The Forbidden Duke by Darcy Burke
Series: The Untouchables #1
Also in this series: The Duke of Lies (The Untouchables #9)
Publication Date: March 15th 2016
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Spinster Miss Eleanor Lockhart is suddenly homeless and employment is her only option. Ruined after succumbing to a scoundrel’s excessive charm nearly a decade ago, she’s lucky to obtain a position as a paid companion and committed to behaving with the utmost propriety. She definitely shouldn’t be in the arms of a man capable of utterly destroying what little remains of her reputation...
Titus St. John, Duke of Kendal, is known as the Forbidden Duke, a mysterious, intimidating figure who enters Society just once each year at his stepmother’s ball. A decade ago, he was a devil-may-care rake until his idle roguery brought about the ruin of Eleanor Lockhart—and his resulting self-imposed isolation. Now she’s back, and she needs his help. But by “saving” her, he may just ruin her life all over again.
Eleanor’s father isn’t good with money and constantly makes “investments” that never pan out. He finally goes one investment too far and breaks the bank. He now has to move to a relative’s sheep farm and Eleanor is stuck. She was part of a scandal 10 years earlier after she kissed a man she thought she was in love with. Of course the cad had no intention of marrying her and her ship was sunk. She went off to the countryside and was never heard from again in London society. She knows that none of her family will take her in because of the black cloud over her head. Her sister would love to but since she’s married to a vicar and he won’t let her stay that’s out too. Eleanor writes to an agency in London to try to become a companion. Just 10 days later she’s interviewing for a position and she gets the job.
Eleanor isn’t a companion too long as Lady Satterfield, her employer, decides that Eleanor is too young, too pretty, and too enchanting to be a companion and decides to sponsor another season for her. Eleanor is thrilled but then she meets Lady Satterfield’s step-son from a previous marriage. He is a Duke who is happier to be on his own than in society but appears just once a year at his step-mother’s ball. He was also the unofficial head of a group of rakes ten years earlier. He knows Eleanor by sight because one of “his” rakes was the one who scandalized Eleanor. He felt horrible about her scandal back then and has been living a quiet life ever since. When he sees Eleanor again he is fascinated by her. The more he gets to know her he knows that his life is, once again, going to change.
This was a sweet story. I felt horrible for Eleanor and her situation with the scandal. After one kiss she shouldn’t have been ostracized but I understand that’s how it was back then. She made the best of a bad situation and when her father screwed up she once again made a bad situation good again. I really admired her inner strength after having put up with so much in her life. Even though I thought that Lady Satterfield’s offer to sponsor her kind of came out of the blue it was nice to see her being accepted by the ton.
Titus was a quiet but interesting man. I loved that he came out of his shell for Eleanor but didn’t recognize that he was falling in love with her. The story was pretty angst free and that was refreshing. Though he had a hand in the scandal from 10 years earlier it became a non-issue and that, too, was refreshing.
The story overall was a good one and it was an enjoyable was to spend an afternoon. If you like a simple historical romance with very little heartache this would be a good one to read.
Rating: 4 out of 5