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Duke of Pleasure by Elizabeth Hoyt
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One of the best of this series. While you can definitely read the books in this series as standalones (though why would you want to?), you really need to read this one before reading the final book in the series, DUKE OF DESIRE, which is due out 10/17/17. I have read and enjoyed each and every one of the books in this series but this may be my favorite. Hoyt again gives us Historical Romance at it's best with some mystery and humor mixed in to up the enjoyment. If you haven't started this series (I so envy you being able to binge it) or aren't caught up, get to work cause it's almost over and you won't want to miss the awesome ending book coming out in less than a month. ( )
  alterlisa | Sep 20, 2017 |
This is a must read for all of us that have waited an eternity for Alf's story!

I am so happy that the author had so fit to give us fans a full story of this wonderful character. She had such a hard life, and she deserved to find her happily ever after. Giving her Hugh Fitzroy, the Duke of Kyle, was perfect. And letting her be the newest Ghost of St. Giles was a stroke of genius!

As these two set upon destroying the Lords of Chaos, we watch the two slowly come to realization that they're meant for each other no matter the obstacles thrown their way.

Highly recommending it to everyone!

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher
( )
  bookworm2bookworm | Mar 30, 2017 |
Hugh Fitzroy is the Duke of Kyle and an agent for the crown, he is ambushed by a street gang in a London alley and a masked stranger rescues him, a woman dressed as a man. Alf has spent her time on the streets of St Giles pretending to be a boy, by day she's a boy by night she's a the Ghost of St Giles. Hugh has met Alf before and hires him to investigate and then insists that he stays in his house when Alf is injured on his account. Sparks begin to fly, but can Alf survive in Hugh's world?

I liked it, both characters were interesting and fun and the relationship built well for me, I liked how they dealt with their issues and didn't try to ignore some of them. However it didn't seem sometimes that they had time to do what they were doing and the training would probably have taken longer than that. The bad guys were mostly sketches and I reckon that I need to read more in this series to get a true taste of them. I also loved Iris and would like to see her with a good relationship, which is hinted at during the story. ( )
  wyvernfriend | Jan 24, 2017 |
Simply Adored This Read -- Funny & Passionate ~ a most intriguing story!

What I find fascinating is how Alf is able to travel the city by rooftop, jumping from building to building. That, in and of itself, tells us a lot about this woman. Her job, as Ghost of St. Giles, is defender of the poor, protect those who come to harm in St. Giles. Yes, even dukes if they happen to stray into this bad area of London. Her usual fair is protecting the whores that team the streets, but lately she’s been following a group of footpads, called the Scarlet Throat gang, active in St. Giles, ready to do anything, including murder, for the right price.

Alf, at 23, is lonely. She has to live alone, to protect her secrets. High up in an old, vacant building, she has built her nest. She dons her colorful costume as the ghost at night, becomes Alf, the young boy who trades information and secrets during the day.

She met the duke, Hugh Fitzroy, some time before when he asked Alf to inform on a person she was already working for. She didn’t take the job because she was working for the man he wanted information about. She has her honor.

The Duke of Kyle is not one of those dukes who think the world should bow to them.Hugh was the result of a dalliance by the King. Rather than ignoring his illegitimate child, he recognizes him, gives him the necessary education and takes him into service as a spy. Hugh is presently searching for the Lords of Chaos, a secret society made of noblemen, identified by a dolphin tattoo. They are wicked men, with evil plans to make as much havoc for the government as possible. It is his job to find and stop them.

Although Hugh has a high-level position in society, it doesn’t go to his head. He has a sense of humor which we are made aware as he is fighting for his life in St. Giles, enumerating the reasons he wishes not to die.

One: His eldest son was too young to inherit the dukedom
Two: His younger son was still suffering nightmares from his mother’s death, some five months previous
Three: His Majesty had just assigned Hugh to destroy the Lords of Chaos—he liked to complete his work
Fourth: He hadn’t bedded a woman in nine months and “to die in such a drought would be a particularly unkind blow from fate, goddamn it."

By this time, dear reader, I was chuckling. He is a nice guy in a real awkward situation.

Needless to say, I loved the scene while he’s fighting for his life, with these thoughts running through his head, and when he can’t fight anymore…


He fell to his knees on the icy ground, growling like a bleeding, baited bear.
Raised an arm to defend his head…
Someone dropped from the sky right in front of him.
Facing his attackers.
Darting, wheeling, spinning.
Defending him so gracefully.
With two swords.

Hugh staggered upright again, blinking blood out of his eyes—when had he been cut?

And saw—a boy? No, a light man in a grotesque half mask, motley, floppy hat, and boots, battling fiercely with his attackers. Hugh just had time to think: Insane, before his defender was thrown back again him.

Hugh caught the man and had another thought, which was: Tits?

So you can pretty much understand why I couldn’t close the pages of this book, rather, I was smiling and flipping those pages like they were pancakes!

Alf finds herself being hunted. Were the same men who were after Hugh, after her? Hugh, being the person he is, thinks he must protect Alf, because she was gathering information for him when she is attacked. Hugh protects his own (still not knowing she is a woman).

The story is exhilarating, suspenseful, and witty. Once Hugh realizes the gender of Alf and Alf discovers the perks of being a woman, the story basically takes off in flames!

Every one of Elizabeth Hoyt’s stories in this series is quite diverting. Time to get to know this author if you haven’t and familiarize yourself with the Maiden Lanes series. ( )
  Eileen.Dandashi | Jan 15, 2017 |
I seem to keep saying the same thing every time Elizabeth Hoyt releases a new book, and at the risk of sounding like a broken record, she’s done it again. Duke of Pleasure, the latest volume in her Maiden Lane series, is just as entrancing as all the previous ones. It features Hugh Fitzroy, the Duke of Kyle paired with Alf (just Alf :-)), the street urchin who has been posing as a boy and making a living as the best purveyor of information in St. Giles. I can’t recall which book she was introduced in (it might have been all the way back in book #4, Thief of Shadows), but she’s been around for a long while, working with various other series’ characters, passing information to them, and acting as a spy. I’ve been hoping that she would eventually find her match, and I’m so glad that she finally got a much-deserved HEA. The romance between Alf and Hugh is very sweet and heartfelt. We also get a bit of mystery and action as they work to take down the Lords of Chaos. So overall, I felt that it was a very well-rounded story that kept me engaged throughout.

Hugh is the illegitimate, but recognized, son of the King. As such, he’s been afforded a dukedom and he also works with the Crown as a spy, often cleaning up various problems that arise. In this book, he’s been tasked with taking down the Lords of Chaos, but he’s finding it difficult to identify the members of the group and get enough dirt on them to make an arrest, which is partially where Alf comes in. Hugh is also a widower with two young sons. He and his wife experienced a passionate, whirlwind love-match that turned in a contentious marriage after they were wed. He also eventually realized that his wife was taking other lovers, and as a result, Hugh buried himself in his work and was out of the country for an extended period of time. He only returned upon her death, which was believed to be a riding accident, but found that he didn’t even know his children anymore. His youngest suffers from debilitating nightmares and temper tantrums, while the oldest is sullen and angry with him. I loved Hugh for his patience with his boys and for being an incredible father, even though he didn’t exactly have much of a role model for that. He’s always there for his boys and regrets that his unhappy marriage kept them apart and affected their relationship. He’d do anything for them, including giving his life, and eventually his love and gentleness toward them is rewarded. I also loved Hugh for the way he treats Alf as his equal. He never looks down on her, because he’s a duke and she’s a nobody. He first fell for her in her guise as the Ghost of St. Giles, and his admiration for her only grew as he realized what a fierce and courageous young woman she is. When he starts feeling the same way about Alf as he did with his first wife prior to marrying her, I’m glad that he didn’t allow his fears and uncertainties to get the best of him for long, before realizing how much he loved Alf and couldn’t live without her.

By day, Alf is the street urchin informant; by night, she’s taken up the mantle of the Ghost of St. Giles under the tutelage of former Ghost, Godric St. John (Lord of Darkness). Alf had a brief, inauspicious meeting with Hugh in the previous book of the series. Despite running from him then, she finds him quite attractive, so when she comes upon him in her guise as the Ghost, being attacked by assassins, she comes to his rescue. Once they’ve fought off the ne’er-do-wells, she can’t help stealing a kiss. Then the next day, Hugh hires Alf the informant to help him figure out who attacked him and keeps her on his payroll while looking for the fabled membership list of the Lords of Chaos. I’m glad it didn’t take long for Hugh to figure out that Alf’s two personae were one and the same person. With everything out in the open, it made the development of their romance much smoother. However, when Hugh calls upon Alf to become the woman she is in their search for information, she realistically struggles with what it means to be a woman. She’s spent so many years pretending to be a boy to protect herself that she’s deeply buried much of her feminine side. She hasn’t put it all to rest, though, because she very much enjoys being around Hugh’s boys and is a great influence on them, as well as her visits with two little girls at the Home for Unfortunate Infants and Foundling Children, both of which stir her motherly instincts. She also knows she’s attracted to Hugh and that she wants to be with him in an intimate way and learn more of her womanly sexual side. Alf was a nice mixture of innocent girl, who’s never been with a man intimately, and worldly woman, who knows far more of the seedier side of life than gently bred young ladies her age would. She’s a very brave, courageous young woman who’s made her way in the world alone, but when presented with the opportunity to share her life with someone she loves, she doesn’t hesitate to take it.

Duke of Pleasure also has some notable secondary characters. Iris, Lady Jordan, was best friends with Hugh’s wife and consequently was very well-acquainted with his sons. Since their mother’s passing, she’s been making regular visits to them and has become a friend to Hugh as well. There’s an unspoken understanding between them that they’ll eventually marry, but it would be nothing more than an arrangement. I’m glad that Iris turned out to be a wonderful person. Although she loved Hugh’s wife like a sister, she recognized the other woman’s faults, and although she liked Hugh and adored his sons, she wasn’t overly attached to the idea of marrying him, especially after she saw the loving looks passing between him and Alf. Iris is a very smart woman who was instrumental in helping bring down the Lords of Chaos and who knows she wants more than a marriage of convenience. Lucky for her, she’s already caught the eye of the scarred, brooding, and devilish Duke of Dyemore. We get the barest of introductions to him, but what an introduction it is. He may or may not have connections to the Lords of Chaos, but regardless, he already intrigues me and I look forward to learning more about him. These two become the hero and heroine of the next book, Duke of Desire, due for release next summer (2017). Hugh’s two sons, Christopher and Peter, are cute little boys with their own unique personalities. I loved both of these kids. Hugh’s men, who’ve been with him since his time in the military, are loyal to a fault and always there to lend a helping hand.

Overall, Duke of Pleasure was a thoroughly fun and enjoyable read. One of the things I love so much about Ms. Hoyt’s Maiden Lane series is that the stories aren’t just about the upper crust. Sometimes the characters get down and dirty in St. Giles, one of the worst slums in Georgian London, rather than always being seen in genteel drawing rooms and ballrooms. Also, many of the characters are not aristocrats, but often they’re matched with some of the aristocracy, which makes the couples all the more interesting. Nothing showcases that more than this story, in which a Duke, and the son of the King no less, falls in love with a young woman who’s spent nearly her entire life on the streets, fighting for her survival. Theirs was a great story of true love at its finest, and never once did it disappoint me. I don’t know how much longer Ms. Hoyt intends to continue the series, but I’ll be there with her until she decides to end it, although I’ll be sad when that time comes. I know there’s at least two more stories, one novel and one novella, coming out in 2017, and I can’t wait to read them.

Note: The love scenes in the book are steamy, though not frequent. However, they do employ some explicitly sensual language and there’s one scene of public intimacy that give it a little more erotic feel. ( )
  mom2lnb | Jan 5, 2017 |
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For my editor, Amy Pierpont, who is, quite possibly, The Best. ;-)
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Hugh Fitzroy, the Duke of Kyle, did not want to die tonight, for three very good reasons.
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Bold. Brave. Brutally handsome. Hugh Fitzroy, the Duke of Kyle, is the king's secret weapon. Sent to defeat the notorious Lords of Chaos, he is ambushed in a London alley—and rescued by an unlikely ally: a masked stranger with the unmistakable curves of a woman.


Cocky. Clever. Courageously independent. Alf has survived on the perilous streets of St. Giles by disguising her sex. By day she is a boy, dealing in information and secrets. By night she's the notorious Ghost of St. Giles, a masked vigilante. But as she saves Hugh from assassins, she finds herself succumbing to temptation.


When Hugh hires Alf to investigate the Lords of Chaos, her worlds collide. Once Hugh realizes that the boy and the Ghost are the same, will Alf find the courage to become the woman she needs to be—before the Lords of Chaos destroy them both?
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