The Duke of Daring: The Untouchables #2 by Darcy Burke

The Duke of Daring: The Untouchables #2 by Darcy Burke

Darcy Burke is on the blog today with the second book in The Untouchables historic romance series. Please read on for my review and excerpt and check out the tour stops to see what other readers thought. Then be sure to enter the tour wide giveaway where you could win a $25 Amazon Gift Card and a print copy of The Forbidden Duke.

The Duke of Daring

The moniker of Untouchable works in both sides of the coin in Darcy Burke’s series. Debutantes who failed at the marriage mart that is their coming out and eligible Dukes with reputations or personal histories that ensure their solitary lives.  Fortunately for both, circumstances and attraction take precedence, allowing them to find happiness they once thought lost.

Lucinda Parnell has had her season, and there is little money left for another. While she’s not interested in being a ‘thing’, even without offers, she decides to take matters into her own hands. Disgusing herself as a man and entering the gambling hells to win enough money to support herself and her grandmother in the country, she’s flouting convention and propriety.  I really liked Lucy: she’s got skill and intelligence, and isn’t willing to bow to the pressure. Her family (read father) didn’t provide an income substantial enough to support her, but she won’t let that rule her life.

Andrew Wentworth, Earl of Danforth has spent his entire life daring fate. After losing his family to illness, he’s still reeling from grief and the unwillingness to allow anyone close. He’s the first to dash into a situation, and the fates decided he should survive them all. Poor Andrew – he’s so stuck in his childhood self, abandoned and guilty, that nothing will fill that hole.  Until he notices a woman, disguised as a man, at the table.

These two are adorable together – if full of contradictions and stubbornness. Andrew’s sense of honor won’t allow him to NOT step up to Lucy and offer aid, and Lucy is determined to go it on her own, not really trusting in the word or intentions of a man, never mind the man she and her friends dubbed The Duke of Daring.

They’ve both been hurt, and neither is completely aware of just what holds them back. A curious journey of acquainting themselves with one another, developing a friendship and daring to explore the attraction that scares them to death.  Of course, the push-pull between them is strong, as both are afraid to explore the connection and trust in someone else, and this back and forth did get frustrating as every moment of them together showed just how perfect they were together.  But, Burke used the situations, dialogue and characterizations to build the story to its inevitable conclusion. While I didn’t love this as much as The Forbidden Duke, the story is solid and engaging, keeping me in the world and concerned about the couple’s fate to the end.

The Duke of Daring: The Untouchables #2 by Darcy Burke

Title: The Duke of Daring
Author: Darcy Burke
Series: The Untouchables #2
Also in this series: The Forbidden Duke
Genre: Historical Romance, Regency
Published by: Self-Published
Published on: 5 July 2016
Source: Author via Tour Company
Pages: 233
Rated: four-stars
Heat: One FlameOne FlameOne Flame

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Miss Lucinda Parnell is out of money, a dismal failure at the Marriage Mart, and she’d just as soon leave Society far behind. Desperate to earn funds to retire with her grandmother to the country, Lucy disguises herself as a man to gamble in London’s hells. But the Earl of Dartford, an Untouchable she never imagined speaking to let alone spending time with, is onto her in a trice. When he insists on joining her, Lucy fears her desire to remain an independent woman is destined to go up on flames.

As a boy, Andrew Wentworth, Earl of Dartford lost his family to illness, leaving him a hollow shell. Obsessed with conquering one adventure after another to fill the bitter holes inside of him, Andrew has set his sights on parachuting. Nothing will stop him from trying to achieve his goal—not the hazard of death and certainly not a woman who’s gotten far too close. Love is the one risk he doesn’t have the heart to dare.

See The Untouchables Series on GoodReads

A copy of this title was provided via Author via Tour Company for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

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“Yes, let’s be direct with one another, shall we?”

Lucy blinked at him. “I am always direct.”

“Unless you’re trying to fool people into thinking you’re a man.” His sarcasm was simultaneously annoying and charming.

“Yes, that. A necessary transgression, I’m sure you agree.”

His brow arched. “I hardly think you care whether I agree.”

He had her there. She grinned. “Maybe a little. I mean, I do care. A little.” She’d come to like Dartford during their brief acquaintance, in spite of his moments of arrogance and imperiousness. She looked forward to another adventure or two with him. “You have my word that I won’t venture out without your assistance. Shall we set our next appointment?”

His eyes widened briefly. He seemed a bit surprised at the ease with which she’d agreed. “Excellent. Tell me when, and I’ll meet you as I did tonight.”

“Four nights hence, at half past eleven.”

The hackney drew to a halt on Bolton Street, but not in front of her house. They stepped out of the cab, and Dartford paid the coachman.

With her house in sight, weariness seeped into Lucy’s frame. She longed to pluck all the padding from her body and scrub her face clean after discarding the fake sideburns.

Dartford walked with her toward the house. “What would your grandmother say if she knew you were doing this?”

Lucy suffered a pang of guilt. “She’d be horrified.”

“What does she think you’re going to do once she retires?”

They’d reached her house. Lucy stopped and turned toward him. “She expects me to marry.”

“And is that a possibility?” he asked. Shadows played across his face, but she could see his eyes clearly. They were dark, intelligent, often filled with humor. His cheekbones gave definition, while his chin, square with a slight cleft, provided character. He bore an appealing countenance. No, that wasn’t at all fair. He was exceptionally handsome. And an earl. Precisely the kind of man her grandmother had hoped she would marry but who’d consistently ignored her the past five years. An Untouchable.

She tamped down a scowl, suddenly annoyed anew at her predicament, which was silly since she’d abandoned the idea of marriage. A choice she didn’t regret in the slightest.

She gestured to her costume and the sideburns stuck to her face, currently making her itch. “Would I be doing this if it were?”

He shrugged. “Perhaps it is possible, but you don’t wish to marry, so you choose this instead.”

That actually summed up her current attitude quite accurately. She would choose this over marriage. “As it happens, Idon’t wish to marry.”

“Indeed?” He cocked his head to the side. “How surprising. We are alike, then, because I don’t wish to marry either. Some distant cousin will need to inherit the title.”

She wanted to ask why but didn’t. That would encourage him to ask her the same, and she had no intention of explaining that to him. Besides, it was best if they didn’t become too…close. This was a necessary partnership, but they weren’t going to be lifelong friends.

“Are those comfortable?” He reached out with his fingertips and brushed the sideburn glued along her right jawline.

She ignored the frisson of delight that sparked down her neck. “Not particularly. In fact, I’d like a few days to recover from wearing them.”

“I should like to see you without them.” His dark gaze penetrated through her carefully constructed wall, and his deep voice shot straight into her chest, stirring the inconvenient attraction she felt toward him.

Her breath caught. “I doubt you ever will.”

His mouth ticked up in a half smile. “Don’t tease me. Please. Not when I’ve been so helpful. Think of all you won tonight.”

All she’d won. It wasn’t just the money. Not to her. She’d won respect with her shooting, even if she couldn’t tell them she was a woman.

She took a step back, determined to put space between herself and this suddenly dangerous man. “I appreciate your help, but I won’t share credit for my winnings. They are mine alone.”

He gave a slight bow. “My apologies,” he murmured.

“I’ll see you in a few days.” She turned from him.

“Not if I see you first,” he said.

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About Darcy Burke

Darcy Burke is the USA Today bestselling author of hot, action-packed historical and sexy, emotional contemporary romance. Darcy wrote her first book at age 11, a happily-ever-after about a swan addicted to magic and the female swan who loved him, with exceedingly poor illustrations.

A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her guitar-strumming husband, their two hilarious kids-who each seem to have inherited the writing gene in some form-and two Bengal cats. In her "spare" time Darcy is a serial volunteer enrolled in a 12-step program where one learns to say "no," but she keeps having to start over. Her happy places are Disneyland and Labor Day weekend at the Gorge.

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