Read with: iBooks for iPad
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Maiden Lane, #10
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Valentine Napier
Heroine: Bridget Crumb
Date of Publication: May 31, 2016
Started On: July 07, 2016
Finished On: July 08, 2016
Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt, brings to readers the much awaited story of the anti-hero Valentine Napier, the Duke of Montgomery, who has graced many a story before as a very memorable secondary character. Valentine is the man who walks a fine line between good and bad, mostly moving in the circles of the latter, his main bargaining chip being information about the elite of the ton.
Valentine was featured rather prominently in Darling Beast and Dearest Rogue, only to “disappear” in Sweetest Scoundrel. Bridget Crumb, Valentine’s newest housekeeper who is ever efficient, seeks employment at the Duke’s residence for reasons of her own. Bridget comes on a mission to save her birth mother from blackmail at the hands of the Duke, a man she sees as darkness itself. Even though Bridget cannot find any redeeming qualities about the Duke in her search for the documents she seeks, she is nevertheless intrigued on a level that has her questioning her sentiments.
When the Duke finally makes an appearance, Bridget is thrown by the way Valentine goes out of his way to rattle her, to get a reaction out of her. And when Valentine requires the help of Bridget to get through one of the darkest times of his life, Valentine finds himself enamored by the anomaly that Bridget presents. A woman who seems so practical and proper in every single way on the outside, with a fire that burns and wants to soar on the inside.
As Bridget gets to know Valentine and his past, she realizes that there is no defending herself against the onslaught of emotions that catches her, tumbling her headlong into love with a man deemed dangerous by mostly everyone. For Valentine, who finds the concept of love abhorrent, any ounce of such an emotion brutally stripped from him by those who should have loved and nurtured such emotions in him, it is a rising tide against which he struggles, the need to call Bridget his own when Valentine is furthest thing from a sentimental soul.
Duke of Sin is a story that has a lot going for it. An anti-hero of the kind that actually could be cruel but goes and does things that are totally out of character for someone like him. I fell in love with Valentine the night he lay struggling for his life, his darkest nightmares colored by the evil that had been his childhood coming to light. I cried for the little boy that had been treated in a manner that would have taken a darker soul to a place from which he would never have returned. The fact that there was still good left in Valentine, as hard it might have been to see at times, a good that people hardly saw because he always does things for his own benefit, was reason enough to root for him.
Bridget is a woman who holds her own ground when it comes to a man who is used to getting his own way. I loved Bridget for understanding the soul starved for love that was Valentine’s, for being insightful enough to see that beneath all that beauty and harsh cruelty lay a heart that was capable of great love. Though Valentine might never end up being the gentlest of souls, and I would not want that for him either way, I loved Bridget for being woman enough to take him as he is, without hesitations when it came right down to it.
Recommended for fans of anti-heroes who love a scorching tale of romance and love. Hoyt provides all that and more in every single one of her books!
Final Verdict: In Valentine, Hoyt creates a hero of the kind we all fall for, regardless!
He moved swiftly, like a striking snake. Once. Twice. Thrice.
So fast his hand was blurred.
Blood spurted from the footman’s side, but his eyes were still open.
Slowly he looked down at the mortal wounds.
And almost lazily Val slit his throat.
The thing that had been Cal thumped to the carpet.
Bridget gasped, her hands covering her mouth. Oh, God!
Val turned, still naked, still impossibly beautiful. Only the gore spattered on his belly, chest, and arm, marred his perfection.
He walked toward her and she couldn’t help it. She backed away from him.
Sweetly. Like a boy. The dagger still in his left hand. And caught her arm with his right hand.
“This is who I am, Séraphine. Naked, with blade and blood. I am vengeance. I am hate. I am sin personified. Never mistake me for the hero of this tale, for I am not and shall never be. I am the villain.”
And he laid his lips over hers and pushed his hot tongue into her mouth and kissed her until she couldn’t breathe and it was only later that she found the bloodstains on her dress.
He bit at her collarbone, licked down across a breast and suckled frankly on a nipple, drawing strongly and suddenly.
She grasped for his head, off-balance as if she were falling, even though she lay on a solid bed. His hair was silky beneath her hands, curling around her fingers.
But then he pulled away, tonguing under her breasts, each one, and down her belly, pausing to mouth her navel, and then thrusting her legs apart, climbing nimbly between, and thumbing wide her labia.
She gasped. “I… wait—”
But he’d already laid his mouth against her flesh, licking her there roughly as if he did indeed intend to devour her.
She’d never… that is…
She screamed, thrusting her hand into her mouth to muffle the sound as she came hard and fast.
He was doing something, moving, but she’d lost her bones and could only half open her eyes.
She looked up in time to see him kneeling upright, his eyes gleaming, as he ripped open his falls. His penis was dark red and angrily erect, standing to his navel. He caught her hips and pulled her until she was on his lap, then he bent and, without ceremony, thrust himself within her.
“Now,” he rasped, no grace, no drawl, no civility at all. “Come again for me now.”
And he pulled her on and off his cock, rotating his hips all the while, his eyes on her, watching, waiting, as if she were the last drop of water in a desert.
But he batted her hand away, replacing her fingers with his thumb, pressing down hard.
And she arched, screaming, the lightning blazing from her center, sparking through her limbs, flying out her fingertips.
She was incandescent.
He fell atop her, heavy and male, pulling her legs up around his narrow hips, and ground down into her, once, twice.
His cock jerked within her and she could feel every muscle in his body tense. He groaned into her ear like a man dying and then fell senseless and limp.
And as she followed him into exhausted slumber she heard his single word:
She moaned, all warm, damp woman in his hands, breasts in his face, thighs over his legs, astride him like a female dragoon, and he wanted to inhale her. To drink her in and keep her.
He wanted to lick her cunt again, make her cream for him, make her scream and writhe, but the angle was wrong and he made a vow: no more baths before bed—they were just too much for his frayed nerves. Instead he drew hard upon her sweet little nipple and plunged his hand between her thighs.
She was wet. Oh, sweet, wonderful woman! She was wet already, slippery and soft and ready for him.
He worked the falls of his breeches with his other hand and freed his grotesquely engorged cock, weeping, pleading for surcease.
Raised her arse a little, placed himself at that hot, wet paradise, and thrust.
She opened her eyes as he pulled his face away, watching her.
He thrust again. The way was tight. Narrow. She was wet, but she hadn’t yet come tonight.
Her mouth opened, a strand of hair caught on her shining lips.
He thrust again. Hard. And was home.
Burning fire surrounded him. He’d never be cold again.
He watched as she went up in flames.
Burning like an archangel, glorious, frightening, awesome.
And when he caught fire as well, when he emptied his loins into her furnace, in groaning, exquisite jerks, all he could think was this:
His Séraphine thought that deep inside him was a golden core—a good man who could be redeemed.
She was wrong.
And when she plumbed his depths and discovered instead a frozen hollow, she would do what she must.
She would leave him.
He braced himself over her, his golden curls falling into darkened glittering azure eyes, lines imprinted on his pale beautiful face, and gazed down at her with awful, terrible foreboding. “Death.”
She was falling apart under his assault, sparks flying behind her eyes, warm honey in her limbs, but she forced herself to meet his gaze, to keep her eyes open even as her mouth went slack with pleasure. “Life.”
His hips faltered, and his head rolled on his shoulders as if he’d been hit, as if he were in great pain, his lips drawn back from his teeth. He groaned, continuing to thrust, but more slowly, less gracefully, a man in his death throes.
And as she watched, he opened his eyes and gasped, “Séraphine.”
She answered as naturally as breathing, “Valentine,” and felt his hot seed fill her.