I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
After her father is caught for thievery and she begins to question why they steal, Amanda's mother places her in a finishing school. Ten years later Amanda lives a respectable life and even has secured a job as a secretary but her past comes storming back. She is blackmailed to steal certain items or her mother being held prisoner will face the noose.
After a journal article somewhat ambiguously calls him out, Gabriel decides to use his Duke status to champion a bill and maybe slow down on his decadent lifestyle. When he meets a mysterious woman who challenges him, he finally sees the advantage to having one woman.
Blackmail, lies, class differences, and love will challenge this couple.
One Amanda sat with fine ladies and agreed to help them with a journal.
The other Amanda intended to allow a man to seduce her in order to have the opportunity to commit a crime that could get her hanged.
Second in the Decadent Dukes Society series, the Duke of Langford, Gabriel, is up for his turn at love. His two friends appear alongside him and with glimpses of the couple from the first in the series, you could comfortably start here without feeling lost. I felt like Gabriel was the least flushed out of the two. He's a duke, as we are reminded with a couple Your Graces here and there, he liked to flaunt his mistresses around as a couple people mention, and he likes to look out for his brother. It felt like a solid character pencil sketch but he never got colored in for me. Our heroine Amanda has a bit more life to her as we delve a bit deeper into her life and the mystery/danger plot springs from her family's thievery past. Amanda seems like a strong level headed woman but she too often falls into the "he makes me hot so I will go against every level headed thought I have previously had".
The story jumps into it right away; to the point I felt a little left behind because we hadn't had a proper introduction to the characters yet. I gained a better footing as I got deeper in the pages and while I wouldn't call the pace slow, it is more gradual which I would put on the mystery/danger plot of being a bit weaker. Amanda is stealing items to protect her mother but then suddenly decides to take action against the blackmailer, the whole plot felt dragged on and then messily sped up when they got to the last item.
In the beginning, I enjoyed how Amanda and Gabriel talked, had conversations with one another but as I started to get into them knowing and playing off one another, the lust bug invaded; their first sex scene felt very abrupt. Without feeling like I ever knew or felt connected to the two leads, I had a hard time becoming absorbed into their romance and their chemistry was fairly weak.
The writing is good, the strong female relationships shown was a delight, and the way the three duke friends interacted was pleasant to read about but the pencil sketch without color filling it out, ultimately, left this feeling fairly dull. However, the next duke in line has a very dark and broody feel to him that will have me continuing with the series.
"I think I will be forever changed because I knew you."