Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂
Dare to Love a Duke is the third book in Eva Leigh’s London Underground series. It features Thomas Powell, the new Duke of Northfield and Lucia, the owner of the Orchid Club, also known as Amina. This story looks pretty good with secret identities and masked Dukes in secret clubs.
We’re pleased to be featuring an excerpt from this book so read on to check it out…Dare to Love a Duke (The London Underground, #3) by Eva Leigh
Series: The London Underground #3
Publisher: Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: December 24, 2018
Genres: Historical Romance
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For a dashing duke and the proprietress of a secret, sensual club in the London Underground, passion could lead to love… if they dare
Thomas Powell, the new Duke of Northfield, knows he should be proper and principled, like his father. No more dueling, or carousing, or frequenting masked parties where Londoners indulge their wildest desires. But he’s not ready to give up his freedom just yet. The club is an escape, a place where he can forget about society and the weight of his title… and see her, the woman he’s wanted forever.
Lucia—known as Amina—manages the Orchid Club, a secret society where fantasies become reality. But for Lucia, it’s strictly business, profitable enough to finance her dream: a home for the lost girls of the streets. Surrounded by lovers, she only observes, unwilling risk her future for any man. No member has ever intrigued her...until him, the masked stranger whose heated looks sear her skin. After months of suppressed longing, they dare to give in to temptation…
But the late duke’s legacy comes with a shocking secret, and the scandal threatens to destroy everything Tom loves… his family, the Orchid Club, and even Lucia.
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Tom took a glass of wine from a passing footman, then sipped as he surveyed the room. He took his usual place by the window. The moment a woman in a red dress began approaching him, he moved on. Over the course of the year, he’d fielded many offers of sex from interested parties, but he’d never accepted. That wasn’t why he came to the Orchid Club.
He crossed the threshold of the ballroom. This was where he’d first met Amina, a night he’d never forgotten. As always, the notes of a waltz drifted from the musicians as the guests on the dance floor surrendered to the seductive air of unfiltered desire. This was not sanctioned London. It was the secret, dark side. The place where people of all walks of life came for release, to cavort and be free.
He sensed a charge like unheard music, a subtle threading of awareness moving invisibly through his
body. Despite being engaged in watching the unfolding action, Tom became conscious of a new presence
in the room.
Amina had arrived.
She glided through the chamber, calm and assured, a small, unreadable smile playing about her lips as she stopped to chat with guests, making certain they had everything they needed. Tonight, her mask was emerald green, embroidered all over with gold thread and tiny pearls. The mask matched her richly hued gown, which hugged her curved body.
Tonight, her thick black hair was pinned up, though small brilliants seemed to twinkle in the dark waves. But it could have been his imagination. For surely whenever she was near, he had eyes for no one but her.
Riveted, Tom watched her glide through the ballroom, expertly weaving through the crowd. She kept that slightly removed smile on her face as she talked with the celebrants. Occasionally, she waved over a servant to provide more refreshments to the guests.
She checked with the musicians and adjusted the position of a candelabra on a table. This is my realm, she seemed to silently declare. The ruler of Bloomsbury. The empress of the Orchid Club. Regal and confident, her head held high, her shoulders back.
She caught sight of him, and he straightened to his fullest height. A thrum of excitement pulsed through him, all the way to his bones, as she approached. The lingering clouds of his unease lifted the nearer she came. This close, he could see the deep brown of her eyes shining behind her disguise. Her pupils were large, fathomless.
“Rogue,” Amina said when she stood before him.
“You chide me baselessly.” His heart took up double time to have her so close and to hear her low, throaty voice again. Every now and again, he caught a hint of an unknown accent in her words, yet he could never ask after her origins.
She had to be from somewhere warm, a place where, beneath a gleaming sun, dark-eyed beauties felt temperate breezes caress their tawny skin. The thought of all Amina’s flesh bared to the sunlight
made his mouth water.
“I’m not a capricious creature,” she said crisply. “I do nothing without reason.”
“If you are my judge, I’m entitled to know the offense for which I am accused.”
She clicked her tongue. “Even worse that you don’t know.” At his mystified silence, she explained, “Six weeks. It’s been six weeks since I’ve last seen you within these chambers. I thought you’d enlisted or run off to Argentina.”
He smiled to himself. “You think me an adventurer?”
“I think you dreadfully rude to have disappeared,” she said coolly.
He bowed. “Family obligations, unfortunately, have kept me away.”
A corner of her mouth lifted. “I forget, sometimes, that people have families.”
Despite her wry smile, a note of melancholy tinged her voice, making him contemplate her kin. Did she
have any, and did they know what she did to earn her bread?
Then, she said more lightly, “You’re here now. That’s all that matters.”
“Thinking of this night has been a balm to me these past weeks,” he said candidly. There was no need to dissemble or tell flattering half-truths. Not here. Not with her.
“If you’ve been troubled, I am sorry for it.” Sincerity firmed her words. Perhaps he was, to her, more than another masked guest, something beyond a means to keep a roof over her head. God knew she held greater significance to him than her role as manager of this establishment.
He bowed. “I’ll find my way through my difficulties.” Or so he hoped. Every step put him deeper and
deeper into unknown, perilous territory. “Good,” she said. “It would pain me to think of you
The London Underground
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