Duke of Desire


By Elizabeth Hoyt

Formats and Prices




$10.49 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around October 17, 2017. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

An instant USA Today bestseller! A Lady of the Light Refined, kind, and intelligent, Lady Iris Jordan finds herself the unlikely target of a diabolical kidnapping. Her captors are the notoriously evil Lords of Chaos. When one of the masked—and nude!—Lords spirits her away to his carriage, she shoots him . . . only to find she may have been a trifle hasty. A Duke in Deepest Darkness Cynical, scarred, and brooding, Raphael de Chartres, the Duke of Dyemore, has made it his personal mission to infiltrate the Lords of Chaos and destroy them. Rescuing Lady Jordan was never in his plans. But now with the Lords out to kill them both, he has but one choice: marry the lady in order to keep her safe. Caught in a Web of Danger . . . And Desire Much to Raphael’s irritation, Iris insists on being the sort of duchess who involves herself in his life—and bed. Soon he’s drawn both to her quick wit and her fiery passion. But when Iris discovers that Raphael’s past may be even more dangerous than the present, she falters. Is their love strong enough to withstand not only the Lords of Chaos but also Raphael’s own demons? Don’t miss Elizabeth Hoyt’s brand new Greycourt series beginning with Not the Duke’s Darling!



Publishing a book is a group project. It's true that the ideas, the characters, and the first draft are all mine, but after that I have a lot of help. Thank you, then, to my editor Amy Pierpont, who has never flinched at one of my proposals—not even the one about the psychotic duke—and has been patient, kind, and perceptive all at the right times. Thank you to my beta reader, Susannah Taylor, who has both cheered me on and, perhaps more important, told me what really bugged her in the first draft. Thank you to my agent, Robin Rue, who sends me little emails when she hasn't heard from me in a while just to see how I'm doing. Thank you to my assistant, Mel Jolly, who keeps me from going insane, OMG. Thank you to my copy editor S. B. Kleinman, for keeping me from embarrassment. Thank you to the art department team, who work hard on the covers of my books (particularly this one): Alan Ayers and Elizabeth Turner. Thank you to the editorial department and the sales department and all the people who work at Grand Central Publishing who I never see except at rushed cocktail parties in New York.

You've all made this book not only readable but also far, far better than I could make it by myself.

And a very special thanks to my Facebook friend Galia B., who helped me name Tansy!

Chapter One

Once upon a time there lived a poor stonecutter.…

—From The Rock King

Considering how extremely dull her life had been up until this point, Iris Daniels, Lady Jordan had discovered a quite colorful way to die.

Torches flamed on tall stakes driven into the ground. Their flickering light in the moonless night made shadows jump and waver over the masked men grouped in a circle around her.

The naked masked men.

Their masks weren't staid black half masks, either. No. They wore bizarre animal or bird shapes. She saw a crow, a badger, a mouse, and a bear with a hairy belly and a crooked red manhood.

She knelt next to a great stone slab, a primitive fallen monolith brought here centuries ago by people long forgotten. Her trembling hands were bound in front of her, her hair was coming down about her face, her dress was in a shocking state, and she very much suspected that she might smell—a result of having been kidnapped over four days before.

In front of her stood three men, the masters of this horrific farce.

The first wore a fox mask. He was slim, pale, and, judging by his body hair, a redhead. His inner forearm was tattooed with a small dolphin.

The second wore a mask in the likeness of a young man's face with grapes in its hair—the god Dionysus if she wasn't mistaken—which, oddly, was far more terrifying than any of the animal masks. He bore a dolphin tattoo on his upper right arm.

The last wore a wolf mask and was taller by a head then the other two. His body hair was black, he stood with a calm air of power, and he, too, bore a dolphin tattoo—directly on the jut of his left hip bone. The placement rather drew the eye to the man's…erm…masculine attributes.

The man in the wolf mask had nothing to be ashamed of.

Iris shuddered in disgust and glanced away, accidentally meeting the Wolf's mocking gaze.

She lifted her chin in defiance. She knew what this group of men was. This was the Lords of Chaos, an odious secret society composed of aristocrats who enjoyed two things: power and the rape and destruction of women and children.

Iris swallowed hard and reminded herself that she was a lady—her family could trace its line nearly to the time of the Conqueror—and as such she had her name and honor to uphold.

These…creatures might kill her—and worse—but they would not take her dignity.

"My Lords!" the Dionysus called, raising his arms above his head in a theatrical gesture that showed very little taste—but then he was addressing an audience of nude, masked men. "My Lords, I welcome you to our spring revels. Tonight we make a special sacrifice—the new Duchess of Kyle!"

The crowd roared like slavering beasts.

Iris blinked. The Duchess of…

She glanced quickly around.

As far as she could see in the macabre flickering torchlight, she was the only sacrifice in evidence, and she was most certainly not the Duchess of Kyle.

The commotion began to die down.

Iris cleared her throat. "No, I'm not."

"Silence," the Fox hissed.

She narrowed her eyes at him. In the last four days she'd been kidnapped on her way home from the wedding of the true Duchess of Kyle, she'd been bound, hooded, and thrown on the floor of a carriage, where she'd remained as the carriage bumped over road after rutted road, and then, on arrival at this place, she'd been shoved into a tiny stone hut without any sort of fire. She had been starved and had only a few cups of water to drink. Last, but most definitely not least, she'd been forced to relieve herself in a bucket.

All of which had given her far too much time to contemplate her own death and what torture would precede it.

She might be terrified and alone, but she wasn't about to surrender to the Lords' plans without a fight. As far as she could see she had nothing to lose and quite possibly her life to gain.

So she raised her voice and said clearly and loudly, "You have made a mistake. I am not the Duchess of Kyle."

The Wolf turned to the Dionysus and spoke for the first time. His voice was deep and smoky. "Your men kidnapped the wrong woman."

"Don't be a fool," the Dionysus snapped at him. "We captured her three days after her wedding to Kyle."

"Yes, returning home to London from the wedding," Iris said. "The Duke of Kyle married a young woman named Alf, not me. Why would I leave the duke if I'd just married him?"

The Dionysus rounded on the Fox, making the other man cringe. "You told me that you saw her marry Kyle."

The Wolf chuckled darkly.

"She lies!" cried the Fox, and he leaped toward her, his arm raised.

The Wolf lunged, seized the Fox's right arm, twisted it up behind his back, and slammed the other man to his knees.

Iris stared and felt a tremble shake her body. She'd never seen a man move so swiftly.

Nor so brutally.

The Wolf bent over his prey, both men panting, their naked bodies sweating. The snout of the Wolf mask pressed against the Fox's vulnerable bent neck. "Don't. Touch. What. Is. Mine."

"Let him go," the Dionysus barked.

The Wolf didn't move.

The Dionysus's hands curled into fists. "Obey me."

The Wolf finally turned his mask from the Fox's neck to look at the Dionysus. "You have the wrong woman—a corrupt sacrifice, one not worthy of the revel. I want her."

"Take care," murmured the Dionysus. "You are new to our society."

The Wolf tilted his head. "Not so new as all that."

"Perhaps newly rejoined, then," the Dionysus replied. "You still do not know our ways."

"I know that as the host, I have the right to claim her," growled the Wolf. "She is forfeit to me."

The Dionysus tilted his head as if considering. "Only by my leave."

The Wolf abruptly threw wide his arms, releasing the Fox and gracefully standing again. "Then by your leave," he said, his words holding an edge of mockery.

The firelight gleamed off his muscled chest and strong arms. He stood with an easy air of command.

What would make a man with such natural power join this gruesome society?

The other members of the Lords of Chaos didn't seem happy at the thought of having their principal entertainment for the evening snatched out from under their noses. The masked men around her muttered and shifted, a restless miasma of danger hovering in the night air.

Any spark could set them off, Iris suddenly realized.

"Well?" the Wolf asked the Dionysus.

"You can't let her go," the Fox said to his leader, getting to his feet. There were red marks beginning to bruise on his pale skin. "Why the bloody hell are you listening to him? She's ours. Let us take our fill of her and—"

The Wolf struck him on the side of the head—a terrible blow that made the Fox fly backward.

"Mine," growled the Wolf. He looked at the Dionysus again. "Do you lead the Lords or not?"

"I think it more than evident that I lead the Lords," the Dionysus drawled, even as the muttering of the crowd grew louder. "And I think I need not prove my mettle by giving you this woman."

Iris swallowed. They were fighting over her like feral dogs over a scrap of meat. Was it better if the Wolf claimed her? She didn't know.

The Wolf stood between Iris and the Dionysus, and she saw the muscles in his legs and buttocks tense. She wondered if the Dionysus noticed that the other man was readying for battle.

"However," the Dionysus continued, "I can grant her to you as an act of…charity. Enjoy her in whatever way you see fit, but take care that her heart no longer beats when next the sun rises."

Iris sucked in a breath at the sudden death sentence. The Dionysus had ordered her murder as casually as he would step on a beetle.

"My word," the Wolf bit out, and Iris's fearful glance flew to him.

Dear God, these men were monsters.

The Dionysus tilted his head. "Your word—heard by all."

A low growl came from behind the wolf mask. He bent and gripped Iris's bound wrists and hauled her to her feet. She stumbled after him as he strode through the mass of angry masked men. The crowd jostled against her, shoving her from all sides with bare arms and elbows until the Wolf finally pulled her free.

She had been brought to this place hooded, and for the first time she saw that it was a ruined church or cathedral. Stones and broken arches loomed in the dark, and she tripped more than once over weed-covered rubble. The spring night was chilly away from the fires, but the man in the wolf mask, striding naked in the gloom, seemed unaffected by the elements. He continued his pace until they reached a dirt road and several waiting carriages.

He walked up to one and without preamble opened the door and shoved her inside. "Wait here. Don't scream or try to escape. You won't like my response."

And with that ominous statement the door closed. Iris was left panting in terror in the dark, empty carriage.

Immediately she tried the carriage door, but he'd locked or jammed it somehow. It wouldn't open.

She could hear men's voices in the distance. Shouts and cries. Dear God. They sounded like a pack of rabid dogs. What would the Wolf do to her?

She needed a weapon. Something—anything—with which to defend herself.

Hurriedly she felt the door—a handle, but she couldn't wrench it off—a small window, no curtains—the walls of the carriage—nothing. The seats were plush velvet. Expensive. Sometimes in better-made carriages the seats…

She yanked at one.

It lifted up.

Inside was a small space.

She reached in and felt a fur blanket. Nothing else.


She could hear the Wolf's growling voice just outside the carriage.

Desperately she flung herself at the opposite seat and tugged it up. Thrust her hand in.

A pistol.

She cocked it, praying that it was loaded.

She turned and aimed it at the door to the carriage just as the door swung open.

The Wolf loomed in the doorway—still nude—a lantern in one hand. She saw the eyes behind the mask flick to the pistol she held between her bound hands. He turned his head and said something in an incomprehensible language to someone outside.

Iris felt her breath sawing in and out of her chest.

He climbed into the carriage and closed the door, completely ignoring her and the pistol pointed at him. The Wolf hung the lantern on a hook and sat on the seat across from her.

Finally he glanced at her. "Put that down."

His voice was calm. Quiet.

With just a hint of menace.

She backed into the opposite corner, as far away from him as possible, holding the pistol up. Level with his chest. Her heart was pounding so hard it nearly deafened her. "No."

The carriage jolted into motion, making her stumble before she caught herself.

"T-tell them to stop the carriage," she said, stuttering with terror despite her resolve. "Let me go now."

"So that they can rape you to death out there?" He tilted his head to indicate the Lords. "No."

"At the next village, then."

"I think not."

He reached for her and she knew she had no choice.

She shot him.

The blast blew him into the seat and threw her hands up and back, the pistol narrowly missing her nose.

Iris scrambled to her feet. The bullet was gone, but she could still use the pistol as a bludgeon.

The Wolf was sprawled across the seat, blood streaming from a gaping hole in his right shoulder. His mask had been knocked askew on his face.

She reached forward and snatched it off.

And then gasped.

The face that was revealed had once been as beautiful as an angel's but was now horribly mutilated. A livid red scar ran from just below his hairline on the right side of his face, bisecting the eyebrow, somehow skipping the eye itself but gouging a furrow into the lean cheek and catching the edge of his upper lip, making it twist. The scar ended in a missing divot of flesh in the line of the man's severe jaw. He had inky black hair and, though they were closed now, Iris knew he had emotionless crystal-gray eyes.

She knew because she recognized him.

He was Raphael de Chartres, the Duke of Dyemore, and when she'd danced with him—once—three months ago at a ball, she'd thought he'd looked like Hades.

God of the underworld.

God of the dead.

She had no reason to change her opinion now.

Then he gasped, those frozen crystal eyes opened, and he glared at her. "You idiot woman. I'm trying to save you."


Raphael grimaced in pain, feeling the scar tissue on the right side of his face pull his upper lip. No doubt the movement turned his mouth into a grotesque sneer.

The woman who'd shot him had eyes the color of the sky above the moors just after a storm: blue-gray sky after black clouds. That particular shade of blue had been one of the few things his mother had found beautiful in England.

Raphael agreed.

Despite the fear that shone in them, Lady Jordan's blue-gray eyes were beautiful.

"What do you mean you're trying to save me?" She still held the pistol as if ready to club him over the head should he move, the bloodthirsty little thing.

"I mean that I don't intend to ravish and kill you." Years of anguish and dreams of revenge followed by months of planning to infiltrate the Lords of Chaos, only to have the whole thing collapse because of blue-gray eyes. He was a bloody fool. "I merely wished to spirit you away from the Lords of Chaos's debauchery. Oddly enough, I believed you would be grateful."

Her lovely brows drew together suspiciously over those eyes. "You promised the Dionysus that you'd kill me."

"I lied," he drawled. "If I'd meant you harm, I assure you, I'd have trussed you up like a Christmas goose. You'll note I didn't."

"Oh, dear Lord." She looked stricken as she flung down the pistol, staring at his gory shoulder. "This is a mess."

"Quite," he said through gritted teeth.

Raphael glanced down at his shoulder. The wound was a mass of mangled flesh, the blood pumping from within at a steady pace. This was not good. He'd meant to have her securely on the road back to London tonight, guarded by his men. If the Dionysus heard that she'd shot him, that he was weakened

He grunted and tried to sit up against the swaying of the carriage, eyeing her, this woman he'd only truly met once before.

He'd first seen her in a ballroom where he'd gone to meet members of the Lords of Chaos. In that den of corruption, swarming with his enemies, she'd stood out, pure and innocent. He'd warned her to leave that dangerous place. Then, when she'd walked alone back to her carriage, he'd shadowed her to make sure she made it safely there.

And that would've been that—had he not discovered that she was all but engaged to the Duke of Kyle—a man tasked, on orders of the King, with the risky job of bringing down the Lords of Chaos. Raphael knew that as long as Kyle pursued the Lords, Lady Jordan would be in danger. Because of this, Raphael had spent no little time worried about her. Had even gone so far as to trail her into the country to Kyle's estate.

There he'd seen her marry Kyle—or so he'd thought.

At that point Raphael had been forced to consider the matter at an end. Lady Jordan's protection was no longer his concern, but her husband's. Raphael might be loath to admit it, but Kyle was more than equal to the task of protecting his wife. If Raphael had felt some small twinge of longing…well, he'd made sure to bury it deep inside, where it would die a natural death from lack of light.

Yet now…

It was as if his previously stopped heart jolted and started beating again. "Are you truly not the Duchess of Kyle?"

"No." She reached for him, and he was astonished at how gentle her hands were. She had no cause to be gentle with him—not after what she'd been through tonight. Yet she placed both small palms about his left arm—the unharmed side—and helped him stand. He lurched across the moving carriage and half fell into the opposite seat.

"I, too, saw you married to Kyle," Raphael said evenly.

She glared. "How? Alf and Hugh were married inside their country manor. The King was there, and I assure you there were guards everywhere."

"I saw Kyle kiss you in the garden at the celebration afterwards," he said. "There might have been guards, but I assure you they neglected to search the woods overlooking the garden."

"It rather serves you right that you confused the matter since you were spying," she said tartly. "I don't remember Hugh kissing me, but if he did it was in a brotherly manner. We're friends. It doesn't matter anyway. Whatever you imagined you saw, I'm not married to Hugh."

He closed his eyes for a moment, wondering why she'd bothered moving him, when he felt the bulk of a fur rug bunched over his nude body. He hadn't even realized that he was shivering.

Ah, of course. The rug that had been stored in the bench he'd been sitting on. "Yet it was well known in London that you were to marry the Duke of Kyle."

"We let the gossips think I was the bride at the wedding because his real wife is without family or name." She shook her head. "'Twill be a scandal when the news comes out. Is that why you saved me? Because you thought I was the duchess?"

"No." Raphael opened his eyes and watched as she unwrapped the fichu from about her neck, exposing a deep décolletage. Her breasts were sweetly vulnerable. He glanced aside. Such things were not for one as tainted as he. "I would have rescued you in any case—duchess or not."

"But why?" She flipped the fur away from his shoulder and pressed the flimsy fichu hard against the wound.

He inhaled, not bothering to answer her nonsensical question. Did she think him a demon?

But then she had just seen him attending what was at base a demonic rite.

"You have to stop the carriage," she was saying. "I can't halt the bleeding. You need a doctor. I should—"

"We're near my home," he said, cutting her off. "We'll be there soon enough. Just keep pressing. You're doing fine, Lady Jordan. You tend a wound nearly as well as you dance." 

Her blue-gray gaze flicked up to his, wide with surprise. "I wasn't sure if you recognized me from the ball."

This was intimate, her face so close to his. He naked and she with the upper slopes of her breasts uncovered. He felt hazy with desperate temptation. He could smell her, above the scent of his own blood—a faint flower scent.

Not cedarwood, thank God.

"You're hard to forget," he murmured.

She frowned as if uncertain whether he complimented or insulted her. "Is that why you rescued me? Because you knew me from that one dance?"

"No." Not at all. He hadn't known whom the Dionysus meant to sacrifice tonight. Hadn't known there was to be a sacrifice—though of course that was a possibility. Would he have rescued any woman?


But the moment he'd seen her, he'd known he had to act. "You seem oddly competent at handling a gunshot wound."

"My late husband James was an officer in His Majesty's army," she said. "I followed him on campaign on the Continent. There were times when tending a wound became very helpful."

He swallowed, watching her from beneath half-lowered lids, trying to think. He couldn't afford to show weakness in these parts—it was why he'd brought his own servants from Corsica. The Lords of Chaos were powerful in this area. If the Dionysus discovered that he was wounded, he—and she—would be in peril. The Dionysus already wanted her dead and expected Raphael to kill her.

A wicked idea crept into his mind.

She was a temptation—a temptation aimed at his one weakness. He'd walked alone for so long. For his entire life, really. He'd never thought to seek another. To permit any light into his darkness.

But she was right here, within his grasp. To let her go again was beyond his control right now. He was weakened, dizzy, lost. Dear God, he wanted to keep her for himself.

And the means to convince her to stay with him had just dropped into his lap.

"The blood has soaked my fichu." She sounded upset, but not hysterical. She was a strong woman—stronger than he'd first realized when he'd pulled her from the revelry.

He made his decision. "You need to marry me."

Her beautiful eyes widened in what looked like alarm. "What? No! I'm not going to—"

He reached up and grasped her wrist with his left hand. Both her hands were pressed firmly on his wound. Her skin was warm and soft. "The Dionysus ordered me to kill you. If—"

She tried to recoil. "You're not going to—"

He squeezed her fragile wrist, feeling the beating of her heart. Feeling this moment in time.

Seizing it.

"Listen. I meant to have you safely on the road to London tonight. That isn't possible now that I'm wounded. The only way I can protect you is to marry you. If you're my duchess, you'll have my name and my money to shield you when they come, and believe me, Lady Jordan, the Dionysus's men will come for you. They need to silence you, for you know far too much about the Lords of Chaos now."

She snorted. "They thought I was the Duchess of Kyle before. That certainly didn't protect me."

"I am an entirely different duke than Kyle," he replied with flat certainty. He brought his other hand up and untied the rope around her wrists. "And I also have my servants."

She frowned down at her freed wrists and then at him. "How will they keep me from being murdered?"

"They are Corsicans—brave and loyal to a fault—and I have over two dozen." He'd spent his life filled with rage, grief, and a drive for revenge. He'd never even thought of marriage. This was a flight of fancy. An aberration. A diversion from the strict path he'd set for his life. Yet he could not find it within himself to resist. "My men answer only to me. If you're my wife—my family and my duchess—they will protect you with their lives. If I die due to your gunshot wound and you do not marry me, they may look upon you far less favorably."

Her plump mouth dropped open in outrage. "You'd blackmail me into marriage? Are you deranged?"

Oh, indeed. Probably on both counts. "I'm wounded." He arched an eyebrow. "And attempting to save your life. You might try thanking me."

"Thank you? I—"

Fortunately the carriage halted before she could articulate what she thought of that idea.


  • "Duke of Desire is a beautifully written tale of revenge and reconciliation, despair, and hope, loathing, and love. A most fitting end to a spectacular series."—Heroes & Heartbreakers
  • RT Book Reviews Top Pick! "4.5 Stars! A thrilling end [to] this addictive series!"—RT Book Reviews
  • "4 1/2 Stars! Top Pick! Always unique, wonderfully romantic and highly sensual, Hoyt's stories take readers' breath away."—RT Book Reviews on Duke of Pleasure
  • "4 1/2 Stars! Top Pick! Hoyt delivers a unique read on many levels: a love story, a tale of redemption and a plot teeming with emotional depth that takes readers' breaths away. Kudos to a master storyteller!"—RT Book Reviews on Duke of Sin
  • "4 1/2 Stars! Top Pick! It is a story that takes your breath away and leaves you uplifted. Hoyt does it again!"—RT Book Reviews on Sweetest Scoundrel
  • "[T]his superbly executed historical romance is proof positive that this RITA Award-nominated author continues to write with undiminished force and flair. When it comes to incorporating a generous measure of dangerous intrigue and lush sensuality into a truly swoonworthy love story, Hoyt is unrivaled."—Booklist (starred review) on Dearest Rogue
  • "4 1/2 Stars! Hoyt takes an unlikely pair of characters and, through the magic of her storytelling, turns them into the perfect couple... [A] read to remember."—RT Book Reviews on Dearest Rogue
  • "Hoyt's exquisitely nuanced characters, vividly detailed setting, and seemingly effortless and elegant writing provide the splendid material from which she fashions yet another ravishingly romantic love story."—Booklist (starred review) on Darling Beast
  • "4 1/2 Stars! Top Pick! Darling Beast is wondrous, magical and joyous -- a read to remember."—RT Book Reviews
  • "Richly drawn characters fill the pages of this emotionally charged mix of mystery and romance."—Publishers Weekly on Duke of Midnight
  • "4 1/2 Stars! Top Pick! There is enchantment in the Maiden Lane series, not just the fairy tales Hoyt infuses into the memorable romances, but the wonder of love combined with passion, unique plotlines and unforgettable characters."—RT Book Reviews on Duke of Midnight
  • "I adore each book in this series and encourage you to start from the beginning."—USA Today's Happy Ever After Blog on Lord of Darkness
  • "Lord of Darkness is classic Elizabeth Hoyt, meaning it's unique, engaging, and leaves readers on the edge of their seats, waiting for the next book . . ."—JoyfullyReviewed.com on Lord of Darkness

On Sale
Oct 17, 2017
Page Count
352 pages

Elizabeth Hoyt

About the Author

Elizabeth Hoyt is the New York Times bestselling author of over seventeen lush historical romances including the Maiden Lane series. Publishers Weekly has called her writing “mesmerizing.” She also pens deliciously fun contemporary romances under the name Julia Harper. Elizabeth lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with three untrained dogs, a garden in constant need of weeding, and the long-suffering Mr. Hoyt.
The winters in Minnesota have been known to be long and cold and Elizabeth is always thrilled to receive reader mail. You can write to her at: P.O. Box 19495, Minneapolis, MN 55419 or email her at: Elizabeth@ElizabethHoyt.com.

Learn more about this author