Just reading, drawing,crocheting and enjoying naps
'm always in the height of anticipation when it comes to Hoyt's newest book. When I found out it was to be Maximus Batten, Duke of Wakefield book, I couldn't wait to see how Hoyt would make him eat his harsh words toward a kind lady's companion and what made him tick.
The thing was he was out shined by IMO the best heroine of the series so far Artemis Greaves. Artemis has had some really crappy hands dealt to her in life and the last blow was her very sane twin brother Apollo thrown into Bedlam for a crime he didn't commit. Artemis is almost at her wit's end in how to get her brother outta there, when the Ghost of St.Giles drops in to save her and her dim-witted cousin and leaves a clue to who he is behind the mask.
Driven by revenge and guilt Maximus haunts St.Giles to track down the murder of his parents as one of the Ghosts of St.Giles. When he saves two women from footpads, he meets his match in Artemis who was ready to go toe to toe with the footpads if need be. In a moment he reached for her hand to help he he lost his family ring. That small action will haunt him when that ring leads Artemis back to him and a battle of blackmail and wills will turn into something even fiercer- love.
Artemis was such an amazing character, she didn't back down and fought with everything she had. She grabbed onto what happiness she could and it only brought her out stronger then before. She truly overtook the spotlight from Maxiums whom at times was to narrowed minded in his views that was expected from someone of his rank, but he hung onto the belief longer then I thought was needed or wanted. (I don't know if this was a nod to or what but Maxiums in his alter-ego and his actions of being in a "cave" to work out, rich-bachelor, man-servant who knows everything- sounds very much like Batman. Which I kept humming the 1960's theme song through-out reading the novel) through Even when Artemis had to go to blackmail in order to save her twin, she never lost her spark.
I found the relationship between the two was refreshing as they become friends/rivals/enemies before they became lovers. They had a good footing between them to understand where the other stood before they made the move into something more. The tension was amazing as I feel many HRs tend to lack sexual tension now of days. There's always room for appetizers before the main course!
The thing was I felt the leap to that something more made the romance lack that punch that other Hoyt books have. The build up started to focus more on getting Apollo out of that hellhole and Maxiums getting closer to the murderer of his parents. This left some very hot scenes between Artemis and Maxiums and the angst and inner struggle both must go through to be with one another.
This is where Maxiums became human to me instead of the ice duke. When he begged Artemis to stay with him even knowing he should marry her because he loves her and it was the right path to take(plus he takes his sweet time getting married to her!). It was sweet and heartbreaking to see him released from the chains that binded him to the past in order to move forward. Along with Artemis who always came across strong and only became stronger.
Duke of Midnight gives us some amazing side characters like Phoebe the almost blind sister of Maxiums and Apollo who I can't wait to read about their own stories.
Hoyt also leaves us with a treat, a tease for the future Maiden Lane books and with this series it only ever gets better with each book. The Duke of Midnight was a wonderful addition to this series and only makes a fan of this series of it hunger for more and wait with anticipation for the next book!