Review: Not the Duke’s Darling by Elizabeth Hoyt

Format: E-booknotthedukesdarling
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Greycourt, #1
Publisher: Forever
Hero: Christopher Renshaw, the Duke of Harlowe
Heroine: Freya Stewart de Moray
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: December 18, 2018
Started On: December 20, 2018
Finished On: December 26, 2018

Not the Duke’s Darling by Elizabeth Hoyt is her debut novel in the Greycourt series. Having expected great things out of this series after Hoyt was done writing Maiden Lane (one of my favorite historical romance series ever), it would be an understatement to say that I was excited to pick this number up.

Not the Duke’s Darling takes place in 1760 in London, England. The heroine, Freya Stewart de Moray is 27 years old, and working as an agent of the ancient secret society of Wise Women. She is on a mission when she crosses paths with the one man she has told herself she would never forgive, i.e. Christopher Renshaw, the Duke of Harlowe.

For Freya, even though Christopher is the man whom she had built her childhood fantasies of love around, life had taught her the bitter lesson of what happens when you build castles in the air. Christopher had been the man who had nearly gotten her brother (his best friend) Ran killed, and turned his back on the family when scandal had come raining down on them.

When Freya crosses paths with Christopher, he surprises her by helping her out, without even stopping to ask what it is she is running from. Even though this very fact is jarring for Freya who has nothing but hatred in her heart for Christopher, it does not stop her from planning to exact her revenge when the opportunity to do so lands in her lap.

Christopher is a man biding his time until his time on Earth is up and his life is taken from him. That is basically his very existence until a mysterious woman lands in his carriage, fleeing from suspicious circumstances, bringing a vitality into his life that had been missing for so long.

In the meantime, Freya is being hunted, for her part in the secret society she belongs to. Even that does not deter the woman she is, as she is determined to uncover what could potentially end up risking everyone she is associated with. Plus, the more time that she spends with Christopher, she realizes that she is as vulnerable towards him as she had been when she was a young girl mooning over her first childhood crush. No matter how hard Freya tries to tell herself that she remains unaffected, she knows deep in her heart that Christopher is slowly getting under her skin and into her heart.

While there were elements in the story that worked for me, for the most part, I found the whole story tiresome. I wanted that magic that is strongly present in every single book of Elizabeth Hoyt’s that I have immensely enjoyed. A very few of her titles have been “misses” for me, and I am sad to say that this one belongs in that particular shelf.

There was something elemental that was missing between the hero and the heroine, a connection from which I wanted so much more. I wanted the hero to make an equal impression on me as the heroine did, who was all about her revenge and nursing the grudge from a scandal that had marked her life in a big way.

Freya’s passion for her role as one of the Wise Women was something that perhaps was characterized so broadly to make her stand out, to show the strength of her character. Yes, it does paint Freya in that light, but I wanted to see a softer side to her character, the side that yields to the passion that Christopher unleashes in her.

Perhaps it is because this is the debut novel in the series, but I wished for resolutions and explanations on what had taken place when it comes to the scandal that is such an integral part of Freya’s character. Even though I know that an author would never reveal the full details of a scandal that is to be interwoven throughout a series, I wanted some answers to questions that would have been plaguing me once things started picking up in the story.

When the story began, Christopher made a good impression, made my heart flutter and all that. But all of that headed downhill when it began to feel as if there was no particular aim to his life, no drive to him, except when it came to Freya. Just like I want the heroine to have a life and passion outside of the hero, I want the hero to be driven and capable in his own element as well.

I also wanted more excitement in the suspense plot line in the story. I actually thought that the villain would turn out to be someone rather shocking, but sadly that was not the case. The plot involving the “villain” whose wife had “died” – that was pretty much anticlimactic too.

Given all that turned out to be a disappointment in the story, I am still happy to note that there were several intriguing secondary characters who seem like they would deliver stories worth my while. The one thing that made me glad about the story was the ending; the fact that Freya made the grand gesture and went after Christopher towards the end.

Recommended for fans of Elizabeth Hoyt. Here is hoping that the second installment wows me in all the ways that matter!

Final Verdict: The debut to the Greycourt series hopefully signals better stories in the making. This number paled in comparison to what I expected from Hoyt’s mastery over the genre.

Favorite Quotes

His eyes began to narrow, but she rose on tiptoe, wrapped her hand around his fingers, and jerked him toward her in a single movement.
She ground her mouth against his.
His lips tasted of betrayal and wine. Night and childhood memory.
Love and loss.
The emotion he aroused in her was so profound she almost lost herself in the embrace.
She opened her mouth, licking across his bottom lip until his own tongue came out to tangle with hers.
Then she bit him.

She lunged again, past his guard, the tip of her sword at his throat. He felt the needle prick of pain.
She stood, panting, her hair wild about her shoulders. Her red hair—not dusty brown at all. Red, fiery curls, waving in the breeze as if they had a life of their own, and he saw her as if for the first time.
“Yield,” she demanded, an avenging fury.
His world tipped upside down. “Freya?”
Her eyes widened.
He knocked her sword tip away from his throat. Caught her wrist and twisted.
She yelped and dropped her sword.
Her lips parted—most likely to curse him.
He didn’t care anymore. He yanked her into his arms and kissed her.

She was a lioness—fierce and brave.
She took hold of his shoulders and pulled him toward her. “Now. Please, now.”
He lowered his hips, his cock skidding across her thigh. He nudged between her legs, making her widen them still farther, and his penis caught at her entrance.
She looked at him, memorizing his features in this moment. Feeling wild with expectation and triumph.
He speared her.
There was a burning pain, but she made no sound, and he retreated and drove into her again.
Spreading her.
Filling her.
Marking her.

She fell. Sparking, bursting, filled to overflowing with pleasure.
With feeling.
For this man.
For Harlowe.
She opened wide her eyes and watched him fall, too.

He turned into a small passage, less well lit than the one his own rooms were in, and tapped softly at the last door.
Freya peeked through the crack in the door and then opened it wide, letting him in.
She was wearing only her chemise.
His vow to himself to guard her without touching her fled.
Her breasts were unbound, round and full, the indentation of her waist a curve to incite a man to violence.
To ruin.
He stared at her, his higher reasoning having conceded rule of his brain to his prick. He wanted to touch. To hold.
To devour.
She was a goddess.
She stood still, watching him, her eyes mysterious and knowing.

She took off the chemise and threw it aside.
Freya stood before him proudly, like a Rembrandt nude come to life. Pink and white and red orange. And her flaming hair fell about her shoulders, wild and curling and free.
Like her.
Like Freya.

She rose up on her knees. Placed her hands against his chest and rubbed harder.
His penis slipped to the side and she whimpered at the loss.
“Here, darling,” he said, his voice rough. “Just…”
She felt his hand between her legs, the backs of his fingers brushing against her wet folds, and then something thicker.
He’d placed the head of his cock at her entrance.

His fingers had gone lax as he was suddenly seated, and she looked at him with a whimper. “Please. Please touch me.”
His nostrils flared. “Like this?” His voice was both rough and so very tender as he pinched her nipples—hard.
She arched at the pleasure mixed with pain. “Again.”
He smiled dangerously and squeezed her nipples.
She leaned forward on a moan.
“Hush,” he growled.

He pushed his hand between them and tore his falls open, uncaring at the sound of ripping fabric. His cock throbbed with pent fury and he trailed his fingers down her soft belly, rejoicing when he reached her curls and found them soaked with her desire.
He lifted his hips even as she whimpered in protest and tried to pull his shoulders back down.
His cock slid against her thigh, the touch almost enough to undo him, then prodded at her opening.
So wet.
So hot.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes

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Review: Once Upon a Maiden Lane by Elizabeth Hoyt

Format: E-bookonceuponamaidenlane.jpg
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novella
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Maiden Lane, #12.5
Publisher: Forever Yours
Hero: Henry Collins, Viscount Blackwell
Heroine: Mary Whitsun
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: November 14, 2017
Started On: June 02, 2018
Finished On: June 03, 2018

Once Upon a Maiden Lane by Elizabeth Hoyt, a novella set in the Maiden Lane series is readable as a standalone. However, for the diehard fans of the series like myself, the story of Mary Whitsun, a character that we have witnessed growing into her womanhood is definitely one too good to pass up on.

Set in 1747, London, Mary is out and about on her full day off for the week, browsing in a bookshop when she encounters Henry Collins, Viscount Blackwell. The chance meeting changes Mary’s life forever in ways she has never expected, and before she knows it, she is taken into a residence of confluence and finesse, as a family’s long lost daughter and finds herself to be betrothed to none other than Viscount Blackwell himself.

Mary has a lot of adjustments to make when it comes to settling into her new life. The most unsettling aspect of it perhaps being the way her body responds to Henry. Building castles in the air is not for the likes of Mary, but she does get drawn into the web of desire, sensuality, and want that is Henry in his entirety. But ofttimes, fate has a cruel way of taking away from you what you want the most, unless you are willing to make a sacrifice that could either make or break you.

I loved Once Upon a Maiden Lane, undoubtedly so. After being a trifle bit disappointed with certain aspects of the last book in the series, Duke of Desire, I was totally enamored by the charged sexual tension deliciously entwined with the rest of the story as it happened along.

I loved both Mary and Henry, and couldn’t have asked for more. Definitely recommended!

Final Verdict: Once Upon a Maiden Lane is a succulent little morsel of a delight. Loved, loved, loved!

Favorite Quotes

He examined her as if he could see through the silk of her bodice, through the whalebone of her stays, to all her vulnerable places underneath.
She felt her nipples tighten almost painfully as he watched her, and she wondered wildly: did he know what his examination did to her?
Did he know that her center was melting because of his eyes?
Holding his blue gaze was an almost-unbearable torture.
Just a corner of his mouth curled up as he stared into her eyes, and she had her answer.
Oh, he knew all right.
The realization should’ve sent her running from the room in embarrassment. It didn’t.
Instead she raised her chin in challenge.
The curl of his lips widened into a true smile.

She’d never been kissed before.
This…this was…a revelation. His mouth was hot on hers, his chest firm. She could smell him. A lemon scent, perhaps from his hair, and a hint of tea.
She felt her controls slipping. Felt him urge her on—toward what she wasn’t sure. She mustn’t. She mustn’t.
But part of her wanted what he offered.
Freedom. Sensuality. Bliss.
His tongue ran along her bottom lip. She tentatively opened her mouth, answering him, gasping in sudden wild heat when she felt his tongue touch hers.
Only to have him abruptly let her go and step back.
“I beg your pardon,” he said, his voice husky. “I shouldn’t have done that.”

He stepped closer so that his chest almost, almost touched the tips of her breasts, and she was forced to tilt back her head to keep her eyes locked with his. He bent and murmured in her ear softly. Intimately. “Only a small time to learn your likes and dislikes. Your favorite foods. The thing that disgusts you the most.” He paced around her, and she was reminded of how he’d stalked her in the sitting room. His voice came from over her left shoulder. “What authors you like to read. What you look like when you laugh from your belly. How your tears fall. If you like to stroll in the morning or if you’d rather laze abed. If the sound of an orchestra makes your heart sing or leaves you unmoved. How to make you smile and how to make you sob.”
His breath was hot in her right ear, and Mary shivered, closing her eyes to keep herself calm.
“I want to learn all of you. I want you to know me in return. When I next kiss you, I want you to welcome my lips like a lover instead of a stranger.”
She inhaled sharply. This was like a waking dream, for this man, this fascinating, handsome aristocrat to speak to her so bluntly.
So passionately.
“Do you want that as well?” He was in front of her now.
“Yes,” she said, opening her eyes to meet his gaze boldly. “Yes, I do.”

He took possession of her lips without any sort of hesitation, parting them and running his tongue along the inner edge of her bottom lip.
Mary stifled a moan as pleasure burst through her body.
She’d wondered if what she’d felt with that first kiss might just be an oddity. Something that couldn’t be replicated.
But it hadn’t.
It was he—Henry.
He slid his tongue into her mouth, moving forcefully even as he angled his face against hers, his arms pulling her close against his chest.
She felt taken. Captured. As if he commanded her at the moment.
As if he could do anything to her.

He lifted his lips from hers and looked into her eyes.
“That’s it,” he said, unsmiling. It was as if he were searching for something. “You’re so beautiful like this. So open and wanton, all your defenses down. I want to keep you like this forever, hanging on the edge of my hand, weeping over my fingers, desperate and undone. Mary, my Mary. Darling. Let go for me and only me. Let go for me now.”
And she did, her soul, her body flying apart.
She let go and fell, her limbs shaking, gasping for air. It was awful. It was bliss. It was like nothing she’d ever felt before.
And when she opened her eyes she saw his eyes locked on hers.
His beautiful, witty mouth was twisted, and his gaze was somehow tender. “Darling Mary, you destroy me.”

She clutched at him. At his buttocks and his shoulder. Moving her hips up to meet his descent. Spreading her legs even wider.
Feeling the jolt when he rubbed her just there.
Sweat slicked his back, hot and real, and he moved faster now, his hips thumping into hers.
She felt the tension build, felt his penis thrust in and out of her, felt her body coil tight.
He hitched his hips and made a swiveling motion on her and stars exploded behind her eyelids, white and sudden, hot and bright, shattering her.
She gasped into his mouth as he kept kissing her, his tongue claiming her, his lips rough and hard.
Until he jerked his mouth from hers and gasped, his head arching back, his eyes squeezed shut. She could feel heat pulsing into her even as he cried out her name.
She watched him, wanting to remember this moment forever.
She. She had brought him this pleasure.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes

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Review: Duke of Desire by Elizabeth Hoyt

Format: E-bookdukeofdesire.png
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Maiden Lane, #12
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Raphael de Chartres
Heroine: Iris Daniels
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: October 17, 2017
Started On: December 11, 2017
Finished On: December 16, 2017

Duke of Desire by Elizabeth Hoyt is the much awaited final installment in the Maiden Lane series, books that have consistently managed to captivate, woo, and stupendously deliver on all fronts where the romance genre is concerned. Hoyt writes with a flair that is rarely found in the genre; with heart, wit, and a sensuality that takes your breathe away. Why I fell in love with her books is owing to all that and more, and though I was sad to be saying goodbye to the series, I knew in my heart that it was time.

Duke of Desire brings to readers the story of Iris Daniels, Lady Jordan whom we encounter in the previous book in the series, alongside with Raphael de Chartres, the Duke of Dyemore. Raphael is a man on a mission to hunt down the members of the Lords of Chaos, a despicable secret society whose members consisted of aristocrats who enjoyed preying on the most vulnerable – on the rape and destruction of women and children.

When Iris finds herself caught in the crosshairs of the diabolical intentions of the members of the Lords of Chaos, it is Raphael who steps into rescue her, though it does not seem like that at first from where she is standing. However, as circumstances push them together, Raphael finds himself at odds with his lifelong mission that had set him on the course of pursuing the members of the group. In Iris, he finds a a flicker of light at the end of that long and dark tunnel that glows brighter every passing minute he spends in her company, enticing him to cast the demons that hounds him aside and be free to love her as he yearns to.

Iris having being married before, wants more from marriage the second time around. Being “forced” into “wedded bliss” with Raphael hardly seems like the road to achieving that particular dream she has for her future. But bit by bit, Iris comes to the realization that with Raphael, she just might find everything her heart yearns and desires for, if only she is willing to peel back the layers that makes the complex man that Raphael is, and help him confront his painful past.

For me, Duke of Desire was a story that didn’t quite reach its potential. I felt that there was so much more that Hoyt could have done with the storyline, but missed out on, which made the story a bit lackluster in certain areas.

Raphael however, was a gem of a hero who I wanted to hold close and even cry about at times. His past is one that proved to be graphically all too real at certain points (which was necessary in my opinion), and horrifyingly so close to the truth if you look at the depravity that is human nature all too often. To have suffered what Raphael did, at such a tender age, alongside with the conflicting array of emotions he has for his abuser (which was all too understandable), I found that Raphael’s character was one I fell for without a shred of doubt.

For me, it was Iris’s character that I found lacking. While I loved her for her gentle and giving nature, there was something missing in her, a characteristic that is strongly inherent in almost all of Hoyt’s heroines. I also found the ending of the Lords of Chaos to be a bit anticlimactic after the continued theme in a couple of books towards the end of the series. However, even with all the tidbits that did not work for me, I did enjoy the story and ended it with the hope that Hoyt would continue to write amazing stories that readers like us covet so much.

Final Verdict: Hoyt bids adios to her Maiden Lane series by bringing forth one of the most broken and yet formidable heroes in the series, the Duke of Dyemore. Loved him to bits and then some.

Favorite Quotes

She took his hand in hers and ran the cloth over the veins that roped the back. His fingers were long and strong, and they dwarfed hers, the nails square and pale. She carefully washed each one and then cupped his hand in hers to wash his palm. It was an intimate act. A … caring act. One a mother might perform for a child.
Or a woman might perform for her lover.
Iris caught her breath and straightened to rinse the cloth.
When she turned back her gaze caught his.
He was watching her, his crystal eyes half-lidded, his twisted lips parted.
She felt something inside her clench.

Iris cleared her throat and rubbed in small circles on his upper chest, moving downward, toward one of those nipples. They were just little bits of flesh, weren’t they? A deeper color, certainly, than the surrounding skin, and creped, but nothing out of the ordinary.
Her breath caught as she swept over his nipple with the cloth. Did he feel that? Did it feel any different from the rest of his skin? Did he feel as she did when cloth brushed over her bare nipples?
She dared to peek from under her lowered eyelashes.
His nostrils were flared, his eyes mere slits.

She stretched on tiptoe and pressed the sketchbook to his chest, holding it there with the flat of her palm. “Tell me the truth, Raphael. Now. Tonight. No more evasions and lies. What is it you feel for me? Is it affection—or merely indifference?”
He finally moved then, snatching the sketchbook from her hand and tossing it to a chair.
He wrapped one arm around her waist and fisted her hair with the other hand, bending over her until she had to grasp those broad shoulders or fall. “Believe me, Wife, the last thing I feel for you is indifference.”
Then his mouth was on hers, devouring her, his hot tongue demanding that she part her lips and let him into her depths.

His hips began to move, thrusting gently, shoving his cock in and out of her mouth.
She glanced up and saw his head tilted back, the tendons of his neck drawn taut, and suddenly his hand was in her hair, pulling, trying to make her move away.
But she didn’t want to. She had such power now and she was drunk on his taste and scent. She sucked strongly, moving her hands up and down that gorgeous shaft, feeling as he thrust his cock against her tongue.
He groaned as if he were in pain and his hips shuddered.
And she tasted hot, bitter liquid in her mouth.
Semen. His semen.

He guided her down so that she was pressed against him, his knee right in her softness, her lips spread on him.
Her eyes widened.
“Rock,” he said, watching her.
She grasped his thigh and slowly rubbed against him, her breasts trembling.
“Do you like it?” he asked, looking quite sinister.
“Yes.” She licked her lips. “Yes, I do.”
“You look like you like it,” he murmured low.

“Have you ever pleasured yourself?” he asked.
And she opened her eyes wide in shock. She never … To discuss aloud such things!
His eyes were knowing, as if he’d seen her, lying in her virginal bed long ago, fingering herself.
“Show me,” he growled. “Show me what you do.”
She swallowed and trailed her right hand down, burrowing her middle finger into where she was hot and wet.
Oh! She couldn’t catch her breath. Doing this in front of him as he eyed her dispassionately. As he ordered her to display herself for him. She was on the point, so close, so close, her finger working faster and faster as her scent rose in the air between them.
Her mouth opened wide and her hips stuttered against him, sweet heat flowing through her, infusing her limbs, making her light-headed.
He caught her and drew her against him, pressing kisses into her mouth as he murmured, “So beautiful. So beautiful.”

He licked, flicking her nipple with his tongue on one side and his fingers on the other, and at the same time he ground down on her, shoving her chemise into her pussy, rubbing against her clitoris, until the silk was sodden with her wetness. Until she could hear the soft, slick sounds he made, his body on hers, him pleasuring her, while he would not let her move.
He wasn’t gentle. But then perhaps he didn’t know how to be gentle, and the thought made something inside her weep, even as he drove her up that peak. Maybe this was all he knew: flesh and liquid heat.
Maybe that was all she would ever have from him.
She wasn’t certain it was enough.

She arched beneath him, her hips shoving up, trying to get more of that hand, more of that gaze. He lowered his head and covered her mouth, thrusting between her lips as he slid a finger into her softness.
She trembled beneath him, moaning as he kissed her so deeply she thought she might lose her senses.
He was rubbing his thumb over her clitoris now, fast and hard, and he broke the kiss to murmur in a voice dark as hellfire, “Wet my hand. Show me your desire. Show me all that you are. Let me look at your sweet cunt, swollen and rosy for me. I want to make you weep. I want all your pleasure, Iris, all your pain, everything you are. You are the light in my black night. Come for me.”

Oh God, she wanted him to fill her.
She pressed her palm to the side of his face.
He turned his head and kissed her palm … and at the same time thrust inside her.
She gasped at the sudden invasion. At feeling his cock inside her at long last. At the stretch and the fullness and the glory.
He thrust again and was fully seated, as far inside her as it was possible to be. Her legs were stretched open to accommodate his hips, and he was pressed deeply, intimately into her.
He pushed up on his arms and held himself there as he pulled his cock nearly all the way from her body and then drove back in again.
She opened her mouth, panting, holding his crystal-gray gaze. His hips were working now, driving into her at a hard pace, filling her again and again.
She’d never …
It had never been like this before.
So intense. So intimate. So devastating.

She moaned, long and low, wanting to arch, to thrash, to scream. Instead she opened her mouth and bit his shoulder, tasting salt.
Tasting want.
Then she gasped. “Please.”
“What do you want?” he whispered in her ear, an incubus, dark and alive and in her. “Tell me. What do you need?”
“I …” Her mouth opened, wordless.
“Tell me,” his smoky voice curled around her.
“You.”
He chuckled, dark and low.
“This?” He thrust short and hard into her, the impact sending jolts of pleasure through her body. “Yes, that,” he murmured to himself as if pleased, and did it again.
And again.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes

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Review: Duke of Pleasure by Elizabeth Hoyt

Format: E-bookdukeofpleasure.jpg
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Maiden Lane, #11
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Hugh Fitzroy
Heroine: Alf
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: November 29, 2016
Started On: December 06, 2016
Finished On: December 12, 2016

Elizabeth Hoyt is an author who writes with a flair that grabs the reader from the start, her heroes and heroines having that edge to their characters that makes a world of difference when it comes to the world of romance, especially today. When I “discovered” Hoyt’s books, I devoured them in a frenzy that left me stunned, because it had been so long since an author has had that effect on me.

Duke of Pleasure, which is the 11th book in the Maiden Lane series came out almost towards the end of 2016. It was a book that I had been waiting for quite eagerly, just like the legions of fans of the Maiden Lane series out there. While Duke of Pleasure didn’t quite live up to all the expectations that I had for the novel, it however, in classic Hoyt style, delivered a read that made me sigh and swoon in all the right places.

With a Maiden Lane novel, you get not just a romance that is beautifully crafted, but an adventure that goes along with it, which is one reason why these novels are so damn good. Duke of Kyle, aka Hugh Fitzroy is a man tasked with a very important case, not just by anyone, but the King himself; bringing down the Lord of Chaos, a group consisting of the very upper echelons of society participating in most vile and despicable acts for revelry of their own. A mission easier said than accomplished, all things considered.

Following a lead deep into the recesses of the filth of the city is where Kyle encounters none other than the Ghost of St. Giles “himself”, someone who fights and defends the weakest members of society, the ones that law enforcement officials seldom bother protecting. From the moment Kyle witnesses the grace with which the Ghost fights, his interest is one that is piqued in earnest, more so given the fact that he sees the Ghost of St. Giles as the woman she is under the mask and costume she wears.

Moonlighting at night as the Ghost of St. Giles, Alf resumes the role of the boy that she has been as far as she can remember. Having grown up on the streets with no one to look after her, Alf is as tough and resilient as they come, amassing a wealth of secrets along the way in the tasks that she carries out for those who seek out her help. Having rescued Kyle once, Alf is drawn to him in a way that is foreign to her, something that she has never let herself open up enough to experience before.

Finding out that Alf and the Ghost of St. Giles are the one and the same not only stuns Kyle, but makes him realize just how much he has been deluding himself when it comes to the slumbering beast inside of him. Having succumbed to passion’s wily nature before and paid for it, Kyle is a man who is the classic example of “once bitten, twice shy”. Feeling the tendrils of desire that rocks the iron bars of the cage within which he had locked that side of himself does not settle very well with Kyle.

Alf on the other hand, innocent in terms of the guileless nature behind her desire for a man who takes her breathe away, is just two steps short of falling head over heels in love with a man who is far above her station in every single way. But the heart has a way of wanting what is wants, consequences be damned, and that is how Alf finds herself taken in by the powerful embrace of the Duke who wants her, and at the same time seems to wage an inner battle with himself every single time he succumbs. The quest to root out the evil of the Lord of Chaos also comes with a price, one that both Kyle and Alf might have to pay in terms of the lives of the ones they both hold near and dear to their hearts.

While I found myself enamored by the characters of both Kyle and Alf, I felt that there could have been more to their coming together than what was delivered in the story. I just felt a lack that I cannot quite put my finger on. Maybe it stemmed from the fact that the hero from Duke of Sin, the 10th book in the series was ruthless in a way that spoke to me on so many levels, and I was perhaps hoping for the same or more from Kyle. Either way, even with the tiny bits and pieces of misgivings that I had, I nevertheless enjoyed the journey which Hoyt delivered amazingly well.

I just loved the inside cover of this book so much so that I decided to include it in my review. Let the drooling and sighing begin!

dukeofpleasure2

Recommended for fans of the series & historical romances that deliver reads worth sinking your teeth into.

Final Verdict: The Maiden Lane series by Elizabeth Hoyt is decadent in a way few historical romances ever are. Duke of Pleasure delivers everything that a reader could want when they sit down with one of Hoyt’s books.

Favorite Quotes

A tall man in a ragged brown coat and a filthy red neckcloth stepped forward. Hugh half-expected him to make some sort of a speech, he looked that full of himself. Instead he drew a knife the size of a man’s forearm, grinned, and licked the blade.
Oh, for—
Hugh didn’t wait for whatever other disgusting preliminaries Knife Licker might feel were appropriate to the occasion. He stepped forward and smashed the bottle of very fine Viennese wine over the man’s head.
Then they were on him.
He slashed and felt the jolt to his arm as he hit flesh.
Swung and raked the sword across another’s face.
Staggered as two men slammed into him.
Another hit him hard in the jaw.
And then someone clubbed him behind the knees.
He fell to his knees on the icy ground, growling like a bleeding, baited bear.
Raised an arm to defend his head…
And…
Someone dropped from the sky right in front of him.
Facing his attackers.
Darting, wheeling, spinning.
Defending him so gracefully.
With two swords.

He slid on cobblestones as he ran to the lane. Someone yelled from behind him. And then he was in another narrow passage. There was an abrupt right-angle turn, and he took it, ignoring the yowl of a cat as he raced by, and then he burst into a courtyard.
The Ghost was there.
On the ground, her half cape a black whirl as she danced with her swords, their prey cornered. Something caught his attention about her movements—something not quite right—but as he watched, she knocked aside the man’s knife and placed her long sword against his throat and the thought died.
She smiled.
And he was amazed that anyone thought her a man.

Hugh watched her sheathe her swords. He touched his finger to her chin, feeling soft skin, and tipped up her face. He couldn’t tell the color of her eyes in the dark and behind the ugly half mask, but he saw the glint of moonlight in their depths.
“Who are you?” he whispered, that strange wildness still in his veins.
She didn’t answer.
So he did what he’d wanted to do since he’d first seen her tonight, there on the rooftops of St Giles: he bent and covered her mouth with his. Her lips were soft, so soft, and she tasted of wine and honey. He angled his head, drawing her slim body closer, sliding his tongue along her bottom lip until she opened her mouth beneath his.

She leaned a little closer and pressed her mouth to those pretty, pretty lips and inhaled his breath.
For a moment he was still beneath her, and then he moved, his hands rising slowly to grasp her arms.
She drew a little back, watching him.
His eyes opened, black and drowsy, staring into hers. He seemed entirely unsurprised to find her in his library, kissing him.
She smiled and for the first time that night felt herself settle. She placed her hands on his shoulders and straddled his lap. Knelt on the chair and bent her head to his again, opening her mouth over his, her palms on either side of his face.
The book tumbled to the floor.
She skimmed over his upper lip, feeling the odd prickle of his stubble. Caught his lower lip between her teeth.
An ember fell on the hearth.
Something sparked, and he took charge of the embrace. He opened his mouth beneath hers, angling his head, kissing her slowly, lazily, lushly, as if he had all the time in the world.

At that moment Alf opened her eyes, and he inhaled silently.
Her eyes were sleepy and a little dazed. Her cheeks flushed from sleep and, no doubt, the warmth of his sons, snuggled so close to her. She looked at him and seemed to become aware almost at once, her brown gaze sharpening. There was the mocking amusement he’d seen from the lad, Alf, the biting wit.
But now it was in feminine form.
She stared at him, and her soft pink lips—God, he’d been a blind fool to ever have thought that the mouth of a boy—smiled. Full and warm. Like sunshine. Like joy and hope.
The smile of a woman. Lethal as a spear to the chest.
Dangerous. Seductive.

He held her fast with his gaze and demanded, “You’re not what, Alf?”
Her pointed chin jerked up and she glared at him. “I’m not female. Not anymore. It’s been too long. I’ve been a boy too long.”
“My cock would beg to differ.”
Her mouth dropped open. “Wha—?”
He grabbed her wrist and dragged her over the bed, and thrust her hand crudely against the sheet covering his crotch. “Do you feel me? I’m hard for you.” He ground his cock up into her captive palm. “And I assure you I’m not at all interested in boys or men. Only women.”
Only you, a treacherous part of his mind whispered, but he ignored it. He was doing this for a mission, just that. It had nothing to do with the two of them. With the desire to see her bloom into the woman he wanted deep in his conflicted soul.
She stared down at her hand over his cock and her fingers flexed once.
He bit back a groan, and the thing within him, the thing locked away, rattled its chains.

She looked up at him, this powerful man. “What do you want from me, guv?”
“I don’t know,” he muttered, sounding angry—whether at her or himself, she couldn’t guess—and his hands pulled her against his hard body.
He bent and took her mouth, sliding his tongue against her lips until she parted them. Until she let him in with a relieved sigh. She’d missed this. Missed him. She’d wondered if he’d decided he was done with her.
Apparently not.
His fingers brushed over her bare neck, ticklish and sweet, even as he thrust his tongue inside her mouth again and again.
“Alf?” The call came from outside the room.
For a second more he continued to ravage her mouth as if he couldn’t tear himself away from her, and then Kyle lifted his head. His lips were reddened, his eyes dark.
Carefully he tucked a lock of her hair back inside her cap. “I don’t know what the hell I want from you.”

“I’ve hardly seen you,” he said moodily.
“I thought that was what you wanted,” she replied, her small expressive face closed. “You kissed me and then said you didn’t know what to do with me. You avoided me.”
“That hardly matters.” He flung up a hand irritably. “I didn’t know where you were.”
She lifted her chin. “I didn’t know I was supposed to be telling you everywhere I go, guv. You never mentioned.”
“Didn’t I?” he growled, taking that chin in hand.
He glanced at the windows. The boys were chasing the puppy down the graveled path. He bent and took her mouth, hard and fast and not nearly enough.
Not nearly enough.
When he raised his head again it was to breathe words across her parted lips. Words he didn’t stop to think about. Words that came straight from that part of himself he’d thought he’d locked away deep inside: “I’ll say it now, then. You tell me where you are and what you’re doing until such time as I’m done with you, do you understand?”
“Oh, I think I understand, guv,” she whispered, and though her words were a concession, her tone was not.

With her hand she squeezed the part of his cock that didn’t fit in her mouth and then began stroking up and down.
“They’re gone,” he muttered, his breath hitching, his hips rolling in little pushes he couldn’t seem to stop.
Oh, he wanted her. He wanted her.
She looked up at him and sucked harder.
It was dark, but she could just make out the glitter of his eyes. He was watching her. Down on her knees, with his cock in her mouth, sucking him.
His nostrils flared and that beautiful upper lip curled.
She rubbed the tip of her tongue underneath the head of his penis and he gasped. Slid his hand down her face in a caress.
Touched the corner of her wet, stretched lips with his thumb.
And came, flooding her mouth with his bitter seed.

He pressed into her, wide and thick. Hot, so hot.
There was a pinch.
But she kept her eyes on him, staring. His lush mouth was almost grim, and his forehead shone with sweat. He’d propped himself up on his elbows above her.
He thrust again, more of him entering her—stretching her—and she saw him clench his teeth.
She wrapped her legs around his hips and stroked the back of his leg with one foot.
He jerked and his hips met hers, his entire length buried inside her. She was stuffed full of him.
He inhaled through his nose and his nostrils flared.
She raised her head and whispered in his ear, “Are you going to fuck me now, guv?”
“Little devil,” he breathed.

“Ride me,” he rasped.
She blinked, not fully comprehending, but he was spreading her legs farther apart, taking away his knee and lowering her to his cock.
Oh, if she’d thought it large before, that was nothing to how proud he was now. A dark, angry red, heavy and full, thickest at the middle, and the foreskin stretched taut about the ridge of the head. She wanted to stare. To look her fill and perhaps feel it with hands and tongue.
He had other ideas.
He took hold of himself as she watched and rubbed his prick against her wet quim. “Sit.”
She could feel him at her entrance—there—big and waiting. She leaned a little forward, placing her hands on his shoulders and meeting his eyes.
Staring into his eyes as she tilted down and felt him breach her.
His nostrils were flared, his gaze implacable. “More.”

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Review: To Desire a Devil by Elizabeth Hoyt

Format: E-booktodesireadevil
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Legend of the Four Soldiers, #4
Publisher: Vision
Hero: Reynaud St. Aubyn
Heroine: Beatrice Corning
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: November 1, 2009
Started On: August 25, 2016
Finished On: August 30, 2016

To Desire a Devil, the last book in the Legend of the Four Soldiers series by Elizabeth Hoyt is a hard book to rate. This book had so much potential; after all, all the preceding stories had pretty much delivered on all fronts. Yet, this book sort of fell flat where every other book shined, and I could not muster enough enthusiasm for the main protagonists in the story either.

Reynaud St. Aubyn, the Viscount of Hope, returns home to a shocked household, who had all presumed him dead for seven long years. Held captive by Indians, Reynaud had not survived the hand that he had been dealt with, to walk away now from the challenge of proving himself to be who he says he is. To complicate matters, his reaction towards Beatrice Corning, niece of the present Earl who resides at his home is one that he does not particularly need or want. However, life has a way throwing the unexpected along your way, and even though Reynaud might not want the added complication, it is one that tempts him on every level.

While the accounts of what Reynaud had gone through made for interesting reading, the rest of the story pretty much did fall flat. I keep trying to put my finger on exactly what went wrong, and yet I cannot. Perhaps it is a mix of factors that led to the whole thing. Either way, this would have to be my least favorite book by Hoyt.

Recommended for fans of the series.

Favorite Quotes

Then he leaned down and kissed her forehead. “Are you sure?”
And that small bit of tenderness decided her. “Yes.”
He wasn’t gentle. He didn’t try to go slowly. He thrust himself inside her, quickly and violently, and her entire body arched with the pain. Burning. Tearing. Something wasn’t right.
She pressed her palms against his chest. “No.”
He looked down at her, his face drawn, the tattooed birds flying about his eye, wild and savage, and he no longer looked tender. He looked like a conqueror. “Too late. You’re mine now.”

He pushed the odd thought aside as he shoved the rest of his length into her. He grasped the headboard on either side of her arms and enclosed her within his embrace. She shivered, and somehow that little movement was the final straw. He began thrusting, hard and fast, the feel of her slippery flesh around him, holding him so tightly, sending him completely out of control. She arched her hips, pushing back at him, and he leaned forward, biting her nape to keep her steady. She gave a cry, high and helpless, and then her cunny was flexing about him, milking his cock as she came.

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Review: To Beguile a Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt

Format: E-booktobeguileabeast
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Legend of the Four Soldiers, #3
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Alistair Michael Munroe
Heroine: Helen Fitzwilliam
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: May 1, 2009
Started On: August 18, 2016
Finished On: August 20, 2016

To Beguile a Beast, the third book in the Legend of the Four Soldiers begins right where To Seduce a Sinner ends. The foundation for the story being laid out towards the end of book 2. This story brings together two unlikely protagonists, Helen Fitzwilliam, the mistress to the very powerful Duke of Lister who had borne him two children, and Sir Alistair Michael Munroe, who lives in Scotland, deep within the ruins of the glory that his home had once been. With his dog Lady Grey as his only companion, Alistair has made it a habit to stay away from limelight and seeking out company because his grotesque scars tended to scare people off or make him feel uncomfortable about it.

When Helen turns up with her two children on Alistair’s doorstep, the only thing that stops him from sending them right off is the letter that Helen carries with her which comes from Lady Vale herself. Helen is equally determined that her attempts to flee from the life that had bound her to the Duke as his personal property would not be in vain, for she knows what lies at stake if the Duke were to hunt her down. Back home, the man in question burns with anger, all because the mere daughter of a physician should try and escape him, and there was no way she would not pay for what she has done. And thus begins the hunt that would bring them back home to him, where they rightfully belong.

From being a mistress whose material comforts had always been seen to, Helen goes into uncharted waters for her, working and trying to restore Alistair’s home to some sort of normalcy so that she could make a home for her kids. All of that does not stop Helen from becoming interested in the man that Alistair is, a naturalist who spends his days locked up in the tower that makes up his office, working the daylight hours away, meticulously recording his findings for his second book. Though Alistair of late has not been having much success in the writing department, he holes himself up in the tower all because he wants to stay away from the temptation that Helen presents, a woman who looks at him and sees him for who he is rather than what the rest of the world sees when they gaze upon him.

None of that stops from the desire that unfurls between them from exploding until they both give in. Not even Alistair’s taciturn nature that does its earnest most to keep the family from invading his heart. Helen unsure of the way she makes Alistair feel is nevertheless enraptured by the way she feels about him, every kiss and caress taking them both into a place none has ever been before. While Alistair is careful that he keeps her at a certain emotional distance, it doesn’t stop him from wanting things that he knows someone like him shouldn’t. Scarred not only on the outside but on the inside as well, Alistair had been a casualty of an attack that had not spared the civilian he had been in the group, and he bears the scars of that encounter right in his very soul.

From start to finish, Alistair had my heart. His playful nature in bed just brought out a devilish side of him that I found irresistible. Helen’s gentle firmness when it came to Alistair proved to be his undoing, for which I was so very glad. The quest for the truth of who had betrayed the regiment with whom Alistair had been when the attack had occurred continues in this book as well, of course without reaching its ultimate conclusion.

Loved it all, the broken bits the most!

Final Verdict: Captivates you in a way that leaves you breathless with wanting!

Favorite Quotes

“I’m sorry,” Helen began.
But without saying a word—without any warning at all, in fact—he yanked her against his chest and captured her mouth with his. A great involuntary shudder shook her frame. She hadn’t realized how much she’d been waiting for this, unconsciously anticipating when he’d make his next move. Her breasts were mashed against the hard plane of his chest, and his hands grasped her arms as his mouth moved with fierce determination on hers. Oh, it was lovely.
So lovely.
She tilted her head, melting against him like warm custard over apple pie.

Then her stays were off, and he drew her shift down her shoulders until she was bared to the waist.
He simply stared.
She raised her hand without thought, instinctively moving to cover herself.
He caught her wrist and drew it to her lap. “Don’t,” he whispered. “Let me look at you.”
She closed her eyes then, because she could no longer bear the sight of his gaze taking her in.
“You’re beautiful,” he murmured. “Beautiful enough to drive a man insane.”

She broke the kiss and said breathlessly, “I don’t—”
“Shh,” he murmured. He nibbled at the corner of her mouth. “It’s simple biology, really. I am made for inserting myself in you. You are made for receiving me. Thusly.”
“But—”
He thrust, the crown of his penis parting her folds, opening and stretching her. Her eyes flew wide open.
He was watching her with a demonic gleam in his eye. He smiled slightly and thrust again. She felt him invading her, entering her.
“You see?” he purred. “So simple.”

And then another wave hit, catching her by complete surprise and tossing her high, sailing on a crest of pure, exquisite pleasure. And at its peak she looked down and saw him, thrusting still faster into her, his broad shoulders bunched and tensed, his hairline gleaming with exertion. He arched back his head and shouted. And then he went still, trembling and jerking within her, his face gone curiously smooth.
She didn’t recognize the expression on his face at first, and then she realized: it was peace.

For long, passionate minutes, he licked and sucked and bit at her nipples until they were swollen, red, and glistening with his saliva. She moved agitatedly beneath him, entirely aroused yet unable to fulfill quite yet.
He reared up over her and studied what he’d done to her. His high cheekbones had a flush across them, his eyelid drooped lazily, and his lips were reddened from his ministrations yet were held in an almost cruel line.
“You look like a pagan sacrifice,” he growled low. “Prepared and laid out for some god to”—he leaned close and whispered in her ear—“fuck.”

“You,” she panted half-hysterically, “are a devil.”
He grinned almost boyishly. “Am I?”
“Ye-sss.” Her assent ended in a moan because he’d shifted suddenly, bringing his penis in direct contact with her drenched folds. “Oh.”
“You like that?” he inquired solicitously.
She could only nod as he slowly drew himself through her. He thrust with a small, controlled movement, his cock tunneling against her. She swallowed, not even caring about the wet, squishing sounds they made.
“Then,” he purred, “perhaps you are ready. For this.”
And he reared back and shoved himself full-length inside her. She arched her neck at the shock, the thrill, of being filled so suddenly.

And somewhere—sometime—during all this, she heard him growl and opened her eyes. He was on straight arms, levered above her, watching her as he made love to her. But now there was no way to mistake his expression for disinterest. Now his upper lip curled back in an erotic sneer. Now his face shone with effort and sweat. Now his one eye gleamed with dark intent.
Masculine intent.
As she watched, he speeded his thrusts until the bed thumped against the wall. She spread her legs farther and wrapped them high over his hips, watching his struggle until his face twisted as if in agony. A cry ripped from his throat, and he jerked against her one last time.
And she felt his strength fill her with warmth.

And he slid the halved lemon slowly into her.
She gasped at the sensation. The cold citrus, his warm fingers. He twisted inside her, did something, and then withdrew his fingers, leaving the lemon inside.
“There are those who doubt that a woman feels any sensation at all when stimulated here.” He drew his finger up through her folds again until he tapped once more on her clitoris. “I think they are mad, of course, but a scientist always tests his theories. Shall we see?”
See what? Helen thought, but had no time to say, because before she could speak, his mouth had replaced his finger, and she had no way of speaking after that.
All she could do was feel.

She turned her head and licked at his jaw.
He froze. “Don’t—”
This time she carefully tested her teeth against his skin. No matter how casual his words, he was on a razor’s edge—she could tell by how stiffly he held his body—and a wicked part of her wanted to send him over that edge. Wanted to drive him to the brink of insanity.
She scratched her nails down his back.
“Helen,” he rasped, “that isn’t wise.”
“But I don’t want to be wise,” she whispered back.
That did it. Whatever thread that had held him snapped. He lunged, driving his length into her softness, pummeling her, thrusting into her, panting and uncivilized.

“Enough,” he snapped.
He tore at her laces, ripping her bodice from her and flinging it halfway across the room.
“Enough playing. Enough cock teasing. Enough drawing this out.”
He pulled her skirts from her and flipped her before she had time to react. He pushed and pulled her until she was on her knees, braced on her elbows, and threw up the skirt of her chemise. He entered her from behind without warning, and she gasped.
Hot and hard. Long and full.

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Review: To Seduce a Sinner by Elizabeth Hoyt

Format: E-booktoseduceasinner
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Legend of the Four Soldiers, #2
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Jasper Renshaw
Heroine: Melisande Fleming
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: November 1, 2008
Started On: August 15, 2016
Finished On: August 18, 2016

It is quite the impossible feat to finish reading To Taste Temptation, the 1st book in the Legend of the Four Soldiers series and not be intrigued by Emeline’s best friend Melisande Fleming. It is also fair to say that pairing Emeline’s best friend with the man she had been engaged to marry before she had met her happily ever after, the man being Jasper Renshaw, Viscount Vale was another reason that I was so quick in picking this up to read. Melisande’s character intrigued me for the front she puts up, the stoic and reasonable woman behind which I knew lay a heart that wants what most of us do. Someone to love, someone who returns that love tenfold and make you glad and giddy that it is so.

Even though popular with the ladies all over the ton, Vale seems to have run into quite the fix when it comes to acquiring his own bride. After being jilted for the second time, it is Melisande who comes to his rescue and offers her hand in marriage to him, surprising and intriguing him at the same time. While Vale makes it quite clear to Melisande that he is looking for a proper marriage, one where he gets bedding rights with his wife, Melisande agrees to everything and more. After all, she has loved Vale from afar for six long years and he needs not know her reasons for wanting him as her own.

Melisande is described as a plain woman. Someone who pretty much no man, especially one like Vale would notice in his attempts to woo and seduce ladies. It is Vale’s coping mechanism. Being surrounded by people, parties, laughter and joviality while on the inside he is reeling from the effect the tragedy at Spinner’s Falls had left on him. Being responsible for the regiment that had been attacked by Indians, the nightmares never leave him, especially at night when they come home to roost in his subconscious. Vale keeps that fact close to his heart, until Melisande breaks down the barriers he has put up, both physical and mental, until she takes him for everything he is.

Vale’s intrigue when it comes to the woman he married increases by the day. The sharp contrast between the woman who does not show much emotion during the day and fulfills every dirty and wanton need of his at night is a woman that needed to be unraveled. Vale is relentless in his pursuit of the secrets that Melisande hides behind. To find out what makes her tick. To find out what she wants. And most of all, why she offered her hand in marriage to him. A secret that Melisande guards as selfishly as Vale does that of his nightmares.

Along with the seduction and wooing of his wife that he pursuits with a vengeance, Vale continues his quest for the truth behind what happened at Spinner’s Falls. To find out the man that had betrayed his regiment and left them all at the torturous mercy of Indians who had practically annihilated them. Vale’s character is one you grow to love as the story goes on. The man behind the mask that he puts on at social gatherings is a man worthy of everything Melisande has to give and more. The fact that he never acknowledged Melisande’s existence before she had come up to him with the proposition does not deter him from seeing her from then on. Really seeing through to her and finding a woman who completes him in every single way possible. A woman he needs in every single way there is.

The emotional wallop behind the story suckerpunches you square in the gut right after the marriage. The emotions that coursed through me as I witnessed both Melisande and Vale at once fight the losing battle between them towards claiming each other as their own was one that I absolutely loved! The scene where Vale draws out Melisande’s secrets, one kiss at a time, one heady caress at a time was purely hedonistic, and I could not have asked for more!

Beautifully crafted, as always! Kudos to Hoyt, the master of the genre!

Recommended!

Final Verdict: Sinfully hot and just as exquisite! Hoyt’s name resounds all over the genre for a reason!

Favorite Quotes

“Why are you doing this?”
“What?” he asked idly. He brushed the rose against her cheek, the softness of the petals sending a shudder down her spine.
She caught his hand, hard and warm beneath her fingertips. “This. You act as if you’re wooing me.”
“Do I?” He was very still, his lips only inches from hers.
“I’m already your wife. There’s no need to woo me,” she whispered, and couldn’t keep the plea from her voice.
He moved his hand easily, though she still had her fingers wrapped about his. The rose drifted across her parted lips.
“Oh, I think there’s every need,” he said.

“Do you mind?” she asked.
She was gratified that he had to clear his throat. “Not at all.”
She nodded and raised the hem of her chemise to her hips before climbing into the chair. She straddled his lap carefully and let the chemise fall. Then she sat. For a moment, all she could do was savor the heat of his thighs against her bottom. She could feel his body hair tickling her most intimate parts.
Then she smiled and wove her arms about his neck. “Will you kiss me?”
“God, yes,” he growled.

She raised up on her knees and pushed against his cock. She was panting now. He watched her and brought his thumbs and forefingers together, pinching her nipples. She gasped and arched her back, but his cock slid to one side. Frantically, she reached between them to hold his slippery length steady. She ground against him. She could feel her folds, swollen beneath her fingers. She imagined her sex, crimson and wet, flowering against his cock. She rubbed the head of his penis against her clitoris, biting her lips, striving, struggling toward that goal.
Then he leaned forward and sucked a nipple into his hot, humid mouth, and she went over the cliff. Rushing, panting, she shattered in space.

She grabbed his broad shoulders and hung on. Her legs were wide, her breasts jiggling, and her mouth was open against his face, kissing, licking, biting. And all the while, his cock plundered her. Leaping. Demanding. Plunging.
Until all his muscles tightened at once. He shook his head, his teeth clenched, his body rigid, and she felt the hot wash of his seed into her body. He jerked once. Again. Then exhaled as if all the air was leaving his body at once.

 He jackknifed up and flipped her beneath him. And then he was looming large and menacing over her, his face dark as he growled, “Do you think me a plaything, my lady?”
She opened her legs wide, planted her feet, and arched her hips off the bed. She rubbed her sex against his length, watching as his eyelids fell in reaction.
“Perhaps I do,” she whispered. “Perhaps your cock is my favorite toy. Perhaps I want my toy in my—”
But he thrust fast and hard, making her lose her words on a gasp of pleasure.
“Wanton,” he gritted. “My wanton.”

“I have watched you,” she panted, “for years. I’ve seen you look at women—vapid, pretty women. I’ve seen you choose which ones you wanted. I’ve seen you stalk them, woo them, and seduce them. And I’ve seen when you grew tired of them, when your eyes would start to wander again.”
He tore at the laces to her bodice, loosening and pulling aside the fabric of her dress and stays until he reached her bare nipple. He palmed one breast and drew the other into his mouth, sucking strongly.
She cried out.
He lifted his head. “Tell me.”

“I watched you for years,” she whispered. The tears were drying on her cheeks, and heat was building within her. If he would just touch her. Touch her there. “I watched you and you never saw me.”
“I see you now,” he said, licking around a nipple. He trailed his tongue across her breast and to the other breast, circling the nipple there. Delicately. Tenderly.
Damn him.
“You didn’t even know my name.”
“I know it now.” He tested her flesh with his teeth.
Pleasure mixed with pain shot through her, straight from her nipple to where his hand still played. She arched, silently begging, and he relented, sucking the nipple strongly into his mouth.
“You . . .” She swallowed, trying to focus her thoughts. “You didn’t know I existed.”
“I do now.”

He stopped suddenly, and she opened her eyes. His head was thrown back, his eyes blind, pleasure convulsing his face.
“Melisande!” he cried.
His head thumped to the pillow beside hers, his lungs sucking air. He was heavy and hard, and her arms were still drawn over her head. It didn’t matter. She’d gladly suffocate here underneath him. She turned her face toward him and licked the ear she’d earlier bloodied, and she finally said it. She gave him what he wanted.
“I love you. I’ve always loved you. That’s why I married you.”

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