A rogue ruined . . .
He is the Killer Duke, accused of murdering Mara Lowe on the eve of her wedding. With no memory of that fateful night, Temple has reigned over the darkest of London’s corners for twelve years, wealthy and powerful, but beyond redemption. Until one night, Mara resurfaces, offering the one thing he’s dreamed of . . . absolution.
A lady returned . . .
Mara planned never to return to the world from which she’d run, but when her brother falls deep into debt at Temple’s exclusive casino, she has no choice but to offer Temple a trade that ends in her returning to society and proving to the world what only she knows . . . that he is no killer.
A scandal revealed . . .
It’s a fine trade, until Temple realizes that the lady—and her past—are more than they seem. It will take every bit of his strength to resist the pull of this mysterious, maddening woman who seems willing to risk everything for honor . . . and to keep from putting himself on the line for love.
And here is Jessica M.'s review:
Temple is heir to the Dukedom of Lamont or, rather, was. He stood to inherit everything until the night it all changed. Now known as the Killer Duke, Temple is the third member of The Fallen Angel.
This is the third book in the series, each book could be read as a stand-alone, but I would follow the reading order as these characters play a role in each book. This is another BIG hit for Sarah MacLean. I should preface this review by letting you know I am a HUGE fan of hers. Her writing, as always, is impeccable. The timing with plot points had me on the edge of my seat.
What is this book about? Well, Mara Lowe was set to marry the Duke of Lamont. She mysteriously goes missing after a night with William, Marquess of Chapin (AKA Temple). Temple awakens in a bed filled with blood and she is not seen again. Because of the disappearance Temple is thrown out by his father; he later finds allies in Bourne and Chase. Together with Cross, they are the founders of The Fallen Angel, a notorious gaming hall.
The prosperous gaming hall has been the only home he’s known for the past twelve years. He is now the Angel’s prominent fighter and has never been taken down. In the past twelve years, the only place where Temple has found peace has been in the ring. The gamblers of the Angel that have lost their bets have the chance of gaining back all they have lost. They must win a round with Temple in the ring and their losses will be returned.
Everything changes when Christopher Lowe loses everything in the Angel. Christopher Lowe is Mara’s brother and has gambled away her money as well as his. Mara has been in hiding as the owner of an orphanage. She finds Temple and reveals herself in order to gain back the money for the orphanage and to absolve her brother’s debts. What ensues is a whirlwind of drama, angst, more betting, and more fighting.
Temple is a character with many conflicting emotions. He is drawn to Mara and tries to fight it. The ultimate scoundrel, he’s lived on the fringes of society as the “Killer Duke” because of Mara. Temple really shines throughout this story in his dual roles as both victim and villain. I was always rooting for Temple as he is misunderstood. Mara, however, took quite a lot of chapters for me to accept as the heroine and to like.
Mara ruins Temple’s life. No ifs, ands, or buts. MacLean does an excellent job of depicting her as a villain with vulnerabilities. I hated Mara and then I loved her. She stands for what she wants; she’s headstrong but a good person to have on your side. She doesn’t care whom she bulldozes over in order to get what she wants. But, with age comes wisdom and Mara has had to live with twelve years of guilt while raising the illegitimate children of royalty that have been left behind. The burden she’s been carrying is heavy and she is relieved and also scared about the consequences. Everything she does is for a reason: she may be pigheaded, but she truly believes in all her causes. The character development is beautifully done.
“I thought that it would wipe the slate clean. That you could once again be the Duke of Lamont, and I could fade away — and never bother you again. But I couldn’t do it.” She shook her head. “I wanted you too much.”
This unlikely pair has explosive chemistry. Their constant bickering and negotiating is a sort of foreplay. Both are trying to deny their connection because of their very rocky start, however, they are fighting a losing battle. Throughout all of their banter, there is an underlying sexual tension. To the point that even when Temple puts gloves on Mara it drips with sensuality.
He pressed a kiss to the soft pad of muscle at the base of her thumb before he fastened the buttons and made his way to her wrist, where he pressed another soft kiss, and fastened more.
And so it went, on and on, up the inside of her arm with light delicate kisses, each sending a shock of heat through her, each locked in by silk, by him. Each one a ruination of its own, as it made her want to crawl into his lap and do his bidding without question.
Woven through the background of a gaming hall, underground fighting bouts, and the bloodthirsty ton, this is a tale of second chances and growth. I give this story an A. I was consumed by it for days. I needed to solve the mystery surrounding the Killer Duke and I wasn’t disappointed.
The ending . . . my jaw dropped. I’ve gone back and reread the books to find clues leading to this and they’re hidden in plain view. IT’S AMAZING! The subtle hints throughout all the books are another leading example of MacLean’s superb writing.