DARE TO LOVE A DUKE – Eva Leigh
The London Underground , Book 3
In spite of his heavy-weight title as heir to the Duke of Northfield, Thomas Powell, Earl of Langdon, thinks mainly of pleasure. A friend introduces him to a new little known club, the Orchard Club, which he finds fascinating. How is it different? Well, first everyone must wear masks. Second, clothing is not mandatory, nor are names. The only rules are that anything goes except force of any kind. Everything, especially any kind of sex, must be consensual. Included in Tom's fascination is a woman fully clothed and wearing a gold satin mask. She is Lucia Marini, the club manager who goes by the name Amina when on duty. Theirs becomes a close but non-sexual friendship. Tom continues to visit for almost a year until his straight-laced, conservative father falls ill. Tom lingers at his father's bedside until the man passes. He soon finds his new dukedom a heavy weight. Much pressure is on him to fall in with the majority of Parliament who wish to preserve the status-quo as his father did. This lasts until he learns a closely held secret of his father's. This leads him to examine his mind and the state of society.
Tom goes back to the Orchard Club and to Lucia, who has some influence with him. He learns that she puts aside part of her wages to teach poor, often homeless girls to read and write. Her ambitions are to make a home and school for what she calls the lost girls. Lucia was born in Italy and scorned by both her mother's family there and her English father's in England.
Be prepared for lots of F-words, verbal and detailed sex that can be savored or rushed through, but intermixed with some very thoughtful passages as Tom grows. He meets many challenges that will affect his family, especially his sister, who loves the son of a powerful lord who is Tom's worst enemy.
I was very moved by this story and can seriously recommend it as worth the time I spent on it. At the same time I received it, I got The London Underground's two previous novels. I felt compelled to take a look at them and am eager to go back to finish them both. The first is FROM DUKE TILL DAWN, from 2017. The second is COUNTING ON A COUNTESS from April 2018. Both heroes are from the trio of friends to be met in the first The London Underground ; the heroines are definitely not your usual debutante ladies.