The Duke by Kerrigan Byrne | Victorian Rebels #4
Publishing on February 7th, 2017
ARC from Netgalley
| Book Review |
I was lukewarm (more warm than luke) about the first two books in the Victorian Rebels series, so it was a while before I picked up The Highlander. Because that that book blew me away, you can bet I didn’t make the same mistake with The Duke. I picked this book up the second it was in my hot little hands, and oh. My. Word. This book did not disappoint.
Ginny’s story captured me immediately, and Colin had me intrigued from the get-go. After their first ‘meeting,’ this book flipped into a steamy Hatfields and McCoys type of story with just a hint of Clue. Ginny and Colin infuriated and fascinated each other, and neither were too thrilled about their attraction. Colin was not the man he was when Ginny first met him, and Colin had no idea that his neighbor, Imogen, was the woman haunting him even after all these years. Like The Highlander, This one was a lighter tone than the rest of the series, but darker than The Highlander. And while this story probably shouldn’t have been funny, it was in parts. Hilarious, even, and I enjoyed the fact that it offset the gravity of this series so much. The pacing here was wonderful as Imogen and Colin got acquainted with each other, and of course there were cameos from the previous characters in this story. (Not to mention a sparring scene between Colin and Argent that maybe left me panting.) The little tidbits we get of the other pairs are something I adore. These men are tender with their wives, but it’s clear that they are who they’ve always been (to some degree,) and these women love them not despite who they are, but because of who they are. (Some of my favorite snippets below highlight this.) It’s one reason this series that just keeps me coming back for more. And while I enjoyed both main characters, it was Colin’s journey that I found myself looking forward to most. He was scarred and broken, and I loved watching him come to terms with who he was. Sparks flew every time Imogen and Colin were on the page together, and that intensity never let up. I just love the epic feel each one of these stories has.
I’ve already pre-ordered this book in audio, and I cannot wait for my re-read! The Duke was a beautiful story of redemption and rediscovery, and I am thrilled to see there’s a fifth one planned for the series.
| Rating |
Series: Victorian Rebels
The ‘Quote-tastic’ review meme is brought to you by Anna from Herding Cats & Burning Soup. This is a meme she posts on Mondays, and I’m excited to jump in on this again today and share some of my favorite quotes from The Duke!
Snippets I loved:
He rose head and shoulders above them, looking down upon all in his path by the sheer necessity of his towering height. His was the iron fist that held them in check. His was the will upon which they lived or died. His was the command they executed without question.
And well he knew it.
“Why do ye torture yerself still by persisting in this hopeless search?”
“Perhaps I’ve become accustomed to torture.”
“The countess is barely dressed and receiving guests in her garden. And that other woman, she’s obviously a wanton.”
“Aye, that she is.”
Something in Ravencroft’s tone prompted Cole to glance up at the man. “You say that like you know her.”
“I do. That buxom, wanton wench would be my wife, Mena Mackenzie, the Marchioness of Ravencroft.”
“I don’t know, Your Grace, I haven’t seen any evidence that steam-powered ships have done to piracy what steam engines did to highwaymen. Essentially, render them obsolete.”
“I thought you were fond of highwaymen.” Blackwell frowned down at his wife.
“Only one in particular,” she replied, running a finger along his arm.
If a man could have purred like a cat, the Blackheart of Ben More certainly would have in that moment.
He’d seen men rip each other apart for an extra piece of moldy bread. He’d watched the strong prey on the weak in the most sinful of ways. Once man was stripped of all society, civility, and dignity, even the most noble of them became animals. Savages. Beasts.
He knew because he’d been one of them.
Layer by layer, lash by painful lash, he’d been carved away from himself, from his humanity, until nothing but that primitive savage remained.
The moment a dark groan manifested in his throat, she came alive in his arms, clinging to his shoulders for stability. As he drank deeply from the well of shocking pleasure in her kiss, he found with sinister delight that her tongue tangled with his instead of retreating. Her mouth was hot and her lips so infinitely soft, he almost couldn’t believe they were real.
A part of him realized he’d conjured a firestorm in that moment. That everything that had been shattered and cold within him melted in an instant inferno, becoming liquid and incomprehensively hot. Ready to be molded into a weapon. Made to thrust. To penetrate.
Imogen Millburn, Lady Anstruther, was more dangerous than he could have ever imagined. For she brought out something in him he’d promised he’d left in that prison cell along with his hand.
That wild, primitive beast. A starving, wolfish creature who wanted to do nothing more than stalk and prowl. To leap and snare. To feast and fuck.
This beast was no duke. He was no man raised with genteel civility, with a care for the expense of things or the consequence of his actions. This beast was no longer dormant within him, but prowling beneath the surface of his skin, wanting to mark his territory. And he’d found a delectable morsel just now, one he was in danger of acquiring a taste for.
A new and unsettling beauty had diverted his thoughts, abducted his dreams. For so long he’d been the devotee of nostalgia. But now a lovely, outspoken idealist had absconded with his closely guarded reminiscence and replaced it with new and distressing interactions upon which to reflect.
Lady Anstruther. Imogen.
Cole took many liberties with her in his thoughts, the very least of which was her name.