From Duke Till Dawn
Eva Leigh     

Genre: Historical Romance
Series: The London Underground
Book: 1

Eva Leigh launches a seductive new series that sizzles with the dark secrets of London’s underworld...

Years ago, the Duke of Greyland gave his heart—and a princely sum of money—to a charming, destitute widow with unparalleled beauty. But after one passionate night, she slipped from his bed and vanished without a trace. And just when he’s given up hope of ever seeing her again, Greyland finds her managing a gaming hell. He’s desperate to have her… until he discovers everything about his long-lost lover was a lie.

In truth, Cassandra Blake grew up on the streets, picking pockets to survive. Greyland was a mark—to be fleeced and forgotten—but her feelings for the duke became all too real. Once he learns of her deception, however, the heat in his eyes turns to ice. When her business partner absconds with the gaming hell proceeds—leaving unsavory investors out for blood—Cassandra must beg the man she betrayed for help.

Greyland wants compensation, too, and he’ll assist her under one condition: she doesn’t leave his sight until her debts are paid. But it’s not long before the real Cassandra—the smart, streetwise criminal—is stealing his heart all over again. 

Alex, the Duke of Greyland was just dumped. His former would-be bride eloped with another man, dashing his plans of a dutiful marriage and subsequent heir. But it’s not that that has Greyland a bit moody and in the dumps. Two years ago he met a woman. Although they only had one night together, till this day he can’t get her out of his head…and then he finds her again.

Cassandra Blake endured a horrible childhood. My heart absolutely bled for her. It’s usually when reading a book like this or doing historical research that I’m reminded of how hard life must have been for women back then who were born into poverty. The only life she knows is deception—pick pocketing and fleecing wealthy gentlemen. Then she meets Alex and finally feels something for one of her marks. Even after she vanishes from his life, she never forgets him.

The book doesn’t start when they first meet. Those scenes are told in flashbacks and I must say I find this the best use of flashbacks—not too many and they add to the progression and understanding of the story. Nope, the book starts when they meet again, which is when the suspense starts to build. I didn’t have to wait long for Alex to find out he’d been hoodwinked by Cassandra.  

I couldn’t help but feel terrible for Alex because he truly cared about her. I felt his devastation and understood his anger. But I have so much empathy for Cassandra, it’s hard to be mad at her. Alex however, is a little unforgiving and when she comes to him for help—she and her partner owe som unsavory people money—Alex wants his pound of flesh.  Cassandra finds herself living with Alex and she will until she repays him the money she swindled from him and the money he lends her.  If you love your romances with a little bit of revenge thrown in, this book fits the bill.

Sigh. But Alex finds himself falling for her all over again. Harder this time. Of course the same could be said of Cassandra. But the differences between them are much bigger than when he thought she was an unfortunate widow. I mean he’s the Duke of Greyland and she’s a…nobody. Those are real obstacles, which is what I loved about their romance. The right amount of suspense—the hunt for Martin (her partner in crime)—keeps the story going at a nice pace. Nothing is easy for them as their timing always seems to be off. But if you know me, I much prefer that the hero and heroine have a more difficult time of things than not.

Another point I have to make about From Duke Till Dawn is that the writing is really top-notch. And then there is that rather memorable love scene at a sex club… And as a huge of fan of romantic endings and epilogues, this one hits the mark. I loved it. I’m definitely looking forward to whatever Ms Leigh’s next book.

~ Beverley