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The Untouchables #4

The Duke of Desire

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Ten years ago Ivy Breckenridge's life was ruined. She had to reinvent herself, and now, after painstakingly making her own way in the world, she's nearly forgotten the dreams of home and family she'd once nurtured. Until one man peers into her soul and awakens every one of her hidden desires. But no matter how good he makes her feel, she can't trust him-alone by choice is better than alone by necessity. With a notorious reputation for training married women in the art of passion, Sebastian Westgate, Duke of Clare, is reviled by some and celebrated by others. He doesn't allow anyone close enough to see past his charming exterior. When Ivy uncovers the man beneath, the seducer is suddenly the seduced. Enraptured by her mind and spirit, he wants more but revealing his darkest secrets is a price he won't pay.

290 pages, Kindle Edition

Published March 28, 2017

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About the author

Darcy Burke

111 books2,049 followers
Darcy Burke is the USA Today Bestselling Author of sexy, emotional historical and 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. Join her Reader Club at http://www.darcyburke.com/readerclub.

A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her guitar-strumming husband, their two hilarious kids who seem to have inherited the writing gene, two Bengal cats and a third cat named after a fruit. 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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Profile Image for Caz.
2,621 reviews993 followers
May 29, 2017
I've given this a B+ at AAR, so that's 4.5 stars.

The Duke of Desire, the fourth book in Darcy Burke’s series, The Untouchables , is quite possibly my favourite of them all so far. I will admit that when I read the blurb, I was doubtful. After all, the idea that the eponymous duke is a kind of Regency Era sex-therapist who helps couples to liven up their love lives by sleeping with the wives and helping them to learn to find and give pleasure – is certainly most unusual, not to mention unlikely. But bear with me; the ability to suspend your disbelief on that point will pay dividends, because said duke turned out to be one of the most charming, well-balanced and thoroughly adorable heroes I’ve read about in a while.

Sebastian Westgate, Duke of Clare – known as West to his friends – has such a notorious reputation as a seducer of married women that he has been nicknamed ‘The Duke of Desire’ by lady’s companion, Ivy Breckenridge and her friends Lucy and Aquilla (heroines of the previous two books). West is one of several eligible gentlemen the ladies also designated as ‘Untouchable’, men so far about them in station that they daren’t even look that high, let alone think about doing anything else. However, given that Lucy and Aquilla have recently married two of those men (The Duke of Daring and The Duke of Deception), it seems that perhaps the Untouchables weren’t so far out of reach after all. Although Ivy has absolutely no intention whatsoever of finding out if the Duke of Clare is touchable or not; in fact, she wanted to nickname him ‘The Duke of Depravity’, because the ease with which he embarks upon his numerous affairs disgusts her.

She is therefore not best pleased when, at a house-party she is attending with her employer, the duke takes notice of her and attempts to start up a flirtation. There’s no doubt he’s very handsome and very charming, but Ivy isn’t interested, and certainly not in a man whose attention to a lowly, paid companion can only lead to one thing. And Ivy isn’t interested in that, either. Yet in their few, brief encounters, West reveals himself to be something quite different to the heartless seducer Ivy believes he is. He doesn’t deny the truth of his many affairs, but unlike the other rakes she has encountered, West is not self-centred or jaded – in fact he’s the exact opposite. She has never before met someone who seems so comfortable in his own skin, someone with such a capacity for joy and the desire for others to find their own happiness... and in spite of her misgivings, she begins to wish she could experience some of that joy for herself.

But she persists in holding herself back from both joy and him. Ten years earlier, Ivy fell in love with a young man who promised her marriage but then left her utterly ruined. In the intervening years, she endured great hardship, and then, with the help of a kind lady patroness, re-invented herself and made a new life, leading to her current situation as a companion. She isn’t interested in men or in marriage; she just wants to live a quiet, respectable life and to pursue her many charitable interests, most of which take the form of helping to improve the lot of people who have been unlucky enough to have ended up in the workhouse.

Ivy may come across as rather cold and inflexible to begin with, but she has good reasons for that, some of which are quickly obvious, some of which are revealed to good effect later on in the story. But in spite of her past and in spite of her determination not to like West, she soon finds that it’s completely impossible not to fall under his spell. West is determined to pursue Ivy at first, but once she turns him down, he backs off, and, as he has no wish to ruin her, tries to leave her alone. But he also recognises that she needs someone like him – he says himself that it’s his nature to push people into challenging themselves – because he can see that Ivy is not the dry, mirthless woman she makes herself out to be, and he wants her to live and enjoy her life rather than just trudge through it. As fellow guests at a house party they cannot completely avoid each other, which makes their interactions even more of a delight. It’s clear that West isn’t actively trying to charm Ivy (although his charm is so natural that he really can’t help it!) and isn’t pretending friendship in order to get her into bed. He wants her, yes, and offers to teach her about pleasure, but he leaves it to Ivy to decide how their relationship should proceed.

One of the things I really liked about the book is the way in which both West and Ivy are changed by their association. Ivy deliberately represses her emotions because she believes that allowing herself to feel will lead to more pain and heartbreak, but hasn’t realised that in doing so, she has cut herself off from positive emotions as well. She is profoundly affected by West’s honesty and zest for life – and starts to realise what she has been denying herself; not just passion but pleasure in even the simplest things. And West has his eyes opened to the terrible situation faced by so many when he accompanies Ivy and some of the other ladies on a visit to a local workhouse, and is moved to help; not just because he wants to impress (although he admits that might be part of it) but because his compassionate nature compels him to do so.

West has his own cross to bear in the form of his puritanical mother, whose reaction to his normal, healthy, teenaged preoccupation with females was to castigate and beat him. As a result, he began to take delight in defying and shocking her, his rebellion taking the form of leaping in to the beds of as many women in as scandalous a fashion as possible. It’s perhaps a bit extreme, but the Duchess is a complete horror and fortunately, doesn’t get a lot of page time.

I liked the way the truth of West’s character is gradually revealed and the subtlety with which the author shows the evolution of his feelings for Ivy. He’s intrigued by her spirit and intelligence from the start, but it takes her rejection to get him to start looking beneath the beautiful surface, and to realise that there is a lot more to her than meets the eye. And that’s another of the things I loved about him; he’s intuitive and as sensitive to the things people don’t say as to the things they do.

The chemistry between West and Ivy is scorching right from the start, and I’d venture to say that the love scenes in this story are probably the sexiest I’ve read in any of this author’s books. There’s one particularly sensual scene where all West does is talk… kudos, Ms. Burke, on that, because not many authors can write a Kindle-melting scene where the characters are a) upright and b) fully clothed.

In spite of the eyebrow raising concept of the nobleman sex-therapist, The Duke of Desire – the book, and the man himself – completely won me over. The pairing of the independent, somewhat repressed heroine who needs to learn to let go once in a while with the confident, all-round-swoon-worthy hero who oozes sex appeal is a potent one that proved, in the end, to be a winning combination.
Profile Image for Becca.
625 reviews92 followers
March 25, 2017
The Duke of Desire is Darcy Burke's fourth installment in The Untouchables series. I had never read Burke's books before discovering this series and now I am going to her backlist and adding all her books to my TBR pile and eagerly anticipating every new installment in what has turned out to be a new favorite series for me.

For those of you who have been following this series, The Duke of Desire has a slightly different feel. As the title implies, there is more sex in this one, but both characters has have many layers that surprised me. When I first started this novel, my first thought was "this is weird." Not what you'd expect me to say since I gave this 5 stars eh? Well, let me explain. The first impression of the hero was a bit off-putting for me. He is a man who sleeps with married women to help them "discover pleasure" with their husbands. What? Now, I don't approve of this personally, but in the hero's mind, it was his way of helping others. He would only participate if he had the husbands' approval also. When I was reading, I kept thinking "what the heck is this ?" The hero is like an 19th century sex therapist for married couples. Now, don't be put off by this. KEEP READING. While I was put off by this in the beginning, by the end I was singing "Burke is a genius" and "this is marvelous."

To avoid spoilers, I'm not going to tell you why the Duke, West, behaved the way he did. All I'm going to say was that he was the perfect match for the heroine, Ivy Breckenridge. Ivy. Wow, she had so much more depth and resilience than I realized. She comes across as prickly and pessimistic at the beginning, but West's persistent, gentle pursuit melted her resistance and turned her into the hopeful, strong woman I always knew she was from when I first met her early in the series. Each of these books in this series have always surprised me. I love how in each book, there are secrets about each character that are revealed that make me love them more. Nora, Aquilla, Lucy, and Ivy all had burdens to bear, and Burke did a brilliant job in each book delving into those struggles and then creating heroes that perfectly matched them.

This book is primarily character-driven. Ivy has shadows from her past that come back to haunt her, and the duke has emotional needs that he hasn't quite figured out how to meet. With each other though, all the pieces start falling into place and it makes for a shockingly romantic story that I did not anticipate. There are really sexy sex scenes in this book, but there are also powerful emotional scenes that are even more romantic here as you reveal all of the layers within each character.

Overall, this book surprised me. Initially, the hero seems to be all about sex and the heroine seems to be a man-hater. However, Burke once again surprised me with the depth of characterization, and I adored the ending and want to go back and read this again. If you haven't read this series before, I recommend you start earlier than this book. While it can primarily be read as a stand-alone, there are explanations of how the heroine met her friends and where all the "Duke of___" naming came about that isn't fully explained here and may be confusing to those new to the series. Also, all the other books in this series have been really good and you wouldn't want to miss them anyway. For those who have been reading this series, this is yet another installment you don't want to miss. Burke has landed on my auto-buy list with this one.

An excellent, unexpected, and deeply romantic story. 5 stars.

Thank you to the author for an ARC to read and review. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Mads.
68 reviews58 followers
March 22, 2017
ARC provided by Netgalley for Honest opinion
Profile Image for Sissy's Romance Book Review .
7,521 reviews16 followers
March 28, 2017
The Duke of Desire 'The Duke of Desire' by Darcy Burke is book Four in the "The Untouchables" series. This is the story of Ivy Breckenridge and Sebastian Westgate, Duke of Clare. I have read the other books in this series but feel this is easily a standalone book.Ivy has settled into be a companion while her close friends have married and started a family. Ivy has issue with men and at first it would seem hard to get past. West has a reputation of 'helping' married women by sleeping with them. So at first he doesn't come off as a hero you would want but that doesn't take long to change. I ended up seeing how well these two were made for each other. It was great seeing how much Ivy started to change with West and how her outlook became more hopeful. West to needed someone like Ivy who brought out another side to him. I have fallen in love with this series and Ms. Burke writing so this was a joy to read!"My honest review is for a special copy I voluntarily read."https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/1... https://www.amazon.com/gp/profile/A2H... https://twitter.com/soapsrus68https:/... https://www.tumblr.com/blog/romancebo...
Profile Image for Sarah.
508 reviews22 followers
June 24, 2020
'Ten years ago Ivy Breckenridge’s life was ruined. She had to reinvent herself, and now, after painstakingly making her own way in the world, she’s nearly forgotten the dreams of home and family she’d once nurtured. Until one man peers into her soul and awakens every one of her hidden desires. But no matter how good he makes her feel, she can’t trust him—alone by choice is better than alone by necessity.

With a notorious reputation for training married women in the art of passion, Sebastian Westgate, Duke of Clare, is reviled by some and celebrated by others. He doesn’t allow anyone close enough to see past his charming exterior. When Ivy uncovers the man beneath, the seducer is suddenly the seduced. Enraptured by her mind and spirit, he wants more but revealing his darkest secrets is a price he won’t pay.'

The Duke of Desire is the fourth book in Darcy Burke's The Untouchables series and is a historical romance.

First I must say that I really enjoyed this book and it has been one of my favorites from the series that I've read thus far. I'll be entirely honest and say that I was of two minds when approaching this book. On the one hand, I was looking forward to starting the book because I wanted to learn more about Ivy's backstory after it being hinted an through the last two books. But on the other hand I was dreading reading it because of the cheesy title and accompanying storyline of the suave hero that is god's gift to women. Triapsing about London, teaching women the wonders of satisfying sex, and changing their lives and marriages for the better with the power of his magical dick.

As you can tell it was difficult for me to start the book without a negative mindset, but I've enjoyed her other books, so I pushed my dread aside and kept an open mind. And I'll admit, I did give a few eye rolls when we first met West(Sebastian), but I really came to love his character after Ivy gave him such a set down. After that, he became a much more likeable character to me as he seemed to be more cognizant of how inflated his ego was. I agree with Ivy that the Duke of Debauchery would have been a more apt name for Sebastian.

Ivy was quite standoff-ish and cold when the book begins, but she has a good reason. Given the forshadowing from the previous books, Ivy's backstory was along the lines of what I had expected, but there were other aspects to it that were not quite what I had and I enjoyed reading the reveal and surprises that followed. But I'll say no more because I don't want to give any spoilers.

I maintained a suspension of belief toward West, but he really did grow on me as the book progressed. I found the reasoning behind his rebellion to be a bit of a strange jump, but it worked within the confines of the story and everyone responds differently to things, so why not? He really is a great character once I got past the weird sex therapist thing.

These characters are very well portrayed and things came together perfectly between them. In the end, I really came to love Ivy and West despite my hesitence at the start. The pacing was great although the ending did resolve a bit more easily than I was expecting and so it seemed to feel a bit rushed, but that could have just been me.

I recommend The Untouchables series by Darcy Burke from what I have read so far and I look forward to reading more from this series. Onto book 5 next, The Duke of Defiance.
Profile Image for Sieravonne.
358 reviews3 followers
July 1, 2018
I just find it stupid that a man needs to make a demonstration (by bedding a married woman) so that he could help the woman and her husband have a happy marriage via reaching mutual pleasure. He didn't need to engage the act with those women, he simply can teach their husbands on how to pleasure their wives.

I am a bit disappointed because I was really looking forward to this book but it was a let down.
Profile Image for Sara.
290 reviews3 followers
April 13, 2017
2.5 stars.
One thing that kept bothering me throughout the book:
How could he have slept with all those women and not gotten an STD?
I thought they had french letters back then?
Profile Image for Lady Nilambari Reads HR.
322 reviews59 followers
January 6, 2023
3 Stars

I am getting a strong feeling that I have read this exact story before either I am getting quite good at predicting plotlines, or I may have read it in some anthology. Anyway, it was a standard example of an HR novel - rake meets spinster.

A Quick Glance...
- Great writing. I love Ms Burke's work.
- Your usual victims of circumstance story.
- Loved Sebastian. He had a softness to him to go with the rakish behaviour. I found the "sex therapist" thing a little weird. Like talk to the couples if you must, but don't sleep with other's wives to fix their marriage, dude! He was observant and asked the right questions, so I will give him that.
- Ivy was so afraid, walled up, with good reason, but it lasted too long for my liking. Her drama dragged and dragged and dragged until one wise old lady just told her to get the fuck over it and marry the duke!
- Kind of opposites attract romance. Good steam.

Not bad for a quick read, but nothing outstanding here either.
Profile Image for Isha Coleman.
6,797 reviews131 followers
March 24, 2017
I love reading Darcy Burke. Her stories whether contemporary or historical are masterpieces that blend a bit of classic romance with a smidgen of modern day wisdom. What I find hard is reviewing without exposing too much.

My personal title for The Duke of Desire is "So Speaks the Heart". Why? Ivy and Sebastian needed to learn to see past the subterfuge and listen to that inner voice that sees inside to the heart. Their connection was bigger than them both. They could have it all, if they opened their hearts to each other and stopped letting others interfere with their chance at happiness. With an author like Ms. Burke a reader doesn't just fall in love once, it's an ongoing cycle.
Profile Image for Dot Salvagin.
516 reviews6 followers
April 1, 2017
Here is a yummy romance not to be missed. We have a Regency style sex-therapist in the guise of the Duke of Clare, and yes that sounds a bit strange but trust me it all works in the hands of this terrific author. Then we have a ladies’ companion, Ivy, who has a scandalous past but is totally charmed by the Duke.
This is the first book I have read in this series and I was not lost. Characters from the previous books make appearances but all is well explained. However I do wish to read their stories in books 1-3.
I highly recommend this steamy, sexy, page turner to all romance aficionados.

I received this book free for review from the publisher.
Profile Image for Tracy Emro.
1,733 reviews44 followers
March 27, 2017
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC provided to me by the author*

3.5 stars rounded up

I liked this book, but I did not love it. I just couldn't connect with Ivy, she was too bitter and at times too hostile for me to really like her. The more I read about her backstory, the more I wanted to like her, but it just never happened for me.

West on the other hand was almost perfect - I loved him, even though I found his affairs to be disconcerting, he isn't a traditional rake - he is a self styled Regency era Sex Therapist - he sleeps with other men's wives for two reasons, one he likes to help people (ok?) and two because he really likes sex (that is more believable). At least this is what he tells people, but by the end of the book, the reader realizes that there is a lot more to it than that.

West meets Ivy at a house party, he is in between affairs and is intrigued by her. Ivy on the other hand wants nothing to do with West and repeatedly and forcefully tells him to leave her alone. Lucky for her, West isn't willing to walk away. The more she pushes him away, the more he is pulled back to her.

When West intervenes and helps a young woman at the house party that Ivy considers a friend and offers to help the local workhouse find a new schoolmistress, Ivy reluctantly begins to like West. When the house party ends, Ivy figures her association with West is over. She is going to Bath with her employer and he is going back to London.

So when West shows up in Bath, Ivy is more than a little taken aback and if she is honest with herself, a little thrilled. She doesn't believe anything can come of their "friendship" and she is still trying to push him away. But when the past Ivy has tried so hard to put behind her comes calling - West is the hero she needs.

As I said, I liked the book, the storyline was unique (I can honestly say that I have NEVER read about a hero like West), the love scenes were steamy (however, the first one seemed more instructional than sexy, which reminded me of West's "occupation" and therefore was a bit off putting), the secondary characters were great, the villain was well done, the story flowed well, was really well written and there is a very sweet epilogue.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Trish R..
1,714 reviews43 followers
October 3, 2017

I didn’t like this book nearly as much as I did the others. I just can’t get that West sleeps with sooo many women so he can teach them how to get more pleasure with their husbands and then to teach their husbands how to give and get their own pleasure AND, as West says, “because I like sex” and I like helping people. It was all too much! And, then, he tells Ivy he can “change her life” by making love to HER. He thought a lot of his own prowess. I had to skip the pages where he told Ivy what, and in what order, he would do things to her.

I mean, really? Lord Fowler and his wife came to West asking West to sleep with Fowler’s wife to teach her so she could teach Fowler and all West did was TELL Fowler how to give his wife pleasure so why did he have to sleep with all the others’? And then for him to tell Ivy the husbands were happy and thanked him was unbelievable.

I really had a hard time with this book at first. It wasn’t Ms. Burke’s best, as far as I’m concerned. I read The Forbidden Duke, The Duke of Daring, and The Duke of Deception and loved them all but this one left a lot to be desired!

Fortunately, it got a little better at about 45%, he stopped talking about sex and how good he was at it. After that Peter Bothwick came into the picture and the story gained a little more interest.

Overall,it went from a terrible book to a little better than OK one.

There were a couple of explicit sex scenes in this and the F-bomb was used 3 times.

As to the narration: Marian Hussey did a great job. Her voices are well done and she reads with emotion.

Profile Image for Maria Dariotis .
753 reviews15 followers
March 20, 2017
Ivy Breckinridge has a secret that if revealed will ruin her life and she can't afford to start over again-not after everything she's been through. Dreams of love and family are not for her.
Sebastian Westgate is the Duke of Clare he has only one passion and that's to bring pleasure to women and teach them the art of sexual satisfaction. But there's more to him than the facade of a philander. Until he meets the very intriguing Ivy who challenges him and he so loves a challenge, until she puts him in his place!
Darcy Burke has continued with the Untouchables Series and its sensational, Ivy is a strong heroine who as a young woman had stars in her eyes and love in her heart until her dreams were shattered and her life was ruined. Making her way alone has only made her stronger. West brings out her most coveted dreams and she's tempted by his good looks and witty dialogue. West is the guy every girl dreams of.
I enjoyed the fact that he had to work for her respect and love because at the end he was the hero Ivy needed all those years ago!
Excellent read full of emotion and titillating dialogue a hero worthy of his heroine.
Can't wait to read all about the next Duke from Darcy Burke

I received an ARC from the author for my unbiased opinion
Profile Image for eyes.2c.
2,314 reviews44 followers
March 28, 2017
Hidden desires!

3.5 stars.

Ivy Breckenridge is a woman with secrets. When she and Sebastian Westgate, Duke of Clare, or rather, the Duke of Desire, so named by Ivy and her friends, meet at a house party something zings. (Really, these house parties seem to be designed, in novels at least, to be hot beds of gossip and extra martial, or not so extra marital, intrigue.)
I really liked West and Ivy. Ivy on the outside is a blue stocking who holds her feelings in check, for good reason as we painfully discover. West is attracted to Ivy and even more so as he comes to appreciate, not only her hidden beauty, but her intelligence and devotion to her charity work. Ivy and West both have to come to terms with their past before they can move forward. Ivy gives in to her feelings for the Duke of Desire and in true 'carpe diem' fashion seizes the moment, more than once with West, like a thirsty woman crying for water. West finds himself experiencing feelings that he'd not known possible, but will Ivy believe him?
A very steamy continuation of the 'The Untouchables' series.

A NetGalley ARC
Profile Image for Lauren Seiberling.
652 reviews366 followers
March 28, 2017
I really loved this book!!!

I'll admit that I'm not that educated on the time period, and I felt West's "occupation" was a bit odd, but I appreciated that it was sort of a "measuring stick" to show how he changed when he met Ivy.

I felt lots of emotions for Ivy, and I liked her independence. Her insistence on keeping things proper made the tension between she and West absolutely delicious, and when they were alone together, even in passing, sparks. Lotsa sparks. I especially loved the Blind Man's Bluff scene :)

This was the first Darcy book I've read, and it absolutely won't be the last. She did an excellent job of keeping me turning the pages, BEYOND eager to see how everything would get resolved. I really loved this story!!!

(I received a copy of this book in consideration of an honest review)
Profile Image for A.M..
Author 7 books47 followers
December 15, 2017
The Duke of Desire is some kind of Regency sex therapist.
Yeah…I know. As a concept, it didn’t work for me.
It’s a ridiculous premise, but Clare also takes on the sex education of a couple by fucking the wife. Then lecturing the husband when he steps away from the marital bed as a supposed benefit to both. I mean couldn’t he just tell/teach the man what to do without touching the wife? Without adding in that he’s a Duke. Primogeniture is always the antagonist in Regency romance. His heirs matter. As do theirs.
He doesn’t use French letters and he is spreading his seed literally in every other high society marriage. And it’s a story point that someone’s latest baby looks more like him than either of it’s parents.
Can you imagine the legal cases on inheritance if your eldest is not your son and years later your second son takes him to court over it?
And as if a man in this time gave a shit if his wife enjoyed sex or not!? That’s what mistresses were for.
He has this discussion with one lord in the library.
“If I might offer a suggestion. Try stimulating your wife with just your hand. Focus on that little nub as much as you do her sheath—perhaps even more so.”
“I’ve tried that. She can never seem to let go.”
“Tie her to the bed.” West held back a chuckle when Fowler widened his eyes. “And blindfold her. Also, use your mouth. It will take time, but she will come around.”
“And if she doesn’t?” (p. 36).

Aaaaagh… if the woman doesn’t enjoy sex with her husband surely this counts as rape? And AS IF they’d discuss this openly like this?
I love the reformed rake trope but… I mean… I get that he’s not ‘ruining’ unmarried ladies but still… it’s nuts.

Did people really threaten duels over being called a milksop? *frowns*
And the heroine Ivy is a fallen woman who has remade herself as a companion for an older lady. I’m not entirely sure why she has three best friends who are married to men so high in society, they are untouchables. (books 1-3 - I assume). But then, I’ve started the series at book 4.
She was a lady’s companion , as she’d told him multiple times , and she was unmarried . Which meant she was innocent , and he ought to leave her alone . She was also past the blush of youth and would likely spend her days in spinsterhood . Lonely , boring spinsterhood in which she would never know the joys of shared pleasure . Oh yes , Miss Breckenridge was a challenge . (p. 20)

She’s pretty much NOT his normal target so this seems really out of character. And not in a good way.
I don’t know why, but I just didn’t warm to Ivy.
And it’s poor plotting, she tells her back story three times.

Sighs… this just didn’t work for me.
2 stars
216 reviews1 follower
March 23, 2018
I love the untouchables!

Ivy is s lady’s companion. At a House party, she meets West, The Duke of Clare or the Duke of Desire as she nicknamed him. She and her friends named him the fourth untouchable. West performs a service to the the married ladies by instructing them in the arts of pleasure, for themselves and their husbands. Until he meets Ivy. All he can think about is bringing her joy and happiness. It is what he does after all. He soon discovers that she brings him joy and happiness. How can he persuade her to trust in him and his feelings and take a chance on this Duke of desire? This story is very entertaining and I highly recommend it!
Profile Image for Christy Carlyle.
Author 34 books493 followers
November 4, 2017
I love Darcy's characters. They're richly layered and likeable. Relatable, even when it's a handsome duke who basically offers sex ed. There was a great element of will they-won't they here. Sure, it's a component of every romance, but the dance of possibilities and building attraction is done particularly here. Also, as a English lit lover, I enjoyed the Goldsmith book/quotes/chats between the hero and heroine. Bonding over literature? I'm here for it! Always.

Profile Image for Dee Deacon Foster.
402 reviews17 followers
March 24, 2017
The folly of falling in love and the subsequent ruination keeps one in the shadows. The opportunity to infuriate one’s Mother keeps the other in the ton’s limelight. Neither want anything to do with love or marriage.

Ivy Breckenridge is quite content with her life as a lady’s companion. The position affords her the opportunity to remain in the shadows, a place she’s most comfortable with since having attention ruined her life many years ago and forces her to keep a secret even from her dearest friends. Though her friends want her to share the bliss they have come to know as married women Ivy adamantly refuses to have anything to do with love or marriage. When she catches the eye of The Duke of Desire will she stick with her vow? And what happens if her secret comes out? Can she reinvent herself all over again?

Deemed an Untouchable (those who are out of reach for wallflowers) with the nickname of The Duke of Desire, Sebastian Westgate “West”, the Duke of Clare, does his best to vex his mother, the woman who made his childhood miserable, the woman who can’t seem to love him. Affairs with married women and the gossip it elicits is certainly one way to drive the woman mad. Another way – vowing never to marry and letting the Dukedom fall to a cousin. A seemingly innocent house party just may have West reconsidering his decision – IF he can get the lady to agree.

There are so many parts of this story that I love! Ivy – brought to the lowest of lows she has survived and even thrived in her life. West – has a high opinion of himself but you soon see the selflessness within him and the hurt he carries. Ivy’s actions towards someone from her past (you go girl!). West’s reaction to his Mother when she infiltrates his home (though he should have physically tossed her out on her ear). West’s conversations with the husbands (two former Untouchables) of Ivy’s two best friends had me laughing out loud. Last but not least (okay – there are many more I could list but why ruin the fun for everyone) the marriage proposal had me wanting to smack West upside the head and shake sense into Ivy.

I adore Darcy Burke’s books and this one is no exception! Ms. Burke writes book four in The Untouchable series, The Duke of Desire, in a way that it can be read as a stand-alone. However, I highly suggest adding the others to your to-be-read pile - you won’t be disappointed. Now patiently waiting (cue drumming fingers on table) to see which Untouchable falls next.
Profile Image for Edwina " I LoveBooks" "Deb".
1,316 reviews17 followers
May 21, 2018
I really have mixed feelings about The Duke of Desire. Dukes just didn't act like this in public and didn't freely talk about having intercourse with married lady's of the Ton. My feelings are mixed because there is another side to Sebastian Westgate Duke of Clare. He is gentle, kind and considerate. He does not judge and doesn't seem to be proud of anything other then talking about his sexual prose with married women.

Ivy Breckendridge employed as an Ladies Companion, would not have so freely talk about the sexual congress with a Duke. Women just didn't do this. Ivy is no virgin but still she is hiding from a scandalous past, so I couldn't figure out why she would act so scandalously. One minute Ivy would be very likeable and then she would be Ice cold. I guess this was the way the author showed how walled in she was. Ivy had given her virginity to a reprobate Peter a decade ago. She was young when this happen but when she became pregnant the scoundrel dumped her and her parent kicked her out of there home.

I loved the ending of the story and I was happy to see Ivy and West get there HEA!!
This is another Erotic story!!
Profile Image for Kelly  The Sassy Book Lover.
421 reviews20 followers
April 3, 2017
*I received a copy from the author in exchange for my honest review

Just like every book by Darcy I was up to 2 am reading the whole book in one sitting. I loved it from the start because they both were different from what others saw. I was not expecting Ivy's past to come to light the way it or the reasons for the way West acted. I could picture everything as it happened especially a certain scene involving a shirt be removed. I was not expecting his mother and loved when he put her in her place.

Ivy is such a sweet and strong girl. In the other books, I got an idea of what had happened to her but was still shocked at everything that had happened when it was fully told. She needed to be loved and everyone was there for her no matter what.

West most definitely lives up to the name Duke of Desire! He can seduce you just with the way he talks. I was shocked at how he got his reputation and how much of a demand there was for him. He was a rebel when it came to his mother.

I liked getting a glimpse of the Duke of Danger and a couple other characters.
Profile Image for Melanie.
922 reviews29 followers
October 6, 2017
This is the fourth book in The Untouchables series, and I believe the most fun out of the four, and the reason for it was the hero.Now, that said, I have to warn you that in reading this story, you need to suspend your imagination waaaaaay up high, and only then you’ll be able to enjoy it.

I truly liked both Ivy and West from the start, but by the end of the story as their characters grew and their stories came to light, I loved them and their happily after was worth the road they traveled together.

If you’re in a mood for an interesting, very sensual and intriguing story that will bring some smiles and chuckles to your face, I highly recommend you get it.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher
Profile Image for Amy ~ Love At 1st Read.
501 reviews27 followers
November 16, 2019
“I’ll give you one chance to change my life, Clare. Just one.” He unfolded himself from the chair, rising above her and stepping so close, she could feel the heat of his body. “Please call me West when we’re alone.” He leaned close to her ear and whispered, “I’ll accept your challenge. And I promise you that once won’t be enough.”
What do you get when you add one debauched rake and one guarded wallflower? A fabulous romance that will keep you riveted from the first page to the last. I love wallflower stories. Some are shy. Some are intellectuals. And some are just plain rebellious. But Ivy Breckenridge was a wallflower out of distrust and an attempt to protect herself. She’d grown accustomed to living on the periphery and thought she was content to be alone. Until she met West, the Duke of Desire. Flattering her. Flirting with her. Tempting her. She’d fallen prey to someone like him once and her life had been ruined. But there was more to West than her preconceived notions. He was charming, considerate, forthright. And oh so tempting! Could he be her last chance to have something, if only for a short time?
Sebastian Westgate, Duke of Clare had accepted his moniker of The Duke of Desire. Lord knows he’d earned it. He loved women. But once he had an affair with a woman, he no longer wanted her in that regard. No emotional attachments of any kind and no desire to maintain the affair. He thrived on change and provocation and excitement, and life had taught him that marriage was none of those. And then he met Ivy. The most fascinating woman he’d ever met. And the first woman he’d encountered that didn’t seem to want him. Her sharp tongue and intelligence intrigued him. He liked her obstinacy and liked needling her. She was wound so tight and he liked the challenge of making her unwind. He could do that for her. But could he walk away? With each clandestine meeting, he became more and more captivated by her. Being seen as a philandering rake had never bothered him before, but now it was beginning to annoy him. Ivy had changed him. He just didn’t realize to what degree.
Darcy Burke is the queen of un-put-down-able books! Her Untouchable series especially is charged with emotion and humor and filled with wonderfully flawed characters. Ivy and West were so deserving of love. Past events had affected them both greatly. There was so much more to both of them than how they first appeared. I loved how their back stories unfolded slowly throughout the book, making me connect with them and love them even more with each chapter. This entire series is perfection. Each one can be read as a stand- alone but you’ll want to read them all. You’ll adore these quirky and unconventional wallflowers. And you’ll fall in love with the men they’ve deemed “untouchable”.
Profile Image for Book Gannet.
1,572 reviews18 followers
March 22, 2017
I found this a thoroughly enjoyable, sumptuous Regency read with a strong-willed heroine and a surprisingly caring hero (considering his reputation). Neither are quite what they seem and I loved the slow, steady way in which they transformed each other as the book progressed. It’s a slow and delicious seduction that drew me in right from the start.

Ivy has no intentions of ever marrying, and she has excellent reasons for this. She may seem cold to some, unimportant to many, but she’s worked hard to turn herself into the perfect, boring lady’s companion, despite her beauty. But as has been shown in the previous books in this series, she’s also capable of great loyalty and there is far more to her than the facade she presents.

I liked her. She’s strong and intelligent, more repressed than cold. Her past is terrible in many ways, but the way in which she rebuilt her life was admirable. I really wanted her to find happiness, even when I wasn’t certain how she possibly could. This did leave me feeling like a few things were brushed aside a little too swiftly towards the end, but I mostly didn’t mind too much.

Because West was worth it. He is certainly a curious character, a rake with a reputation for sleeping with married women – and it’s not a lie. Which makes a change. Yet he’s not a cad, he’s almost a Regency sex therapist. I’m not entirely convinced about the believability of his helpful nature and how grateful everyone apparently is afterwards, but it was certainly different. And it let him be a sexy rogue without being an actual reprobate, so that was good.

I liked how he saw past Ivy’s walls and coaxed her out, pushing her up to a certain point but never taking things too far. He has his own issues with his past – mostly his mother – but his heroic rescuer streak made up for any of his less good qualities. And then there was that walk… *swoon* He’s an amazingly supportive hero, making him an excellent match for Ivy’s more independent qualities. I loved the two of them together.

The tale is mostly split between a country house party and the social interactions of Bath, across the autumn (not fall!), complete with an array of interesting entertainments and activities to keep things interesting. And although couples from earlier books in this series do make some appearances, it stands alone well enough, while hinting at the next few heroes yet to come.

Overall, I really enjoyed this. The story is romantic, the characters are likeable and have wonderful chemistry and seemed perfect for each other, all wrapped up in a lovely Regency setting. I think this was possibly my favourite Darcy Burke book yet – I can’t wait to read the next one.

(ARC provided by the author via NetGalley.)
Profile Image for Janet.
3,495 reviews30 followers
March 22, 2017
Ten years ago Ivy Breckenridge’s life was ruined. She had to reinvent herself, and after painstakingly making her own way in the world, she’s now a lady’s companion. She attends a house party with Lady Dunn & meets The Duke of Clare a man who peers into her soul and awakens every one of her hidden desires. But no matter how good he makes her feel, she can’t trust him, she can’t trust any man, alone by choice is better than alone by necessity.
With a notorious reputation for training married women in the art of passion, Sebastian Westgate, Duke of Clare, is reviled by some and celebrated by others. Ivy & her friends have given West the nickname of The Duke of Desire although Ivy thought the Duke of Debauchery would have been better. He doesn’t allow anyone close enough to see past his charming exterior. When Ivy uncovers the man beneath, the seducer is suddenly the seduced. Enraptured by her mind and spirit, he wants more but revealing his darkest secrets is a price he won’t pay.
West is toe curlingly gorgeous, yes he’s arrogant but not the pleasure seeking Duke he wants the world to see, there’s SO much more to him. The scene where he tells Ivy what he’d like to do to her is so, so hot I’m surprised my kindle didn’t combust! Ivy is happy that her friends have found happiness but she can’t change her past & the life changing mistake she made when she was seventeen. The attraction between the pair is obvious from the start even though Ivy fights it & West wonders what’s so different about Ivy.
Again I thoroughly enjoyed the story, the characters are well portrayed & the pace doesn’t lag at all & I was loathe to put it down
This is the fourth in the series but could be a standalone read. I look forward to more Untouchable stories

I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book
Profile Image for Debra Martin.
Author 20 books250 followers
March 24, 2017
After Ivy Breckenridge's life is ruined when she was a green girl, she has reinvented herself as a companion and does her utmost to be proper in every situation. She has finally found some peace after surviving a horrific time on her own and she's vowed never to marry or let a man rule her or her emotions again. Sebastian Westgate has been nicknamed the Duke of Desire for his numerous affairs. He's a rake and once he sets his sights on Ivy, he's the one to be disappointed by her lack of interest.

I loved how Ms. Burke let Ivy and Westgate's attraction slowly grow through numerous interactions. I'm not a fan of instant "love" and this book allowed the natural progression of feelings. I admired Ivy's determination to make her own way--she was a strong and independent young woman. Westgate soon learned that not every woman swooned at his feet. He had to learn to cater to Ivy's desires and not his own. There were a few twists in the book and it kept my interest throughout. Fans of regency romances will absolutely love this book.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Profile Image for Ira.
687 reviews10 followers
March 21, 2017
"The Duke of Desire" is the forth book in the series - and I loved it just as much as I loved the other books!

Well, I was a bit miffed at our hero, the Duke of Desi...,pardon, Duke of Clare's in the beginning because he was very insistent and very seductive and, well, let's face that fact once more, right: seduction was fine in those times - if you didn't happen to be a woman, then it just meant that you were completely and utterly ruined.

Unfortunately Ivy Breckenridge is a woman - and one who has suffered enough already. So no matter how well meaning and how whatever our Duke's efforts were, I was not very happy with him. So wasn't Ivy, actually, at least, well. Persistence and perseverance can change a lot, can't they? And slowly, very slowly, Ivy dared to dream of something more than just going on with her life as it was.

The Duke of Desire and I got along much better when he finally realized that there was much more to Ivy and that she meant much more to him than he thought possible. I loved to see their attraction grow, to see him fall for her - and when her past catched up to her ...let's just say that he really really won me over.

Well written with an interesting plot, very complex and likeable characters, especially an extraordinarily strong heroine - I really enjoyed reading this book and I'm already looking forward to the next book by the author!
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