Friday, January 23, 2015

Duke of Midnight by Elizabeth Hoyt


Maiden Lane #6
I am glad to find out this story is about Artemis. She has been a surprise in other books in this series. It is unfortunate for her that she has to be servant to her dimwitted and loud mouthed cousin Lady Penelope. Artemis has some grit!
Artemis and Penelope were in St. Giles on a bet which stupid Penelope got them into. They were about to be attacked and the Ghost of St. Giles saved them. When the Ghost helped Artemis up, he handed her a ring. Then Penelope attacked him. He pushed her away and ran off.
The ladies went to a ball the next night and Artemis was telling their tale to Maximus, Duke of Wakefield, who happens to be courting Penelope. She mentioned the ring. Later that night the Ghost appears in her room and began searching for the ring. It was his father's ring. She wakes and catches him. They talk and then he escapes into the night.
Then Maximus has a house party and Artemis realizes that he is the Ghost. She threatens to tell everyone unless he helps her brother. He gets so angry but he is fascinated by her.  What do you think happens next? Will we find out why he is a Ghost?

I liked this one but I didn't feel the connection between Artemis and Maximus as I did with the couples in the other books in this series.

From the author:
WHEN A MASKED MAN . . .

Twenty years ago Maximus Batten witnessed the brutal murders of his parents. Now the autocratic Duke of Wakefield, he spends his days ruling Parliament. But by night, disguised as the Ghost of St. Giles, he prowls the grim alleys of St. Giles, ever on the hunt for the murderer. One night he finds a fiery woman who meets him toe-to-toe—and won’t back down…

MEETS HIS MATCH . . .

Artemis Greaves toils as a lady’s companion, but hiding beneath the plain brown serge of her dress is the heart of a huntress. When the Ghost of St. Giles rescues her from footpads she recognizes a kindred spirit—and is intrigued. She’s even more intrigued when she realizes who exactly the notorious Ghost is by day…

DESIRE IGNITES A DANGEROUS PASSION

Artemis makes a bold move: she demands that Maximus use his influence to free her imprisoned brother—or she will expose him as the Ghost. But blackmailing a powerful duke isn’t without risks. Now that she has the tiger by the tail, can she withstand his ire—or the temptation of his embrace?

Excerpt:
CHAPTER ONE
July 1740
London, England

Artemis Greaves did not like to think herself a cynical person, but when the masked figure dropped into the moonlit alley to confront the three toughs already menacing her and her cousin, the hand on the knife in her boot tightened.

It seemed only prudent.

He was big and wore a harlequin’s motley—black-and-red diamond leggings and tunic, black jackboots, a hat with a wide, floppy brim, and a black half mask with a grotesquely outsized nose. Harlequins were meant to be clowns—a silly entertainment—but no one in the dark alley was laughing. The harlequin uncoiled from his crouch with a lethal movement so elegant Artemis’s breath caught in her throat. He was like a jungle cat—wild and without a trace of compassion—and like a jungle cat his attack held no hesitation.

He launched himself at the three men.

Artemis stared, still kneeling, her hand gripping the little blade sheathed in her boot. She’d never seen anyone fight like this—with a kind of brutal grace, two swords flashing at once through the shadows, too swift for the human eye to follow.

The first of the three men dropped, rolling to lie still and dazed. On the other side of the fight Artemis’s cousin, Lady Penelope Chadwicke, whimpered, cringing away from the bleeding man. A second man lunged, but the harlequin ducked, sweeping his outstretched leg under his opponent’s feet, then kicked the man to the ground and kicked him once more—viciously—in the face. The harlequin rose, already striking at the third man. He hammered the butt of his sword against his opponent’s temple.

The man collapsed with a squishy thud.

Artemis swallowed drily.

The dingy little lane was suddenly quiet, the crumbling buildings on either side seeming to loom inward with decrepit menace. The harlequin pivoted, not even breathing hard, his boot heels scraping on cobblestones, and glanced at Penelope. She still sobbed fearfully against the wall.

His head swiveled silently as he looked from Penelope to Artemis.

Artemis inhaled as she met the cold eyes glittering behind his sinister mask.

Once upon a time she had believed that most people were kind. That God watched over her and that if she were honest and good and always offered the last piece of raspberry tart to someone else first, then, even though sad things might happen, in the end everything would work out for the best. That was before, though. Before she’d lost both her family and the man who’d professed to love her more than the sun itself. 

Before her beloved brother had been wrongly imprisoned in Bedlam. Before she’d been so wretchedly desperate and alone that she’d wept tears of relieved gratitude when she’d been offered a position as her silly cousin’s lady’s companion.

Before, Artemis would’ve fallen upon this grim harlequin with cries of thanks for having rescued them in the nick of time.

Now, Artemis narrowed her eyes at the masked man and wondered why he’d come to the aid of two lone women wandering the dangerous streets of St. Giles at midnight.

She winced.

Perhaps she had grown a trifle cynical.

He strode to her in two lithe steps and stood over her. She saw those intense eyes move from the hand on her pathetic knife to her face. His wide mouth twitched—in amusement? Irritation? Pity? She doubted the last, but she simply couldn’t tell—and bizarrely, she wanted to. It mattered, somehow, what this stranger thought of her—and, of course, what he intended to do to her.

Holding her gaze, he sheathed his short sword and pulled the gauntlet off his left hand with his teeth. He held out his bare hand to her.

Read more here.

ebook400 pages
Published October 15th 2013 by Grand Central Publishing (first published January 1st 2013)

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