Griffin Stone: Duke of Decadence (Dangerous Dukes) - Carole Mortimer

Series: Dangerous Dukes (Book 3)

Who: Griffin Stone, tenth Duke of Rotherham.

What: A disheveled woman who is nearly trampled by his carriage horses.

When: Late one summer night while the Duke is in pursuit of would-be assassins.


Why: When the mysterious beauty's identity is revealed as Lady Beatrix Stanton, Griffin realizes it's she who holds the key to everything. Bea's memory must be unlocked, but with every second in her presence inflaming Griffin's desire, keeping his mind on the task ahead proves nigh on impossible!


Griffin and his fellow "Dangerous Dukes" are still working to shut down the network that attempted to assassinate the Prince Regent. Griffin is following a lead that sends him back to his estate in Lancashire when a woman darts out of the woods and is hit by his carriage. He feels responsible and takes her on to his home to care for her.


Thanks to his secret work for the Crown, Griffin is cynical and mistrusting of anything that seems out of the ordinary. But once he sees the woman's injuries and discovers that she has no memory of who she is or what happened to her, he suspects that she's more victim than conspirator. And as bits of her memory begin to return, her presence may be more than coincidence. For her own safety, they need to find out who she is and what happened to her. Griffin sends word to his boss asking for his help. In the meantime, he's determined to protect her, especially from himself!


Griffin has been attracted to Bea from the moment he saw her, but tries hard to subdue it. He had been married once, but it hadn't been a happy marriage. His wife was cold to him, apparently fearful of him, and eventually unfaithful. She drowned a year after their wedding, possibly taking her own life, leaving him feeling responsible for her death and undeserving of anyone's love. The intensity of his desire for Bea takes him by surprise, as does her reaction to him. When Bea awakens in Griffin's home, she has no idea who she is or what happened to her. She does know that being near Griffin makes her feel safe. He also makes her want to get closer to him. 


I loved seeing the relationship grow between Bea and Griffin. She may be young and well born, but she is also a very strong and determined person. She isn't about to let what happened to her turn her into a quivering mess. She is also a pretty good judge of character, and she doesn't let Griffin's gruff, blunt and sometimes rude behavior blind her to the caring man she sees. She also knows what she wants, and isn't afraid to go after it. I really loved seeing her work her magic on Griffin's resistance. I loved seeing Griffin's reactions to her advances. He was so used to the way that his wife had treated him that he couldn't believe that someone like Bea wasn't terrified of him. I loved seeing his protectiveness, and how thoughts of her kept distracting him from things he was trying to do. Even trying to avoid her didn't help him. He knew he was in trouble when he found himself jealous when she spoke to a gardener. I loved seeing how just having her around affected him, making him happier than he'd ever been. But he still didn't believe that love was possible, even when his friend tried to tell him it was. I loved the ending as Griffin came to terms with his past and embraced the changes that Bea brought to him. I loved seeing him open up to Bea and how she showed she loved him just as he was.


The mystery of who Bea was and what had happened to her was very well done. Her fear after her nightmare revealed a little of what happened to her was intense, and gave Griffin just enough information to start to put the pieces together. When his two friends arrived with more details, Griffin's fear for her increased. I loved seeing Bea stand up for her right to know what was going on. The danger for her went up when she found out about the kidnapped boy and she insisted on being involved in finding out more about where he was. The final confrontation had a couple of very interesting twists, including one about Griffin's wife that I never saw coming.