by Christy Carlyle
Series: Duke's Den #1
Published on November 27, 2018 by Avon
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Genres: Adult, Historical Romance, Romance
In the first novel in Christy Carlyle’s sizzling Duke’s Den series, three men, intent on making a fortune, discover irresistible opportunities . . .
Nicholas Lyon gambled his way into a fortune and ownership of the most opulent, notorious gentlemen’s club in England. But when Nick’s cruel brother dies, he inherits a title he never wanted. The sooner Nick is rid of the estate that has always haunted him, the sooner he can return to the life he’s built in London. But there’s one obstacle—the exquisite Thomasina Thorne.
When the new heir to the Tremayne dukedom suddenly appears in Mina Thorne’s life, she’s flustered. Not only is he breathtakingly handsome, but he’s also determined to take away her home and position as steward of the Enderley estate. If Mina learns what makes the enigmatic duke tick, perhaps she can change his mind—as long as she doesn’t get too close to him.
With each day Nick spends with Mina, his resolve weakens as their colliding wills lead to explosive desire. Could she be the one woman who can help him finally bury the ghosts of his past?
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For my first read from Christy Carlyle, I have to say I was quite the fan of A Duke Changes Everything. I wouldn’t call it a standout historical romance by any means but the characters were intriguing and the plot kept me reading from start to finish.
This particular romance took a step away from the aristocracy a smidge by featuring a duke who doesn’t want to be a duke and would rather own a gambling den. Combined with a stewardess as the heroine, it was a nice change from novels centered on navigating London society life.
Mina has acted as steward for the estate she grew up on since her father passed away, a role women generally weren’t allowed to hold at least in the eyes of society. So right there I’m already intrigued. I love books where the women challenge social norms. Then she’s forced to deal with a new duke (who owns the estate) adding tension to the mix. I was rooting for Mina to succeed in whatever she set her mind to from the very start, but what I really loved is that she never lost sight of the people she had worked with at the estate, the people that the nobility didn’t necessarily think about. Specifically Nick who wasn’t interested in the title but didn’t consider all the people that came with a dukedom.
Of course, that didn’t put Nick in a good light for me in the beginning. He was hurt in his past and lashing out from years of bad memories, but it was harmful to others and I was just waiting for Mina to put him in his place. Which she did. So we’re good. But the initial impression wasn’t great. That said, I felt like Nick had a lot of depth to his character that unfolded over the course of the book and, by the end, I couldn’t help but like him too.
In terms of the romance, it was such a slow burn and I loved every moment of it. Obviously, I wanted them to get to the kissing much sooner but that’s just the slow burn for you. Mina and Nick had chemistry from the start and I really liked that it didn’t turn into a case of emotional denial. I hate when the protagonists constantly deny their feelings for each other in romances because, more often than not, it feels like a ploy to add tension to the story (and not one I’m a fan of). I didn’t get that here. They let the romance develop naturally and by the end we had our requisite happy ending and I felt satisfied with how their relationship panned out.
I’m looking forward to the next book in the series and will definitely need to look into Carlyle’s other books!