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Victorian Rebels #6

The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo

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The bravest of heroes. The brashest of rebels. The boldest of lovers. These are the men who risk their hearts and their souls—for the passionate women who dare to love them…

He is known only as The Rook. A man with no name, no past, no memories. He awakens in a mass grave, a magnificent dragon tattoo on his muscled forearm the sole clue to his mysterious origins. His only hope for survival—and salvation—lies in the deep, fiery eyes of the beautiful stranger who finds him. Who nurses him back to health. And who calms the restless demons in his soul…


Lorelei will never forget the night she rescued the broken dark angel in the woods, a devilishly handsome man who haunts her dreams to this day. Crippled as a child, she devoted herself to healing the poor tortured man. And when he left, he took a piece of her heart with him. Now, after all these years, The Rook has returned. Like a phantom, he sweeps back into her life and avenges those who wronged her. But can she trust a man who’s been branded a rebel, a thief, and a killer? And can she trust herself to resist him when he takes her in his arms?

333 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published August 28, 2018

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About the author

Kerrigan Byrne

63 books4,456 followers
If you're anything like me, the best night is one spent with a brawny highlander, a mysterious werewolf, a conflicted vampire, or a hot-headed Irishman. My stories span the spectrum of romantic fiction from historical, to paranormal, to romantic suspense. But I can always promise my readers one thing: memorable and sexy Celtic heroes who are guaranteed to heat your blood before they steal your heart. Lose yourself in the enchanted Celtic Isles, you never know who, or what, will find you...

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,028 reviews
Profile Image for Julie .
4,026 reviews58.9k followers
August 17, 2018
The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo by Kerrigan Byrne is a 2018 St. Martin’s Press publication.

Out of emotional and physical damage comes an epic love story which is both tender and very sensual.

In this unusual romance, Lorelei, a crippled girl at the mercy of her cruel brother, rescues a man left for dead on the side of the road, while in her early teens. Although many years have passed since she last saw him, Lorelei never forgot “Ash”, who had promised to come back for her.

But, as her brother gambles away his fortune, he arranges a marriage for Lorelei. However, before she has a chance to exchange vows, the infamous ‘Rook’ arrives and whisks her away. Lorelei instantly recognizes him as her beloved Ash, but the man she once knew is no longer visible. In his place is the formidable and terrifying man with a reputation as a thief and a killer.

“She was his prayer in the night. His song in the dark. His past and present. His future.”

Ash is buried deep inside the man known as ‘The Rook’. He’s a ruthless pirate, a man with a brutal past, but Lorelei is his one weakness and his only hope.

Lorelei is stunned by Ash’s appearance, the change in his countenance. She’s terrified of him, feeling as if she and her sister-in-law are being held captive. But, our noble heroine soon sees the traces of the boy she once nursed back to health. Ash is in there somewhere, she just has to find a way to convince him of that.

“To hate you must remember, you must dwell. You must hold it in your heart all the time and feed it.”

This is a fantastic second chance at love story! I love, love, love those flawed heroes!! Back in the heyday of historical romances, rough edged heroes with an aura of danger about them, men whose trustworthiness is in question, was common. As times changed those heroes fell out of favor, but with the Victorian Rebels they have made a comeback, but with a modernized twist. Byrne creates strong characters, giving them real adversity to overcome, with plenty of action and adventure.

This story is a stunning page tuner, highly engrossing and almost impossible to put down. It’s a moving story with some truly astounding twists that kept me on the edge of my seat.

The story has everything that made me fall in love with historical romance in the first place – a dark hero, pirates, intrigue, danger, sweeping romance, and redemption.

I thoroughly enjoyed this installment in the series and hope for many more like it in the future.
4.5 stars

August 27, 2018
4.5 Now and Never Stars

"A lot can happen between now and never."-Lorelai

The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo was such a good read. When I got this book from netgalley I had no clue who the hero was going to be. I only requested this book because Kerrigan Byrne is one of my favorite historical romance authors. But OMG when I figured out who the hero was I was flippin' out! Ash our hero (named given to him by Lorelai) was a man with no name or memory of his past. Found beating and burnt nearly to death the only thing that gave him the will to live was Lorelai's sweet voice begging him to stay.

"Don't go, she'd murmured. Stay here with me." And so, he had. He'd lived only because she bade him to. Lorelai and Ash

She was his prayer in the night. His song in the dark. His past and present. His future. And he hadn't even laid eyes on her yet.-Ash

Ash had such a hard life and it turned him into a cold man. Kill or be Killed was all he knew. He was definitely an anti-hero. He had no problem getting his hands dirty, stealing, and killing without mercy. He had all the humanity beat and abused out of him. His only soft spot, his only weakness was Lorelai, the woman that nursed him back from the grave. Lorelai also had a hard life. Crippled by her evil brother and abused by him her whole life, Lorelai has known pain. However she didn't let it turn her bitter. She remained a sweet and caring person. Always nursing injured animals back to health, she couldn't help but put her whole heart into nursing the young man she found near death back to health too. Ash and Lorelai's love started out sweet and innocent but after 20 years of separation and abuse it had warped into something raw, and obsessive.

"Lorelai. There are only two indisputable facts in this world: The sun will set in the west, and I'll come for you. Always."-Ash

"It's not that I merely missed you.....You are not a hole in my heart, you are the whole of my heart. -Ash

I loved the plot. When Ash's backstory was fully out in the open I was shocked and awed at all the twist. The way his past tied the series together made my heart so happy. OMG how I hated Lorelai's brother Mortimer. I wanted that pos to suffer so badly. Some favorites from other books in this series made cameos. Any time I can get me some more Dorian Blackwell I'm a happy woman. The Duke with The Dragon Tattoo was a great addition to Victorian Rebels series. There were a few minor things that made me take off a 1/2 star from my rating but still this read was a solid 4.5 stars!

Profile Image for Stacey.
1,446 reviews1,156 followers
August 4, 2020

It went too bloody fast. You do a walk... and listen. You bake some muffins... and listen. You drive to pick the boys up from school... and listen. You chill at the end of the day... and listen. Next thing I knew, there was only an hour left. How could I do this to myself? Where do I go from here? Should I go back and listen again? I should have spread them out ... AND NOW I HAVE NOTHING!!

Sorry, probably a little overly dramatic but I'm absolutely kicking myself for rushing through this series.

When each of the Rebels finds their perfect woman who loves them scars, nightmares and all, it's no wonder they become possessive, territorial, and protective. In The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo, Lorelai Weatherstoke loved her Rebel before he was even a fully evolved Rebel. He was just a Rebel in the making but already had a body full of scars and enough nightmares for a lifetime. In some ways, this made Lorelai love him even more. If he had scars, maybe he wouldn't judge her for her own.

This story was one of the saddest because we finally know all of the Rebels and how their horrible childhoods affected their futures. There are scars that each Rebel wears, some with honour and some with shame. Their nightmares haunt them and the reminder of the worst times keeps them wary of trusting the good times. I loved that it was their women who helped them see past their preconceived ideas and judgements and learn to enjoy the good times.

My favourite part of The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo is seeing all of the connections and puzzle pieces falling into place. By listening to this series one straight after the other, the flow was perfect. There was no trying to remember who did what, when or how, it was all fresh and clear.

Derek Perkins again made this listening experience perfect and I loved his portrayal of the characters.

I do have one left, but I only recently read it so it's still fresh in my memory. Give me a couple of weeks, and I will HAVE to listen to that one too.


I smiled when his knife hit its mark…

I know my credibility must seem questionable but I am legit telling you that THIS story was splendiferously, amazingly, awesomely, HISTORICAL ROMANCE NIRVANA. Well, nirvana in a Kerrigan Byrne historical romance kind of way.

Seriously, this author writes for me. OK, she doesn’t literally write for me, it just seems that way. Her heroines have struggled but still manage to have a strength that I couldn’t help but admire. The storylines grab my attention and keep it enthralled until the last page is turned. The settings are described in a way that comes to life for me. There’s this grittiness that can sometimes bring a tear to your eye, but there’s a reality to it, that it probably could have happened back in the day. But, the best part, Kerrigan Byrne creates the most amazing heroes. Strong, tortured, gruff and growly men who have seen the worse life has to offer but find a light in the women they love.

A few times while reading I had to put my Kindle down to absorb the giddy feeling of reading a superb book. You know that feeling when you finally find out a secret you’ve been dying to know? Well, I did the goofy smile of satisfaction when things finally became clear. It’s not like I start each book in the Victorian Rebels series hoping to finally find out the secret. When things came to light in The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo, I was gobsmacked. I got answers to questions I didn’t even know were questions. It just buffed up the diamond to sparkle even more. How cool is that?

As you might have noticed, I don’t share quotes in my reviews. Mostly, because I’m too lazy to check on the final copy to make sure they’re accurate. In this case, I really don’t want to share the best parts. You have got to experience this story yourself. Sure, I’m going to share that it’s good, but I want you to meet the characters, live through their heartbreak, share their highs and lows. I don’t want you to brace for the bad parts or recognise the funny one-liners you’ve seen before. I know that quotes have a great place in reviews, but I really think you would enjoy this one with fresh eyes…just my opinion.

Am I a bad person that I smiled at some of the violence? Sure, it couldn't have happened to a better person, but, you know, I tell my children that violence is bad. For a gritty read, there were some very funny scenes that had me cackling and reading them aloud to hubby and even he was chuckling. That is a BIG DEAL!! He normally gives me that fake smile, you are so weird face. So, it’s funny, but it’s also heart-poundingly emotional, extremely sexy and chock block full of action and adventure.

Yeah, I know I’ve said it before but THIS is Kerrigan Byrne’s best work by far. If you haven't started this series, you must start at the very beginning. Honestly, I don’t think you will enjoy this story half as much if you haven’t read the other books in the Victorian Rebels series. You probably could read it as a standalone, but I think you would enjoy the experience more having read the other books.

The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo does not shy away from violence, keeps to the realities of the time and you can bet your bottom dollar that you won’t be sighing in romantic bliss for a wee while of the story. This is what makes Kerrigan Byrne’s books so entertaining. You, along with the hero and heroine, have to earn your HEA, happy, giddy…The hills are alive… feelings. But, geez, it’s SOOOOOOO worth it.

Stacey is Sassy, received an advanced copy of this story. The copy provided is not the final copy and may be subject to edits and changes.
Profile Image for EmBibliophile.
496 reviews1,142 followers
May 24, 2020
3.75 stars

"A lot can happen between now and never.”

After my bad experience with the previous book in the series and because of the title of the book that made me cringe, yes I could be that shallow, I was hesitant about starting this one. However, this ended up being surprisingly good and enjoyable to read. It did actually have a shocking good twist and I loved it! This book felt like a nice closure to the whole series. It tied the whole series together in such a great unexpected way. I wasn’t a huge fan of Ash’s ways tho, like you could’ve just tried communicating first? Anyway, This series was really enjoyable and addictive to read some books better than the others. Here’s my arrangement for this series based on my personal enjoyment;

1- The highwayman ~ 4 stars
2- The highlander ~ 4 stars
3- The duke with the dragon tattoo ~ 3.75 stars
4- The duke ~ 3.5 stars
5- The hunter ~ 3.5 stars
6- The scot beds his wife ~ 2 stars
Profile Image for Pavlina Read more sleep less blog  .
2,434 reviews4,572 followers
August 27, 2018
4-4,5 stars

I devoured The Duke with The Dragon Tattoo. I could easily say that The Highwayman and this one are my favorite in the series!I can't stop my self from keep falling in love, with the world she has created!A world of danger,lust and passion.

I loved the plot from the beginning, I was intrigued to see what will happen.There were moments it was emotional.The connection between Lorelei and Ash was amazing!They started being sweet when they were young and when they meet again after years it was full of tension and passion!There were some really hot moments between them!

"Are you wet for me?
"Let me make you slick and slippery,"
"Let me make you writhe.And beg.And scream.I will exhaust you with ecstasy.You will come apart in my hands,beneath my mouth."

Kerrigan Byrne keeps surprising me with this series!I can't wait to see what she has next for us!


Profile Image for Mei.
1,881 reviews414 followers
September 12, 2018
Ehm... maybe I'm getting old, but I find the writing style OTT!

I so wanted to read Rook's story and I admit that I liked it too, but what made me crazy here is the overabundance of adjectives, thoughts, musings, self-questioning and self-answering about every single thing!

I had the feeling that the whole story happens in just a few days, but so many pages were lost on useless things!

I also couldn't understand some of the Rooks actions. He doesn't remember his past, but he remebers very well Lorelei and everything that has happend after she rescued him. So why he treats her like dirt? Whatever has she done to him except being kind?

I also didn't understand Lorelei's actions too! She loved Rook/Ash since forever. Her cruel brother, who crippled her when she was a small girl, who cooked her pets and made her eat them, sells her in marriage to an odious man that she abhors, but she resents Rook when he kills the brother and kidnaps her from the wedding she didn't want in the first place! WHY?

All the angst was OTT!

So, I'm sorry, but this was not more than 2.5 stars, but I'll not round it to 3!
Profile Image for h o l l i s .
2,403 reviews1,850 followers
July 29, 2018
Ye gads. Well, uh. I'm not sure what happened but I think this is my least favourite of the Victorian Rebels series. Being a fan of skipping blurbs, I didn't know what I was going into beyond what had been set up in the last few books. And the opening chapters of THE DUKE WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO and the premise for the where and why of Rook's beginning (well, a certain beginning) was probably the best part. It wasn't perfect, and certainly isn't my favourite of the 'met as youngsters and later reunite as adults' trope (hello book one, you win that prize), but it was a sweet and sad and honest beginning for these two discarded souls. But after we survive the separation and reunite in a very explosive (not literally but hey stranger things have happened) way, a scene that had a serious 'holy shit!' reaction from me, after that point.. I kinda felt like we lost the plot. Because suddenly there wasn't really any.

The big wind-up to the reveal of the Rook's identity wasn't really all that shocking as I had guessed who he was already (but, yay, confirmed!) and then we have a treasure to hunt and people to reunite. And, other than the opening chapters, I was a fan of only one reunion in particular -- mostly because we finally got confirmation of some backstory. I won't reveal who but.. it's kinda sad when your favourite moments are to do with someone who isn't one of the main characters. There was another supporting character who I thought I could love, too, a delightful new addition to this world of Byrne's, and then he later shot it all to hell, so even that didn't save the pirate plotline. Also if he gets his own book, which it kinda feels like he might, I don't even know how to feel about that.

As for Lorelai, I liked her in theory; rescuing and saving creatures who didn't have a chance of surviving on their own, nursing them back to health to fulfill that part of her that had been so poorly neglected.. but honestly she didn't have much of a personality. She didn't stand out. She was too all over the place, never settling into one behaviour or another, but ultimately I guess that suited the Rook because dude was as changeable as yesterday's weather (hot, cold, hail, sunny).

This book felt the least fleshed out of all of them, more like a bridging novella for the series (as it also didn't feel that long despite some of the more dragging scenes), and had it been meant as that.. I might be okay with it. As it was I'm honestly not sure I can award anything higher than a two star. It feels completely contrary to how much I love this series, and this author, but I'm honestly just so disappointed by this one. I expected a lot more.

I kinda hope Inspector Morley's book is coming down the pipeline sooner rather than later (though I suspect it isn't, infact, going to be the next one after that epilogue) because while I think we might have already seen the best this series has to offer (cough THE HUNTER cough but fine okay the first three are top tier), I'm still holding out for a m/m HEA for Carlton. Please, Byrne, make my dreams come true?

2.5 stars

** I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **
Profile Image for Christie«SHBBblogger».
959 reviews1,241 followers
August 28, 2018

Title: The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo
Series: Victorian Rebels #6
Author: Kerrigan Byrne
Release date: August 28, 2018
Cliffhanger: No

“For her, I must learn to be someone else . . . Or no one at all.”


Why, oh why have I never read this author before?? After my long hiatus from the genre, I'm always on the lookout for new (to me) historical romance authors to read. I'm happy to report that Kerrigan Byrne has instantly claimed a spot on my auto-read list. I couldn't have enjoyed this book more; it was everything I look for in the genre and then some. I haven't read the other books in the series before, but there was never a moment of confusion despite not being familiar with any of the characters past events.

The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo begins in Newgate prison where a young man is beaten and burned, and left for dead in a mass grave. With no memory due to his severe injuries, his only clue to his past is a mysterious dragon tattoo on his arm that's half gone, and a feeling that his memories would probably be better left in the dark for his own peace of mind.

He’d a very young—very vigorous—body, but the soul who peered out of those eyes had seen everything one would wish to in a lifetime. And then perhaps a little more.

Lorelei, her brother, and her father have come across this injured boy on the side of the road near death, and decide to take him in and nurse him back to health. From your first impression of the Weatherstoke family, you see the very dysfunctional and unsafe situation that the heroine is forced to live with. You hate Mortimer with a passion for his evil glee, his sociopathic enjoyment of hurting her for his own entertainment. The way he treats Lorelei is so despicably evil there aren't proper words to describe how bad he is. With every hate filled word he spews, and physical and emotional abuse he carelessly bestows on Lorelei, you see that there are no depths he's not willing to sink. Her father sits by idly as she suffers his cruelties, which makes his weakness as good as an accessory to her torture. For a teenage girl living in that time, there is no escape from a dangerous home life, it must simply be endured. My heart really went out to her, and the courage she displayed with the cards she was dealt.

Lorelei and Ash (as she would come to name him) quickly grow a protective bond with each other. Both badly broken and alone in their own ways, a young love grows as she is nursing him back to health. She looks at him like he's her savior, like he's the first sign of light piercing a lifetime of darkness. But what she didn't know was that she was giving him the same thing. She was too innocent to see the horrors in his eyes that are all too real, even if he can't remember what he escaped.

Her touch was a balm he’d never be able to quantify. All he knew, was that her fingers were magic, and they quieted everything within him that threatened to become monstrous.

And then Ash was gone. After vowing to always come for her, he had stayed gone for twenty years for reasons beyond his control, leaving her to her twisted fate. He was her one happy memory that she could hold onto when she had nothing at all to smile about. Through the years he had changed into a dangerous man, one that she could scarcely recognize when he stormed back into her life. But one thing didn't change and never would: she was his obsession. His world.

His was a clockwork heart. Where other’s beat and burned, his only tick, tick, ticked away the hours, the minutes, the seconds that separated him from one other soul on this enormous globe. Lorelai.

Many historical romances build the hero up to be a scoundrel, rake, or "devilish" type, and it tends to be a bit of an exaggeration in a lot of cases. Make no mistake, this hero is truly all of these things when he reenters the story. If there was a darkness in him before, it's magnified by a hundredfold now, and he makes no apologies for it. He's accepted the criminal cloak that he was forced to wear in order to survive. Survival was imperitive in order for him to honor his vow and return to the woman who captivated him so long ago. There were brief points where I wondered if this man who was reborn as the Rook was too far gone to find that part of him that was once Ash. Because once aboard his pirate ship, Lorelei realizes that her daydreams of him all of these years don't come close to the nightmare that shows his face in reality. However, whatever misgivings I had were fleeting, and the author easily drew out my empathy for him as his heartbreaking history was revealed.

What I loved about her was that she never cowed down to him, or became a doormat. Lorelei has character that's been strengthened through her years of hardship, and she's not too shy to put him right in his place. There is an innocence to her, and a softness, but don't mistake that for weakness. She witnesses some pretty traumatizing things, and is completely out of her element after being kidnapped, but faces it all with aplomb. I think her biggest struggle was accepting the change in Ash, and having the patience to teach him what love and respect feels like.

There were a few revelations that I'm sure fans of the series will be excited to learn. The unpredictable plot had me flying through the pages so fast, I almost read this in one sitting. Not to mention the incredibly romantic prose sprinkled throughout, and the addictive quality of the couple's love story. There were pirates, a treasure hunt, plots, murder, and a second chance romance chock full of angst. Trust me when I say there won't be a minute of boredom.

His kiss became many. A stanza of kisses. His tongue working the syllables of poetry into her mouth, his lips creating the meter and rhyme, the ebb and flow.

If I had one complaint, it's that the previous books won't have the same impact on me now because I read the series out of order. But obviously, that's on me, and has nothing to do with the author. I'm kicking myself for not jumping on the bandwagon from the very start.

This is the kind of book that you greedily devour, hold to your chest, and sigh when you're finished. Half in satisfaction, half in disappointment that it's over. I couldn't get enough of this Victorian Rebels world, and I know without a shadow of a doubt I will be making some time to catch up on the other couples in the series as soon as possible. If you're like me, and you're new to the series, that needs to be rectified immediately. Highly recommended!



Profile Image for Anna lost in stories *A*.
1,021 reviews167 followers
August 30, 2020
I’ve read all seven books available in this series in seven days… yep, you read that correctly… it matched my reading mood perfectly and I just couldn’t put them down… and now I think I might have fried my brain a bit… because once I finished the last one, I fell into a mother of all reading slumps… I don’t want to pick up anything… so I will finish writing all the reviews and then just take a break from reading in general for a while… :)

This is a very emotional and intense series of historical romances to read… definitely keep that in mind going in… it varies in different books, but all main characters suffer from some sort of trauma… so depending on which installment you pick up there are trigger warnings for torture, rape, physical and mental abuse, assault… most of it happens not on the actual pages of the stories, but nonetheless has a huge impact on everything… be prepared for themes like that before picking them up…

As much as each book in this series works as a standalone, it’s best to read them in order, cause most of the characters in it are somehow connected to each other :) trust me on this :) the sixth book in this series was my very first ever Kerrigan Byrne book I’ve read and I liked it immensely better once I read the first five stories :) so I will have one short paragraph about how amazing this series is in general and then below you will find a few sentences about each story published in it so far, cause I read them so quickly one after another that they are all a blur in my mind right now :)

The writing style is absolutely spectacular and that is saying something for me, because these stories have some of the themes and tropes I am not only not a fan off, but ones I actively try and avoid in the books I read… and yet, she somehow made it work… :) not gonna lie, maybe once I reread these stories in the future I will be able to read them more critically, but as of now, all of them were 5 stars reads for me :) yes, the stories are very intense and emotional… they deal with some dark topics… and for some of you the relationships may seem rushed but I just… I couldn’t help but love all of them… the heroes of these books are usually the more troubled ones, with darker pasts… and when they love, they love with everything that’s inside them…even the darkest parts of them... they love fiercely and passionately… and I just inhaled all of it… don’t get me wrong, the heroines are no wallflowers either… :) the relationships are always intense and never easy… usually they develop pretty quickly, but they always feel well built and complex enough :) there’s action, surprising twists and turns, some gaspworthy moments and some drama… but also some sweet moments… not to mention an absolutely swoonworthy hot and sensual ones as well… like I said before, this series perfectly fit into my reading mood ;) below is a little bit about each book :) hopefully once I reread them in the future I will be able to write more coherent reviews about each story :)

The highwayman
Story about two people with a surprising connection in their past and a marriage of convenience all wrapped up in an additional mystery… :) add a scarred hero and a badass heroine and I was sold immediately :) aside from the main relationship we have some side ones forming as well which I loved with all my heart… :) it’s a very good introduction to the whole series, with some hints and foreshadowing about future main characters

The hunter
This one took me a moment to get into, because a killer for hire who is fascinated by a woman who he was hired to kill can get… tricky… especially since he’s not the best at communicating his thoughts outside to other people… but to surprise of no one, I ended up in love ;)

The highlander
This one might be my favourite out of them all, and I’m not sure why… :) it has some Beauty and the beast vibes as well as some Jane Eyre ones… the romance develops over a bit longer than usual amount of time, so that might have been a factor in my love for it… even if she’s pretending to be someone else… :) I saw some of the reveals in advance, but it was still super enjoyable :)

The duke
The synopsis of this one is a bit misleading, so let me clarify for you… our heroine works as a nurse and serving maid… she meets a duke and they spend a night together… as in, he pays for a night with her… one year later he shows up in her hospital, not remembering her and with some great injuries… and THEN she goes into a marriage of convenience to a wonderful older man and we skip forward a couple of years to when she is now a widow… again, this one has some themes I don’t like… hidden identity and whatnot, and yet… I loved it :) aside from that we have a killer mystery to which reveal I did not see coming…

The scot beds his wife
Another story with a hidden identity and quite a few other themes I don’t like in books… and yet I absolutely could understand why it had to happen like that… a lot of dramatic and surprising turns of events and a romance between very reluctant two people… which worked out surprisingly well in the end :)

The duke with the dragon tattoo
I loved this one immensely better the second time around… I remembered one big reveal about our hero who doesn’t remember his past, but aside from that nothing else… and now that I read the books in order I appreciated that much more all the familiar couples that make appearances in this one :) because this was a reread for me, you can find my original review of this particular installment below :)

The dark and stormy knight
The last currently available books went by very fast… I was curious about reading about this particular hero for a while and his story definitely did not disappoint :) what’s even better, Pru, our heroine, has three sisters, and a spin-off stories all about them is gonna be published within the next year :) I may or may not already preordered all of them… ;)

original review

I voluntarily reviewed an early copy of this book :) this is the sixth book in a historical romance series, but worry not if you are not caught up on previous stories or if this is a completely new to you author, cause this was my very first book written by her and I can atest that it works perfectly well as a standalone :) I absolutely loved it, and even though there were appearances of previous couples, that didn't take away any enjoyment from reading this particular story... what it did is make me very curious about all those books... so much so in fact, that after finishing this gem I purchased all other novels in this series... and then all the rest of the books this author has written... :) yeah... ;) so before we dive into all the praises I have to say about this gem, let me first tell you a bit more about our main couple :)

First of all, what you need to know is that this book has two parts... after the first few chapters we skip in time about twenty years, sooo... at the beginning we meet our hero and heroine when he's around eighteen and in jail... during one night he's beaten within an inch of his life and abandoned in a mass grave... our heroine is almost fifteen and she finds him when she travels with her father and brother one day... throughout the next few months she nurses him back to health and they become friends... of sorts :) although they couldn't be more different... he's mostly silent and very dangerous... she's shy and delicate, but with an inner strenght and a difficult family situation... one day he disappears and they don't see each other for a very long time... until they are both in their thirties and very different people then they were before... I don't really want to get into any more details about what happens and how exactly their story progress, mostly because it was filled with quite a few surprises I did not see coming, and I don't want to spoil them for you :) so instead let me tell you all about my thoughts and feelings... cause I have a lot of them :)

The best part of this book was definitely the writing style :) when I try a book by a completely new to me author this is the first thing I notice... and this time I was hooked from the very first chapter... :) the best proof of how much I fell in love with it, is the fact I already mentioned... I currently own all of her other books... :) Kerrigan Byrne in a masterful way woves a story about two people... two strong people who've led very different lives... and yet their connection is still alive after all the years... I especially love how both of them keep surprising you... The Rook is this powerful and dangerous man, who has a very vulnerable side hidden deep within him, that comes out into the light when he's close to Lorelei... and speaking of her :) Lorelei may seem like old spinster, crippled and week, but she has this amazingly strong side of her as well... *sighs happily* theirs is a complicated relationship that I just couldn't stop reading about... :) besides our main couple being absolutely amazing and complex, like I mentioned before, we have a whole bunch of secondary ones... and those few scenes here and there made me only that much more curious about all of the previous books... :) I feel like I can't find words good enough to describe how much I loved this story... especially since I can't really talk about each and every little thing I loved about it without some pretty big spoilers... so let me just say this... if you are in the mood for a historical romance with a fantastic writing style, complex characters and a story that will keep you glued to the pages look no more and just read this gem :)


Profile Image for Astrid - The Bookish Sweet Tooth.
794 reviews876 followers
August 24, 2018


There is a certain kind of voice in HR that just speaks to me. Lisa Kleypas has it, Lorraine Heath and Courtney Milan do too, to name only a few. I'm happy to report I can add another name. Kerrigan Byrne's spellbinding storytelling took me completely by surprise. She is able to transfer the feel of another time when women were gentle and men courteous, with a good portion of grit and steam. And oh my word did it ever. It packed more steam than I expected, some of the scenes were SCORCHINGLY HOT.

But I should actually say something about The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo, right?

I think deep inside we all want men to promise us women that we are the only one. That it'll always be just us for them and that it'll never change. And you know how, at the same time, we don't have any illusions about it. So along comes a book with a hero who is so totally crazy about the heroine, so absolutely gone for her from the beginning that he promises her to always come back for her. The heroine is 14 at the time, so of course she believes him. Only...one day he has to leave and never returns. Until she is being forced into marrying a disgusting man some twenty years later and kidnapped by a pirate called The Rook.
“Lorelai. There are only two indisputable facts in this world: The sun will set in the west, and I’ll come for you. Always.”

In the first couple of chapters Ms. Byrne tells us about how Lorelai found a young man, almost dead, without a memory. How their love blossoms right from the beginning. How much he adores the young girl, who takes care of him, is there when the nightmares press down on him, always with a soothing hand and a smile at the ready. There is a distinct change in the tune of the story when it switches to twenty years later. The innocent, sweet love from the beginning is gone. Instead we find obsession, the harsh cruelty of truth, a man who is unable to love and a woman who never really let go of her feelings for the young boy. But there is also a bittersweet yearning of a man who experienced incredible tragedy, yearning for the girl who has grown into an enticingly beautiful woman with an iron will.

Am I rambling? I'm rambling, huh? :D
He inhaled agony, and exhaled anguish.

Ash was such a tragic character. He thought he was dead inside, without feelings, worthless and totally unable to recognize his emotions for what they were. He came across obsessed, a little crazy, maybe, but knowing what happened to him it was easy to see past what could be seen as a little off the rocker. He made me ache for him, I was horrified at what had happened to him but also admired his strong will to go on. His love for Lorelai was all encompassing, sometimes tender, often passionate and almost too big for his battered heart. Even in the end it felt a tiny bit desperate and sad.
And yet . . . here she stood. Waifish and delicate, innocent and untouched. Even by him. Because here was the one threshold he could not seem to cross into his final damnation. The one thread that tied him to a flickering vestige of humanity. His one island in an endless ocean of unforgiveable depravities. No matter how cold and cruel and inhumane he’d become . . . he physically could not bring himself to face a weeping Lorelai Weatherstoke.

Likewise did Lorelai impress me with her youthful wisdom, her patience, her innocence was the sweetest thing. Her growth over the course of the book was huge. I so loved her for not being bitter. Lorelai also had some pretty horrible things happening to her and she never let them pull her under. It's her quiet strength and endurance, her patience and caring nature that frees Ash's heart and mind from the prison of his past.
"Through everything that’s been done to me, I’ve only ever believed in one thing.” “What’s that?” she whispered. “That the sun would set in the west, and that I would come for you.”

Kerrigan Byrne has left an imprint on my heart with this book. Her words are lyrical, beautifully expressive and oh so romantic. The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo packs a good portion of angst and if you want to be sucker-punched right in the feels you need to read this!

Profile Image for Caz.
2,676 reviews1,012 followers
July 28, 2018
Hollis' review HERE pretty much sums up my feelings on this one.

Strong start, stodgy middle, contrived ending. Plus his being a duke is completely peripheral and reads as though it's been thrown in for the sake of it. I know lots of writers these days are being told "make your hero a duke - dukes sell."

I'll post a more detailed review when I review the audio version sometime in August.
Profile Image for Bubu.
315 reviews328 followers
Currently reading
December 18, 2017
I hope this title is meant as a joke and will be changed. No, really. This can't be for real.
Profile Image for Cam (justabookeater).
141 reviews274 followers
August 31, 2018

I don't really know how to express my rage towards this properly.

It started out pretty good; girl heals boy, boy loves girl. Simple.

And then, after the huge timeskip, we're basically thrown into this whole rape fantasy that the hero had built up in his head for years. He kidnaps the heroine, forces her to marry him by threatening to murder her best friend (after murdering her brother) and then sexually assaults her. He only stops before actually violating her because she mentions WHILE LITERALLY SOBBING AND IN PANIC that she's a virgin.

I was nauseous by this time, I was shaking in anger. The hero tells the heroine MULTIPLE times how he doesn't care about her consent and how he'll force her to lay with him. She is visually terrified and clearly unwilling.

HOW IS ANY OF THIS ROMANTIC? I am livid and disgusted that this will be published in 2018.
Profile Image for Heather K (dentist in my spare time).
3,857 reviews5,632 followers
September 8, 2018
The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo was my first book from Kerrigan Byrne, and if you can get past the kitschy name, there is a really lovely story inside.

I have a thing for disabled characters in romance, and I liked caring, sweet Lorelei who suffered and survived for years under the hands of her abusive brother. I loved that Ash saw past a girl with a crippled ankle and saw her complete inner and outer beauty.

Though Ash was a cold and remote character, he completely stole the show for me. I enjoyed Lorelei, but I loved Ash, and my heart ached for him. I liked his obsessive, dark nature (yeah, I know, it was a little much but I still loved it), and his willingness to fight and kill to be with the only person he's ever loved.

The plot was brilliantly conceived, and I could hardly put the book down. I kept wanting to know what would happen next, and I loved the dark, piratey, action-packed vibe.

All-in-all, this was a very satisfying second-chance romance, and as this was my first Kerrigan Byrne, it made me want to go back and read every other story in the series.

*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*

Profile Image for Jonetta.
2,202 reviews918 followers
April 7, 2020
The man known only as The Rook has a past that he can’t remember beyond the moment he was rescued by Lorelai Weatherstroke and her family. He was found badly beaten and damaged near a roadside Ash tree and Lorelai willed him to live through her loving care and sweetness. As he recovered, she gave him the name Ash, which he embraced at the time. When the cruel machinations of her brother separated them for almost twenty years, he abandoned the name and became known as The Rook, a brutal pirate cloaked in ambiguity and secretiveness. He decided to return and claim her only after her brother decided to force her into a disastrous marriage.

I’ve been intrigued by this man since he kept mysteriously popping up in earlier books, especially the last one. There was a teeny little hint of his connections but I wasn’t prepared for the actual explosive reveal. You’re gonna love it so I’ll leave that for your personal discovery. His return to Lorelai was full of the drama I expected but it didn’t lessen my enjoyment. In fact, it set the stage for everything else to come as these two reunited but as very different people. The Rook had hardened and Lorelai’s struggle to find the young man in this new one was heartbreaking. You could feel her despair and hope at the same time. His resistance to embrace what was once a real part of him gave way to the revelations of the past twenty years, though those before Lorelai were still elusive.

I absolutely loved this story! The revelation of The Rook’s identity was startling enough but there were more seismic ones to come. Lorelai is such an innocent but that didn’t mean she was a shrinking violet. She went toe to toe with The Rook, never backing down from her demand that he own his humanity that lay deep within him. There were new secondary characters introduced that I’m not finished with so I’m sure the author isn’t either. And, other secondary characters we’ve already met play a crucial role as well. This continues to be a great listening experience, too, as Derek Perkins delivers another wonderful performance. I loved how the story developed and the direction it took near the end. Now, I’ve got to pause and wait for the next book’s release in two months!

Posted on Blue Mood Café
Profile Image for Caz.
2,676 reviews1,012 followers
September 21, 2018
I've given this an A for narration and a C+ for content at AudioGals; the narration grade pushes it into the 4 star bracket.

I’ve read and/or listened to all the books in Kerrigan Byrne’s Victorian Rebels series, and I hate to say it, but I think it’s running – has run – out of steam. The first two or three were very good – The Highwayman (book one) continues to be my favourite of the series, with The Hunter a close second – but books four to six have been distinctly lacklustre, and I think that had it not been for the fact that Derek Perkins is one of my favourite narrators and I’ll always jump at the chance to listen to him performing an historical romance novel, I might well have given up on it by now.

When I started The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo (and don’t get me started on the penchant for derivative titles in HR these days!), I thought – at first – that at last, here was a return to the gripping storytelling of The Highwayman, but after a very strong opening and first few chapters, things start to fizzle out; the rest of the plot is tissue-paper thin, the central relationship is almost completely recycled from book one, the principals are bland and underdeveloped and there are large chunks in the middle of the book where nothing much happens.

You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals .
Profile Image for Sam (AMNReader).
1,258 reviews272 followers
August 24, 2018
There were times I didn't feel like I should be enjoying this book as much as I did. It follows the same tortured-hero-long separation as 1/2 of the series (or so). But I loved that part. It features the hero who knows nothing but cruelty for everyone but the loyal few and is ruthless as hell-even at times to the heroine. But...I loved that too. And I liked that the tiger doesn't change his stripes (as usual) but his soft underbelly is exposed...but in the most ferocious way.

And I thought The Rook/Ash was damn romantic. I liked his words. I liked his actions.

Lorelai was super sweet, but at times hard with how naive she could be. There were times I was wondering how she didn't pick up on this or that, and protests that didn't persist when they should've increased, but overall..she felt like a new heroine, one who was much softer than the prior ones despite her trauma, and that worked really well to balance out Ash's ferocity.

I didn't particularly love a couple of the plot contrivances to get to resolution, particularly how late they were. Bits of it felt really rushed, and there were beautiful conversations...but there were a lot of them I'd give this a 3.5, but a really solid one that I'll be rounding up for it's binge-worthiness. So yes, formulaic. So yes, maybe too reliant on dialogue. But what fun.

Thank you to Netgalley for the ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Lover of Romance.
2,839 reviews817 followers
August 11, 2018
This review was originally posted on Addicted To RomanceI received this book for free from St. Martin's Paperbacks in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

*May Contain Spoilers*

The Duke With The Dragon Tattoo is the sixth installment in this incredible series by Kerrigan Byrne. After seeing all the raving reviews for this book I knew I was in for a great time with this book here and I have to say this one might be my favorite of the series, even more than Highlander which had been number 1 for me but this book was INCREDIBLE and I don't think I could ever give this book the right justice that it deserves...but I certainly will try.

In this story, we have our fated Rook....whose character we have been teased about and so we finally get his story. It starts out when he was a boy in Newgate Prison, and he is getting a tattoo done on his arm which we are included into the why of quite yet, and then we see him being dragged out. Our darling heroine, Lorelei, is traveling with her father and brother (she is fourteen at this point) and sees a man abused and barely alive and she insists that they stop to help him. She is unable to since she has a bummed leg (where her brother broke her ankle and she never was able to see medical care for it)

Lorelei works on healing him alongside the local doctor, and slowly Ash begins to heal with the tender care of Lorelei. Ash has no memory of his life before, but he does have a feeling it was brutal. He knows that he isn't worthy of Lorelei's tender touch but he also is drawn to her in a way he has never felt before. Lorelei motivates him to heal and to live and to become worthy of her someday. When he recovers though, working for her father, already making plan to declare his love for her when her brother kidnaps him and sells him to be a slave on a ship.

It has now been twenty years since that fateful day, and Lorelei never knew what happened to her beloved Ash or his sweet promise to her. Lorelei is now thirty-four years old,  and she has never forgotten Ash but he can't save her for what her brother is forcing her to do. Her brother is abusive and controlling. She has had to live under his control for years, including the horrible treatment of his own wife who lost their babe to his abuse. Now he has lost everything they had with his gambling debts. And so she will have to marry a rich but very old man to save them from being on the streets. She knows its the right thing, but then when she arrives at the wedding, her brother is killed right in front of her by a pirate by the name of "Rook" who then kidnaps her and he resembles a boy she once knew....her beloved Ash and he has come back to claim her as his. He takes her and her sister in law on his ship and marries her. But now Rook puts himself in Lorelei's mercy, that he will do anything for her. Lorelei is intrigued yet frightened a bit of this new Ash that hardly resembles the boy she once fell in love with, but she begins to see that he is in there hidden beneath layers of abuse and pain and only she can recover his heart...

The Duke With The Dragon Tattoo is one of the most heart wrenching and captivating second chance romances I have ever read in my life....it was so beautifully written in depth and heart-tugging emotion that will have you going through a box of tissues. I was swept away in their story that instantly got my attention from their first meeting. This is where you believe in instant love matches because Ash and Lorelei have an instant connection to each other that is powerful. Even as just kids, not even full adults, they realize the amazing gift they have in each other. We see these little moments of emotion and soul like connection in where they understand each other. Both of them have had rough lives. We see the joy and sorrow that love can bring to you especially when you are torn away against your will.

The hero is very badass...I mean he has become a bit of an anti-hero almost...definitely a bad boy. He was sold, forced to serve others and was severely beaten over the years. Until after fifteen years of it, he and the other slaves rose up against their masters and forged their own future. Building up their own fortune and abilities and fighting against anyone that attacked them. Now they are on the hunt for the greatest treasure, and the map of this priceless treasure is embedded in his tattoo. Ash "Rook" has been keeping tabs on Lorelei planning for the one day he can come back and fulfill his promise. But then when he learns that she is to be married, he knows he can't allow that and it ups his plans a bit. We see the sorrow and the torment that Rook has suffered over the years and how it has hardened him into being a pirate. He also wants revenge on those that have harmed the woman he still loves after all this time.

Our heroine is such a wonderful woman. She is strong and compassionate and the abuse she has suffered at the hands of her brother has never broken her, only made her stronger. She has a deep love for all animals and any time she comes across an animal hurt or injured she cares for it. I loved her level of empathy and understanding she has for everything and everyone, she is so accepting of Rook even though he kidnaps her and is a pirate and forces a marriage between them. But she sees what is behind the tough exterior and that he would never force her to have sex with him. I loved how wise she is, and has this inner strength of iron you just have to admire.

The sexual chemistry between them that builds is phenomenal and man I felt so immersed in their sexy moments that could smolder your home. I loved how well written these sexy moments were written. They were HOT and sensual with just the right level of emotion that they develop the intimacy that is building between these two.

The Duke With The Dragon Tattoo swept me away in the adventure, the treasure hunting, the suspense and the love story that is truly a compelling and heart-achingly romance that fills you up...AN ENTHRALLING ADVENTURE OF LOVE ON THE HIGH SEAS!!


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Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,607 reviews1,480 followers
September 24, 2018
This review was originally posted on Books of My Heart

Oh Captain, my captain, I do love a good pirate tale. The Duke with a Dragon Tattoo has a few things going for it. There is, of course, the dashing and dastardly pirate king and a damsel in need of saving from some nefarious old dude. But before that, we get some sweet and cute, which is much needed since later our Pirate is quite an antihero.

The Highwayman has been my favorite of the Victorian Rebels series by far. This is the tale of the Dorian Black, the boy Dugan thought long dead, who by dying had saved Dugan. Dorian was thought dead by all and he very nearly was. That is until Lorelei happens on him while driving home in a carriage. Broken, battered and on the verge of death, she wills him to live and nurses him back to health. Here is all of the cute and I loved how the two of them became closer as he healed.

Lorelei is a fun heroine because she isn’t a perfect specimen, she has flaws. She is kindhearted and nurses just about any lost animal back to health. Lorelei also has a severe limp and struggles getting around. She has some confidence issues because of that and the way her brother treats her. But she is someone who is easy to like.

Dorian can’t remember anything about himself before he was found on the side of the road. He is pretty sure he wasn’t a nice boy to begin with, but for this girl he would try to be one. He’s decided he loves Lorelei and will find a way to earn a living and be with her after he recovers from the injury. But fate has other plans and it will be close to twenty years until they see each other again.

I’m glad we get some sweet time with the characters while they are kids since later Ash/Dorian is very changed and seems almost brutal in many of his dealing. As the notorious Rook Pirate King of the seas, he was a bit to take at times even though we know how broken he truly is. Lorelei remains the character that holds the story together for me. I love her and so I want her to get the HEA she seems to deserve.

This has some tender moments to hold onto though and showed us true love lasts decades.  Ash is the most himself with Lorelei and you can see how much his love for her drove him all of the years he was away.

One of the best parts was getting to see Dorian (or Dugan as his true name really is) from the Highwayman along with Farrah. I was very happy that characters from the prior books made cameo appearances and helped with a few things.

The Highwayman still holds the top position for this series for me but this probably comes in a close second.

“Lorelai. There are only two indisputable facts in this world: The sun will set in the west, and I’ll come for you. Always.”

"It's not that I merely missed you.....You are not a hole in my heart, you are the whole of my heart.

Derek Perkins performed this story well.  He was able to capture a voice for all of the characters and make me feel for them.  His narration of Ash/Dorian/The Rook made him seem both strong and vulnerable. I was able to listen to this at my usual 1.5x speed.

Listen to a clip here:

Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Profile Image for Elle G. Reads.
1,551 reviews737 followers
August 11, 2018
Release Date: August 28, 2018
Genre: Historical Romance
Actual Rating: 5 stars

WOAH!!! This book was so damn good that I picked it up in one sitting and read it all the way through to the end. Normally, I tend to stay away from historical romances because I feel like they are long and drawn out, but this one was so interesting that I couldn't help but fall head over heels in love with it! Kerrigan Bryne, where have you been all my life!?! This book literally has it all. It's romantic, suspenseful, and has a cast of characters I won't forget! Even better? The hero (who has murderous qualities) is a PIRATE. Had I known this book was about a pirate I probably wouldn't have picked it up because that just doesn't interest me (normally). But I am so glad I did because I LOVED it. If you are a historical romance fan you need this book in your life! I am now in the process of adding every book in this series to my cart on amazon- that's how good it is!

In this story, readers will meet Lorelei and Rook. The two met 20 years prior after Rook was left for dead and Lorelei saved him from the ashes. But too soon he was pulled away from the one person in the world he found solace and love with. Fast forward 20 years and Rook is intent on getting back his one true love. Only this time, he is a dark and brooding soul and will do anything to get her even if that means kidnapping her from her own wedding..

The journey to find their way back to one another isn't an easy one, and there are times of discomfort, hate, and remorse for both of them. But once the demons are shed and the two get to know each other and a deeper level there is no stopping their love for one another.

Historical romance lovers and even those who tend to shy away from the genre should definitely pick up this book! It is a whirlwind! I loved it to pieces and can't wait to catch up on the series and meet some new Victorian Rebels to fall in love with.
Profile Image for Somia.
2,051 reviews129 followers
September 25, 2019
The beginning of this book, before Ash disappears, I absolutely adored – what should have been super corny and sickly sweet had me sighing in delight. Byrne ensured I found myself caring about the main characters and that I wouldn’t stop reading until the last page.

Lorelei’s brother – Mortimer, is one character that I HATED from the get go – a snivelling little worm who takes advantage of his position and used his physical strength and cruel mind to hurt his innocent sister. To say I was gleefully waiting for him to get his just desserts big time would be no understatement (even now thinking of him turns my stomach). I seriously wished her dad had grown a pair, even for a moment and given Mortimer a set down! I know a tad harsh but it was so frustrating that outside Ash no one else recognised the gem she was at the age of 14. I have to say I was a tiny bit disappointed by

The mystery with the

There’s a lot of angst in this book, at times OTT, but after the last book I read in this series: The Duke and the disappointment it was for me, I was delighted by this book and the main characters, the story did lag a tad, here and there, but I so see myself re-reading it.
Profile Image for emtee.
172 reviews43 followers
April 27, 2022
I’m finding it impossible to come up with the words to write a proper review of this book, to convey how the story made me feel.

I was captivated and enthralled. My heart ached. I couldn’t put it down and didn’t want it to end. But even these words don’t do the story justice.

Impassioned, he clutched at her arm. “Lorelai. There are only two indisputable facts in this world: One, that the sun will set in the west. And two, that I’ll come for you. Always.”

With over 200 historical romances read in the past two years, this book will always have a treasured place at the top of the heap. Kerrigan Byrne at her absolute finest!

“Where does it hurt the most?” Black eyes rimmed in red searched her face, as though he might find answers to a question he didn’t know how to ask. The air shifted as threads of trust weaved through the space between them, adding a soft color to their tapestry. Silently, cautiously, he took her hand, and placed it over his heart. Instinct whispered that she must walk the line between compassion and pity most carefully here. Struck by impulsive sentiment, she lifted her hand, bent over him, and pressed her lips to his chest, just above his heart. He tensed. Froze. Not so much as drawing a breath until she pulled away. “I’ll heal that too,” she promised.
February 2, 2022
4.5 Brutal Pirate Stars

As we’ve come to know and expect Kerrigan Byrne’s books start out a bit dark, in The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo the hero starts out a broken boy/man who eventually becomes the anti-hero known as The Rook (I’m a huge fan of anti-hero’s and Anne Stuart is the queen of anti-hero’s but Kerrigan Byrne’s anti-Hero’s are right up there with AS’s!!!).

Fourteen year old Lorelei Weatherstroke was sorely abused as a child yet she hasn’t lost her empathy to love and care for those weaker than herself. She’s definitely a nurturer of all things broken and has a habit of collecting hurt animals, during a trip home with her father and older brother she finds the battered and broken body of a young man on the side of the road, naturally she insists that they need to take him home. Holding his hand in hers young Lorelei wills her strength into him—urging him to fight and live…when he overcomes the worse of his injuries he has no memory of his past, and can’t even remember his name. Lorelei gives him a name—Ash. Lorelei and Ash figure he is about seventeen. Young love blooms and there is nothing that Ash won’t do for Lorelei. With the help of Lorelei’s older brother Ash sets out to find his past and his true identity so he can be a man of worth for Lorelei. Upon setting out, he vows....

“There are only two indisputable facts in this world: One, that the sun will set in the west. And two, that I’ll come for you. Always.”

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Fast forward 20 years, and Lorelei is still pining for her Ash and often wonders what has became of her beloved Ash. Lorelai is forced (by her overbearing abusive brother) into an unwanted marriage to save her family's estate, however; upon arriving at the church she is taken captive by The Rook an outlaw pirate. Could it be that her beloved Ash is now the bloodthirsty pirate known as The Rook? If so will they be able to recapture their young love or has Ash beome even more broken and now beyond repair and more importantly will Lorelai accept who he has become.

I completely enjoyed this installment of Victorian Rebels, the epilogue was good and complete but it seemed to end rather abruptly. I loved catching up with past characters and how they’re interwoven into each new book. I can’t wait for the next book A Dark and Stormy Knight due next year sometime and will be Inspector Morley’s story, and after reading this I’m definitely looking forward to his book!!!

*Audio book once again narrated by the very talented Derek Perkins.
Profile Image for Desi.
524 reviews93 followers
June 23, 2020
It’s official. I have a new pet peeve. People who fall into undying love as teenagers. Welcome to the family, dearest. The fire is lit. Come join the others...

So the premise of this book strained the bounds of reality so much that I couldn’t suspend my disbelief without having it choke violently to death.

Blatant murder of titled folks ... in front of witnesses. Kidnapping of titled females and ladies. Uncalled for murder of an innocent (if indecorously fat) social climbing merchant. Lots of thinking of possibly raping captives though the action isn’t followed through. Overpossessiveness towards females with lots of “she’s mine” thrown around. Pirates (Seriously? Are we still doing that?) with hearts of gold (I assume).

All made even more utterly ridiculous by a time gap of decades between their first knowing of each other and their reconnection. 20 years guys, 20 years. Have you seriously not moved on with your life? That's just pathetic.

It was like reading a previous book in this series all over again but done infinitely, infinitely, eeeiinfinitely worse. And I mean worse... 16 chapters locked in a cabin with no character development or interaction leading to a closer connection other than will she or won’t she get raped... worse.

I begin to wonder if author Ms. Byrne has actually met a human male. You know those male members of the species who are happily married and loving for ages but tend to have a new spouse six or so months after their wife dies because they miss having someone around and being taken care of?

Because even the overly religious of the species don't spend decades pining over encounters that last mere months from their teen years, while maintaining virginity or emotional faithfulness, to what basically amounts to summer flings with bonny young girls that never go past a kiss.

Yet somehow the self same men are supposedly big, bad and murderous in every other aspect of their tortured lives. But yeah tell us again they've been living like monks. That's some serious fantastical thinking.

And then we have the big ole whollop of Madonnaing that the poor woman will have to combat if she's now required to live up to decades of his imagined version of her, and her supposed perfection, which I gather will rescue his poor put-upon soul. She out of all humanity will connect him to his emotions. Barf.

Ladies please run, these men have decades of emotional issues, obsessive tendencies, likely ptsd, rape trauma and no therapy is possible in said era to help them deal.

Get thee awayyy while you can.

There is nothing romantic about any of this. Also he thinks rape is fine and dandy and he's a murderer, so there's that. Good luck to you if you ever want to leave him.
Profile Image for Carvanz.
2,059 reviews706 followers
August 27, 2018

Twenty years ago, Lorelei gave her young girl’s heart away to a boy without a memory. With promises of forever, he left her and she never saw him again. Until today, when the utterly unthinkable happened. Now that young boy has grown into a man with cold hard eyes and devastation in his wake. And apparently, he has plans for her.

I really enjoyed this story. While it may have lagged a bit here or there, it was still moving forward, carrying this couple on an adventure that neither would come out on the other side without significant changes.

My heart ached so much for both of these characters as they had each suffered in their own way. However, I must confess that it was the hero’s experiences that was truly the most horrifying. My gut clinched as each piece of the puzzle fell into place and each new tidbit of his life was shared.

This is a slow read that you will not be able, nor want to, rush through. The characters are all very well developed both the hero and heroine as well as each secondary character. There is not only drama from outside of this relationship, but much angst from within, causing me to shed tears for the agony they experienced. The steam is slow in coming but there is never any lack of awareness that this couple desire each other.

Overall, I was thrilled to get to the end and find out all of the twists and turns. Freaking perfect.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book provided by NetGalley and St. Martin's Press. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Multi POV but mostly hero and heroine
Profile Image for Tenley.
241 reviews26 followers
November 25, 2022
OMG….. THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!

A tortured, possessive anti-hero with an obsessive love for a woman that has not lessened despite a twenty-year separation….. who also happens to have AMNESIA ?!?!?!?!!


I was so excited to read this book and I am happy to report that The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo is now my second favorite book of the Victorian Rebels series with The Hunter remaining the heavyweight champion.

The majority of this book emotionally gutted me. The story was tragic and the writing was beautiful. This would have been a 5-star read, except towards the end of the story, I felt like the Rook acted out in ways that didn’t align with his character. For example, he had a heart-to-heart convo with Dorian regarding his feelings for Lorelei. While the emotional reveal was well written, it seemed misplaced. The Rook is not exactly a chatter bug nor is he in touch with his emotions, so unloading on a relative stranger didn’t seem right.

Also, if I'm being totally honest, I didn’t like the fact that after the big reveal regarding the Rook’s past was made, he and Lorelei didn’t have a conversation about any of it. Like none. I’m sorry, but “looks” cannot communicate the very important details of the Rook’s past, no matter how deeply he gazed into Lorelei’s eyes. A conversation needed to occur.

Overall though, this book is fantastic and a great addition to the series.

I am thrilled that I own this series on my kindle because I will be rereading all of these books in the future! I am also happy to report that Morley’s book starts a new series and that series is free on KU!

Profile Image for Lady Nilambari Reads HR.
377 reviews87 followers
November 13, 2021
3.5 Stars

Expectation is a bitch, destined to ruin your life, in the case of this book, my sleep.
- Nilambari Kulkarni

Trigger Warning - This entire series contains some graphic violence, references to physical & sexual abuse, intentions to cause harm and murder.

Plot Summary
A man with no memory and a deadly past, known today as simply the Rook, the world’s deadliest pirate king. A woman who saves him in more ways than one, his guardian angel. A love for the ages that is threatened by the gales of his past that he cannot remember. And in true pirate adventure fashion, a treasure hunt that leads to an unexpected find.

My Thoughts
- An engrossing round-up of the Victorian Rebels series. Rook’s story ties up the loose ends we encountered in The Highwayman.
- Thankfully, the writing style Ms Byrne abandoned in the previous book is back. The verbiage is philosophical, her characters are broken, and an exploration of hidden depths.
- The pacing was slower than expected, and at times felt patchy, probably because I was operating on no sleep.
- There wasn’t a singular focus to the plot, and it ran in 3 directions: Rook’s past, the romance and the treasure hunt. Unfortunately, the coalescence was not seamless.
- In true Kerrigan Byrne fashion, the characters were unique for sure, but their development was a rollercoaster or a sinusoidal wave going up and down.
- This was Rook’s show through and through, and Lorelai was just along for the ride. To me, that makes for a difficult to believe romance. It was steeped in gratitude and gave a Stockholm Syndrome flavour of being trapped by what could be as opposed to what is.
- The slow burn had a contrary effect. Instead of intensifying chemistry, it was lacklustre. How very disappointing.
- Continuing with the hero metaphors, Rook was redemption. Gavin doesn’t get a metaphor as he was grumbly, there you go. (Alliteration is intentional).
- Rook had such tremendous potential to be an anti-hero. He was sadly underutilized and left much to be desired. He went from being a wronged hero to sweetly protective to an unrepentant alpha to someone wanting to be tamed? Alas, that is not a paradox I enjoy. Be who you are, unapologetically, come hell or high winter.
- Lorelai showed promise. Her descent from being a saviour to a person strength, to naivety and to having childish insecurities was not desirable.
- Now, Veronica, she was great, strong and consistent. Sebastian Moncrieff provided a great humorous, rakish and drama element.
- Rook and Blackwell’s bromance was so damned cute. I am a sucker for a great bromance, I wish there was more to it!
- The villain was not a villain, the treasure hunt was anti-climactic and the ending was abrupt that asked more questions than it answered.

My Grumbles
- I built this book up a little too much in my head and I felt cheated. It’s not the story’s fault, but mine.
- The entire big reveal was very predictable if you were paying close attention, which I was and I had it figured out in the first 3% of the book.
- The Highwayman hangover anyone? No? Just me? Okay. It was really a repeat of book 1 with amnesia plus a naïve, insecure idiot of a heroine.
- Rook’s identity was the worst kept secret, that you could see coming from miles away.

I’ll say this about Kerrigan Byrne (a praise), she can dream up the dregs of humanity, have her characters do atrocious things and still make you fall in love with them.

My Recommendation
An enjoyable story, provided you keep your wits about you and your expectations in check. And whatever you do, do not lose sleep over it. I have reviewed it without the bias of my expectation disappointment getting in the way.

All in all, a great series, well worth a read. Definitely going to read Morley’s and Sebastian’s stories.
Profile Image for *The Angry Reader*.
1,374 reviews304 followers
July 31, 2018
***ARC received for an honest review***

That ole Kerrigan Byrne Magic - back in action. Dannnnnnnnng, y’all. Here we go with a rambling feely-feels review that doesn’t talk much about the plot - bc spoilers.

”Don’t go, she’d murmured. Stay here. With me. And so, he had. He’d lived only because she bade him to.”

Basically - have you read the rest of this series? Did you love it? Did you really really really love the first one? That whole vibe with Fairy and Dougan and their lost childhood love? Do you like heroes who are super bad dudes with hearts of gold while remaining a bit psychotic?

I could quote at least 30% of the book in this review. So much swooning. So many meaningful sighs where I set down the kindle just to soak in the majesty of the Rook and his bomb-ass angsty pick-up lines. Is there anything better than a bad bad bad boy out there killin and wreaking havoc and then layin his soul bare for his lady love?


So yeah. Read the book. Read the series. Kerrigan Byrne is a favorite. And I’m off to waller in my book-hangover.

Profile Image for Marta Cox.
2,567 reviews191 followers
July 9, 2018
Received for review from Netgalley and I just had to dive straight in ! Sorry but a book about a notorious pirate just fired up my imagination particularly as the author has previously teased us with the Rook as a peripheral character. If you have a soft spot for pirates ( who hasn’t?) and a hankering for a bodice ripping romance then this is the book for you.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the whole series although sadly this one perhaps lacks action and danger but nevertheless this captive and captor story had me engrossed as previous characters are brought in which oddly enough seemed to my mind to bring a few storylines to fruition. If I’m brutal it lacked a little because I do prefer more snark from my heroines but there’s such sweetness and obvious love here that I’m not marking it down. The Victorian Rebel series has been a fabulous read but there’s a character here who I dearly hope will get his happy ending and dare I suggest I know who will tame him ? Yet for now it’s all about Lorelei and her Ash and the love that they share “always”.
This voluntary take is of a copy I requested from Netgalley and my thoughts and comments are honest and I believe fair
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