Forbidden fruit. The one thing the rakehell Duke of Netherford swore he’d never do was to give in to the temptation offered to him by his best friend’s younger sister. But now, Miss Felicity Carvel is all grown up, and more ravishing than ever. Some rules were made to be broken…
Welcome to Moonlight Square ~ Regency London’s Most Romantic Address!
Six years ago, Jason Hawthorne, the Duke of Rutherford, made it clear to the young, lovesick Miss Felicity Carvel that nothing could ever happen between them. He has earned his reputation as a libertine—and the lovely innocent is his best friend’s sister. But six years of wild hedonistic pleasures have left Jason empty and jaded, while Felicity has blossomed into a strong, beautiful woman, ripe for love and marriage. When a sudden windfall makes her one of the most sought-after heiresses in London, Jason knows he must step in to protect her and keep the fortune-hunters at bay until her brother returns from his dangerous mission abroad. Unfortunately, Jason is the last person whose help she’d ever want.
Still smarting from the humiliation of throwing herself at the handsome, dark-eyed rogue only to be rejected, Felicity has watched from a distance over the years, heart aching, as her beloved Jason wandered ever farther astray, seeking escape from the hidden wounds in his past that have turned him into this lost soul. When he appoints himself her temporary protector until her brother returns from abroad, Felicity can’t seem to get rid of him. Worse, the attraction between them has only grown with time. Deep down, Felicity still wants Jason for her own. But after getting her heart broken once before by the infamous rakehell, does she dare attempt to play with fire again—and this time, can Jason resist?
I have been a huge fan of Gaelen Foley’s work for years, she is one of the few authors who can do thrilling, historical romance perfectly. I absolutely loved the Inferno Club, The Knights of Miscellany and The Spice trilogy and I have been looking forward to finally reading this new series from her, this is book one in the Moonlight Square series and it’s a wonderful start.
The story opens with Felicity Carvel making her way to the notorious Duke of Netherford’s house, she has something she needs help with and only the duke can help her. She has suddenly left a substantial inheritance and is now the most sought-after heiress in society, she is alone and wants her brother but the only way she can get word to him as he is on a mission somewhere in the world is to go directly to his benefactor; Jason Hawthorne! But as this is the man who rebuked her intentions when she was a mere teenager she isn’t looking forward to the encounter, no matter how much she wants to see him again.
No matter how dark his reputation has become, how debauched he now is, her feelings for him are just as strong as before even though he did humiliate her and break her heart. She is confused by her feelings toward him, even though she knows that there will never be anything between them. Jason made that fact very clear to her all those years ago and from his actions as a man, but as we know the human heart is a fickle thing and her attraction to the dashing Duke is hard to overcome especially when seeing the brutally handsome man he has become. I like the difference in Felicity from when she made a pass at Jason all those years ago to the strong woman she has become.
Jason Hawthorne; The Duke of Netherford or more commonly known within society as ‘The Duke of Scandal’ and ‘Naughty Netherford’ is one of the most notorious and scandalous rakes in society. To society, he is a rake, an untrustworthy supremely roguish lord, but beneath the surface, there is a really complex and vulnerable man the debauched rake he so happily shows to the world is just one of his many masks he dons. Jason is a man with many layers and deep secrets lurking behind that cold exterior, but once hearing Felicity’s plight and realizing that being an heiress will bring unwanted attention and danger to her, his well-hidden goodness finally shows his head and we see what a fine, the wonderfully seductive man he really is.
As he set out to protect her from fortune hunters, they both see for themselves how the other has fared over the years and those well-suppressed emotions that have been hidden and locked away for six years come bubbling over. They are a very cute couple, what I like about Duke of Scandal is that the romance is very slow simmering, unlike the other books I have read by Foley; where as soon as you meet the couple, they are sparks from page one. This builds up throughout the book, they are both learning to trust, and they are both complex individuals who after personal experiences find it difficult to show their feelings, but Felicity is happy to try, and it is lovely seeing Jason working hard to prove that he is as honourable as his title states him to be.
By far the best scene’s in the book are when they are together just being themselves when they let their guards down and start to be playful and real, the banter is fun and entertaining which isn’t a surprise as Gaelen Foley is a wonder with witty, smart and sexy character banter.
Oh, my word!! What a devil Jason is! sexy, tormented with complex secrets that you just need to learn. I am so looking forward to meeting all of these dashing Duke from Moonlight Square, going by Gaelen Foley’s previous form for creating impossibly gorgeous and brutishly rakish heroes we are in for a fantastic series, with some terribly swoon-worthy heroes! 😉
I have said it before, but I’m going to say it again, Foley is a too-good-to-be-true story-teller, she excels in drawing the reader into her dark and glittery regency world and takes them on a whirlwind journey. I have been an avid reader of her work for years and she never disappoints. Duke of Scandal is fresh, atmospheric and utterly absorbing. Jason and Felicity are emotionally raw and wonderfully crafted characters who you instantly take a shine to – especially Jason, who is so swoon-worthy, it definitely makes you rather hot! 😉
I love the beginning of this new series and I can’t wait to get stuck into the rest.
Duke of Scandal is available now and can be purchased on Amazon.