THE DUKE’S DESIRE
Simon Hawkins, duke of Trent, is no stranger to scandal. Rumors and innuendo have darkened the House of Trent for decades, and it has fallen to Simon to restore his tattered family name. He lives by a strict code of honor, but when he is called home to investigate his mother’s disappearance, the distinguished duke will tangle with temptation. For there waits the only woman he has ever loved-and the last woman he should desire . . .
Sarah Osborne has spent her life dreaming of Simon’s touch. But dukes do not long for lady’s maids-or so Sarah believes, until a stolen kiss sparks a passion that could be her ultimate undoing. As the couple begins a forbidden romance, a cunning enemy plots to destroy the duke and everything he loves. Now, caught in a blackmailer’s web, Simon faces an agonizing choice: sacrifice his family’s future or break Sarah’s heart.
Review: The Duchess Hunt is a play on words as the Duke of Trent searches desperately for his missing mother, the dowager duchess. But he’s decided it is time to marry and begin working on an heir and a spare, so he is now searching for a duchess of his own, someone who can be his wife, his partner, and have his children.
Friends since childhood, Sarah Osborne, the gardener’s daughter and now head housemaid, has loved Simon, the Duke of Trent, since he rescued her from a blackberry bush when she was eight years old. Simon has always called Sarah his friend, and has yearned for her since a stolen kiss three years ago. But now the family has been called to their country home upon the disappearance of their mother, and Simon sees Sarah as a desirable woman, one he is inexplicably drawn to with an unquenchable hunger.
The search takes them to London, and Sarah has been elevated to companion to Esme, the duke’s sister. This puts her in closer proximity to Simon, and they are drawn into a clandestine affair. But a blackmailing Baron turns the tables on Simon, and threatens to reveal devastating family secrets if his daughter and Simon do not marry.
This is the first Jennifer Haymore book I have read, and I have quickly become a big fan. Ms. Haymore writes complex characters, scintillating love scenes, and devises intricate plots. Once I began reading this book, I literally could not put it down. I was swept away with these characters, especially the love that Sarah and Simon have for each other.
Simon has worked his entire life to return his family to respectability; it is the one thing always on his mind so that society does not gossip about his family. One secret leads to another, and another, and another, and I found myself holding my breath as Simon’s very foundation is shaken to its core. Simon has to decide whether his duty to his family wins out, or if his love for the perfect woman will.
The mystery of the dowager duchess’ disappearance continues into the next story in The House of Trent series with Luke’s story, The Rogue’s Proposal.
In my opinion, Jennifer Haymore is taking her rightful place among the stars of Historical Romance.