Duke of Midnight by Elizabeth Hoyt

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The 6th novel in the Maiden Lane series is here, and it’s out in audiobook too! Duke of Midnight, by Elizabeth Hoyt, is a bodice-ripper with a gothic twist.

Artemis Greaves is serving as a lady’s companion to her aristocratic cousin Penelope when they are accosted by some street hoodlums. Before they succumb to the evil men, they are rescued by a masked stranger who can only be the legendary “Ghost of St. Giles”. He is gone before they can get much information from him, but Artemis ends up with a ring from his finger-a ring that can only belong to an aristocrat. Who IS this Ghost, and why does he wander the dirty, booze-ridden streets of St. Giles if he comes from a noble family? Artemis is determined to find out more.

The Duke of Wakefield, Maximus Batten, has a secret second life, spending his days in Parliament and his nights seeking clues in the darkness to solve the murders of his parents, decades ago. No one can ever know the truth about his double life, so he keeps a safe distance from everyone but his faithful manservant. But the time has come for Maximus to find a suitable Duchess-someone from a titled family with a nice dowry would be ideal…So why does he find himself so captivated by Artemis Greaves…?

I was surprised by Duke of Midnight, mostly because it had a darker twist to it-madness, the corruption of the aristocracy and Bedlam, murder and revenge…If you want a nice, tidy bodice-ripper where boy meets girl and they simply banter back and forth until they inevitably fall into bed together, this one is not going to be that novel. If you want something with a little more bite, however, be sure to pick up Duke of Midnight, by Elizabeth Hoyt, today-and the audiobook version by Hachette Audio is impeccably narrated, so if you like to listen to your romance novels, this one is a keeper.

The Wicked Wallflower by Maya Rodale

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Lady Emma Avery is in quite a predicament-since her debut into society, she has very little to show for herself by way of marriage prospects-the one man who has shown her attention would love to settle down with her, but he needs to marry a lady with a dowry or his family will be ruined…And Lady Emma Avery hasn’t a penny to her name. One night, while drinking too much sherry, her lady friends come up with a scheme that will be sure to have her married by the end of the season…All she has to do is announce her engagement to a man who doesn’t even know she exists-the bachelor of the year, the womanizing Duke of Ashbrooke.

Little does Emma know, their little joke is about to have a domino effect-and the Duke of Ashbrooke may just need something Lady Avery can provide…But can they both maintain a “professional” relationship as they pull off their little ruse, or will they be overtaken by the temptation of one another and lose everything they know?

This novel is, obviously, the genre I refer to as “bodice-rippers” and is full of stolen kisses and impassioned arguments leading up to passionate lovemaking and inevitable happy ending..So if that sounds like something you like, be sure to pick up The Wicked Wallflower and give it a shot. Maya Rodale is one of my favorite authors in this genre, she adds a humor that many authors fail to integrate and you will be giggling throughout the entire novel.

Any Duchess Will Do (Spindle Cove #4) by Tessa Dare

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The Duke of Halford has a problem. His mother has decided that she has waited long enough for grand babies, and he absolutely must marry as soon as possible or else. But the Duke has no desire to burden himself with the fairer sex, and certainly no interest in chasing debutantes around London. His mother’s counter-offer? He doesn’t have to marry a wealthy heiress or a female with a dowry, he can marry anyone he wants, just so long as he finally marries and puts his family line in motion. The Duke agrees to this plan, but with his own agenda. He will find the most wildly inappropriate female for the job, and he will pay that female to be a complete disaster for his mother’s designs. With any luck, it will go so badly that his mother will stop pushing the issue for a while and he can have some temporary peace. But his plan is flawed. His working-class belle is very rough around the edges, and has just enough spirit and courage to make the Duke question his own methods of operation… Can he follow through with the plan without falling in love with Pauline?

Anyone who loves historical romance novels (bodice-rippers) will want to pick up Any Duchess Will Do, by Tessa Dare. The dialogue is laugh-out-loud hilarious and the romance is sweet and genuine. This novel is like a cross between Pygmalion (My Fair Lady) and Pride and Prejudice, with some sexy and slightly naughty sprinkled on top.