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The Duke with the Dragon TattooThe Duke with the Dragon Tattoo (Victorian Rebels #6) by Kerrigan Byrne

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Synopsis: 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…

A LEGENDARY LOVE

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?

Review: I enjoyed their story quite a bit.  The two characters reminded me a bit of the Pirate captain and his lady love in Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Deadmen Walking (without the paranormal aspect).  He is a scary and powerful pirate king who is infamous and known to be cold and cruel.  She is a sweet and innocent woman who fears him at first but sees beneath the surface as the story progresses, though it does take a good portion of the book to see a softer side of him.  They met when she was 14 and he was 17 when she spots him lying in a mass grave badly beaten, lye burns on portions of his body, and almost dead.  She nurses him back to life and it is her voice that pulls him from the brink of death.  She has a very cruel older brother and once Ash is healed he tricks him and sells him into slavery on a ship.  It takes him 20 years to make his way back and by the time he does, Ash is dead and the Rook has taken his place.  He comes back to claim her as his, kill her brother, and kidnap her.  She is definitely distraught by his reappearance and the dramatic change.  Lorelei has always loved Ash and she can’t except his assertion that Ash is dead and gone, for he is the one she loves.  It takes her a good amount of time to come to terms with his harsher persona, but she refuses to give up on him and their love.  She sees glimpses, though very brief, of who he was 20 ago and she fights to keep a hold of him now that he is back in her life.  A great twist in the plot is the fact that because of the massive beating he took caused him to lose his memory, so he doesn’t know his past or who he really is.  Along the way, during their adventure in seeking treasure and a new relationship within the parameters he sets, they come across two men who knew him before the accident and they help him piece together his lost memories.  I really enjoyed the two main characters; they are strong, dynamic, and complex.  He jumps off the page and the reader truly feels for her in her struggle to earn his love, not just his claim that she is his.  It had a strong plot, diverse conflict, was an easy read, and was a great story.

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