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What the Duke Desires

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Maximilian Cale, the Duke of Lyons, long ago buried his grief for his missing elder brother, Peter, who was presumed dead after being kidnapped. When a mysterious note arrives from Tristan Bonnaud asserting that the Duke's brother is alive, it leads Max straight to the winsome Lisette Bonnaud, illegitimate daughter of a viscount and Tristan's sister. Soon he and Lisette ar Maximilian Cale, the Duke of Lyons, long ago buried his grief for his missing elder brother, Peter, who was presumed dead after being kidnapped. When a mysterious note arrives from Tristan Bonnaud asserting that the Duke's brother is alive, it leads Max straight to the winsome Lisette Bonnaud, illegitimate daughter of a viscount and Tristan's sister. Soon he and Lisette are traveling to Paris posing as husband and wife, in search of Tristan, who has disappeared. And the longer he spends with Lisette, the easier it is for Max to see that the line between dukedom and desire is easier to cross than he imagined...


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Maximilian Cale, the Duke of Lyons, long ago buried his grief for his missing elder brother, Peter, who was presumed dead after being kidnapped. When a mysterious note arrives from Tristan Bonnaud asserting that the Duke's brother is alive, it leads Max straight to the winsome Lisette Bonnaud, illegitimate daughter of a viscount and Tristan's sister. Soon he and Lisette ar Maximilian Cale, the Duke of Lyons, long ago buried his grief for his missing elder brother, Peter, who was presumed dead after being kidnapped. When a mysterious note arrives from Tristan Bonnaud asserting that the Duke's brother is alive, it leads Max straight to the winsome Lisette Bonnaud, illegitimate daughter of a viscount and Tristan's sister. Soon he and Lisette are traveling to Paris posing as husband and wife, in search of Tristan, who has disappeared. And the longer he spends with Lisette, the easier it is for Max to see that the line between dukedom and desire is easier to cross than he imagined...

30 review for What the Duke Desires

  1. 5 out of 5

    Naomi

    Great book with a terrific plot which included historical facts, romance, and an intriguing mystery. The plot twist when the mystery was solved at the end was thrilling to read. This book gets 4.5 stars for me

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mary - Buried Under Romance

    Posted on: Buried Under Romance This is the first in Jeffries's new series, The Duke's Men, and features our eponymous duke, Maximilian Cale, the Duke of Lyons. Max became the heir to the dukedom after a report claiming the death of his kidnapped older brother, Peter. He has long mourned his brother's death, until he gets a mysterious note from Tristan Bonnaud, whom he met only briefly, claiming that his brother is alive. However, when Tristan failed to show up at their arranged meeting, Max deci Posted on: Buried Under Romance This is the first in Jeffries's new series, The Duke's Men, and features our eponymous duke, Maximilian Cale, the Duke of Lyons. Max became the heir to the dukedom after a report claiming the death of his kidnapped older brother, Peter. He has long mourned his brother's death, until he gets a mysterious note from Tristan Bonnaud, whom he met only briefly, claiming that his brother is alive. However, when Tristan failed to show up at their arranged meeting, Max decided to storm Tristan's half-brother, Dominick Manton's, residence in search for answers. Lisette Bonnaud was insulted when the angry duke who forced entry in her half-brother's residence thought she was Dom's mistress. Lisette had been helping Dom's private investigations for a while, and knowing that Tristan would willingly never return to England, manipulated the duke into taking her to find Tristan in France, delaying him from calling the authorities to have her family arrested. Thus began a journey from England to France of two lonely strangers who assumed the guise of married gentry, both carrying family secrets, soon to gave in to the blazing desire between them and bare all secrets of the heart. The majority of the book is focused on characterizations of Max and Lisette. Both are wonderfully complex characters who have endured much at the hands of their own loving yet erring families. Max bears one of the greatest burdens of any hero I've read, that of fearing he will succumb to madness that overtook the males of his family. He was not the favored child of his family, and naturally he felt even more distance from his parents after his brother's abduction and death. What's more, having seen his mother crumpling down in the last years of his father's illness left him unwilling to marry for love, in order to spare another the same grief of attending him as he eventually succumbs to madness. Max's painful struggle to push Lisette away from him, despite wanting her comfort, tugs at my heart throughout most of the story, until he becomes a foolishly stubborn duke and hurts Lisette. Lisette is by far my favorite Jeffries heroine. She is the illegitimate daughter of a viscount who promised loved her mother but could not give her marriage before his death. Her father's heir, George, detests Lisette and Tristan, and turned them to poverty before accusing Tristan of a crime. From a young age, she became strong and took care of herself, vowing never to marry or become anyone's mistress. What truly captured my heart is how she so easily saw the hurt in Max, and very unconditionally gave her love to him. Her later refusal to marry him unless he allowed her to care for him when he becomes mad is another sign of her incredibly caring nature, something that I feel makes Max almost unworthy of her. The plot of the story is fast-paced and engaging, fraught with intrigue and dangers, but still with a focus on characterization. I was ready to give this book 5 stars until the last bit of the story, in which a HUGE amount of family secrets came tumbling out, making the story very rushed and almost unbelievable. It was then that Max did something stupidly selfish and hurt Lisette, and I was only able to forgive him slightly at the end. Suffice it to say, despite the twists and turns at the end, this is a great read with engaging characters. This book has a darker tone than most of Jeffries's other books, but lacks not in its rich scenery descriptions, intense emotional and sexual attraction, and endearing characters. Having had a glimpse of one future pairing, I highly anticipate the next addition to The Duke's Men and hope that fans of Sabrina Jeffries will pick up this series right away. *I received an ARC from the publisher via edelweiss

  3. 4 out of 5

    Feminista

    Rating: 3 out of 5. The daughter of an English lord who promised her mother, his French mistress, marriage, Lisette has grown up wary of men. Correctly so, as her social standing in life affords no marriage propositions, but promises of a different kind. The Duke of Lyons is borne of a family of mad men. Fear of putting a wife through the nightmare his mother had to go through, Maximilian does not want to marry, but his duty to bring about an heir means that sooner or later, he has to marry. The s Rating: 3 out of 5. The daughter of an English lord who promised her mother, his French mistress, marriage, Lisette has grown up wary of men. Correctly so, as her social standing in life affords no marriage propositions, but promises of a different kind. The Duke of Lyons is borne of a family of mad men. Fear of putting a wife through the nightmare his mother had to go through, Maximilian does not want to marry, but his duty to bring about an heir means that sooner or later, he has to marry. The search for Max’s presumed dead older brother brings to two together, to uncover the truth. But their journey also brings emotions of another kind that threatens to tie them together for life. This novel was of an average read. The plot and writing was good. However, there were some inconsistencies that detracted from my enjoyment. (view spoiler)[ For example, when Lisette and Max finally sleep together, and Max offers marriage, Lisette gets offended when Max correctly says that without his offer of marriage she might be bringing in illegitimate (a word I am not fond of, but that was commonplace in those days) child in the world. Lisette angrily says that if she finds herself in that position, of course she would marry him. But how was she to know that Max would offer her marriage, when even before their sleeping together, Max was refusing to marry her. So what would she have done, if she was left with a child with no marriage prospects. I guess people could say that she knew in her heart that Max with do the right thing, but such certainties, especially with her history of a father who kept giving her mother hope of marriage but never followed through, would make such a notion unfathomable. So I didn’t understand her need to get all righteous when she has no real means of making things right. I mean she can barely force a duke to marry her, if he doesn’t want to. I also disliked how Max, subconsciously kept on testing her. For example in the scene above, Max thinks that he half expected her to accept the offer of marriage, something which other women in her place would do. I also hated what a hypocrite Max was. There is a part at the end where he calls her mother a whore. Yes he was angry, but that doesn’t excuse him. He can’t even properly apologise for it until way later. But meanwhile, when some other man calls her mother a whore, he gets all righteous and uses his power as a duke over him. Was I supposed to be impressed by this contradiction? Because I most certainly was not. And finally, Lisette melted even before Max apologised. He calls her dearling and she melts faster than ice-cream on a hot day. I am not a big fan of malleable women, no matter how authors painted them otherwise. If they are strong in one aspect of their life, it should reasonably translate to their personality and character as well. (hide spoiler)] ARC Courtesy of Edelweiss and Pocket Books

  4. 5 out of 5

    ♡Karlyn P♡

    Price drop & audiobook deal! 1/28/2014 The ebook is now just $4, and you can get the audio book for an additional $3.49 ----- What a fun, romantic, sexy, adventurous historical romp by one of the best authors writing in this genre. What the Duke Desires was a great start to a new series, I look forward to more! Maximilian Cale, the Duke of Lyons, is searching for his long lost brother. He is such a likable character, and not the typical snooty, snobby or ego driven Duke. I loved his humor, loved Price drop & audiobook deal! 1/28/2014 The ebook is now just $4, and you can get the audio book for an additional $3.49 ----- What a fun, romantic, sexy, adventurous historical romp by one of the best authors writing in this genre. What the Duke Desires was a great start to a new series, I look forward to more! Maximilian Cale, the Duke of Lyons, is searching for his long lost brother. He is such a likable character, and not the typical snooty, snobby or ego driven Duke. I loved his humor, loved how quickly he opened up to Lisette, and loved how he didn't ever hold Lisette's 'bastard' status against her. So when Max and Lisette set out on a road trip disguised as married commoners, their passionate story made for a fun romp to read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jess the Romanceaholic

    This is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic. Expected Release Date: June 18, 2013 Publisher: Simon & Schuster Imprint: Pocket Books Author’s Website: http://www.sabrinajeffries.com/ My Source for This Book: Edelweiss Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, The Duke’s Men Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Steamy Pet Peeves: None Favorite Tropes: Pretend Marriage, Fearful of Falling Mad (Family History Of Madness), Enemies To Lovers Lighthearted without being silly, and This is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic. Expected Release Date: June 18, 2013 Publisher: Simon & Schuster Imprint: Pocket Books Author’s Website: http://www.sabrinajeffries.com/ My Source for This Book: Edelweiss Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, The Duke’s Men Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Steamy Pet Peeves: None Favorite Tropes: Pretend Marriage, Fearful of Falling Mad (Family History Of Madness), Enemies To Lovers Lighthearted without being silly, and with a delightfully besotted hero who is determined never to marry, this one is a true gem. Though I admit it bugged me a bit that I knew the cause of Max’s family’s “madness”, even though the medical technology of that era wouldn’t necessarily have allowed him to have been aware of it, I loved the tension caused by his determination to never marry and sire an heir. Max and Lisette were a perfect foil for each other, even when neither could decide whether they even liked the other. The chemistry was delicious, and the mystery surrounding Max’s family kept the story moving without ever overwhelming the romance. And I do love a hero who is worried that he’ll one day fall mad like the rest of his family. 4.5/5

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    3.75 WILD STARS!! I love everything Sabrina Jeffries writes! Her characters are always interesting, and her stories are always intriguing! This book did not disappoint! My Max: He was thunder and lightning and rain, and she was the earth and flowers that drank up the storm. Max is a duke, and I LOVE DUKES!!!! I wish I had a sexy duke of my own!! I love that Max isn’t this impenetrable duke, but he has real fears. Lisette is the only one who can stubborn her way through those fears. These two are a 3.75 WILD STARS!! I love everything Sabrina Jeffries writes! Her characters are always interesting, and her stories are always intriguing! This book did not disappoint! My Max: He was thunder and lightning and rain, and she was the earth and flowers that drank up the storm. Max is a duke, and I LOVE DUKES!!!! I wish I had a sexy duke of my own!! I love that Max isn’t this impenetrable duke, but he has real fears. Lisette is the only one who can stubborn her way through those fears. These two are a match in every way!! My Lisette: She was a French rose growing wild amid the hothouse flowers of London. Lisette is a strong, sensible woman. She grew up with 2 brothers, so she knows how and when to defend herself. She has a smart tongue and wit, and she isn’t afraid to speak her mind. I absolutely love the witty dialogue between Max and Lisette! You got off on the wrong foot. I merely watched you shove it into your mouth. This story is not set amongst the ton, but instead, it is an adventure! Max is seeking Lisette’s brother, who is in hiding, because he believes her brother knows a secret about his family. In order to protect her brother, Lisette must travel with Max to locate Lisette’s brother. Most of the story is the two travelling from London to Paris and coming up against obstacles along the way. In order to maintain Lisette’s reputation, they must travel incognito and pretend to be married, which, as you can guess, makes things very interesting! (wink) mon coeur (my heart) This is how it should always be. You in my bed...in my arms. Always. The second half of the book was faster than the first half. I LOVED the ending! Even though this wasn’t my favorite, I will always read a book by Sabrina Jeffries!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lady Wesley

    This was my first Sabrina Jeffries book as well as my first time to hear narrator Corrie James, and the experience was most enjoyable. The heroine is feisty but not irrational, and the hero is appropriately "dukely." Part of the story is a road trip to France, traveling as a middle-class married couple, and it's fun. The mystery was well done and kept me guessing. The entire plot takes place over just a few days, however, and the duke's devotion to his lady happened way too quickly. Corrie James This was my first Sabrina Jeffries book as well as my first time to hear narrator Corrie James, and the experience was most enjoyable. The heroine is feisty but not irrational, and the hero is appropriately "dukely." Part of the story is a road trip to France, traveling as a middle-class married couple, and it's fun. The mystery was well done and kept me guessing. The entire plot takes place over just a few days, however, and the duke's devotion to his lady happened way too quickly. Corrie James did an excellent job handling male and female voices as well as British and French accents. For Lisette, born and raised in England to a French mother, she did just the right mix of accents. I will definitely be on the lookout for more books narrated by her, especially the next book in this series.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nadia

    This book infuriated me, I had absolutely no patience with it. I have no idea what kept me reading. Maybe I just wanted to see how it'll all end with Max's brother. That's what I get for trusting Pinterest with my books.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    What the Duke Desires is a Pocket Books publication. This is a June 2013 release. Many thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss for the ARC copy of this book. Maximilian Cale, The Duke of Lyons, received a note from Tristan Bonnaud explaining that he may have evidence that the Duke's older brother, Peter, is still alive. When the Duke arrives to meet Tristan, Tristan never shows up. Infuriated, The Duke sets out to find Tristan. This leads him to Tristan's sister, Lisette. When the Duke makes demands What the Duke Desires is a Pocket Books publication. This is a June 2013 release. Many thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss for the ARC copy of this book. Maximilian Cale, The Duke of Lyons, received a note from Tristan Bonnaud explaining that he may have evidence that the Duke's older brother, Peter, is still alive. When the Duke arrives to meet Tristan, Tristan never shows up. Infuriated, The Duke sets out to find Tristan. This leads him to Tristan's sister, Lisette. When the Duke makes demands on Lisette, insisting she reveal to him where her brother might be, she stands her ground. She agrees to help the Duke on the condition she be able to travel with him to France. So, they pretend to be husband and wife and set off for Paris. On the way to France, the Duke and Lisette have many disagreements, but also find they can't keep from kissing each other every chance they get. As they arrive in France and locate Tristan, they find he is working as an investigator and he does indeed have information about Peter. Intrigue sets in when they seek to discover if the man Tristan located is really Max's long lost brother. To make it even more interesting, Lisette and Tristan's evil half brother is hot on their trail, trying to have Tristan arrested for thievery. The differences in classes would normally prevent Lisette and Max from being married. Lisette is the daughter of a Viscount, but her mother was a French actress and they never married. For Max though, he doesn't want to marry anyone he is really in love with due to a family trait he fears he may be afflicted with. The agency that Tristan works for and his boss, Eugene Vidocq, was a real detective agency and a real detective, and he was well ahead of his time when he actually did hire female agents. I really enjoyed this novel. I always like to read historical romances that go off the beaten path of Regency Period rules and society strictures, seasons and so on. This one featured two adults that were willing to put the other first over their own wants and desires. Sure, they have misunderstandings and hurt each other before they are able to resolve the issues that might be keeping them from having the HEA they deserve, but they each have the sense to see past it and forgive each other. This one was a real pleasure to read. I was in a really good mood by the time I turned the last page. Overall a solid A.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Maida»-(¯`v´¯)-»

    RATING: 3.5 "Mon Coeur & Dearling" HEARTS!! Every now and then I have a craving to read Historical Romance, and like with all cravings, it must be satisfied, which is exactly what Sabrina Jeffries’ What the Duke Desires did – bringing contentment with its cute, fun, and overall relaxing quality. The most appreciative aspect of this book lies in its absence of predictability as so often seen in many HR reads. Yes, the sweet romance is the same, the angst-filled relationship is ever present, and RATING: 3.5 "Mon Coeur & Dearling" HEARTS!! Every now and then I have a craving to read Historical Romance, and like with all cravings, it must be satisfied, which is exactly what Sabrina Jeffries’ What the Duke Desires did – bringing contentment with its cute, fun, and overall relaxing quality. The most appreciative aspect of this book lies in its absence of predictability as so often seen in many HR reads. Yes, the sweet romance is the same, the angst-filled relationship is ever present, and even the proverbial HEA is there, yet, the fast-paced plot offers the feelings of something refreshing with its mild mystery, eccentric husband-wife disguises, unexpected surprises, and the omission of the usual relationship drama. A nice and welcome change. Both Lisette Bonnaud and Maximilian Cale are likeable characters. Lisette is a strong, proud woman showcasing many admirable qualities, one of which, not allowing Max to rule her with his high class “Duke” standards. She doesn’t let the label of illegitimacy (or her heartbreaking past) bring her down, instead standing up for herself in every situation, letting her voice be heard. Max comes off as overbearing at first, but we quickly warm up to his character – his snarky commentary, his sweet moments and his protective actions with Lisette all lovely traits. And when these two come together, their romance is nothing short of amusing with all the banter, cute with the traditional romance words exchanged, and passionate with smexy lovin’. In addition, this story is made sound with an entertaining cast of secondary characters – Lisette’s brothers – and a sweet ending. So why not 5 stars? Despite all the good, this story just doesn’t read as a 5 star read. Plus, although likeable, Max’s past story makes him a weak character. His past is seemingly pointless, further dimmed in the face of Lisette’s past, eliciting no tender or relatable feelings, essentially making him two dimensional. And his sudden marriage proposal to Lisette, despite his earlier denials, is frustratingly trivial, not earning him any favourable points. Overall, a winsome read, but definitely not foolproof. Recommended to fans of HR looking to not overly think about what they are reading for a couple of hours. Posted: February 18, 2015

  11. 4 out of 5

    Carisa

    The story mostly developed while the H/h traveled as disguised married commoners. It was fast paced with funny moments, action and love scenes nicely intermingled, really entertaining until the end, but I wasn’t awed by the love story itself. HERO is a Leader, a second son who became the heir when his older brother was kidnapped as a child. Victim of his mad father and afraid that madness runs in his family, he resents his duty to marry to have a heir. So when he gets a tip that his older brothe The story mostly developed while the H/h traveled as disguised married commoners. It was fast paced with funny moments, action and love scenes nicely intermingled, really entertaining until the end, but I wasn’t awed by the love story itself. HERO is a Leader, a second son who became the heir when his older brother was kidnapped as a child. Victim of his mad father and afraid that madness runs in his family, he resents his duty to marry to have a heir. So when he gets a tip that his older brother may be alive, hopeful to hands over his title to him, he goes to hire an investigator but ends up being helped by the investigator’s sister, a woman who slowly thaws his heart. SCENES/CONTENT: few/hot GENRE/TONE: historical/mixed LENGTH: 380 pages

  12. 4 out of 5

    [̲̅ρ̲̅υ̲̅и̲̅y̲̅α̲̅]

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts as I went with the book... Trust SJ to give us a new series that began with a charming read, What the Duke Desires. It was fun-filled and action packed, along with some mystery that needed to be resolved. The H, Max, was sweet even if sometimes he was being a little obnoxious about things. Yet, I was glad to put him in my lists of sexy betas. The h, Lisette was a force to reckon with. She was strong and brave, qualities I admire in the h My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts as I went with the book... Trust SJ to give us a new series that began with a charming read, What the Duke Desires. It was fun-filled and action packed, along with some mystery that needed to be resolved. The H, Max, was sweet even if sometimes he was being a little obnoxious about things. Yet, I was glad to put him in my lists of sexy betas. The h, Lisette was a force to reckon with. She was strong and brave, qualities I admire in the h of a novel. The Duke’s Men series is somewhat of a spinoff the Hellions of Hallstead Hall. Duke of Lyons, or Maximilian was a minor secondary character, being Lord Gabriel’s close friend. We were hinted at a family curse that made Max’s life difficult to bear, something that he always had to fight while mixing with his peers. They’re always waiting and watching for him to do something… irrational. Max seemed the reserved sort, the perfect Duke with his solid character and commanding presence. He also seemed distant and a little cold. Lisette was not introduced in that series but if you take a look at the nice family diagram at the beginning of the book, it’ll explain to you much. You might remember this; with the reference from Jackson Pinter, now retired detective extraordinaire, Dominic Manton helped Pierce sort out some things at the end of book 6 of the Hellions series. Dominic’s elder brother, George (who is now a viscount) was Pierce’s schoolmate. He has always been the mean sort and Pierce stayed away from him. But Dominic is nothing like George. He was thorough and quick to solve Pierce’s request, proving himself an able detective. In this book, we come to learn that Dominic’s father, Viscount Rathmoor had a longtime faithful mistress; a French actress whom, it’s rumored, that he loved. She was pretty much established as his mistress when Dominic or Dom’s mother died giving birth to him. Lisette is Rathmoor’s illegitimate daughter, born to that actress. She has an elder brother who is a few years younger than Dom, named Tristan. I was not fond of the backstory since cheating always makes my skin itch. But Lisette’s mother, who went as ‘Mrs. Bonnaud’ was the trusting sort. She believed that Rathmoor will eventually marry her when they have the opportunity. And apparently, she loved the man enough to leave her own family and country to journey to England. But that marriage never took place as we find in the beginning scene. Rathmoor kept this off with various excuses... and then, he was killed. It was heartbreaking. Lisette was around 14 at that time. Just after Rathmoor’s death, Tristan, the wildest of the siblings, takes a horse his father gave him and sells it for some money. Dom is the one breaks the news to the family as he was closer to his father’s other family. He accepted them while George hated them. After that shattering news, when they learn of what Tristan did, there was no doubt that he’d be in big trouble because there was no proof that the horse belonged to Tristan. George destroyed whatever evidence their father left in acknowledgement of his other family. Tristan was there but couldn’t stop George from doing it. In a nutshell, to save Tristan from hanging, they hastily pack him off to France as there was no other option. George comes by to threaten them. To their distress, Lisette and her mother learn that they don’t even have that small cottage they had lived in for so long. With Dom’s interference, and to save her family, Mrs. Bonnaud promises to leave England. Otherwise George would hound and humiliate them to his heart’s content. For his trouble, George denies Dom his rightful share from his father’s legacy. There was still the matter of Tristan, and George makes it known that he’ll find him and see that he’s hanged for his so-called ‘offense’. Many years have passed since then. Lisette’s mother passed away in France. You can imagine how well she was welcomed to the bosom of her family as she left them to become mistress to some English lord, to their utter shame. Mrs. Bonnaud went back to the stage and did her best to support her family. They kept in touch with Dom, who finished his studies and eventually established his own investigation agency. Dom loves them very much, as they’re now his only family. He grew up playing with Tristan, so Mrs. Bonnaud always treated him as one of her own. Seems like, somehow, Tristan started working for the Sûreté Nationale, a matter only Dom, Lisette and Tristan’s mentor, Eugène Vidocq know about. (FYI: reading Vidocq’s life-story made me realize just how SJ connected him and Tristan so well, as Vidocq was also known to be a criminal before he became such a famous criminologist. Who else can read the workings of another criminal mind better, right?) Recently, Lisette has returned to London to help Dom organizing his office. She has grown up to be a smart girl, even if a little on the impulsive side. Vidocq, it seemed, has trained her well for some tasks, as she helped him with his own office, sorting out the cards containing the criminal records etc. She’s doing the same for Dom. But what Lisette actually wants is to become a female agent and work for Vidocq, who welcomed the idea. But Tristan was vehemently opposed to it, forcing Lisette to back out of her plan. Lisette is unhappy about men interfering in her life this way. She didn’t trust any men of her life, or at least didn’t want to trust them. She hated that her father never married her mother, even though he kept her waiting for years. She hated how Dom or Tristan tries to ‘take care’ of her even now. She is perfectly capable of taking care of herself, so why would they not trust her with something more... adventurous? Fate gives her the opportunity to ‘explore’ her adventurous side soon enough, in the form of the Duke of Lyons. One day, after Dom is gone to Scotland, making her promise that she won’t get herself into trouble, Lisette goes and does that; get herself into trouble. Well, she didn’t have a lot of other options and she did want to test her limits. The Duke comes in search of Dom, wanting information on Tristan. He tells her something so out of place, like Tristan is in London, and wanted to meet him to give Max some information about his long-lost, thought to be dead, elder brother Peter! Max waited for him but he never showed up. Now he thinks Tristan is a fraud trying to filch his money. For one, Lisette doesn’t believe that Tristan would be such an idiot to return to England. But then, as she views the note, she recognizes her brother’s handwriting that sends a chill down her spine. How could he be so careless? Apparently, now that the ‘Lofty Lyons’ (as Max is known through the peerage) is on to Tristan’s arse to see him punished (and ruin his life), even if it means by traveling to France, it’s up to Lisette to save the day. Or at least, save Tristan’s very troublesome arse! Their first meeting was funny. Max thought Lisette was Dom’s mistress, seeing her coming out of bed in her nightdress. Lisette did her best to talk back, never mind she was talking to a Duke. Her straightforward and bold stance, not to mention her protectiveness towards her family intrigues Max from the beginning since he’s the unfortunate sort who hasn’t known close family ties in that sense. Max’s family secret was mostly assumption and a result of wrong information. He was scared of going mad like his father and his great uncle. He stood by and witnessed his mother suffer through his father’s condition and it made an awful impression on him. This is the reason Max decided a long time ago that he’d never marry a woman he might fall in love with. Moreover, his brother’s kidnapping by his great uncle and his subsequent death in abroad cast a dark shadow over Max’s family that his parents never recovered from. Max had to bear the brunt because it sounded as though they preferred ‘the heir’ more than ‘the spare’. His parents’ obvious preference and repeated mention of it hurt Max (and it’s so understandable, really), yet he never stopped loving any of them. Max worshipped his mother and loved his father before both of them passed on. So he saw a lot in Lisette that start attracting him like a moth to a flame. It was not only her inner strength, but also her French-English grace and beauty. The journey to France was something Max would’ve gladly done alone, but on Lisette’s insistent, he had to take her along. Then he had to come up with an instant plan to appear as husband and wife. Another funny scene, since Lisette had lost her tongue when faced with that force of nature, aka the gossipy woman at the station. Later Max doesn’t forget to needle Lisette about it, making her realize (to her utter annoyance) that she’d never make a good agent. Lol On that journey their intimacy grew. Already mentioned that I really enjoyed Lisette and Max’s banters, how Max always appeared so cool and ‘dukely’ while Lisette would fumble along with her various attempts of acting in her role. She’d be greatly annoyed by him, but more often than not, it stemmed from her unwavering attraction to the tall and handsome Duke. She knew nothing good could come of it, and she will NOT repeat her mother’s mistake. This is something I admired in Lisette. But I grew a little impatient because I wanted the book to pick up its pace. More of their banters, fact exchange, coming clean of information that Lisette kept from Max, yes, but other than that, the story slowed down quite a bit. Lisette didn’t trust Max for a long, long time and she was very reluctant to come forward with information. This frustrated Max because in his life, he has been lied to by people many-a-times, starting from his parents. And he absolutely abhorred it! This caused trouble in their budding relationship quite a few times. Lisette didn’t trust that Max won’t ruin Tristan, and Max would be kind of cold in his assessment of what should be done etc., leaving her confused about his intentions. On that largely uneventful journey, Lisette finds out Hucker, one of George’s right-hand man, following them. This is when Lisette knew that she needed Max’s cool head, logical thinking and ‘dukely’ behavior to evade Hucker. But Max won’t help without the truth. Even though her natural impulsiveness tries to take over, Lisette admits that Max needed to know all about Tristan. After a successful escape, when they reach France, Max finally meets the brilliant yet elusive Eugène Vidocq. He was jealous of the man because Vidocq seemed so close to Lisette, suspecting he might’ve been her lover or something. But it was very much apparent that Vidocq’s affection for Lisette was that of a father. It does calm Max’s mind a little, though he still can’t help feeling a little bereft. By now, Max has realized that Lisette was the kind of woman he can fall in love with... and in his dictionary that means she’s a big NO NO. Someone he can never be with. Oh goodness, Max would be so obnoxious about this thing that at times I wanted to smash something on his thick head! He was quite adorable, which is why I probably didn’t, much like Lisette because she knew she was already falling. Obviously Max needed Lisette to set him straight, something Lisette proved to be good about. Hehe As they were searching in Tristan’s quarters for any clue, Lisette finally asks Max to show her what he feels for her. I liked that scene so much; her teasing, his groaning because he wanted to resist, yet for the love of him, he couldn’t. Afterwards though, Max had to go and ruin it by saying he can’t marry her... because... because it’s not even her illegitimacy but that he can’t bear it when she’d watch him go mad inevitably, suffering alongside him. So he’d marry someone cold and calculating, who’d leave him in his insane state! Or, they can get married, ONLY IF Lisette leaves Max be (preferably with servants) when his supposed madness takes him over! *sigh* This angers Lisette much and she vows that she’d make him see reason; that she’d never leave him no matter what, only if he’d let her in. Later that day, Vidocq confirms that Tristan is not in France. He also divulges some information on Max’s great-uncle and Peter. It seemed like both went to a small Belgian town called Gheel, which harbors mad people for treatment. It only confirmed that Max’s great-uncle was indeed going mad. But what actually happened? What about that fire they died in? Was it an accident or a case of arson? Vidocq remembers the case as he was one of the people Max’s father contacted with. That is how he also recognized Max even before Lisette had a chance to introduce him. And Vidocq, once a ladies’ man, totally understood that Max wanted Lisette, a feeling she returned. He’s duly concerned about this situation, for it seemed likely that Lisette would end up hurt. So he and Max have some word exchange on the whole mess they were in at that moment. Their so-called plan of Lisette acting as a widow when she returns to England doesn’t really sound concrete, not to mention what Dom’s reaction would be once he’s aware of the whole situation! I was glad that Lisette could see and acknowledged (even if to herself) that she has mucked up badly. Right now, they don’t even know where Tristan is, or if this news of Max’s brother being alive true or false. At some point though, they come to the decision that Tristan’s ship might’ve passed a diseased town before reaching England. And that means the ship would be on quarantine. Quarantined ships sat on the dock for a period of time, hoisting a yellow flag, to determine if there was any infected man abroad and needed to be taken care of. Until the quarantine officers were satisfied and gave permission to move, no one could go out of that ship; be it weeks or months of waiting. When this is confirmed, Max and Lisette decide to return to England pronto and look for the ship which Tristan has boarded. Max could definitely use his influences in higher places to do something about it. In between, there was the push and pull in their relationship and the proposed marriage. Lisette doesn’t care for Max’s conditions of their marriage and Max won’t relent. This was kinda frustrating I tell you. Anyway, when they return to England, Max finds out that the ship indeed is under quarantine. That means Tristan had to find a way to get the news to Max. What did he do to pull it off? Is Max’s brother really on that ship? Could this mean that he is no longer the Duke of Lyons? Thoughts like this swirl around Max’s head. He wants Lisette to stay in safety but she won’t listen. Throughout their journey together, Lisette has had this insatiable urge to help Max find his way back, and she’d see it through. She also needed to see Tristan, to make sure that her lover and her brother don’t kill each-other off... or something. Inside the ship, it was another matter entirely. It was like they stepped into a different world; a dark, dank and dirty world to be precise. Max then finds Tristan when he’s led to the place where they’re holding the sick man, who turns out to be Victor Cale. Oh God, would Max lose his brother when he’s come so close to have him back in his life? But why is he using a different name? Max is anxious... even scared, learning that Victor is not doing very well. The young Dr. Worth is trying his best to keep him alive. As Max steps inside the room... that was a moment that should’ve changed his life entirely. Yet it doesn’t. Not in that sense. Max doesn’t know what to think of this thin, gaunt man, who exceptionally resembles his own father. Since Max was very young when Peter was taken, he had no memories of him but in his mind, Max decides that this must be his long lost brother. This part of the story was pretty intense. I loved how Lisette would take Max’s hand and try to show her support to him. I also had my own suspicions about Victor’s real identity, which hit the mark at the end. But the suspense in which SJ kept me was pretty good, and neat. While discussing this madness shared by Max’s father and great-uncle, which was not shared by any the other male members of Max’s family, some plausible dirty family secret comes to light. Secrets that were made out of lies... and those Max still hated the most. When he felt cornered by those revelations and unable to face them, Max botch things up a little. Poor guy, I felt so sad for him. :( I wasn’t angry with him, mind you but he did hurt Lisette with his words. Then I totally appreciated Lisette’s steady support of Max, even though she probably should’ve kicked on his nuts hard. Lol Either way, I was simply glad that finally Max had people to call ‘family’ again; a blood relation no less, alongside Lisette, to lighten up his days. Overall, it was a sweet read, the usual SJ delivery; well researched and entertaining. This was also a good start to a new series. Now that Manton’s Investigation is known as The Duke’s Men (thanks to the media attention because of Max’s brilliant handling of the George problem), we’ll be getting the stories of more secondary characters. Already the pairing of Dom and George’s wife’s cousin, Jane was hinted at the end. I’m also looking forward to Victor, Tristan... even Dr. Worth’s book (if SJ ever decides something for him). For What the Duke Desires, 4.25 stars. I was auto-approved for this ARC by Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster via edelweiss which didn’t influence my review and rating in any way.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Insh

    People notice only what you reveal, and the key is to reveal only what you want them to see.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sonya Heaney

    Originally posted HERE In the past couple of months I’ve read four Sabrina Jeffries books. Two from around 2002, and the two in her most recent series. Here’s the (not all that common) thing about this author: the ‘new’ Jeffries is an entirely different, better, more innovative writer. Her new series is creative, devoid of most of the tired old historical romance clichés and just so engrossing. I read the second book first, as I had a review copy, and I loved it very much. I can’t pick a favouri Originally posted HERE In the past couple of months I’ve read four Sabrina Jeffries books. Two from around 2002, and the two in her most recent series. Here’s the (not all that common) thing about this author: the ‘new’ Jeffries is an entirely different, better, more innovative writer. Her new series is creative, devoid of most of the tired old historical romance clichés and just so engrossing. I read the second book first, as I had a review copy, and I loved it very much. I can’t pick a favourite of the two, as What the Duke Desires is equally as original with an equally complex plot. If only I could track down more historical romances like these, that is, if they even exist. Lisette is in a difficult position. Born to a noble father, she could have had so many more expectations from life if only the man had fulfilled his promise to marry her mother before his death. As he did not, she and her family had to find their own way in the world. I have to admit to being very worried about how her eventual happy ending with a duke was ever going be plausible, but it worked for me here (one of the very few where it does, The Duke by Gaelen Foley being another). As for Max, Duke of Lyons? I liked him a lot. He was more than a cluster of clichéd ‘romance hero’ characteristics. I also loved that he was fairer-haired, as I’m a little tired of the carbon copy heroes in historical romance. What I loved best of all was The Plot. There was a lot of it, and it was complex and clever and reached beyond the standards for the genre (taking us, for a time, to mainland Europe, as the next book did briefly, too). Sex didn’t replace storytelling. Complaints? Well, if you stop to think about it, the relationship happens very quickly, but it didn’t come across as unbelievable to me, even taking that into consideration. There’re gottens all over the place, sometimes numerous times in the same paragraph – a big distraction – but I was very happy to see arse spelt correctly (and used often!). This is a truly wonderful historical romance series.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Farrah

    Loved it! What the Duke Desires was a top notch historical romance. Definitely a delightful read. I loved how this book was different than most historical romances. Historical romance tend to have the same few plots over and over, though I don't mind that predictability. However, this book had a different idea to it that I haven't seen before. But, of course, we still have the sweet romance and happy ending. I loved Lisette. She was a brilliant heroine. She was very likable and came off as a grea Loved it! What the Duke Desires was a top notch historical romance. Definitely a delightful read. I loved how this book was different than most historical romances. Historical romance tend to have the same few plots over and over, though I don't mind that predictability. However, this book had a different idea to it that I haven't seen before. But, of course, we still have the sweet romance and happy ending. I loved Lisette. She was a brilliant heroine. She was very likable and came off as a great character right away. She was strong and didn't let anyone walk all over her. Not even Max, when he was acting too "dukely." I liked that she was understanding and knew to reserve judgement. It was a nice change from heroines who jump to conclusions. Honestly, there is absolutely nothing but good I can say about her. Max was just as wonderful. He had me falling for him immediately. He was so sweet. He would do anything for his loved one, evidence by the way he reacted to news about his brother and by his protectiveness over Lisette. Despite being a duke, he was very down to earth. Basically, he was absolutely perfect. Lisette and Max's romance was adorable. These two were so cute together! And they definitely had some serious heat that could turn scorching. They were a lovely couple. I loved Lisette's brothers. They were great characters, even though they didn't appear much in this book. Here's hoping that they get their stories in the upcoming books in the series! The plot was was fast paced and I was hooked from beginning to end. There were thrills along the way as Max and Lisette attempted to track Tristan down. And a few surprises that I never saw coming. The ending, of course, was a delightful, sweet conclusion. I loved this book; it was absolutely brilliant. Romance lovers, you really have to read What the Duke Desires! *Thanks to Edelweiss and Pocket Books for a copy!

  16. 5 out of 5

    D.G.

    **3.5 stars** For a while, I've been trying to pinpoint what exactly I liked about this book and I'm having issues figuring it out. Maybe it was because both of the main characters were sensible and not so over the top - yes, he was a Duke but he was still human and she wanted to be independent but wasn't "feisty". There was a middle ground in these characters which you seldom see these days. The whole plot with the lost brother didn't make much sense (unless they were identical twins, how the hec **3.5 stars** For a while, I've been trying to pinpoint what exactly I liked about this book and I'm having issues figuring it out. Maybe it was because both of the main characters were sensible and not so over the top - yes, he was a Duke but he was still human and she wanted to be independent but wasn't "feisty". There was a middle ground in these characters which you seldom see these days. The whole plot with the lost brother didn't make much sense (unless they were identical twins, how the heck can you prove the identity of a stranger in those days) but otherwise, I liked a lot of the historical aspects: the quarantine, the French guy which had been head of the Sureté, etc. Corrie James' narration was below average (why are historical romance narrators so bad these days?) She didn't have one decent male voice and she sounded too old for the heroine. Even with her flaws, I still enjoyed the book and will probably continue the series.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Very good book with some great interactions between Max and Lisette. Lisette's brother Tristan sent Max a note claiming he has information about Max's presumed dead older brother, but never showed up at a scheduled meeting. Max shows up at Lisette's home and family investigation agency threatening dire things if Lisette doesn't tell him where Tristan is. She doesn't know but will help Max find him, as long as she goes with him. They travel disguised as husband and wife and have a hard time keepi Very good book with some great interactions between Max and Lisette. Lisette's brother Tristan sent Max a note claiming he has information about Max's presumed dead older brother, but never showed up at a scheduled meeting. Max shows up at Lisette's home and family investigation agency threatening dire things if Lisette doesn't tell him where Tristan is. She doesn't know but will help Max find him, as long as she goes with him. They travel disguised as husband and wife and have a hard time keeping their hands off each other. Both have secrets that make them unwilling to engage their hearts, but they may not be able to resist. I loved Lisette. After the death of her father she, her brother and her mother were kicked out of their home by their legitimate half-brother who hated them. He also accused Tristan of horse-stealing, causing him to have to flee England for France. Her other half-brother was also cut off by the heir and he took care of Lisette and her mother. He also started his detective agency. Lisette would like to work as one of the detectives but her brothers won't allow it. Neither is there when Max comes pounding on the door, threatening Tristan if he doesn't get some answers. Lisette will do anything to protect Tristan and refuses to tell Max where he is unless she can go along to make sure Max doesn't ruin things. I loved the way that she has absolutely no trouble standing up to Max. He may be a duke but that doesn't matter to her. She doesn't put up with his arrogance, but she doesn't put him down either. I laughed when she told him "You got off on the wrong foot. I merely watched you shove it into your mouth." She also is attracted to him, but having seen what happened to her mother when her father would marry her, she has vowed that she will never put herself under the control of a man. There are a lot of sparks between them, but they know that a match between them is impossible. Once they are on the road together they start getting to know one another. Lisette sees that Max hides a lot of pain and is eventually able to get him to talk about it. I loved the way that she was willing to risk her heart even if she couldn't be with him. She tried to protect him from her brothers and from being hurt by her circumstances. Max had become the heir when his older brother was kidnapped and later died. Many people have tried to convince him that they were his brother so he is wary of anyone who claims to have such information. He is furious when Tristan makes such a claim but then disappears before Max can talk to him. When Max confronts Lisette he is definitely acting like an arrogant duke and makes several really obnoxious remarks. He is surprised when Lisette stands up to him, which makes him actually stop and listen to her. He isn't at all happy when she won't tell him where Tristan is and doesn't want to give in to her demands that she go with him on the search. He doesn't really have a choice and they take off together for France, posing as an ordinary husband and wife. This is fun to watch as Max has never been ordinary in his life and it is a real eye opener for him. He also discovers a strong attraction to Lisette that begins to grow into more. But he refuses to allow himself to let love enter a relationship. He watched his mother suffer when his father went mad and will not put anyone else through that. He is convinced that he is doomed to follow in his father's footsteps. I really liked the care that Max took to protect Lisette's reputation throughout their trip. He really wanted to have more with her but was afraid of what would happen years later. I liked the way that the two of them were able to work so well together to track down Tristan and get to the bottom of the mystery. The ending was fantastic and I loved the way that Max came to the rescue.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jaclyn

    Another great read from Sabrina Jeffries! I am a huge fan of Jeffries historical romances and couldn’t be more excited about this new series of characters. I love that Jeffries creates series set in the same “world” connecting each new series with a character that has popped up in a previous series. In this case, this series is connected to Dominic Manton and his family. Manton was introduced in the Hellions of Halstead Hall series when he assisted Pierce Waverly in investigating a family matter Another great read from Sabrina Jeffries! I am a huge fan of Jeffries historical romances and couldn’t be more excited about this new series of characters. I love that Jeffries creates series set in the same “world” connecting each new series with a character that has popped up in a previous series. In this case, this series is connected to Dominic Manton and his family. Manton was introduced in the Hellions of Halstead Hall series when he assisted Pierce Waverly in investigating a family matter in ‘Twas the Night After Christmas. What the Duke Desires introduces readers to a whole new cast of characters that have some connection to Manton, and I think will each get their own book in the series. I love it when authors connect their series like this and that a specific character gets their own story. What the Duke Desires is an on-the-road romance where Maximilian Cale, the Duke of Lyons, learns that his kidnapped and presumed dead brother might just be alive. Tristan Bonnaud contacts Max with information regarding his brother; however, when Max goes to meet Tristan he’s nowhere to be found. Thinking that Tristan has sinister motives for raising a subject that Max has long come to terms with, he brashly approaches Manton’s Investigations, hoping that Dom Manton will have some information regarding the whereabouts of his half-brother, Tristan. However, Dom has departed for Scotland and it is Tristan’s sister, Lisette, who Max confronts for information. Max soon learns that Lisette is no demure lady and is willing to go to extreme lengths to protect her brother. In order to get to the bottom of Tristan’s whereabouts and the information he holds, Lisette demands that she accompany Max to France to find and confront her brother. Max and Lisette had a great relationship and as always, Jeffries creates witty dialogue between the pair that translates into a romantic and steamy relationship. What I liked about this one is that while Max and Lisette had some baggage to deal with (his family’s madness and her illegitimacy) they didn’t let it get in the way for long. I find a lot of romances drag out the problem FOREVER and I liked that Jeffries didn’t do that here – or at least wrote it in a way that I didn’t feel like it was being dragged out. I also really liked how Max wasn’t a rakish character. I find a lot of Jeffries’ books feature a rakish hero, and while I like that reformation concept, I liked the departure from that common theme. Max was an arrogant hero, but he was also standoffish in relationships because he was afraid that the madness his father and uncle suffered was a genetic trait. There also weren’t many references to Max “out on the town” like most rakes and again I found this refreshing. This less than rakish attitude was more than evident at the one point when Max tries to drink himself into a stupor because of his attraction to Lisette – it has comical results and is my favourite scene in the novel. Max really was an endearing character when he wasn’t playing the duke and Lisette was his perfect counterpart. Overall, I loved this new one from Jeffries and I can’t wait to see more from The Duke’s Men series!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Brandee (un)Conventional Bookworms

    *4.5 Stars* I adored Lofty Lyons and Lisette. This couple was a lot of fun to read and I look forward to continuing this series! Full review: I was immediately sucked in to What the Duke Desires, knowing my emotions were going to be toyed with after finishing just the prologue. Oh my! To think of living during this era when your life could change at the whim of one person...gah! Jeffries deftly wove together a fascinating story with a fiery heroine and a slightly tortured hero. Getting each of their *4.5 Stars* I adored Lofty Lyons and Lisette. This couple was a lot of fun to read and I look forward to continuing this series! Full review: I was immediately sucked in to What the Duke Desires, knowing my emotions were going to be toyed with after finishing just the prologue. Oh my! To think of living during this era when your life could change at the whim of one person...gah! Jeffries deftly wove together a fascinating story with a fiery heroine and a slightly tortured hero. Getting each of their perspectives, even at their first meeting, was a delight and provided so much insight into who they truly were - their feelings. Their chemistry was immediately obvious and it made for hearty entertainment in their banter and actions as neither was interested in falling for the other. Their interplay reminded me of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth. The backstory for them both also provided for more depth in their characters. And I adore them both! The mystery, while not the focus of the story, is also well-done. It simultaneously created suspense in this story and laid brilliant groundwork for the subsequent stories in this series. Jeffries kept the flow perfect with the blend of humor, action, intrigue, and romance. Ah, the romance. Jeffries' details of the period felt spot on. Oh the power the aristocracy could wield - at least in England. I admit to being delighted to find notes on all the historical research regrading events and people as well as diseases at the end of the book. I admire Jeffries' commitment to accuracy. That said, the characters were the biggest draw here. I can't say that enough. And if you are a fan of historical romance and haven't read Jeffries, don't wait! *wink* Lexxie has been recommending Jeffries almost as long as we've been friends. After this introduction, I wholeheartedly agree with her recommendation. I'm anxious to begin the next book in the series and hope to seem more of Max and Lisette.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

    This is a book that has many of the characteristics of a great read, but somehow it comes off as feeling flat. Jeffries' writing is crisp and clear, she gives both her hero and heroine compelling backstories, and her eye for historical detail is dead-on. But most of the interactions between h & h are of the bickering type, and she shows rather than tells what they are feeling, making me as a reader feel uninvolved in their story. I seem to be in the minority, given the book's high reviews on This is a book that has many of the characteristics of a great read, but somehow it comes off as feeling flat. Jeffries' writing is crisp and clear, she gives both her hero and heroine compelling backstories, and her eye for historical detail is dead-on. But most of the interactions between h & h are of the bickering type, and she shows rather than tells what they are feeling, making me as a reader feel uninvolved in their story. I seem to be in the minority, given the book's high reviews on goodreads, though...

  21. 4 out of 5

    Carol Storm

    Gave up on this one half way through. Not that Sabrina Jeffries is a bad author, she does great research and can really create spunky and independent heroines. It's just that the hero, Lofty Lyons, never really got me excited. He gets drunk and fondles the heroine, then says, "I really like you," like it's some great discovery. What a boob!

  22. 5 out of 5

    WhiskeyintheJar/Kyraryker

    3.5 stars

  23. 5 out of 5

    Aurian Booklover

    Lisette and Tristan Bonnaud are the illegitimate children of an English Viscount, Ambrose Rathmoor, and his French mistress. They lived with their mother at the edge of his estate, while his two legal sons lived in the Manor house. The viscount kept promising to marry their mother, but it was difficult, first because of the ongoing war, marrying a French woman would cause a huge scandal, and later on he kept making excuses. The oldest son, George, really despised his father’s mistress and her tw Lisette and Tristan Bonnaud are the illegitimate children of an English Viscount, Ambrose Rathmoor, and his French mistress. They lived with their mother at the edge of his estate, while his two legal sons lived in the Manor house. The viscount kept promising to marry their mother, but it was difficult, first because of the ongoing war, marrying a French woman would cause a huge scandal, and later on he kept making excuses. The oldest son, George, really despised his father’s mistress and her two children, and did whatever he could to make their lives miserable. The second son though, Dominic, is good friends with Tristan and Lisette. When Lisette is 14, their father dies, leaving George as the new Viscount. George immediately evicts them from their little cottage, and accuses Tristan of being a horsethief. They have no choice but to leave at once and sneak away to France. Dominic is coming with them, as he wants to protect them and does not want to be beholden to his older brother for every bite of food he takes. Now years later, Lisette and Dominic have returned to England, where Dominic has started his own investigating company. They have all been working for the Sûreté in the past, and Dominic feels confident he can make it on his own. With Lisette as his administrative assistant. Lisette wants to be an investigator as well, but Dom keeps holding her off. Seeing how her mother suffered of the empty promises of her father, Lisette is determined to never marry, nor does she want to be some rich man’s mistress. Growing up as a bastard was hard enough, she will not subject her own children to it. Then just after Dom left for a case in Edinburgh, a late night visitor comes knocking. The Duke of Lyons has apparently received a note from her brother Tristan, about his own missing older brother Peter. At age 6, Peter was kidnapped and never found, and when Max was 16, Peter was presumed dead, making Maximilian the heir. Which totally ruined his plans of a naval career. He grew up with parents who kept searching for their oldest son, neglecting the one left, parents who fought a lot, and a father who went mad in the end. He watched his mother take care of his father through those horrible years, and vows never to put a woman he loves through that. Yes, he is very afraid of going mad himself, as it apparently runs in the family. When Tristan did not show up for their meeting, Max decided to come looking here for him. Lisette is very surprised, because with the horse thief thing hanging above his head, her brother would never be able to come to England again. George would for sure have him hanged for it. It takes a lot of arguing for her to get the Duke to believe her, and even more to agree to go to France together and look for Tristan. Lisette has been worried about him for a while now, as he has stopped writing her and Dom. But she won’t just tell Max where they lived, or where Tristan works, for fear of ruining his career. And of course Max will carelessly just do that. The new head of the Sûreté does not like Tristan, even though he is one of their best agents. And so they travel together to France, without a chaperone, pretending to be married. Lisette already has made it clear that she does not want to become a mistress or a wife, which Max finds very hard to believe. And of course he wants to show her what she is missing, show her what real passion and desire is. In France they find some clues that lead them to Belgium, and they hope to finally find out the truth about Peter and Tristan. Of course, if they do find Peter, Max will no longer be a rich Duke … I was very happy when I won this book at Smexy’s Book blog, thank you again Mandi! Sabrina Jeffries is one of my favourite historical romance authors. People on my blog reacted that they loved this book, unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed. I was unable to connect to the characters, and so it felt a bit flat for me. It is certainly not a bad book though, as I did enjoy the story, which had some nice and original details. The high and mighty Duke, who wants to have everything his way, and pretending to be a commoner really opens up his eyes how “ordinary” people live and especially travel. Having to share a room and a bed with strangers at the Inn, sharing a bath to preserve hot bathwater. Not having the innkeeper fly at his slightest wish. Travelling with other people in the mail coach, and having to endure their noises and smells, instead of travelling in his own well sprung coach and having his own servants take care of everything. During those travels Lisette and Max do grow closer together, sharing bits and pieces about their lives. Lisette has her mother’s example to warn her, the poverty they endured after her father died, and still she gives in to Max’s seducing her so easily. I really can’t admire that. Max keeps thinking she is lying to him, deceiving him, at every turn, and I grew tired of it. He is just not strong enough a hero for me. O sure, in the end he uses his powers as a Duke relentlessly, but I just can’t fall for him. As always, I do enjoy Sabrina Jeffries writing style, the unique historical details she weaves into the story. This time, the characters just did not do it for me. But, as I said before, other readers really loved this book. For now, I am looking forward to reading about her brothers in the next books, and I will keep hoping George gets his due in the last one. 7 stars. © 2013 Reviews by Aurian Full review on my blog, www.boeklogboek.blogspot.com

  24. 4 out of 5

    Pj Ausdenmore

    Review posted at The Romance Dish. http://www.theromancedish.com/2013/06... Experience has taught Lisette Bonnaud the inadvisability of depending on a man. The illegitimate daughter of an English viscount and his French actress mistress, Lisette's papa promises time and again to marry his mistress but never follows through. He makes a lot of promises to Lisette and her brother, Tristan as well but they never seem to come to fruition either. And when he dies, Lisette's half-brother, George Manton, Review posted at The Romance Dish. http://www.theromancedish.com/2013/06... Experience has taught Lisette Bonnaud the inadvisability of depending on a man. The illegitimate daughter of an English viscount and his French actress mistress, Lisette's papa promises time and again to marry his mistress but never follows through. He makes a lot of promises to Lisette and her brother, Tristan as well but they never seem to come to fruition either. And when he dies, Lisette's half-brother, George Manton, the viscount's elder legitimate son (readers will remember him as a young bully in Twas the Night After Christmas) makes certain the then fourteen-year-old Lisette and her mother are cast from their home without a penny and puts a price on Tristan's head for taking a thoroughbred horse that was rightfully his. Only with the help of the younger legitimate son, Dom are Lisette, her mother and her brother, Tristan able to escape to France. England, twelve years later... Maximilian Cale, the Duke of Lyons, has known for years that his older brother is dead though many seeking to cash in on the Dukedom over the years have claimed to be the kidnapped heir. Max is stunned to receive a note from Tristan Bonnaud claiming that he has proof that Peter lives but before he can verify the claim, Tristan disappears and an enraged Max arrives at Dom's home, site of Manton Investigations, demanding to know his whereabouts. With Dom on a case in Scotland, only Lisette is there to weather the confrontation with the Duke who is sure Tristan is running a scam and determined to see him pay the price for it. Lisette may be beautiful but she also possesses the same iron will and intelligence as her brothers and is not the least bit impressed with the peer in her foyer. Though she hasn't heard from her brother in months, she knows without a doubt that he would never try to scam the Duke and isn't about to let the arrogant man ruin the life for which Tristan has worked so hard. The arrogant, aloof Duke has finally met his match. Returning to England after her mother's death, Lisette Bonnaud lives with her brother, Dom, managing the office of his company, Manton Investigations but what she really wants is to become one of his agents. She's smart, capable and certain she can do the job as well as any man. She's also unconditionally loyal to her brothers, Tristan and Dom. Tristan has a good life and a good position in France. She's not about to let an arrogant Duke go haring off in a temper and destroy that. The only way she'll give him any information about Tristan is if he agrees to let her go with him. She's certain that, together, they will be able to find her brother and uncover the truth. She and the Duke pose as an ordinary husband and wife for the journey to Paris; in her mind, a simple and effective solution. Reality, however, turns out to be far more complex as pesky emotions like desire...and affection...begin to creep in. They both know that a match between a Duke and the illegitimate daughter of a viscount is doomed. Lisette isn't about to put herself in another man's control and Max has his own reasons for not offering marriage but sometimes what the head knows, the heart refuses to acknowledge. Sabrina Jeffries brings us another fast-paced, engaging, historical romance filled with danger, passion and unforgettable characters. Loosely tied to her Hellions of Halstead Hall series, readers of those books will note references to familiar characters such as Jackson Pinter, Gabriel Sharpe and, of course, our hero, the Duke of Lyons. They will also not be one bit surprised that Lisette's half-brother, George Manton is still a bully, just older, richer and more powerful - not a good combination for Lisette, Tristan and Dom. This is not a sequel, however, and you do not need to have read those books before reading What the Duke Desires. I really fell hard for Max. While there are times I wanted to whack him over the head for his dukely arrogance, he won my heart with his caring and protection of Lisette's honor. Max also carries some heavy burdens and my heart broke for him as he struggles with his feelings for Lisette, determined to not subject her to the misery and heartache his own mother faced during his father's final days. He's a complex man who has held himself apart from love and affection and has fears that form a shield around his heart. It will take a very special woman to tear those walls down and convince him to take a chance on love. Lisette is one of my favorite Jeffries heroines - smart, strong and independent, with a clear understanding of her place in the world and the touch of vulnerability that comes with that place. Her insight, caring and willingness to risk her heart regardless of what a future with Max might bring spoke to my heart and her ability to hold her own with her duke and not let his natural arrogance take over, without undermining his masculinity, had me cheering her all the way. What the Duke Desires is going to my keeper shelf to await the next two books in the series. Here's hoping that wait won't be too long! ~PJ The Romance Dish

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen Ley

    Read my review here: https://gabigraceauthor.wixsite.com/m...

  26. 5 out of 5

    Alyssa

    ***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** What The Duke Desires by Sabrina Jeffries Book One of The Duke's Men series Publisher: Pocket Books Publication Date: June 18, 2013 Rating: 4 stars Source: eARC from Edelweiss ***Warning: this is an adult book, and for the eyes of mature readers*** Summary (from Goodreads): Maximilian Cale, the Duke of Lyons, accepted long ago that his kidnapped brother was dead. When a cryptic note from investigator Tristan Bonnaud claims otherwise, Max seeks out Tristan’s ***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** What The Duke Desires by Sabrina Jeffries Book One of The Duke's Men series Publisher: Pocket Books Publication Date: June 18, 2013 Rating: 4 stars Source: eARC from Edelweiss ***Warning: this is an adult book, and for the eyes of mature readers*** Summary (from Goodreads): Maximilian Cale, the Duke of Lyons, accepted long ago that his kidnapped brother was dead. When a cryptic note from investigator Tristan Bonnaud claims otherwise, Max seeks out Tristan’s sister, Lisette—and is infuriated to learn that Tristan has also mysteriously vanished. Have the siblings perpetrated an elaborate hoax? Or is the fiercely protective beauty as innocent as she claims them to be? Fearful that the powerful Duke will destroy Tristan’s career in his zeal for the truth, the clever Lisette convinces Max to accompany her to Paris in a joint search for their loved ones. But their journey takes a seductive twist when they pose as an ordinary husband and wife—not an English Duke with a tarnished family name and the illegitimate daughter of a viscount—and discover an exhilarating passion free from the damning secrets of the past. With the line between danger and desire enticingly blurred, they discover that some mysteries, like those of the heart, are answered tenfold in the bliss of a true and trusting love. What I Liked: You all KNOW how much I enjoy a historical romance novel every now and then. Okay, fine. More than every now and then! So I have some experience with historical romance. Not every one of them I like, or love. This one was pretty good though! It was different, because it was not about balls and marriage and suitors. I was almost immediately intrigued by this book, right from the start. The novel begins with Lisette's past, and what her family did to her and Tristan. That was sad and heartbreaking to read! But it really gave depth to Lisette and Tristan. I feel like I probably would not have been on Tristan's side throughout the book, had the beginning not been about Lisette's childhood. The romance is a huge part of this story (but not the largest part of the plot). I love Max and Lisette's relationship. It was so funny in the beginning - when Lisette needed to come up with a cover story for her and Max, and suddenly, they were a "married couple". The scene in the carriage with the neighbors - priceless! Nevertheless, I loved watching the relationship between Max and Lisette blossom. It was not necessarily a different romance, but it was sweet. Max is tortured in his own way, and that made tough Lisette come down hard on him, but then comfort him. It was so nice to see them help each other with their pasts. The plot was not completely romance-driven, which was nice. I liked how the wild goose chase for Tristan turned out, as it gave way to some special scenes between Lisette and Max. Also, in the end, we get to see a part of Max's past unfold! I thought that was a nice touch, at the end. So, the ending was a great ending. This one person got exactly what he deserved. Lisette and Max and Tristan and Victor (I covertly mentioned him without mentioning his name) each had satisfying endings. So basically, I liked this book! What I Did Not Like: There was not much about this book that I did not like! I enjoyed the book as I read it. So, why not five stars? It feels like a 4-star book, in my opinion. I liked this book, but I did not absolutely love it like I want to hug it after I am finished. Yes, that HAS happened before :D Would I Recommend It: Sure! A bit long, for some readers (length, on the long extreme, never bothers me), but I think historical romance lovers will devour this one! Of course, Sabrina Jeffries fans know she can write a good historical romance novel. Well, this one does NOT disappoint! Rating: 4 stars. This is a pretty great historical romance novel!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    Lisette Bonnud is the illegitimate daughter of Viscount Rathmoor. Her mother has been the Viscount’s mistress for years. When her father dies the heir to Rathmoor, Lisette’s brother George, comes to hang her brother Tristan for horse thievery. Running for their lives with her other brother Dominick, they escape to France. Years later Lisette and Dominick return to England, starting an investigation business together leaving Tristan behind working for the government. They haven’t heard from Tris Lisette Bonnud is the illegitimate daughter of Viscount Rathmoor. Her mother has been the Viscount’s mistress for years. When her father dies the heir to Rathmoor, Lisette’s ½ brother George, comes to hang her brother Tristan for horse thievery. Running for their lives with her other ½ brother Dominick, they escape to France. Years later Lisette and Dominick return to England, starting an investigation business together leaving Tristan behind working for the government. They haven’t heard from Tristan in a while and Lisette is starting to get worried when Maximilian Cole, the Duke of Lyons shows up at their door demanding to see Dominick. Since Dominick is away on business Lisette has a very fiery conversation with Max. It seems Tristan has returned to England, claiming he has found the lost brother of Maximilian. Enraged Max wants to know what scam Tristan is engaged in. Lisette quickly realizes to save her brother and his career she must get involved with Max’s man hunt. Reluctantly Max agrees to take Lisette along and the battle of wills begins. They end up posing as husband and wife, putting them in very close proximity. They quickly discover that it’s nearly impossible to keep their hearts from getting involved. Lisette is a spit fire, facing off with a Duke and not backing down to protect her family. She is a strong character that faced many life difficulties head on. She is a character that you want to get behind and cheer for. Max is used to the pampered life of a Duke. When he gets experience life as a commoner's husband, it comes to some shocking revelations. Seeing the special spark in Lisette, he must learn to trust his heart and let someone love him in return. Toward the end of the story Max says something extremely hurtful to Lisette, making my opinion of him diminish. Maybe some more groveling should have been involved :D. This was a magnificent and fun story, set in historical England and France. The characters were strong, realistic and relatable. The plot was fast paced and held my attention. Many times throughout the story, I found myself smiling or laughing out loud. That being said, I also found this story a little more sinister than the normal Jefferies’ romances. What the Duke Desires was an invigorating read, contains plenty of action and a perfect amount of heated sexual encounters. I look forward to watching more Dukes fall and hope that we will be seeing more of the Duke Men series soon. This ARC copy of What the Duke Desires was given to me by Pocket Books in exchange for a honest review. This book is set for publication on June 18, 2013. Amazon Link Barnes & Noble Link For more reviews check out Tome Tender's Book Blog or find us on Facebook.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lover of Romance

    When Lisette's father dies suddenly, and she and her two half brothers and her mother (her fathers mistress) gets kicked out of their home by their fathers heir and their eldest brother, they run to France, knowing that its the only safe place they can go to. Now years later, Lisette and her brother Dom have returned to England, where Dom has been working on setting up his investigating business, with his sister aiding him. But then Dom is called away on a case up in Edinburgh, and Lisette is le When Lisette's father dies suddenly, and she and her two half brothers and her mother (her fathers mistress) gets kicked out of their home by their fathers heir and their eldest brother, they run to France, knowing that its the only safe place they can go to. Now years later, Lisette and her brother Dom have returned to England, where Dom has been working on setting up his investigating business, with his sister aiding him. But then Dom is called away on a case up in Edinburgh, and Lisette is left on her own. Then the Duke of Lyons comes knocking on her door, insisting on the location of her other brother, Tristan, who knows the location of the Dukes brother, but Tristan has disappeared. So to safeguard her brother, so goes with Maximillian in search of her brother. On their journey they are forced to pretend to be husband and wife, and as they are alone, a desire builds between the two, a desire that threatens to consume them both. What The Duke Desires is the first book in the "Duke's Men" series, which is the most recent series by this author. Sabrina Jeffries is a favorite of mine, when it comes to romances, and has been for many years. Many of her titles are at the top of my list as favorites. So I knew I was going to fall in love with What The Duke Desires and I was right, I could barely put this one down, and I haven't read a story so fast in quite a while, I was so immersed with the story I could barely put this down last night to go to bed. What The Duke Desires is a book I found through my local library. What The Duke Desires is a story that is set in Regency England, but most of the book is set in France. When I started reading this book, there is quite a overwhelming feeling of emotion from the beginning. We get introduced into the Bonnaud family, and as this is the first official book of the series, I felt like it did a well job in setting up the series, and I loved seeing these two together. There was such a sizzling connection between this couple from the very beginning. Maximillian, is the type of hero that gives you tingles. Max, is a Duke, and ever since his older brother disappeared as a child when he was a boy, he has been raised to that position. He is very arrogant, commanding, and must get his own way at all times. So when he meets Lisette he is astounded that a little piece of a woman would even think of standing up to him. I love the scenes, especially in the first meeting, definitely will give you giggles and balls of laughs. As their connection deepens, the plot thickens, and tensions rise, and passion erupts. A Delightful romance that will take you breath away. I loved the style of this story and especially the way this series began. I couldn't help but fall in love with Lisette and Max and their families. This story was intoxicating and addicting, a love story that is intense at times, and sweet at others. The heat in this story isn't way hot, but isn't light either. I felt like it had the perfect balance, that is my favorite style of sensuality. A remarkably written romance that stole my heart!!! BREATHTAKING!!! A Must read for historical romance lovers.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Elis Madison

    I'll say this for Sabrina Jeffries: in the vast sea of romance novels whose heroes have some reason to eschew "true love" in favor of cold and empty, meaningless and unthreatening hookups, she's come up with a novel one for this book. Maximillian Cale, the Duke of Lyons, would answer, albeit unhappily, if you called him "Mad Max." Cuz his dad and his uncle both went nuttier than Snickers bars, and he figures it's just a matter of time for him. He's a duke, so he's gotta marry and sire an heir (c I'll say this for Sabrina Jeffries: in the vast sea of romance novels whose heroes have some reason to eschew "true love" in favor of cold and empty, meaningless and unthreatening hookups, she's come up with a novel one for this book. Maximillian Cale, the Duke of Lyons, would answer, albeit unhappily, if you called him "Mad Max." Cuz his dad and his uncle both went nuttier than Snickers bars, and he figures it's just a matter of time for him. He's a duke, so he's gotta marry and sire an heir (cuz G-d forbid the line of bat-shite Dukes of Lyons should die off), but he doesn't have to marry a woman who'll, like, care, or anything, when he inevitably starts trying to eat the wallpaper. And that, friends, is the primary obstacle to the romance between him and Lisette Bonnaud, the bastard daughter of the Viscount Rathmoor. Lisette's history is the secondary obstacle. See, her mum was her father's mistress. Her father promised marriage and all the trappings, but never got around to it—or to providing for his second legit son or less legitimate offspring, before he died. And George Manton, the new viscount, was rabid to make sure they were all left penniless and homeless. So after learning the hard way never to trust a man to take care of her, Lisette's all about taking care of herself, independent of men, and she will never, ever, EVER be a mistress like her mum. Tristan, Lisette's full brother (same mum, also bastard) has disappeared. But before he vanished, he apparently contacted Max suggesting that Max's kidnapped-declared-dead older brother Peter might not be quite so dead. Max is absolutely certain that Tristan is a scammer after money—so Max will, of course, do the sensible thing and totally ignore the scam. Nope, he's gonna track Tristan down, kick down doors and destroy lives until he gets the TRUTH. Cuz he's ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN his brother is DEAD, (which is why he needs to make sure). Lisette is not inclined to be helpful. In fact, the only damn way she's gonna give Max any info that might help him find Tristan is if she gets to tag along—she hopes to A) find the missing Tristan, and B) prevent Max from doing too much damage. Next thing you know they're traveling together, posing conveniently as an ordinary husband and wife (Jeffries does a good job of explaining why they can't travel as siblings so they wouldn't have to share a tiny bed at the inns along the way). Thank God they're both totally committed to avoiding romantic entanglements. Meanwhile, they're being followed… This one has some adventure and a pretty good story, so it gets 4 stars.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Book Binge

    Lisette Bonnaud and her brother Tristan are the illegitimate children of a viscount. When their father dies their oldest half-brother, George, throws them out of their home the next day and put a warrant out for the arrest of Tristan, stating that he stole a horse. The family moves back to be with their mothers family in France. Lisette doesn’t return to England for 12 years and when she does she starts to work with her other half-brother, Dominic, in his investigation business. When the Duke of Lisette Bonnaud and her brother Tristan are the illegitimate children of a viscount. When their father dies their oldest half-brother, George, throws them out of their home the next day and put a warrant out for the arrest of Tristan, stating that he stole a horse. The family moves back to be with their mothers family in France. Lisette doesn’t return to England for 12 years and when she does she starts to work with her other half-brother, Dominic, in his investigation business. When the Duke of Lyons shows up demanding to see Dom because of something that Tristan supposedly did Lisette is at attention. She knows that Tristan wouldn’t have returned to England because of the warrant this is still out for his arrest, but she can’t deny that the letter that the duke received is in Tristan’s handwriting. She talks the duke into traveling to France to find out Tristan’s whereabouts from his former employer. They are to travel as siblings but right as they’re to board the coach Dom’s neighbor recognizes Lisette and the duke, Max, comes up with the story that they are newly married. Since no one knows Max is a duke this seems like a viable option – except now they have to share a room together. The couple does the best they can but frankly the sexual tension arcing between the two of them could light up a small city. They manage to keep their hands to themselves for…well, not that long but when they do come together it’s amazing. Of course Lisette knows that the duke can never marry a bastard like her but Max actually wants to – with stipulations. You see Max’s father and great-uncle both went mad and Max believes that this is hereditary and that he too will go mad eventually. Lisette agrees to marry him but only if he will let her take care of him when the time comes. Max won’t agree so they’re at an impasse. This was, as usual, a good Sabrina Jeffries novel. I really liked Max a lot and felt so bad for the life that he had led. First with his brother getting kidnapped and then his parents obviously keeping secrets from him ThEN the fact that he may go mad sitting on his shoulders. He’s had a very emotional time of it. For him meeting Lisette was a breath of fresh air. Being the daughter of an actress and of course the bastard daughter of a viscount she really had to learn throughout life to not take what everyone says to heart. Max isn’t used to the straight forward approach that Lisette takes to just about everything but it’s something he really needed in his life. Not being kowtowed to was something incredibly new for Max. Their relationship was quite honest – not too much hiding behind themselves – just being up front with everything, and I liked that. The different characters brought in made me think of other books that will be coming in the future and I’m certainly looking forward to Dom’s book as I really liked him – even though he wasn’t in the story all that much. Overall another great romance from Ms. Jeffries. Rating: 3.75 out of 5 This review was originally posted on Book Binge by Tracy.

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