Once Upon a Christmas Eve (Maiden Lane 12.6) by Elizabeth Hoyt-Review & Giveaway Tour

ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS EVE (Maiden Lane 12.6) by Elizabeth Hoyt-Review & Giveaway Tour

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ONCE UPON A Christmas Eve
Maiden Lane 12.6
by Elizabeth Hoyt
Release Date: December 5, 2017
Genre: adult, historical, romance

Once Upon A Christmas Eve

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ABOUT THE BOOK : Release Date December 5, 2017

Adam Rutledge, Viscount d’Arque, really rather loathes Christmas. The banal cheerfulness. The asinine party games. And, worst of all, the obligatory trip to the countryside. His grandmother, however, loves the holiday—and Adam loves his grandmother, so he’ll brave the fiercest snowstorm to please her. But when their carriage wheel snaps, they’re forced to seek shelter at the home of the most maddening, infuriating, and utterly beguiling woman he’s ever met.

Sarah St. John really rather loathes rakes. The self-satisfied smirks. The sly predatory gazes. Oh, and the constant witty banter rife with double meaning. But in the spirit of the season, she’ll welcome this admittedly handsome viscount into her home. But as the snowstorm rages, the Yule log crackles, and the tension rises, Sarah and Adam find themselves locked in a fiery, passionate kiss. If love is the true meaning of Christmas, it’s the one gift this mismatched pair can’t wait to unwrap.

••••••••••

REVIEW: ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS EVE by Elizabeth Hoyt follows Adam Rutledge, Viscount d’Argue, and renowned rogue as he embarks on a seduction of Sarah St. John during the Christmas holidays. ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS EVE can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from previous story line is revealed where necessary.

Told from dual third person perspectives (Adam and Sarah) ONCE UPON A CHIRSTMAS EVE finds Adam Rutledge and his grandmother accepting the hospitality of Godric St. John following the break down of their carriage as they embarked towards a Christmas celebration with family, out of town. Enter Sarah St. John, Godric’s half-sister and the woman with whom Adam will fall in love. What ensues are Adam’s attempts to prove to Sarah that his prior reputation as a rake is now in the past, and all of his attentions are sighted upon our story line heroine.

ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS EVE is a quick read; a novella length historical romance set in the days prior to the Christmas celebrations as one woman struggles with her attraction to a man whose reputation repulses but attracts the curiosity. The premise is impassioned, light-hearted and spirited; the characters are colorful and engaging; the romance is a case of insta-lust/love between two people confident in themselves yet looking for something more.

Copy supplied by Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

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About the Author

Follow: Twitter / Website/ Facebook / Bookbub / Amazon

Elizabeth Hoyt is the New York Times bestselling author of over seventeen lush historical romances including the Maiden Lane series. Publishers Weekly has called her writing “mesmerizing.” She also pens deliciously fun contemporary romances under the name Julia Harper. Elizabeth lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with three untrained dogs, a garden in constant need of weeding, and the long-suffering Mr. Hoyt

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Once Upon a Maiden Lane (Maiden Lane 12.5) by Elizabeth Hoyt-a review

ONCE UPON A MAIDEN LANE ( Maiden Lane 12.5) by Elizabeth Hoyt- a review

Once Upon a Maiden Lane

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date November 14, 2017

Miss Mary Whitsun is far too intelligent to fall for the rakish charms of a handsome aristocrat. But when the gentleman in question approaches her in a bookshop, mistaking her for his fiancée, Lady Johanna Albright, the flirtatious encounter only raises more questions. Could Mary, a servant raised in a St Giles orphanage, actually be Lady Joanna’s long-lost twin sister? If so, Mary has been betrothed since birth—to the rakishly handsome aristocrat himself.

Henry Collins, Viscount Blackwell, is far too intrigued by Mary to let her go so easily. He’s drawn to her sharp mind, indomitable spirit, and the fiery way in which she dismisses him—ladies simply don’t dismiss Lord Blackwell. But as Mary makes her first hesitant steps into society, she can’t help but wonder if she truly has a place in Henry’s world—or in his heart.

••••••••••••

REVIEW:Told from dual third person perspectives (Mary and Henry) ONCE UPON A MAIDEN LANE follows the building relationship between nursemaid Miss Mary Whitsun, and Henry Collins, aka Viscount Blackwell in the face of the discovery that our heroine might very well be the missing heiress, and Lady Joanna Albright’s twin sister Cecilia Albright-kidnapped as a child, and presumed dead for the past twenty one years. Promised at birth to the future Viscount Blackwell, Cecilia has been missing, and without proof of birthright Mary Whitsun struggles to accept the possibility that she is the formerly missing child Cecilia Albright-betrothed to the infamous rake Viscount Blackwell. Enter Henry Collins, aka Viscount Blackwell, and the man with whom Mary will fall in love. What ensues is the building romance and relationship between Mary and Henry, and the potential fall out when the truth is revealed.

ONCE UPON A MAIDEN LANE is a short story ala Cinderella where a beautiful young woman falls in love with the handsome prince only to realize under the pretty clothes and glamorous lifestyle, she will always be remembered as the nursemaid she was born to be. There are moments of intrigue and danger; mystery and suspense; romance and love. The premise is heart-warming; the romance is passionate. Several previous story line couples and characters make cameo appearances allowing for the familiarity of friendship and acquaintance. ONCE UPON A MAIDEN LANE can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information form the previous story lines is revealed where necessary.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

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Duke of Desire (Maiden Lane #12) by Elizabeth Hoyt-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway Tour

DUKE OF DESIRE (Maiden Lane #12) by Elizabeth Hoyt-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway Tour

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DUKE OF DESIRE
Maiden Lane #12
by Elizabeth Hoyt
Release Date: October 17, 2017
Genre: adult, historical, romance

Duke of Desire

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Add Duke of Desire to your shelf on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2vaU2Bp

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date October 17, 2017

A LADY OF LIGHT

Refined, kind, and intelligent, Lady Iris Jordan finds herself the unlikely target of a diabolical kidnapping. Her captors are the notoriously evil Lords of Chaos. When one of the masked-and nude!-Lords spirits her away to his carriage, she shoots him . . . only to find she may have been a trifle hasty.

A DUKE IN DEEPEST DARKNESS

Cynical, scarred, and brooding, Raphael de Chartres, the Duke of Dyemore, has made it his personal mission to infiltrate the Lords of Chaos and destroy them. Rescuing Lady Jordan was never in his plans. But now with the Lords out to kill them both, he has but one choice: marry the lady in order to keep her safe.

CAUGHT IN A WEB OF DANGER . . . AND DESIRE

Much to Raphael’s irritation, Iris insists on being the sort of duchess who involves herself in his life-and bed. Soon he’s drawn both to her quick wit and her fiery passion. But when Iris discovers that Raphael’s past may be even more dangerous than the present, she falters. Is their love strong enough to withstand not only the Lords of Chaos but also Raphael’s own demons?

••••••••••••

REVIEW: DUKE OF DESIRE is the twelfth installment in Elizabeth Hoyt’s adult MAIDEN LANE historical romance series. This is the Duke of Dyemore Raphael de Chartres, and Lady Iris Jordan’s story line. DUKE OF DESIRE can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty . Any important information from previous installments is revealed where necessary. We were first introduced to our heroine in book eleven DUKE OF PLEASURE. Iris is Hugh Fitzroy’s sister.

NOTE: DUKE OF DESIRE contains references to pedophilia, rape, abuse and torture, and may not be suitable for all readers.

Told from several third person perspectives DUKE OF DESIRE is a story line that focuses on a dark secret within the notable society of Georgian England. Kidnapped just days after her brother’s marriage to Alf, Lady Iris Jordan comes face to face with the evil that permeates the rich and famous-the Lords of Chaos- a group of sick, twisted and perverted aristocratic men who use their power and position to kidnap and destroy the innocent and young. Enter Raphael de Chartres, the Duke of Dyemore, Iris’s savior, and the man with whom our heroine will fall in love. What ensues is the building romance between Iris and Raphael, and the potential fall-out as Raphael seeks revenge against the Lords of Chaos for destroying his life, and the lives of so many others.

DUKE OF DESIRE is a darker story line that follows the abduction and rescue of our story line heroine, and the subsequent search for the leader of the Lords of Chaos. Raphael is the reluctant Duke of Dyemore but with his father’s death, Raphael assumes more than his rightful place as Duke but that of his father’s membership and mantle within the group that destroyed Raphael’s life.

Iris never thought of herself as a potential target until the Lords of Chaos kidnapped our heroine in a plot against her newly betrothed brother. Her would-be rescuer is familiar; possibly evil but definitely the man with whom Iris would fall in love. Raphael wants nothing to do with consummating his marriage while our heroine struggles to seduce a man who isn’t willing to play along. The $ex scenes are intimate although Raphael battles too many demons, and memories from his past making for some heartbreaking moments between our newly married couple.

DUKE OF DESIRE is an emotional read about one man’s struggle to move on from the past. Raphael’s need for revenge is all consuming to the point of suicidal actions that could very well end his life, as well as the life of the woman with whom he is falling in love. The premise is sensitive, dramatic and tragic; the characters are broken, strong, passionate and intense; the romance suffers with one man’s inability to let go of the past.

My only concern is the cover image that does not match our hero’s horrific physical scars.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

Duke of Desire Teaser

excerpt

Desperately she flung herself at the opposite seat and tugged it up. Thrust her hand in.
A pistol.
She cocked it, desperately praying that it was loaded.
She turned and aimed it at the door to the carriage just as the door swung open.
The Wolf loomed in the doorway—still nude—a lantern in one hand. She saw the eyes behind the mask flick to the pistol she held between her bound hands. He turned his head and said something in an incomprehensible language to someone outside.
Iris felt her breath sawing in and out of her chest.
He climbed into the carriage and closed the door, completely ignoring her and the pistol pointed at him. The Wolf hung the lantern on a hook and sat on the seat across from her.
Finally he glanced at her. “Put that down.”
His voice was calm. Quiet.
With just a hint of menace.
She backed into the opposite corner, as far away from him as possible, holding the pistol up. Level with his chest. Her heart was pounding so hard it nearly deafened her. “No.”
The carriage jolted into motion, making her stumble before she caught herself.
“T-tell them to stop the carriage,” she said, stuttering with terror despite her resolve. “Let me go now.”
“So that they can rape you to death out there?” He tilted his head to indicate the Lords. “No.”
“At the next village, then.”
“I think not.”
He reached for her and she knew she had no choice.
She shot him.
The blast blew him into the seat and threw her hands up and back, the pistol narrowly missing her nose.
Iris scrambled to her feet. The bullet was gone, but she could still use the pistol as a bludgeon.
The Wolf was sprawled across the seat, blood streaming from a gaping hole in his right shoulder. His mask had been knocked askew on his face.
She reached forward and snatched it off.
And then gasped.
The face that was revealed had once been as beautiful as an angel’s but was now horribly mutilated. A livid red scar ran from just below his hairline on the right side of his face, bisecting the eyebrow, somehow missing the eye itself but gouging a furrow into the lean cheek and catching the edge of his upper lip, making it twist. The scar ended in a missing divot of flesh in the line of the man’s severe jaw. He had inky black hair and, though they were closed now, Iris knew he had emotionless crystal-gray eyes.
She knew because she recognized him.
He was Raphael de Chartres, the Duke of Dyemore, and when she’d danced with him—once—three months ago at a ball, she’d thought he’d looked like Hades.
God of the underworld.
God of the dead.
She had no reason to change her opinion now.
Then he gasped, those frozen crystal eyes opened, and he glared at her. “You idiot woman. I’m trying to save you.”

About The author

Follow: Twitter / Website/ Facebook / Bookbub / Amazon

Elizabeth Hoyt is the New York Times bestselling author of over seventeen lush historical romances including the Maiden Lane series. Publishers Weekly has called her writing “mesmerizing.” She also pens deliciously fun contemporary romances under the name Julia Harper. Elizabeth lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with three untrained dogs, a garden in constant need of weeding, and the long-suffering Mr. Hoyt

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Duke of Pleasure (Maiden Lane #11) by Elizabeth Hoyt-Review, Interview & Book Tour

DUKE OF PLEASURE (Maiden Lane #11) by Elizabeth Hoyt-Review, Interview & Book Tour

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DUKE OF PLEASURE
Maiden Lane #11
by Elizabeth Hoyt
Release Date: November 29, 2016
Genre: historical, romance

Duke of Pleasure

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date November 29, 2016

N THE ARMS OF DANGER

Bold. Brave. Brutally handsome. Hugh Fitzroy, the Duke of Kyle, is the king’s secret weapon. Sent to defeat the notorious Lords of Chaos, he is ambushed in a London alley—and rescued by an unlikely ally: a masked stranger with the unmistakable curves of a woman.

IN THE HEAT OF DESIRE

Cocky. Clever. Courageously independent. Alf has survived on the perilous streets of St. Giles by disguising her sex. By day she is a boy, dealing in information and secrets. By night she’s the notorious Ghost of St. Giles, a masked vigilante. But as she saves Hugh from assassins, she finds herself succumbing to temptation.

ONE KISS WILL CHANGE THEIR LIVES FOREVER

When Hugh hires Alf to investigate the Lords of Chaos, her worlds collide. Once Hugh realizes that the boy and the Ghost are the same, will Alf find the courage to become the woman she needs to be—before the Lords of Chaos destroy them both?

••••••••••••

REVIEW: DUKE OF PLEASURE is the eleventh full length installment in Elizabeth Hoyt’s MAIDEN LANE historical romance series. This is the Duke of Kyle, Hugh Fitzroy, and street urchin/Ghost of St. Giles Alf’s story line. DUKE OF PLEASURE can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty although Alf’s story has been building for several installments.

Told from dual third person perspectives (Alf and Hugh) DUKE OF PLEASURE focuses on the hunt for the notorious and secretive Lords of Chaos-a well to do group of politically appointment men whose crimes are evil and notorious. After a late night attack by a group of thugs, the Duke of Kyle-Hugh Fitzroy- hires a young street urchin whose ability to ferret out information is well known in and around the streets of London and St. Giles. Enter Alf-a young woman who by day disguises herself as a young boy but by night is the infamous masked vigilante the Ghost of St. Giles. What ensues is the building relationship between Alf and Hugh, and the search for the people who have marked Hugh Fitzroy for death.

The relationship between Hugh and Alf is slow to develop as our heroine has presented herself as a young boy for most of her life. It is only with the accidental discovery of Alf’s true self does the Duke of Kyle begin to look at Alf in a different light.
Alf is a loner; a young woman whose independence was forged at an early age but a woman whose desire for love and a family finds our heroine on the outside looking in. Hugh Fitzroy is a widower with two young boys who struggles to raise his family without the benefit of wife and mother. His attraction to Alf is visceral as the young woman calls to his lonely heart.

DUKE OF PLEASURE is a story about family and survival. The premise is a mix of mystery and intrigue; the characters are charismatic and entertaining; the romance is seductive and tangible. As a single father Hugh Fitzroy battles the demons from his past including the death of his wife, and the years he was absent from the young boy’s lives. We are introduced to Hugh’s late wife’s best friend Lady Jordan aka Iris whose story will be told next in DUKE OF DESIRE. Hoyt’s DUKE OF PLEASURE is an enchanting and spirited tale of opposites attract and second chances at love.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

Duke of Pleasure Teaser

 

Interview

TRC:  Hi Elizabeth and welcome back to The Reading Café. Congratulations on the release of DUKE OF PLEASURE.

Elizabeth HoytElizabeth: Thank you and thank you for inviting me back!

TRC: For anyone who does not know you, would you please tell us something about yourself?

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Elizabeth: I live in Minneapolis, have plowed my front yard under for a flower garden, drink too much coffee, and have three dogs. I think that tells most people about all they need to know about me. But in case that isn’t enough: I also write historical romance whilst two of the dogs sleep on my lap. I’ve been published ten years this fall (woo!) and, on the whole, it seems like a pretty good gig.

TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?

Elizabeth: When I first started out what I was reading: the romance writers of the late 1990’s/early 2000’s: Christina Dodd, Stephanie Laurens, Amanda Quick, Lisa Kleypas. Now I’m influenced more by pop culture I think. TV shows and things I hear and see on the internet. Stuff that other people are excited about. I like to take apart what makes them excited, what draws them in, and see if I can translate that to the written form.

Duke of PleasureTRC: Would you please tell us something about the DUKE OF PLEASURE?

Elizabeth: Why yes! Duke of Pleasure features reader favorite Alf, who if you’ve been following my Maiden Lane series you’ll remember as a tough boy who lives in the slums of St. Giles and makes his living by selling information. Except Alf is really a woman in disguise. And in Duke of Pleasure we find out that not only is Alf a woman, but at night she’s taken on the mantle of the Ghost of St. Giles, a masked vigilante helping the poor and downtrodden. She fights with two swords and is totally badass.

Assassins are pursuing the hero, Hugh Fitzroy, the Duke of Kyle, when the Ghost saves him. Hugh is tasked with taking down a shadowy aristocratic society and hires Alf to help him. Except Alf is attacked and wounded and then she stays at Hugh’s townhouse to recover and it starts getting hard to maintain her disguise…

TRC: What challenges or difficulties have you encountered writing and publishing your stories?

Elizabeth: In writing them, I think just the everyday stuff of getting up and getting the job done. Writing is a very solitary profession. It’s all self-motivated and it’s all self-generated. Sometimes you have to have nerves of steel.

With the publishing side I’ve been pretty lucky—I really haven’t run into any real difficulties. I mean, people keep saying that the historical is tanking…but then they’ve been saying that since before I was published and here I am, so.

TRC: How do you keep the plot(s) unpredictable without sacrificing content and believability?

Elizabeth: Ooo! Good question! I get bored easily, which is probably why no two of my books are alike. So from my end, I’m not worrying about trying to write an unpredictable plot. I just want to have an interesting character who is in a situation that challenges me as a writer. If that produces what you describe above, well, great!

TRC: Do you believe the cover image plays a deciding factor for many readers in the process of selecting a book or new series to read?

Elizabeth: Yes. It’s the first thing the reader sees, especially in a physical bookstore or big box store. Obviously if the artwork can catch the reader’s eye that’s a plus. And once the reader has opened the book, than I’m confident that my writing can do the rest. 😉

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Elizabeth: I hope readers enjoy Duke of Pleasure!

TRC: Thank you Elizabeth for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the new release.

Elizabeth: Thank you!

Wicked Intentions price drop

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WICKED INTENTIONS is now FREE for a limited time!

The ebook edition of WICKED INTENTIONS, the first book in Elizabeth Hoyt’s bestselling Maiden Lane series will be FREE from November 28 through December 12! This is a great opportunity to introduce friends to the series! On December 13 the price returns to $5.99.

 

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Once Upon a Moonlit Night / Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt-Review, Book Tour & Giveaway

Once Upon a Moonlit Night / Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt-Review, Book Tour & Giveaway

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ONCE UPON A MOONLIT NIGHT
Maiden Lane 10.5
by Elizabeth Hoyt
Genre: adult, historical, romance
Release Date: July 5, 2016
Maiden Lane

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Once Upon a Moonlit NightONCE UPON A MOONLIT NIGHT
(Maiden Lane #10.5)
by Elizabeth Hoyt
Genre: historical, romance

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About the book: Release Date July 5, 2016

Hippolyta Royle is running for her life. Pursued by hounds on a cold rainy night, the heiress flags down a passing carriage and throws herself at the mercy of the coach’s occupant. Whoever this handsome traveler may be, he is her only hope to escape a terrible fate. But should he agree to escort her to safety, he’s in for much more than he bargained for.

At first Matthew Mortimer doesn’t believe Hippolyta’s story, that she’s a fabulously wealthy heiress who’s been kidnapped. He assumes she’s a beggar, an actress, or worse. But once his new travel companion washes the mud from her surprisingly lovely face, and they share a breathtaking kiss, there is no turning back.

•••••••••••

REVIEW: ONCE UPON A MOONLIT NIGHT is installment 10.5 in Elizabeth Hoyt’s MAIDEN LANE historical romance series. This is Hippolyta Royle, and Matthew Mortimer’s story line. Some of the events of ONCE UPON A MOONLIT NIGHT run parallel to the events of book ten –DUKE OF SIN. If you are a fan of the series, you will recognize Hippolyta from the previous two to three story lines.

Told from dual third person perspectives (Hippolyta and Matthew) follows the escape and rescue of Hippolyta Royle. In the previous installment Hippolyta was held prisoner by the Duke of Montgomery in a blackmail scheme aimed at her mother. With the help of the Duke’s housekeeper Mrs. Crumb, Hippolyta found herself on the run, and into the less than companionable carriage of Matthew Mortimer- a cartographer and explorer struggling in debt. What ensues is a quick cross country adventure wherein Matthew believes his carriage mate is nothing more than an educated whore or actress, and Hippolyta finding some solace with the man by whom she had been rescued.

The relationship is quick to develop due to the novella length of the story, and days to weeks will pass without preamble or reveal. From declaration of marriage to threats against his new wife, Matthew Mortimer becomes Hippolyta’s hero, and the man with whom she will fall in love. The $ex scenes are intimate and romantic without the use of over the top graphic text or imagery.

ONCE UPON A MOONLIT NIGHT answers the question about what happened to Hippolyta following her escape from the Duke of Montgomery. Because of the length of the novella, the character development is lacking although some of Hipployta’s background and family history are revealed. I would have liked to know a little more about Matthew’s story and his travels. The epilogue fast forwards the story line one year. The premise is an entertaining and quick read that looks at mistaken beliefs, betrayal and revenge.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

___________________

Duke of SinDUKE OF SIN
(Maiden Lane #10)
by Elizabeth Hoyt
Genre: historical, romance

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About the book: Release Date May 31, 2016

A MAN OF SIN

Devastatingly handsome. Vain. Unscrupulous. Valentine Napier, the Duke of Montgomery, is the man London whispers about in boudoirs and back alleys. A notorious rake and blackmailer, Montgomery has returned from exile, intent on seeking revenge on those who have wronged him. But what he finds in his own bedroom may lay waste to all his plans.

A WOMAN OF HONOR

Born a bastard, housekeeper Bridget Crumb is clever, bold, and fiercely loyal. When her aristocratic mother becomes the target of extortion, Bridget joins the Duke of Montgomery’s household to search for the incriminating evidence-and uncovers something far more dangerous.

A SECRET THAT THREATENS TO DESTROY THEM BOTH

Astonished by the deceptively prim-and surprisingly witty-domestic spy in his chambers, Montgomery is intrigued. And try as she might, Bridget can’t resist the slyly charming duke. Now as the two begin their treacherous game of cat and mouse, they soon realize that they both have secrets-and neither may be as nefarious-or as innocent-as they appear .

•••••••••••

REVIEW: DUKE OF SIN is the tenth installment in Elizabeth Hoyt’s MAIDEN LANE historical romance series. This is Valentine (Val) Napier, the Duke of Montgomery, and his housekeeper Bridget Crumb’s story line. DUKE OF SIN can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. The Duke is the brother of Eve Dinwoody-Sweetest Scoundrel #9.

Told from several third person points of view DUKE OF SIN focuses on Val Napier-the Duke of Montgomery- a man despised and feared for his blackmailing threats and ability to make people disappear. Valentine is the villain; more of an antihero- a man who is dishonest, is disagreeable, and lacks integrity but a man who is strong and yet capable and skilled where and when is matters. His inventory of blackmail information is beyond the scope of most men.

Throughout the series Val has been ostracized from British society, and his return comes with threats of blackmail against the King and others. He is a self confident and powerful man with the ability to destroy lives and take down governments. While Val attempts to reintegrate through dark and dangerous means, our heroine searches, on behalf of the mother she barely knows, for incriminating evidence that the Duke has on her family. What ensues is a game of cat and mouse, push and pull as Bridget struggles to stay one step ahead of the Duke as she tries to uncover his secrets.

DUKE OF SIN is a story with colorful and animated characters. The Duke is spirited and exuberant while Bridget is intelligent and in control at all times. The premise reveals Bridget’s heartbreaking past, and Val’s abusive childhood-a sadistic father and a mother who despised the ground upon which he walked. The romance softens the rough edges of Valentine’s heart but he will always be a little bit naughty and devious.

Copy supplied by Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

about the author

Elizabeth HoytElizabeth Hoyt is the New York Times bestselling author of over seventeen lush historical romances including the Maiden Lane series. Publishers Weekly has called her writing “mesmerizing.” She also pens deliciously fun contemporary romances under the name Julia Harper. Elizabeth lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with three untrained dogs, a garden in constant need of weeding, and the long-suffering Mr. Hoyt.

Follow: Twitter / Website/ Facebook /

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Darling Beast (Maiden Lane #7) by Elizabeth Hoyt-a review

DARLING BEAST (Maiden Lane #7) by Elizabeth Hoyt-a review

Darling Beast

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date October 14, 2014

A MAN CONDEMNED . . .

Falsely accused of murder and mute from a near-fatal beating, Apollo Greaves, Viscount Kilbourne has escaped from Bedlam. With the Crown’s soldiers at his heels, he finds refuge in the ruins of a pleasure garden, toiling as a simple gardener. But when a vivacious young woman moves in, he’s quickly driven to distraction . . .

A DESPERATE WOMAN . . .

London’s premier actress, Lily Stump, is down on her luck when she’s forced to move into a scorched theatre with her maid and small son. But she and her tiny family aren’t the only inhabitants—a silent, hulking beast of a man also calls the charred ruins home. Yet when she catches him reading her plays, Lily realizes there’s more to this man than meets the eye.

OUT OF ASH, DESIRE FLARES

Though scorching passion draws them together, Apollo knows that Lily is keeping secrets. When his past catches up with him, he’s forced to make a choice: his love for Lily . . . or the explosive truth that will set him free.

••••••••••••••••

REVIEW: DARLING BEAST is the seventh full length installment in Elizabeth Hoyt’s historical Maiden Lane romance series. This is Viscount Kilbourne (Apollo Greaves first introduced in Duke of Midnight Book # 6) and stage actress/writer Lily Stump’s (aka Robin Goodfellow) storyline-a beauty and the beast scenario. Although this is the seventh in the series it can be read as a stand alone. Each chapter begins with an ‘out take’ from a short fairy tale- The Minotaur- that reflects the nature of Darling Beast.

The premise focuses on the building relationship between Lily and a ‘beast’ of a man with no known name. Apollo is on the run- an escapee from the horrific prison known as Bedlam- and is hiding from the people who have wrongly accused him of murder. He is a man who is unable to speak due to an attack and torture that left him near death. Working to rebuild the pleasure gardens near the burned out remains of the theatre, Apollo will find solace and love in the arms of a woman who refuses to judge a man based on his past. With Apollo on the run and his true identity unknown, Lily is unsure of her future.

The relationship between our leading couple is slow to build beginning as friends to lovers. Lily is unaware of Apollo’s true identity believing him to be mentally deficient-unaware of his title-and what happened in the past to bring such heartbreak and sorrow. She is in awe of his body, his beauty and his talent as a gardener. Apollo is immediately attracted to Lily but knows he will only bring trouble if the truth were ever found out. The love scenes are intimate and provocative.

The secondary and supporting characters are numerous including some of the previous storyline players including Captain James Trevillion and Asa Makepeace, Artemis and Maxiumus (Duke of Midnight), members of the aristocracy, family, friends and Lily’s fellow actors. The world building continues to follow the actors and actors, the investigations and, the lifestyles of the rich and famous.

The first half of DARLING BEAST is very slow moving with the focus on Lily, Indio, her maid and their reluctant friendship with a mute stranger whom Indio dubbed ‘Caliban’ after the subhuman, wild man character in Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Apollo’s inability to speak may have contributed to the drag of the storyline because his interaction was mostly visual in the early stages of the story. From the outset our hero is less than perfect, a titled madman, and a murderer in everyone’s eyes and in this he has a difficult time socializing and regaining a foothold in society. Lily’s chosen career as a stage actor places our heroine in the unlikely position as a lower class female and Apollo’s need for Lily will raise a few eyebrows in the aristocratic class.

Elizabeth Hoyt adds another interesting dimension to the Maiden Lane series with her unique and imaginative characters. If you can get past the slow build of the first half, DARLING BEAST is a welcome and pleasurable addition to the series.

Reviewed by Sandy

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