Published by Pocket Genres: Historical, Regency
Reviewed by Shayna
They are The Duke’s Men—an investigative agency born out of family pride and irresistible passion . . . and they risk their lives and hearts to unravel any shocking deception or scandalous transgression! Maximilian Cale, the Duke of Lyons, accepted long ago that his kidnapped brother was dead. When a cryptic note from investigator Tristan Bonnaud claims otherwise, Max seeks out Tristan’s sister, Lisette—and is infuriated to learn that Tristan has mysteriously vanished. Have the siblings perpetrated an elaborate hoax? Or is the fiercely protective beauty as innocent as she claims? Fearful that the powerful duke will destroy Tristan’s career in his zeal for the truth, the clever Lisette convinces Max to accompany her to Paris in a joint search for their loved ones. But their journey takes a seductive twist when they pose as an ordinary husband and wife—not an English duke with a tarnished family name and the illegitimate daughter of a viscount—and discover an exhilarating passion free from the damning secrets of the past. With the line between danger and desire enticingly blurred, they discover that some mysteries, like those of the heart, are answered tenfold in the bliss of a true and trusting love.
Maximilian Cale, the Duke of Lyons, has long known that he will live his life alone. Madness cursed his father and his uncle and his elder brother died under mysterious circumstances. So when he receives a cryptic message from investigator Tristan Bonnaud claiming that Max’s brother is alive, the duke is cautiously hopeful. But the meeting Tristan arranged never takes place, as neither Tristan nor Max’s supposed brother show up. The duke is furious and determined to hunt Tristan down, only to cross paths with a different Bonnaud.
As the illegitimate daughter of an English viscount and a French actress, Lisette Bonnaud learned at a young age never to be dependent on a man, particularly an aristocrat. Which is why she’s shocked to find herself attracted to the powerful Duke of Lyons, a man who could ruin the lives of her and her siblings. Worried that her brother is missing and determined to ensure the duke doesn’t ruin Tristan’s career, Lisette courts disaster by posing as Max’s wife on a trip to France. But it isn’t only scandal Max and Lisette risk by travelling together — the longer they remain in close quarters the more these two very different people risk losing their hearts to one another.
The Duke’s Men series is off to a fantastic start with What the Duke Desires. Sabrina Jeffries has penned a marvelously entertaining story filled to the brim with romance, humor, heartbreak, and even a surprising revelation or two.
Lisette might just be my favorite Sabrina Jeffries heroine to date. She’s smart, fiercely loyal, and very aware of the consequences of her illegitimacy in a way that Tristan and her legitimate half-brother, Dom, simply aren’t. Her parents’ relationship and the fallout after her father’s death had a deep impact on Lisette, adding a touch of vulnerability to the strong and brave heroine. Max, in turn, is a delicious hero with fears of his own. His father’s very public descent into madness has made Max fearful of his own potential for insanity. He’s afraid to love, afraid to get too close to a woman who will see him ultimately go mad. Max is very much alone until he meets Lisette and I loved seeing her fight for him and for their relationship. These two were a fantastic pair and their love story was a joy to watch unfold.
What the Duke Desires is the first book in Ms. Jeffries’s The Duke’s Men series, but fans of the Hellions of Halstead Hall books keep an eye out — Dominick Manton, Lisette’s half-brother, first appeared in ‘Twas the Night After Christmas, so it should be no surprise that past heroes and heroines get a mention in this book. I Joyfully Recommend What the Duke Desires. The only issue I had with the story is that Ms. Jeffries made Dom and Tristan so compelling that I can’t wait for them to get books of their own!