Format: .mobi (provided by Pocket Books through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review)
Release Date: June 18, 2013
Maximilian Cale, the Duke of Lyons, long ago buried his grief for his missing elder brother, Peter, who was presumed dead after being kidnapped.
When a mysterious note arrives from investigator Tristan Bonnaud asserting that the Duke’s brother is alive, it leads Max straight to the winsome Lisette Bonnaud, illegitimate daughter of a viscount and Tristan’s sister.
Soon he and Lisette are traveling to Paris posing as husband and wife, in search of Tristan, who has disappeared.
And the longer he spends with Lisette, the easier it is for Max to see that the line between dukedom and desire is easier to cross than he imagined…
What a great start to a new series!
What the Duke Desires doesn't just have that classic romance but mystery, danger and a cast of completely likable characters (the latter is common and highly expected in a Sabrina Jeffries novel). I had fun reading this book and just couldn't put it down once I started it!
Ms. Jeffries has had a string of success with her books, who doesn't remember The School for Heiresses and The Hellions of Hallstead Hall? So it's amazing, but not necessarily surprising to her loyal fans that she managed a strong beginning to yet another series without completely cutting off her previous ones. Fans will immediately be able to pick up the cross over connection between her School for Heiresses, Hellions of Hallstead Hall and now The Duke's Men series.
Born the illegitimate daughter of a french actress, Lisette Bonnaud's world fell apart the day her noble, English father died in a hunting accident, leaving her and her brother Tristan at the mercy of their elder half brother George. Accused of stealing a horse that their father left him, Tristan is forced to flee England with his mother, Lisette and their half brother Dom who sided with them against George and was cut off financially. Years later Lisette is back in England helping her half brother Dom run his investigative business when she meets Maximillan Cale, the Duke of Lyons. Claiming that Tristan sent him a note stating that Max's long missing brother was alive and had been found, Max demands that Lisette tell him what she knows. With neither Max nor Lisette backing down, the two set off to find Tristan and along the way fall in love.
Lisette's sharp tongue hides a vulnerable heart that has known nothing but loss and cruelty. She doesn't want to depend on any one but herself and is frustrated that her brother Dom won't allow her to work for him as an investigator, so her attraction to Max is most inconvenient. Her sharp mind, courage, kind heart and sarcastic streak made her a very interesting character and I looked forward to her interactions with just about anyone.
I've read many historical romance novels with so many heroes being dukes but Max is the least duke like character I've ever come across. He was groomed for the title since the disappearance and death of his brother Peter years before, yet it doesn't suit him through out most of the novel. He isn't a bad duke or even a womanizer. He's a considerate man and doesn't balk too much at being knocked off his pedestal by Lisette. He never sneered at the lower classes or demeaned them and he's a playful man with a sense of humor.
The purpose of Max and Lisette's journey is to try and find out what has happened to Lisette's brother Tristan and whether or not he has found Max's brother. Their journey comes to a surprising and heartbreaking conclusion that caught me by surprise and made me feel bad for Max. I do hope that the three men introduced in What the Duke Desires will each have their own book and if their stories are as entertaining, passionate and surprising as this one, then I do hope The Duke's Men series will be as long as Sabrina Jeffries' School for Heiresses series.