Imogen, Lady Maitland, has decided to dance on the wild side. After all, she's in the delicious position of being able to take a lover. A discreet male who knows just when to leave in the morning.
But Lady Maitland is still under the watchful eye of her former guardian, the wildly untamed Rafe, the Duke of Holbrook. He believes she is still in need of a "watchdog." She laughs at the idea that someone so insufferably lazy and devoted to drink can demand that she behave with propriety.
It's Rafe's long-lost brother, a man who looks precisely like the duke but with none of his degenerate edge, who interests Imogen. To Imogen, he's the shadow duke...the man who really should hold the title. But when Imogen agrees to accompany Gabe to a masquerade...whose masked eyes watch her with that intense look of desire? Who exactly is she dancing with? The duke or the shadow duke? Rafe...or Gabe?
I'd say this is already in the running for most disappointing read of the year. When you start caring more for a secondary romance, you know something's wrong. I think one of the main problems is that I didn't think Imogen had enough time to truly think about her situation and what she'd done. I didn't hate her as a character in the previous two books, realizing that she had been hurt and was mainly just lashing out, but I don't think she had enough personal growth by the end of this book to suit me. And I think it was that anticipation of watching her grow that makes me feel so let down. It just wasn't there. And yeah, Rafe changes in the book and I liked those changes, I just don't think he and Imogen were ready by the end. It just plain didn't work for me.
I did enjoy a lot of the other stuff, such as the secondary relationship between Gillian and Gabe. Now that one I'd have liked to have its own book. But I did like how it ended. And Josie...I'm really looking forward to reading about Josie. And I did like the theater bits. But the romance between Imogen and Rafe? Totally didn't work for me. When it's almost the end of the book and you think their romance is maybe in the very beginning? It's just not working.
I honestly could have just set this one down and not cared except that I did want to read about the other characters. But if not for them, this would be a completely forgettable story.