Print Length: 400 pages
Publisher:  AVON BOOKS (September 27, 2022)

From Goodreads.com: It is a truth universally acknowledged that a wicked duke who has gambled away his fortune must be in want of an heiress.

Scarred by a dark secret, Brandan Delamar, Duke of Westbury, must concede his misdeeds have finally caught up with him. With five younger sisters to support, he must marry for money.

Sunny and steadfast, Viola Beaton is no heiress. As music instructor to the duke’s sisters, she’s developed a genuine affection for the bright young ladies. Unfortunately, she’s also developed a forbidden passion for her wildly attractive employer.

It must be the way he inspires her to compose sonatas about moonlight and kisses. Or how his gaze smolders and lingers on her skin. Or because he makes her heart whisper impossible things.

When Westbury decrees that he’ll choose not only a bride, but grooms for his sisters, Viola can’t allow him to curtail their freedom. She strikes a bargain: if he allows his sisters to attend the Season, Viola will chaperone them and keep them safe from scandal.

Only…what if Viola and the duke are the ones most likely to cause a scandal?

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My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

This one was weird because I could have sworn I read the other books in this series. I remember a Duke nicknamed Thorn, a Duchess wearing breeches, and a group of so-called wallflowers meeting as a secret group and encouraging each other. But apparently, those novels were all written by another author, as it would appear this is the first novel I've ever read by this author. 

So what can I say about a Duke Most Wicked? 

It was.... interesting in the way romances that throw together a lot of cliches tend to be. First, we have West; our Duke, who, because of his crippling daddy issues, gambles away nearly all of his money (including his five sisters' doweries) and becomes the most debauched man in London. Until he overhears the objects of his eldest sister's affections besmirching her character, he decides that the only way to ensure his sisters' happiness (most of them) is to arrange marriages for them, after he secures his own heiress to solve all of his money problems of course. 

Enter Viola, the daughter of a disgraced composer and the currently employed music teacher to West's sisters. She champions for them to have a season and eventually wins. To which West asks her to act as a companion to them, which of course, means she and West are now constantly in close proximity to each other. And even though he is engaged to marry an obscenely wealthy American heiress, neither of them can stop having inappropriate thoughts about the other. 

Of course, because these two are the main characters, the American heiress ends up jilting our Wicked Duke (and yet the money he has already spent providing for his sisters and paying off his debts is just forgiven by her father for some reason). This means he is free to have sex with Viola. Because of course, they can't marry. Not only is she wholly unsuitable as a Duchess, but she's also practically penniless herself (due to the fact that her father, who was once a world-famous composer, but, as mentioned previously mentioned, was disgraced and has hearing issues, is so wholly focused on his "masterpiece symphony" that he does nothing else leaving poor Viola not only to seek employment but to also compose her own music in her father's name in order to pay the bills). And please don't get me started on how every single time they are in each other's company (or kissing or fornicating), Viola sets it to music. 

Seriously. You can't read a love scene in this novel without her thinking about percussion, soaring notes, and just about every other musical term you can think of. I'm sorry, but if she is composing symphonies in her head, he must be doing something wrong. 

Just when things are looking up, Viola overhears something she shouldn't, and instead of staying until the end (or bursting in with righteous anger), takes off, forcing the Duke to track her down. Which, of course, he does, but then for some reason, he thinks that his and her gravestones are an appropriate way to begin a proposal? Or that he should end said proposal with "will you be buried next to me"  Uh... I'm sorry, what? How is any of that romantic? 

But of course, it wasn't until this shortly before he proposed that he realized his father left everything to him upon the death of his YOUNGER brother (which again just gives me pause as the rules governing their lives back then I don't think would have allowed his father to leave so much to the spare and so little to the heir), so it no longer matters that Viola is poor. It no longer matters that she is below him in rank. They can get married, and everyone can live happily ever after! 

To sum up, this story is kind of cute, really cliche, and also a little cheesy at times. If this sounds like something you would like, grab a copy and enjoy! 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.
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                                          Duke Most Wicked is available on Amazon.com