger as they search for Tristan. I found this thread of the tale intriguing and while the tale focuses on the couple the other threads do not suffer. This is one of the things I most admire about the author. She can skillful weave a mystery and romance together giving me that book high I chase. I read this in one sitting as I giggled, cheered and sighed for the characters. If you are a fan of The Hellion of Hallstead series you will find a connection and I thought it was cool how she linked the worlds.
For fans of Jeffries What a Duke Desires will delight you and for those who haven’t tried her books this is the perfect introduction. I will be putting this series on my auto-buy list and look forward to the next adventure.