Month of Love Review: What The Duke Desires by Jenna Petersen
[The Billingham Bastards 1]
The duke always gets exactly what he wants . . .
As the new Duke of Billingham, Simon Crathorne has one main duty to fulfill: find a proper wife and continue his family’s exalted name. But of all the eligible women who have come to his country party, he desires only one. And she may be the most unsuitable bride of all.
Lillian Mayhew is desperate to expose a devastating secret about Simon’s distinguished late father so she can salvage her family’s reputation. Yet from the moment she meets her rakishly handsome host, she begins to question if she can destroy his world so callously. She once wanted nothing more than to destroy his good name—and now she wants nothing more than his kiss.
Caught between vengeance and ecstasy, Simon and Lillian begin a passionate affair. But betrayal lurks behind every stolen touch—and the duke’s shocking past may be his ultimate undoing . . .
When I open the pages of a Jenna Petersen book, I pretty much already know that what lies ahead of me is going to be a great read. Whether she’s writing as Jenna Petersen or Jess Micheals, – it doesn’t matter, she brings with her characters with layers, delicious scandals, and steamy romances. What the Duke Desires is first in her Billingham Bastards series about finding out that everything about your family, about yourself, is a lie.
When we begin, we meet our heroine Lady Lillian Mayhew. Her family has been torn asunder by a man everyone else sees to be a paragon of virtue, the late Duke of Billingham. However, she knows the truth of her mother’s suicide was the result of his dastardly deeds. On her father’s death bed is where she learns this truth when he request vengeance for his wife to her brother. Now her brother takes this news harshly, and like their father, drowns in his sorrows. So Lillian takes it upon herself to be the harbinger of doom to the Billingham family. It’s not until she meets her enemy that she starts having second thoughts.
The recently ascended Duke of Billingham, Simon Cathorne, knows absolutely nothing of his father’s nefarious deeds or how they relate to the lovely Lady Mayhew. At his own house party, thrown by the dowager duchess, he meets a bevy of single misses all ready to marry, but it’s Lillian who’s caught his eye. The fact that she comes attached with scandal and no money means nothing to him, he just has to have her.
What I loved most about this book was the characters. Simon is a truly noble hero facing hit after hit as he discovers what his father really was. Lillian is actually a good woman trying to do the right thing, but discovering what that ‘right thing’ is, is not so simple. On top of that, there are a terrific set of secondary characters adding to the drama.
The story is one I haven’t seen before and that is always refreshing. Simon’s father led a very secretive life, and as his heir, Simon’s left to pick up the pieces. I particularly liked the surprising part of the plot where Simon discovers why his mother has behaved so oddly toward him – it was well handled in the book and was an interesting and entirely plausible series of events.
What the Duke Desires has great characters, complex emotional development and a few surprises along the way coupled with a romantic and sexy love story. I’m looking forward to Caleb’s story in A Scoundrel’s Surrender.
The Billingham Bastards
What the Duke Desires-November 1, 2009
The Unclaimed Duchess-August 31, 2010 ()
A Scoundrel’s Surrender-August 1, 2011
Find Jenna Petersen:
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Book purchased by KittNLuv.