the latest in the maiden lane series, duke of pleasure, tells the story of the duke of kyle and a street urchin named alf. hugh is intent on disbanding and unmasking the notorious lords of chaos, and he hires alf, in her street urchin garb, to help him investigate and attack he believes was instigated at the command of the lords. hugh doesn't know alf's secret, he thinks she is a teenaged boy. alf has many secrets in fact, because she is also the current ghost of st. giles.
alf has had run-ins with hugh in both her guises, she saved hugh from a nasty attack on the streets of st. giles as the ghost. an encounter that ended with a heated kiss and his realization that the ghost of st. giles was a woman. and as a street urchin/informant who barters information for coin, they first crossed paths when alf was working for valentine, and again when hugh asks alf to look into the nasty attack and suss out who hired the gang of thugs to take hugh out.
working with hugh puts her life in danger, and when he insists that she stay in his home, her secrets start to unravel. because there is an attraction between hugh and alf, one that is undeniable. and even though alf has always had to be a boy, she suddenly finds herself wishing more people knew her true self.
all too soon hugh knows she is a woman, and there is no way they can keep apart. eventually the case requires alf to take on her womanhood. and once she makes these changes for hugh there is no going back. they belong together and it's just a question of figuring that out.
the threads that link this book to its sequel start to come together in this book, and i can't wait to see where duke of desire will take us as the series concludes. elizabeth hoyt has created such a rich world with the maiden lane series, it will be so sad to leave it behind. but we have at least one full length novel and a holiday novella in the works before that actually happens. in the meantime, we get to see hugh and alf figure out their thing. fun fact: it involved lots and lots of chemistry. and time in bed.
**duke of pleasure will publish on november 29, 2016. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/forever (grand central publishing) in exchange for my honest review.