Passion, intrigue, mystery, and love. You'll find all of these and more in the pages of Duke Most Wanted. Celeste Bradley does a wonderful job at once again bringing to life a set of characters that readers will want to learn more about-- and not just the main characters either. In fact, as much as I enjoyed seeing Graham and Sophie falling for each other, I think the side story of two of the servants, John and Patricia's love was just as entertaining, if only a bit more brief in length.
Although the mystery and secrets found in this story did throw me for a bit, I came to terms with them in the end, when the hero and heroine get their happy ever after. My only problem was the sudden twist that was thrown into the story with less than 50 pages to go. I won't say what it was, you'll have to read and find out for yourself, but it caught me off guard, and I had a bit of trouble adapting to it for a while. In the end, however, I was able to move on after seeing Graham come to terms with his mistake. I just wish this part had been developed a bit more, since we didn't really get to see how he came to realize what he did wrong, and so quickly forgave Sophie...
I liked Duke Most Wanted much more than I did the previous novel in the series, The Duke Next Door, and I think the main reason for that being so lies in the heroine of the book. Sophie was much easier to connect with than Deidre, whose blonde looks and slightly stuck up and shallow attitude annoyed me.
Unlike her cousins Deidre and Phoebe, Sophie was not the most stunningly beautiful woman in Society, and Graham was able to see from the very beginning that her beauty was more than skin deep, though she wasn't unsightly by any means. Because of this, Sophie was more of a strong- willed heroine, one that changed much in the book from the shy and timid girl in the beginning to the fiery lady who brazenly waltzes in on Graham and his ex-lover, quickly snatching off Lady C's wig and smartly taking her down a few pegs with her witty remarks. Although this particular scene helped Graham to realize his true feelings about Sophie, for me the reader, it provided evidence that the heroine was not just another bubbly bimbo, but one that knows what she wants, and will stop at nothing to get it, even when Society would love to crush her dreams.
The great thing about this book is you could see the connection between the characters, especially Graham and Sophie, and more importantly, you could actually see them falling in love. From just being "friends" at the beginning of this book to doing the well known dance around their feelings for each other, to finally saying "I love you" to one another. It didn't seem rushed or unbelievable, it simply felt like true love between them.
4 STARS! Duke Most Wanted provides not only the right amount of romance and passion between the main characters, but side ones as well, along with a few witty and sarcastic remarks to keep the story going. Add in the slight mystery around the heroine, and the secrets she's been hiding all these years, and you're in for a very delightful read!