Lady Marissa Hawkestone is at a ball where she is expecting Lord Rutherford to propose. Marissa wants to marry for love and has made that well known in the ton. So, good old Rutherford has told Marissa he loves her, except he only loves her dowry because his dad has cut him off until he changes. Maitland Spencer, the Duke of Lyttleton is attending the ball to guard Marissa. Marissa's brother is one of his best friends and a fellow Libertine Scholars. The Libertine Scholars are being stalked by a woman that is out of revenge for something their father's did and she is also attacking their families.
Maitland is outside to smoke when he hears Rutherford and his mistress in the bushes. He is appalled and does not want Marissa to marry Rutherford. He flirts with Marissa and all but compromises her in the ball room.
The next morning, Marissa wakes up in a strange bed, naked, with Maitland. They have been drugged and locked in the room by the stalker. Maitland does what is expected and proposes. Marissa initally refuses him because she loves Rutherford, until Maitland tells her what he heard through the bushes at the ball.
Once Maitland and Marissa marry, she discovers that the only place that he shows passion is the bedroom. He has been nicknamed "the Cold Duke" because of his childhood and he is trying not to be the horn-dog that his father was.
I was on the fence with this novel. I liked Maitland and understood why he was "the Cold Duke". I thought Marissa was too wild for the period this is set in. A good Regency girl would have known she had to marry Maitland when they were compromised. I was also having problems with the "stalker". All of the Libertine Scholar's fathers are dead. To go to this extreme for revenge, wow. Then I got to the point that I reached a plot twist that was so huge, I just stopped reading. I wasn't expecting it and it changed the whole tone of the novel for me. It was jaw dropping. I wanted to yell at Marissa that she should have listened to Maitland or she wouldn't be in that situation.
I received this ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.