When it comes down to the bottom of things, author Christi Caldwell is one to keep the audience entertained and intrigued at all times. She never pushes the envelope, but dives headfirst into the story that needs to be told.
Lucky number thirteen in the HEART OF A DUKE series, TO ENCHANT A WICKED DUKE is a revelation in so many ways. In this wonderful tale, we begin with a young Dominick Tallings who instead of enjoying his informative years has to cover up the demise of his family and the death of his father in particular. The evident cause of the Tallings Family fall from grace is the malicious Marquess of Rutland, who has called in all of Tallings debt and in turn has begun a domino effect which shapes Dominck for years to come. When the Marquess confronts the young man after leaving the pivotal argument with his father, Rutland tells Dominck to never make apologies for who one is or for what one has done, thus beginning Dominick's quest for revenge that consumes him for over a decade.
Miss Justina Barrett may be a Diamond of the First Water but her life at home with her family is far from sparkling. Her father is in dun territory and devises a way to sell Justina to the highest bidder to squash his debt. Unfortunately, the man who pursues Justina is probably the last man she would ever want to marry, The Marquess of Tennyson, who has disrespected Justina in public. After a disagreement with her father, who threatens to hurt Justina's mother if she doesn't comply with his wishes, Justina is bereft, but determined to find another way. If only her brother-in-law and reformed rogue, the Marquess of Rutland, were in town to stop Justina's father's threats. Happily married to Phoebe, Justina's sister, who has just gone through a difficult birth, Rutland puts the fear of God into anyone who crosses him, especially those who seek to harm the family of the love of his life. Alas, Rutland is by his wife's side as she recovers and Justina is loathe to write and tell him of the Barrett family troubles.
A chance meeting with the fascinating Dominick Tallings, Duke of Huntly, who literally sweeps Justina off her feet when he saves her from a runaway horse who would have trampled her, gives her hope that maybe her father's dastardly plans for an unwanted marriage to a man she despises can be thwarted. The Duke of Huntly has other plans for Miss Barrett however, and she is his means to an end in Dominick's plan for revenge against Rutland.
Dominick thinks it will be cut and dry. He thinks his quest for vengeance will overshadow any humanity inside of him. What he soon comes to discover is nothing is cut and dry where Justina Barrett is concerned and the more time he spends in her company, the less cold hearted he actually may be. Revenge consumes Nick, and his inner struggle to fight off his new emotions for Justina war with the need to see the Marquess of Rutland brought low. Just when all may be resolved, Dominick's former lover and partner in crime, Lady Marianne Carew slithers in give Nick an ultimatum to finish what he started with their mutual nemesis, the Marquess of Rutland, or suffer the consequences.
As much as I would continue to give an inside to this fabulous work by the brilliant Christi Caldwell, I feel it would be better if TO ENCHANT A WICKED DUKE were grabbed and read immediately. Nothing can come close to Ms. Caldwell's writing, her emotion and her attention to detail and this book is a shining example of what Christi Caldwell is all about, perfection.