What does it take to tempt a lady…
London, 1792. The Duke of Blackbern and the Marquess of Norgrave are boyhood friends who will still compete at anything. Racing, drinking, gambling, even seduction—until Lady Imogen Sunter crosses their path. Achingly beautiful, and innocent, she has no understanding of the jaded gentlemen who are courting her for favors—of how far they are willing to go to get what they want…
In this game of seduce and destroy?
Fighting for Imogen’s affection should have been no more than their usual spirited rivalry. But when Blackbern discovers his feelings for Imogen have deepened, all bets are off. Norgrave, driven by his own demons, won’t forsake his pride—and with one shocking act of betrayal that threatens Imogen and Blackbern’s newfound desire, Norgrave will set the course for a generation of Regency bad boys who will go down in history as the Masters of Seduction…
“Masters of Seduction will more than satisfy those who savor a dark, richly woven romance…
He smiled, and it was quite a magnificent sight. His teeth were straight and his breath was infused with his favorite brandy. “Aye. The manner in which you burst through the doorway, I was certain your skirts were ablaze,” he said, his gaze lingering on her face. “Have you hurt yourself, darling?”
“No.” She frowned, belatedly realizing their reclining position on the sofa. She tried to move and found herself anchored to his muscled chest. His arms were still around her waist and one of his hands was indecently low enough to touch her backside. “I—we . . . you should let me go.”
“I disagree. I am rather comfortable having you draped over my body.”
“Well, I am not,” she said primly, flattening her palms against his chest in an attempt to push away from him. Or at least she tried to free herself. The wicked man seemed determined to hold her captive. “It is indecent, and you are no gentleman if you persist in delaying my departure.”
Although she would never admit it to anyone, she could have rested her chin against her crossed arms and stared at him for hours. He was truly extraordinary. Unfortunately, the arrogant man was aware that his looks were a cut above those of most gentlemen, and the effect he had on women.
“Do you not get bored with following the rules?”
Of course she did, but she would bite holes in her tongue before she made such a confession. Especially to him. “No. Rules are put in place to protect us and ensure order in the world.”
“It must have been your governess that filled your head with that nonsense,” he said dismissively. His hands tightened on her waist when she struggled to slip from his hold. “Life is wonderfully messy, and no amount of structure changes that fact. So what have I done to deserve you, my lady?”
“Nothing.” The roguish gleam in his eyes was a little unsettling. He was staring at her as if she was a gift and he was deciding how to unwrap her. “An accident that I have already apologized for—”
“Actually, you haven’t.”
“I—” She inhaled and silently went over their conversation. It grated that he was right, but she refused to admit that she had been dazzled by his handsome face. “You are correct, good sir. Forgive my oversight. If I may, I would like to offer you an apology. I sincerely regret meeting you.”
His eyes widened in surprise. “Oh, darling, now you are simply being cruel—and you are a liar.”
She stirred in his arms as her temper flared. “How dare you!”
“It pains me to insult a beautiful lady, but I think if we are to continue our friendship, we should be honest.”
Her gaze narrowed. “Are you drunk, or is this some sort of prank you play on unsuspecting ladies?”
His laughter was just as appealing as the rest of him. Rich with genuine humor, it warmed her even as her stomach fluttered.
“If true, that was quite a feat on my part. Lest you forget, you were the one who tackled me?”
Imogene blushed at the reminder of her carelessness. “Ooh, it is unkind of you to remind me. Let me up at once, or I shall—”
“Is this our first fight?” he inquired, his expression easing into indulgence. “And here I have yet to have a taste of you.”
“A taste?” she said blankly, before the healthy pink in her cheeks deepened into a scarlet hue. “I forbid you to kiss me!”
The charming rogue chuckled. “How can I resist such a dare?”
She felt his fingers curl around her neck. No man had ever been so bold as to touch her in this manner. Her skin tingled at his caress. He nudged her face closer to his.
Good grief, the man intended to kiss her!
“Imogene Constance —,” her mother said in icy, clipped tones. “What are you doing with that gentleman? Climb off him at once.”
Her fingers curled into impotent fists. “See what you have done. That woman is my mother,” she furiously whispered into the man’s face. “Release me or we will both pay dearly for your mischief.”
Copyright © June 2015. Excerpt from A DUKE BUT NO GENTLEMAN by Alexandra Hawkins. Published by St. Martin’s Paperbacks. All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher or Author.
Alexandra Hawkins is an unrepentant Anglophile who discovered romance novels as a teenager and knew that one day she would be writing her own. The USA Today bestselling author has written seventeen historical romances, including A Duke But No Gentleman, the first book in her new Masters of Seduction series. Alexandra has combined her love of English history, mythology, and romance to create sensual character-driven stories that, she hopes, will touch readers’ hearts.
(all information was copied from the authors website)
As always my first order of business is to thank NetGalley and St. Martin Press for providing us with a copy of this book so that we could bring you this review.
Ok so confession time, I did something that I never do before reading this book. I went into Goodreads to see how others had reviewed this book… And let me say… Im completely confused on what kind of people read it before, but it clearly says in the description of this book that it has dark themes, so why are people so surprised when it isn’t all rainbows and sunshine. The over all story is actually quite sweet and not a dark feel. Yes we have a set of characters that have sex before marriage in historical England. I mean don’t get me wrong I tend to read quite a bit of these historical romances so I know in most of the stories that take place during this time period the author waits for the characters to be married, because many times the female characters are worried about appearances. So I found it refreshing to have a notorious rake prove that he could seduce a Lady into his bed before marriage. Now don’t get me wrong he does fall in love with her, but I felt that this book felt very real and not overly fanciful.
Now lets get to the dark part and the part that many of the readers I read reviews of had a problem with. ***SPOILER ALERT*** yes there is more than one case of rape in this book (and if this a trigger for you I would avoid it), but it is not glorified in the least bit.***end spoiler*** And it is a necessary evil to have to show how bad the villain in this book is. I personally applaud the author for not shying away from what others would think inappropriate to write about. Now let me clear it up, she doesn’t at any point go into detail of what happens, but you know exactly what is going on and what these characters are going through and dealing with.
But having these dark parts of the book happen, you can also see how strong Imogene really is and how much Tristan loves her.
I personally will say that I look forward to reading what the next book in this series is all about and hope that it too has dark elements to it.
I give this book 4 scandalous kisses…
Happy reading… Adri