Duke of Desire is #12 in the Maiden Lane series of Georgian historical romances written by one of my favourite authors, Elizabeth Hoyt. You don't need to have read the others to enjoy the story, as the only characters to reoccur (from Duke of Pleasure) are Iris and Hugh.
On the way back from the wedding of her friend Hugh, Iris is kidnapped by members of the Lords of Chaos (a kind of Hellfire Club) who intend to sacrifice her in revenge for Hugh's campaign against them. She is rescued by the Duke of Dyemore, Raphael de Chartres, who has infiltrated the Lords with the intent of destroying them. Unfortunately Iris, misunderstanding his intent, promptly shoots him! They then spend the rest of the story trying to keep one step ahead of the Lords, who are determined to get their revenge.
I love this series because it's set in Georgian times, rather than the usual Regency or Victorian. The brooding-hero-with-a-bleak-past is one of my favourite tropes, and I always enjoy stories where the heroine doesn't whinge about her misfortune but just gets on with turning her life around. I loved the hero's gothic castle, with its sinister locked doors, and his rather sweet view of Iris bringing light to his dark. I think my only complaint would be that the story seemed to be over too quickly, but then the best stories often are!
Although Elizabeth Hoyt often references fairy tales in her novels, they are much darker and grittier than authors such as Julia Quinn or Eloisa James, and the sex scenes are more explicit - on a par with Sylvia Day's historical romances. So this book might not be to everyone's taste. Also, some might feel that the hero's grim past, as a victim of child abuse, is a little too dark.
But I really enjoyed all the action and adventure. It was a fitting end to a brilliant series, and I look forward to reading whatever Elizabeth Hoyt comes up with next.