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A Devil of a Duke (Decadent Dukes Society) Mass Market Paperback – April 24, 2018
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From New York Times bestselling author Madeline Hunter comes the latest sexy tale of three untamable dukes and the women who ignite their decadent desires . . .
HE MAY BE A DEVIL
He’s infamous, debaucherous, and known all over town for his complete disregard for scandal, and positively irresistible seductions. Gabriel St. James, Duke of Langford, is obscenely wealthy, jaw-droppingly handsome, and used to getting exactly what he wants. Until his attention is utterly captured by a woman who refuses to tell him her name, but can’t help surrendering to his touch . . .
BUT SHE’S NO ANGEL EITHER . . .
Amanda Waverly is living two lives—one respectable existence as secretary to an upstanding lady, and one far more dangerous battle of wits—and willpower—with the devilish Duke. Langford may be the most tempting man she’s ever met, but Amanda’s got her hands full trying to escape the world of high-society crime into which she was born. And if he figures out who she really is, their sizzling passion will suddenly boil over into a much higher stakes affair . . .
Madeline Hunter’s novels are:
“Brilliant, compelling. . . . An excellent read.”
—The Washington Post
“Mesmerizing.” —Publishers Weekly
"Small Town Rumors" by Carolyn Brown
From New York Times bestselling author Carolyn Brown comes a funny heartache of a novel about overcoming the past, confronting the future, and defying all expectations. | Learn more
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From the Publisher
Five Top Ways to be Decadent in the Regency
When the heroes of my new series named themselves The Decadent Dukes, it was tongue-in-cheek. They were schoolboys at the time, but old enough to be aware of the popular view of the aristocracy as comprised of self-indulgent, spoiled power hogs. The reformers who objected to the behavior of peers and their families did not have to look far for evidence to support their criticism.
Living in the height of privilege, aristocrats were not always decadent. When they were, however, they enjoyed incredible opportunities. If you had the good fortune to be born into this elite society, here are some areas where you might indulge excessively:
1) Spend money wildly.
It cost a lot of money to be an aristocrat, but that was because the expectations were so high. Having a house in London along with maintaining country estates added up fast. It is estimated that a family would need at least ten thousand pounds a year to do so, and that roughly translates to 8 million today.
What did one spend that on? Other than real estate, there were carriages and horses to buy –luxuries at the time—, expensive delicacies to eat, and many servants to pay. Clothing and jewels from the best shops, tailors and dressmakers cost a pretty penny too, especially for women who might wear three or four ensembles in a single day and whose fashions changed frequently, necessitating new wardrobes.
Since no one paid cash but rather ran accounts at shops, it was common for debts to develop to the vendors of these goods and services. Shopkeepers in turn hoped for the best when it came to payment. Some heirs rang up high debts on credit extended to them based on their 'expectations.' Vendors basically placed a bet that when the young man eventually inherited, the debts would be settled. If they weren’t, a newly invested peer could sleep easily, knowing that he would never see the inside of debtor’s prison since one of the privileges of the peerage was freedom from arrest.
2) Gamble your inheritance away
Gambling was so common in the Regency that wagers were everyday occurrences. The gentlemen’s clubs had wagering books where members could record their bets with each other. They also had chambers where gambling took place. There were other, less reputable places to gamble, the so-called 'hells' that dotted London. Even some well born women ran gambling establishments in their homes, as a way to make ends meet if they became widowed or needed funds.
Inevitably some people gambled excessively. There are stories of heirs gambling away inheritances, and of women impoverishing their husbands.
3) Have Love Affairs with Abandon
In an age of arranged marriages among aristocrats, it is not surprising that extramarital affairs were common. Nor were they especially discreet. Many of the men had mistresses whom they supported financially, and whom they socialized with openly. Some wives took lovers too, after first supplying their husbands with the requisite heirs.
Some of these affairs were frank commercial exchanges. Others were romantic, or romanticized. Some men sought only sexual adventure, but others clearly wanted the 'girlfriend experience,' even with known courtesans. There were plenty of those in London during the era, and they even held a ball once a year at the Argyle Rooms, to which the cream of the male aristocracy was invited. The most famous courtesan, Harriet Wilson, made a fortune when she published her memoirs in 1826 naming among her lovers the Earl of Craven, the Duke of Wellington, the Marquess of Worcester, the Duke of Argyll, and Lord Melbourne’s son, the Honorable Frederick Lamb.
4) Go to Extremes in Food, Furnishings, and Entertainments
The home of aristocrats might be filled with inherited treasures, but that did not stop the current owners from enhancing their environments at great cost.
Perhaps the leader in this kind of decadence was the Crown Prince who later became King George IV. He had Carlton House remodeled and decorated at great expense, then proceeded to enhance it for the benefit of his many guests.
“Rich with scandal and sensuality, Hunter’s second Decadent Dukes Society Regency (after The Most Dangerous Duke in London) features a fabulous heroine, a secretary with a criminal secret who falls for a man far above her station….Scintillating love scenes are plentiful in this page-turning tale, which is enhanced by a cast of memorable characters and smart, witty protagonists.”– Publishers Weekly STARRED REVIEW, Best Books of Summer '18
“Readers who crave historical romances served up with a surfeit of searing sensuality and plenty of sharply nuanced characters will snap up this sterling addition to Hunter’s Decadent Dukes Society series.”– Booklist
"With a delectable blend of clever ripostes, scorching sensuality, and masterly plotting, Hunter's latest sees the most infamous of the Decadent Dukes fall head over heels." --Library Journal
“Another passionate, adventurous, captivating romance from a grand mistress of the genre. Hunter combines a heated love story with a feminist vibe with a dangerous mission led by unconventional characters. Thanks to the snappy dialogue, readers will find the pace never slows as they try and keep up with a bold thief and a devilish duke engaged in a subtle game of seduction. Readers will adore the smart characters who actually talk to one another as they set aside foolish misunderstandings in favor of communication.”– RT Book Reviews TOP PICK
Praise for Madeline Hunter’s previous novel, The Most Dangerous Duke in London
“The writing is lively and the characters fun, and the duke’s cronies promise to make good heroes in future books. A thoroughly enjoyable read.”– Kirkus Reviews
"The latest historical romance series that you won't be able to put down is from New York Times bestselling author Madeline Hunter. With witty humor and inventive storytelling, you'll whip through the first one so fast, you'll need to Amazon Prime another one to your cabana." --Martha Stewart Weddings
“Hunter has created an intelligent, fast-paced romance, chock-full of sensuality and spiced with mystery.” - Publishers Weekly
“The Decadent Dukes Society are just what Hunter fans crave; gorgeous, sexy, scandalous men who are about to meet extraordinary women. Hunter merges passion with vengeance, and pride with romance in this perfectly balanced love story. As always, the wonderful, witty prose and unforgettable characters enhance the intricate plot, and there is no doubt readers will be captivated.”– RT Book Reviews, Top Pick
“The first in Hunter’s seductive new Decadent Dukes Society series is an elegantly written story with richly nuanced characters and a surfeit of intoxicating sensuality that will have fans of soigne Regency-set romances sighing happily with satisfaction.”– Booklist
“This is a historical romance to savor, and readers will root for the pair of lovers and the justice they seek.” – Bookpage, Top Pick
About the Author
- Publisher : Zebra (April 24, 2018)
- Language : English
- Mass Market Paperback : 352 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1420143921
- ISBN-13 : 978-1420143928
- Item Weight : 4.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #214,624 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
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Top reviews from the United States
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THE STORY: Gabriel St. James, Duke of Langford is used to getting what he wants. When he meets a mysterious woman who is willing to meet with him but doesn't want to reveal anything about herself, Gabriel is intrigued and determined to uncover her secrets. Amanda Waverly is being forced into a double life. She is acting the respectable secretary to a society matron while plotting thefts. When she gets tangled up with Langford, she fears that everything will collapse around her.
OPINION: I enjoyed this book because of the couple. Gabriel and Amanda are a prickly couple. She has lot of secrets and he is determined to find out everything about her. I liked that she outsmarts him in the beginning and that he is ultimately willing to risk everything for her.
The book manages to have more fun than I expect because it operates on the fringes of society. Amanda is desperate but determined to do what she can to protect her loved ones. I thought that she was foolish for doing so much, but it also shows her kind heart. And her kindness is an essential part of her character along with her cleverness.
The weakness of this book for me was that we never really get to see Gabriel's inner decisions regarding Amanda. He ultimately risks everything for her, but I suppose I wanted to see his turmoil or hear him verbalize more. The grand romantic moment was a bit muted for me as a result.
But I enjoyed these characters matching wits and I really liked Amanda's character.
WORTH MENTIONING: I'm hoping we will eventually get to know more about Harry and Emilia.
CONNECTED BOOKS: A DEVIL OF A DUKE is the second book in the Decadent Dukes Society. Although there are some overlapping characters, this book can be read as a standalone.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to prepare a review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.
I loved the rekindled brotherhood, too.
Brentworth intrigued. Langford just annoyed.
While I looked forward to Eric's story, I made an assumption that I would be disappointed about the man-child Gabriel. How could he ever grow enuf to become anyone's hero? Adulting is hard work, right?
Could he truly become #swoonworthy?
Oh my, YES!
Pure Madeline Hunter gold here, people!!
#totally #swoonworthy #nailedit
Gabriel's hedonistic existence is truly the measure of a decadent duke and the ever clever opportunistic, pragmatic Amanda is his perfect foil. These two together swept my reading ♡ away.
Theirs is an affair of poignant sensuality. They are resigned to never being able to have a future together, but are so inexplicably drawn to each other's true self they still choose each other fully knowing they will part in the end.
I was SO impressed how this author took these two isolated MCs on a journey that was socially realistic for the period, yet deeply sensual and transformative, all the while delivering an interesting mystery and solidifying an awesome bromance/friendship between the male characters.
My greatest tribute? I read a few key passages out loud to Hubs, something I rarely do nor something that he rarely enjoys. And even he agreed it #swoonworthy ♡ Well done, dear author. Well done.
(Can't wait for Brentworth!)
Gabriel St. James, Duke of Langford, is known for his distaste of rules, to be one of the Decadent Dukes and his womanizing ways. He is also extremely handsome, wealthy and used to getting his own way. Until one night a woman dressed as a shepherdess at a ball is trying to capture his brother's attention so, he intervenes and she in turn captivates him by refusing to tell him her name, but he does draw her into a passionate kiss and she agrees to meet him in a couple of days.
Amanda Waverly is a secretary to a respectable lady but is feeling guilty for hiding a part of her life that could land her in jail. Exchanging verbal banter with Langford is not as dangerous as fighting her willpower to stay away from him. He is definitely tempting but she must execute a crime that will set her mother free and allow her to put her past back in the past. Will Langord figure out her secret and will that knowledge put a stop to the passion that could lead to much more?
Top reviews from other countries
I could not put it down.
I look forward to the next dukes story.