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All art is unstable. It's meaning is not necessarily that implied by the author, There is no authorative active voice. There are only multiple readings. David Bowie, 1995

Saturday, October 7, 2017

'Damn you to hell, Axbridge.'

The Duke of Danger    (The Untouchables #6)   by Darcy Burke


                          

Not a sentiment to encourage love and romance. But when Lionel Maitland, Marquess of Axbridge, kills Lady Emmaline Townsend's husband in a duel she finds that her husband has left her nothing but debts.
The 'Duke of Danger', an unfair label given 
Lionel by the 'wallflower' young women before they became more intimate with some of that group. To be fair they do wince when those nicknames are now mentioned in their presence,
Lionel has an unfortunate reputation for duelling. His opponents end up dead. Hence his sobriquet. Those deaths haunts him. He is a man of honor and each death eats into his soul.
His latest victim, Viscount Geoffrey Townsand, is the husband of Lady Emmaline Townsend. Unfortunately Townsend's wound turned septic, hence Emmaline's situation. Lionel is more scarred than his friends imagine by the result but he cannot reveal the reason for the duel or Townsend's dishonourable behaviour. The scandal around the event would besmirch Emmaline.
Emmaline is unforgiving of Lionel and will have her revenge, even if it as a last resort is to save herself from her parents antics. 
Her parents are forcing her into an unwanted marriage with Sir Duncan Thayer, who 'was horribly unattractive, with a hooked nose, protruding front teeth, and rather fetid breath if the rumors were accurate. Worst of all, he possessed a lecherous nature. Every time she’d met him, he’d looked at her as if she wasn’t wearing any clothes.'
Lionel had given Emmaline his card and told her he would give her any assistance she needed. He was hers to command. Not that marriage had been on his mind, but for Emmaline desperate times call for desperate measures.
I must admit a soft spot for the marriage of convenience trope where angst and coldness turns to a smouldering relationship albeit assailed with doubts. How the author solves the entanglements  to  give us an HEA result  is always fascinating.
As the plot unfolds we find that Viscount Geoffrey Townsand was up to some nefarious doings. The mystery deepens and the facts surrounding Geoffrey's actions are unexpected.
A satisfying read.

A NetGalley ARC

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