Read taken by the duke the pleasure wars 1 by Jess Michaels Online


An eye for an eye, a sin for a sin…Amid all the lies and scandals that fuel Society’s gossip mill, one truth has stood out: House Rothcastle and House Windbury have always hated each other. Lady Ava Windbury prays the feud will someday end, to no avail. One dreadful night, her brother accidentally causes the death of Christian Rothcastle’s sister, a tragedy that leaves botAn eye for an eye, a sin for a sin…Amid all the lies and scandals that fuel Society’s gossip mill, one truth has stood out: House Rothcastle and House Windbury have always hated each other. Lady Ava Windbury prays the feud will someday end, to no avail. One dreadful night, her brother accidentally causes the death of Christian Rothcastle’s sister, a tragedy that leaves both men maimed.Consumed by grief, Christian makes a grim decision. He will kidnap Lady Ava so that her family will feel the pain of loss as keenly as he feels the loss of his own sister. But once he has Ava in his clutches, desire takes unexpected hold. Even more surprising, she willingly surrenders to his every sexual whim—after haggling over the terms of giving up her virginity.Too late, he realizes she is using her body for peace, not war. But just as their affair of revenges turns into an affair of the heart, the past rears its ugly head to take matters into its own hands…Product Warnings: This book contains scenes of erotic seduction, sexual revenge and the healing power of love....

Title : taken by the duke the pleasure wars 1
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 17338637
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 216 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

taken by the duke the pleasure wars 1 Reviews

  • Didi
    2019-04-30 20:33

    BUDDY READ WITH THE FAMOUS SORAYA!! WHO IS MY MEMORABLE FIRST! IT WAS A PLEASURE MY DEAR!Having read Jess Michaels before, I had probably higher than normal expectations for this book. Everything Forbidden, book 1 in Michaels' Albright Sisters series was beyond fantastic. It was angsty yet completely disarming for a historical romance. It had depth, a great plot and very erotic intimate scenes--yes please!So coming into this book I expected a similarity in the type of feeling this author had provoked in me. I was half right. Taken By the Duke was slow to start although the prologue was fast-paced. It didn't quite pick up for most of the book until the last 30%. This is not to say it was boring or slow. I would say more like an even pace that never got tedious nor exciting. The story starts with the death of the Duke of Rothcastle's sister, Matilda in a freak accident caused by the ever on going battle between two families: The Windburys and Rothcastles. Her death affects both families equally but only increases each family's thirst for revenge.Six months after the accident, Liam of Windbury is grieving the loss of his love and Christian of Rothcastle is stewing in the heat of his demand for revenge in the midst of grieving for his dead sister. Stuck in the middle and a casualty of the hatred between both families is Ava, Liam's sister, who unwittingly becomes a pawn in the never ending battle between dueling houses.Ava was strong-willed and intelligent always playing stronger than she actually was. Her fear never forced her to freeze up or do stupid things, rather she often analyzed her situations in a very clinical way, to the shock of Christian, the Duke of Rothcastle and her captor. Christian was very interesting. And sexy! He began as a vengeful, guilt-ridden man intent on invoking the same fate on his enemy, Liam of Windbury, by kidnapping Ava and forcing Liam to feel the pain of loss from losing a sister.But as he sets out to gain revenge, he becomes much too aware of Ava and spontaneously decides to trade her brother's safety for Ava's innocence. Sexual seduction never felt so good to both Christian and Ava and what ensues is a bond that neither one expected nor can deny. The sex scenes were HOT, but seemed to replace any real depth to the story, considering that's all they did for a while ;-)).I liked how Christian transformed, how he was awakened to feel anything other than hatred and animosity. He slowly turned to Ava for comfort despite being suspicious and mean at times. Even Ava was changed by the bond she developed with Christian. Where as at first her seduction and sexual barter was through negotiation, she came to crave and relish in Christian's touch.The last 30% however is where I felt the story got exciting and definitely more meatier. Secondary characters and their roles were exposed here as well as the true nature of Ava's brother. I had felt sorry for him initially but by the end I wanted to deck him! The things he thought of were cray cray!This book reminded me of Claiming the Courtesan, another historical kidnapping tale. That book however was fast paced and had more depth if I was to compare, and I loved it.So all in all this was a decent book with some memorable lines and an expected HEA, I only wish the pacing in general was as exciting as the last third. This is the first in a series so we aren't finished with Ava, Christian and Liam but at least we have something to smile about.

  • Isabel
    2019-05-15 18:20

    Oh!!! I do love historical romances!!!! And this one I love as well! I love Christian beauty and vulnerability and I love Ava strenght and the power that she had so she could find peace in a war of generations!!! Hot sex scenes are a great bonus! Lovely story and beautiful love!!!

  • Daniella
    2019-04-29 19:42

    Taken By the Duke is an empty story buried beneath copious amount of sex, and a weak romance. It doesn't have any soul, nothing to connect the readers to it. The characterisation is flat, shallow and uninspiring, as is the case with the dialogue and overall prose. The plot is overly simplistic; a few minor conflicts would have given the story further depth. And sadly, for an erotica, the love scenes lack the appropriate amount of intimacy and passion that would have made reading this more worthwhile. Elizabeth Hoyt books were hotter than this one.This makes for an okay read, but lacks the necessary elements to be likeable.

  • Tin
    2019-05-07 19:23

    Jess Michael's Taken by the Duke is the start of her Pleasure Wars series, which has all the strains of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, and amped up with the Jess's own twist to the tale of a tragic young couple. The beginning of the book draws you in immediately, outlining the centuries-old war between two families, the Rothcastle family and the Windbury family -- in this generation, Christian Rothcastle, has a personal reason to seek revenge against the Windburys: he believes that Liam Windbury seduced his younger sister, Matilda, and tried to elope with her. The elopement resulted in a terrible accident, which left both Christian and Liam scarred and caused the tragic death of Matilda. An eye for an eye: Christian has planned to kidnap the earl's younger sister, Ava, and ruin her. What Christian doesn't count on is how disarming Ava is and how clear she is in her intention: she will submit to him to save her brother -- and he doesn't count on feeling passion and a little bit more for his captive.Feuds and rivalries are all-consuming and the parties involved are so focused on their hatred that they don't consider the collateral damage. Matilda and Ava are caught in the crossfires of their family's enmity. Their fathers, grandfathers and brothers never considered how their pride, their own battle has affected their wives and daughters -- how wonderful it would have been for them if they were free to live a more normal life and this is part of what makes Jess Michaels's story so great: we get to read Ava's perspective and opinion on the matter. We hear her complaint and see her take action. Matilda's story ended sadly but Ava still has a chance at changing how her story ends. "...You scar everyone around you, as did our fathers, our grandfathers, and all the rest back to the beginning, whenever that was."- loc 1500* * *"You spoke to me of isolation, Christian, but you are lucky. You are isolated by choice, not by circumstances out of your control. You choose to be alone, you choose to lock people out, you choose pain. So yes, I pity anyone who would be so bull-headed."- loc 1611A kidnapping is a less-than-ideal situation for Ava but she courageously takes control over it. This is a surprising revelation for the duke (and for the readers) because we get the impression that Ava is a helpless wallflower -- but, apparently, there's more to her than meets the eye. I thought she was an admirable heroine who was undaunted in the face of adversity and managed to transform a negative event into a positive opportunity. She did what no man in her family could do: face the enemy and lay down terms. I loved how she moved and spoke with such grace, calm and sensitivity: how she treated Matilda's maid (who was serving her) and how she conducted herself in the Rothcastle household.Innocence lost. Innocence found. Ava sacrifices her innocence to save her brother from Christian's revenge. Her selfless act is a moment of awakening for Christian -- and he regains a bit of his humanity and stops seeing Ava as the enemy. It's a wonderful moment but also one laced with a bit of sadness: their families have been sworn enemies for so long. There is no future for the two of them. The obstacle is not of their own making but existed even before their time: how does one make the change? Old hatreds, hard lost, rose up in him as he pictured Windbury running wild. he loved the idea, thought the pain on Ava's face brought him no gratification. Those warring emotions, though, frustrated and angered him. How dare she alter his glee in an enemy's pain?- loc 1894What drives and defines Christian are very clear: he starts out as blinded by his anger of all the Windbury and his sole goal is to "win" the rivalry in his lifetime -- but, in the end, he undergoes a change of heart. What would precipitate changing one's whole life's philosophy? Love. Love is always the answer and Ava is Christian's saving grace. Jess Michaels plots Taken by the Duke very well: by drawing out the tension of the rivalry, magnifying the bittersweet love story that grows between her hero and heroine, and resolving the conflict in an exciting, engrossing way. If my first paragraph wasn't clear, I'd like to reiterate at this point that this book is a winner for me. True story: After I finished reading this, I immediately ordered the second book, Pleasuring the Lady -- but now I'm afraid to read it because the third book, Beauty and the Earl isn't until April 2014 so I am trying to pace myself, and plan to savour the second book while waiting for the third. ^_^

  • Amy
    2019-05-04 23:34

    An erotic historical romance with an abundance of romance that takes it a step beyond. TAKEN BY THE DUKE by Jess Michaels is more than I ever expected from an erotic historical romance. It’s powerful, fast-paced, and carries a poignancy that pulls you back to such greats as ROMEO AND JULIET, and MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, two of Shakespeare’s plays that dealt with feuds and the damaging blow that ruination brought on by hatred could inflict upon honor and family. As I said at the beginning of this review, one of the things I enjoy most about historical romance is how easy it is to take a small piece of information that in today’s world might be only slightly noticeable, but in a past era, that same item could devastate. A powerful story, engaging and charismatic characters, an intensity of emotion brought on by hatred that is slowly dissolved by a loving touch, kind words, and a love affair that leaves you breathless, TAKEN BY THE DUKE by Jess Michaels is a historical romance that will keep you captivated from its tragic beginning to its happily-ever-after.I highly recommend TAKEN BY THE DUKE, a Pleasures War novel by Jess Michaels to anyone who enjoys a story built on the slippery slope of society’s quickness to indict even the most innocent on the actions of others. Seriously, even if you fear that erotic romance is too steamy for you, TAKEN BY THE DUKE is one that will keep you coming back for more - more romance, that is.***eARC provided by author in exchange for an honest and unscripted review.

  • Mary - Buried Under Romance
    2019-05-05 18:14

    Wonderful historical romance paying homage to classic stories of Romeo and Juliet and Beauty and the Beast. Full review to come via Romance Junkies.

  • Stella
    2019-04-21 01:29

    Ever since I discovered Jess Michaels' writing I know that if I'm in the mood for some seriously scorching historical romance she is the person to go to. Her novels are sinfully delicious, addictive and oh so steamy! And it was just the same with her latest release Taken by the Duke, which is the first book in her brand new series, the Pleasure Wars series.Taken by the Duke is a sensual Regency Romeo and Juliet retelling: the Rothcastles and Windburys have been feuding for so long they can't even remember what caused their rift. One fateful night the fighting between Lord Rothcastle and Lord Windbury results in a dreadful accident, which causes the death of Lady Matilda Rothcastle, beloved sister of one and lover of the other. That night changes both men. The grief, guilt and hatred festers until Christian Rothcastle devises the perfect revenge: he'll kidnap Lady Ava Windbury, sister of his arch-nemesis, will ruin and then discard her, bringing shame and scorn on the Windbury family.However, he did not count on the beauty and gentle goodness of Lady Ava. No matter how hostile and rude he is towards her she is humble and kind, not wanting the perpetuate the constant battle and hate between the families. She is ready to sacrifice her virtue and reputation to gain peace and reconciliation between the Rothcastles and Windburys."And yet the result he likely hoped for was not coming to fruition. She felt no desire to distance herself. In fact, the more he spat at her like a feral barn cat, the more she felt driven to find out what she could about him. To make him see her, and by proxy her brother, as human.""Perhaps if he delved deeply enough into her body, into her heart, he could take some of her power with him when they parted. A final gift from a woman who used his attempts to make her into a weapon of war, and instead embarked on a mission of peace."Ava is not what Christian expected. She doesn't cry or beg but accepts her fate with calm and resignation. Despite her vulnerable state of having been kidnapped and kept captive, as well as being "only" a woman in a men's war Ava had some awe-inspiring inner strength and her gentleness and compassion did not mean she didn't possess a spine of steel. She was a strong woman using kindness as her shield against the world and its ugliness."He stared, still mesmerized as ever by the beauty of her form. She was so lithe and lovely, so graceful and yet so strong in her spirit. He had thought he could break her when he took her. Now he knew she would never be broken. And he envied her for that inner strength. For her confidence that she controlled her own happiness and refused to turn it over to any other person."Christian is astonished and flummoxed by Ava and her every reaction, which simply defies every expectation or rule, and soon he finds himself unable to resist her. He wants her not because of his evil plans but because he wants to get close to her and enjoy her light and warmth while she is still there with him. It was moving to see how such a wisp of a woman thawed this hardened man, who has spent the past couple of years hating all the Windburys and what they stood for.“I brought you here for revenge,” he said, his voice very soft. “I could think of nothing else when I took you. But now… I wonder if we could spend the rest of our time together, not in a bargain, not in a war, but just as lovers who want to share a brief moment in time.”Jess Michaels gave us some great and vivid characters, Ava, Christian and Liam (Lord Windbury, and I hope the hero of the next novel in the series) were interesting characters the reader could sympathize with and root for, and the passion between Ava and Christian was hot, sensual, sweeping the reader along with the drift of the story. Besides the passion Jess Michaels also gave us some heart-wrenching emotions: reading about the men's suffering and guilt was both moving and heart-breaking.Verdict: Taken by the Duke is a captivating sensual Regency Romeo and Juliet historical romance I gobbled up in mere hours, it was a gripping and entertaining story and I can't wait to read the next books in the series! :-)Plot: 8/10Characters: 9/10Writing: 9/10Ending: 8/10Cover: 9/10I give Taken by the Duke 4.5 stars!

  • Diane K. Peterson
    2019-04-26 00:35

    Taken by the Duke (Pleasure Wars, #1) was a fast-paced, erotic Regency tale of love and revenge in the vein of Romeo and Juliet. It was very sexual, but deeply emotional as well. I liked that there was a lot of interplay between the hero and heroine, followed by an action-filled finale. The story was well crafted and the transformation of their relationship was gradual and believable.The stage is set when Matilda Rothcastle runs away with Liam Windbury. These star-crossed lovers are chased by her brother, Christian Rothcastle. A horrific accident occurs in which both gentlemen are seriously injured and Mathilda is killed and the long-standing feud between the two families becomes worse. Both Liam and Christian are filled with anger and guilt. Revenge is foremost in their minds. Christian concocts a scheme to kidnap Liam’s sister, Ava, and keep her long enough to ruin her. As Christian takes Ava to a remote estate they are both surprised to find they are attracted to each other. Ava bargains away her innocence to prevent further violence against her brother. Thus begins three weeks of sexual and emotional discovery as a tenuous relationship builds. Can intimacy build a bridge over a deep river of hatred?There were many things I liked about Taken by the Duke. Ava was reasonable and rational, even when she was first abducted. She was tired of the senseless, harmful battle between the two families and did what she could to stop further trouble. Christian and Liam were some very angry, guilty, confused guys. The issues were not easily resolved; in fact, some were not resolved at all. There was a truly surprising twist at the end. The ending also provided a very nice setup for the next book in the series, which I very much look forward to reading. Regency readers that enjoy a good bit of spice will want to read this enjoyable and intriguing book.**ARC provided by Author**

  • FV Angela
    2019-04-20 18:27

    Review originally posted at you know my name.”She stared at him as if he were daft. “Of course I know your name. I know it as well as my own– it has been pounded into me since nearly the day of my birth, just as I’m certain my family name has been seared into your mind and soul.”For generations the Rothcastles and Windburys have hated each other. No one living today knows why or even when the feud started, but the animosity between the two houses is well-known among the ton. Christian Rothcastle is out for revenge and Ava Windbury is how he intends to get it. On a tragic night six months prior Ava’s brother, Liam, and Christian were involved in an accident that resulted in the death of Christian’s sister. Now he plans to kidnap Ava and keep her away from her family until they feel her loss and know the same grief he has known.Ava is a wallflower, the long-standing Rothcastle/Windbury battle has affected her life more than anyone realizes. She’s felt the stares and heard the gossip. After the fateful night six months earlier it’s only gotten worse. Her brother’s body may be healing, but his mind and heart are so broken that she fears he won’t ever be the man he used to be. When she is stolen away by Christian Rothcastle she knows she must try to end this ridiculous war between their families before it ruins anymore lives. She is willing to make a deal in exchange for peace and the life of her brother, she agrees to become Christian’s lover for a month, surrendering her body to him fully, if he will forgive the debt he feels is owed him by Liam and walk away from any further vengeance.“You are here to pay your brother’s debt and that is all. What we are doing is fucking, Ava. It is a vulgar term for a vulgar act. There is nothing and will never be anything more to it than that. Is that clear?”Ava is not what Christian expects. She doesn’t simper, or beg and plead. She’s innocent, yet strong and level-headed. One would think in this relationship that Christian would have all the power, but they’d be wrong. Christian and Ava come together at first because of a deal to satisfy a debt owed, but they immediately feel a pull between them and their relationship soon turns into more. Ava sets out to find a way to heal Christian and make him understand that the legacy between their families is stupid and wrong. That they can be the people to end it.Ava is one of the best historical romance heroines I’ve read in quite a while. She’s smart, strong-willed and open to experiencing her desires. There is no lamenting her fate over and over or woe is me behavior. She’s very sensible and knows what giving up her virginity means, but ultimately is willing to sacrifice anything to save her family and see this feud end. She feels passion for Christian almost immediately and jumps into their affair with open eyes and full participation. Little by little she helps heal him, lessening his grief, helping his body mend.“I brought you here for revenge,” he said, his voice very soft. “I could think of nothing else when I took you. But now… I wonder if we could spend the rest of our time together, not in a bargain, not in a war, but just as lovers who want to share a brief moment in time.”I wanted to dislike Christian after the first chapter. I did, I found him to be irrational in his behavior and placing too much blame on Liam and not enough on himself. I could soon see he was blinded by his grief and the hatred passed down to him for years. As his affair with Ava progresses he tries desperately to hold on to his bitterness, he alternately finds himself wanting to be closer to her and then shutting her out to try and keep his distance. He is soon overcome with her positive personality and openness in their lovemaking. They have some amazingly hot love scenes. The sex is very prevalent throughout this story, but even during those scenes I could feel the emotion and romance between this couple. I never felt their relationship was only about sex and found their HEA to be very believable.The surprise for me was how much I absolutely despised Ava’s brother at the end. After feeling such a significant loss and experiencing the love of Christian’s sister I would think he would understand and react less harshly to the decisions Ava makes at the end of the book. His handling and treatment of Ava once she comes home disgusted me. I know his book is probably coming up somewhere in this series and Ms. Michaels will have to do some bold writing to make me like or even have compassion for him again.There is another small revenge mystery in the plot that culminates to bring Ava and Christian together. I saw it coming and while I wasn’t surprised at what happened, I was taken aback over this character’s motivations. I think I would have rather had Christian decide to come back to Ava all on his own without outside interference, but I was okay with how this couple found their HEA. All in all, Taken By the Duke was a lovely, romantic, highly erotic historical romance that had me glued to the page. Definitely recommend. Final Grade: BFavorite Quote:“The only thing that has ever made me forget, made me forgive, made me want something beyond the brutal, laughable version of the life I’ve created for myself… is you.”

  • Lori Meehan
    2019-05-02 21:30

    4.25*Book 1This was a very good example of a historical erotic romance and I loved it. The characters were well suited to each other both strong willed people who thought they knew what they wanted out of their temporary forced situation. This book has a Montague and Capulet story line of a war between families so old that no one curently remembers the reason why they hate each other. The Winburys and Rothcastles of this story pay dearly for the long ago forgotten war. I loved Christian and Ava, my heart broke for Liam and I can't wait to read Portia's book.

  • Linda
    2019-04-28 23:36

    I was looking for a certain type of romance and this fit the bill but sadly the story suffered for that very reason. If you're looking for a historical romance with a high steam factor this should do it. Lots of people seem to like this author and I would definitely read her again but hopefully the next book I read has as much care go into the story-line as it does the steam factor.Because then Hot Damn Baby!

  • Mey Buentipo
    2019-05-12 20:15

    Jess Michaels never failed me with her books. I had so much fun. Once I started it never want to stop. Read it for a day, that's how good it is! I loved both the h/h. It made be simple plot and predictable story. What captured me most is how the story went. It flowed fast and got straight to the point and wanting more in every page. A 4.5 stars for this book. Can't wait for the second book!

  • Roses Book Blog
    2019-05-08 00:19

    If there is one genre that I have a soft spot for it's historical romance. Not just any historical romance, but erotic historical romance complete with a Duke. When I took on this review I knew I would enjoy this book but more than the erotic aspect of it, I loved the story of this book. Christian really takes an eye for an eye to a whole new level.Welcome to the war between the House Rothcastle and House Windbury. No one alive knew why they never got along, but some long ago deceased relative started a war between the two families and it has raged for decades. But when the war goes to a whole new level leaving Christian Rothcastle and Liam Windbury severely injured and Christian's sister dead the war explodes. Stricken with grief, Christian will do anything and I mean anything to make the Windbury family suffer. So what better way than to go after Liam's own sister, Ava. Ava has been a wallflower for as long as she can remember. The feud between her family and the Windbury family has left her without any suitors. She is forced to only interact with her aunt and her friend Portia and the few other women who only want to gain gossip from her. It's not until one night at a party that she sees Christian again does something spark deep within her. Christian still shows signs of the accident in his limp and the cane he now walks with but he returns to society anyway 6 months after the death of his sister. He devises a plan, kidnap Ava and make her brother feel lost without her the way he now feels about his sister. Christian's plan works, but he's surprised to find that Ava isn't like any other woman that he has encountered before. She's defiant and so very sure of herself, showing no fear even though she is scared. But not scared of Christian, scared of what she is feeling towards him.The original plan was for her to just stay and he would let her go unharmed after he felt her brother had suffered her loss, but Christian quickly decides that he must have Ava for himself even for just a short period of time. So he makes Ava a deal that she cannot refuse. Sacrifice her virginity to him and he would let that pay the debt for her what her brother has done. Ava will do anything to try and stop the way between the two families which has ripped both families apart so she agrees. What Christian didn't except was not only for Ava to accept to stay for three weeks and have an affair with him, but what he feels when they are finally together. Christian is determined to make their affair only of a sexual nature but as time goes on and they grow closer to one another and their attraction grows, Christian feels his walls begin to break down and he lets Ava see the real him that no one ever gets to see. But deep down to Christian she is still the enemy and that is a fact he cannot overlook for a long time.He finally decides that if Ava wants to leave, he'll let her go but she doesn't want to leave and is determined to stay for the entire agreement. So what happens with their feelings begin to grow towards truly caring for one another and what happens with Liam finds them together? Join Ava and Christian as they discover truths about what Christian's sister was really trying to do and who among them wants to hurt the Windbury family more than Christian does? But most of all will Christian ever be willing to accept Ava for who she is and let go of the hurt he feels deep in his heart?I loved this story. I felt like I was right there along side the characters in this story and that is part of the reason why I love to read these stories. The characters were very well thought out and is was a beautiful story. Jess just has a way with words that draws you into the story and you find yourself up late at night reading, engrossed in the story and in serious need of a fan on more than one occasion. This was my first novel by Jess but it will not be my last as I look forward to reading the other novels in the Pleasure Wars series. This was an easy 5 stars for me!***ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review***

  • multitaskingmomma
    2019-04-28 19:43

    Blog Post: Rating: 4 of 5 StarsAn eye for an eye, a sin for a sin…The Pleasure Wars, Book 1Amid all the lies and scandals that fuel Society’s gossip mill, one truth has stood out: House Rothcastle and House Windbury have always hated each other. Lady Ava Windbury prays the feud will someday end, to no avail. One dreadful night, her brother accidentally causes the death of Christian Rothcastle’s sister, a tragedy that leaves both men maimed.Consumed by grief, Christian makes a grim decision. He will kidnap Lady Ava so that her family will feel the pain of loss as keenly as he feels the loss of his own sister. But once he has Ava in his clutches, desire takes unexpected hold. Even more surprising, she willingly surrenders to his every sexual whim—after haggling over the terms of giving up her virginity.Too late, he realizes she is using her body for peace, not war. But just as their affair of revenges turns into an affair of the heart, the past rears its ugly head to take matters into its own hands…Product WarningsThis book contains scenes of erotic seduction, sexual revenge and the healing power of love.I have a secret: I like reading or watching movies about feuds. I have this list of the classic family feuds in fiction like the Capulet-Montague, Heathcliff–Linton, Corleone–Tattaglia, and Atreides–Harkonnen. Then there are the real family feuds in history like those of Hatfied -MacCoy, Oinaz -Gamboa, Ampuatuan-Mangudadatu, Talbot–Berkeley, Clanton/McLaury–Earp, and Campbell–MacDonald just to name a few. Should I include The Rothcastle-Windbury feud into the list of fictional feud greats?Although I gravitate towards the MM genre these days, sometimes it just feels good to take on a good historical romance written by authors whose written work do not feel rushed or filled with empty text that fills page. The worse for me is when I see a great plot and main characters ruined for the chance to write erotica that do not work and do nothing to contribute to the story or the romance. Jess Michaels has given us Taken By The Duke to enjoy and to enjoy and to enjoy. It is a tale filled with betrayal, angsts, attempts at reconciliation, lessons learned and of course, who can miss the erotica here? Those who follow or read this blog know that I have already read attempts on a take on Romeo and Juliet that did not quite pan out. Some reviewers have also commented that this is similar to that classic Shakespearean tale. I disagree for as the Montagues and Capulets let down their arms on the death of their children, the feud between the Wyndburys and the Rothcastles did not end. It read more like a status quo and seeing as this is just book one of The Pleasure Wars Series, we are sure to expect more from these families, or at best Liam, who may find peace on his installment.The feud between the Rothcastle and Windbury families is bloody and tragic. Matilda Windbury restarted the war between the two families in the hopes of helping her brother. In a twist of fate, she found herself falling deeply in love with Liam Wyndbury. Unfortunately, it resulted to her death which began the tale of Ava and Christian. There is also has a a light take on Stockholm Syndrome when Lady Ava finds herself responding sexually as well as emotionally to Christian in a kidnap situation. But then again, Christian also seems drawn to Ava - and not in the way he expected. The Rothcastle-Winbury of Taken By The Duke is a very interesting read made more enjoyable by such a talented writer. It has just recently joined my list of favorite fictional feuds for it has all the elements of a great family feud. I know, this makes me sound bloodthirsty, but I get caught up with intricacies and politics of how feuds begin and end. No matter if they end in romance or in blood.

  • Zeee(I Heart Romance & YA)
    2019-05-12 18:20

    Book one of Jess Michaels’ new Pleasure Wars series is a steamy erotic Romeo and Juliet type of romance perfect for your summer reading! I got the ARC from the author herself and loved it! I have read it twice already and I am still getting blown away!The books starts with Christian Rothcastle is in hot pursuit of Liam Windbury and his sister Matilda. The chase ends when there is a serious accident with both men injured and Matilda, dead. Christian holds Liam responsible for his sister’s death, vows vengeance and the feud is back, as hot as ever.Months later, Ava, Liam’s sister, gets abducted by Christian from a party and is taken to one of his estates. Ava is then informed of his quest for vengeance and she strikes a bargain. The bargain was that Christian would have her as his mistress for three weeks after which, he will let her go and promise not to pursue Liam for killing Matilda.Despite Christian’s attitude, harshness, and the walls that he has put up against Ava, he starts falling for her. Against Ava’s best judgement, she falls desperately in love with Christian and tries to reason with him, finally convincing him to end their bargain but Ava decides to stay on the full three weeks. Finally, her brother catches them in bed together and demands that Ava leave with him. Christian agrees and lets Ava leave.The Hero & HeroineI absolutely love the sparks and the tension between Ava and Christian. Their passion was hot and burning up the pages, too! I love Ava’s independence and calm composure despite being kidnapped by her family’s sworn enemy. The way she negotiated with Christian despite being afraid for her life and her brothers’ was another point against her.I also love that Christian, despite being hurt and blinded by his rage, started to fall for Ava. I liked the transition between anger and compassion that he went through when he started falling for Ava.The VillainI was surprised when the villain was revealed in the end. Apparently, Matilda’s lady’s maid Laura, was in love with her and when Christian did not extract revenge as she had hoped, she decided to take matters into her own hands. I was a little bit surprised at this turn because there was never really any indication that Laura was a little mad. Although, I do like this part of the story which is a refreshing twist in stories like this.I am hoping the nest story of the series would be about Liam and Ava’s best friend! I can’t wait to read the next one!Originally posted on I Heart Romance

  • My Book Addiction and More MBA
    2019-05-12 21:33

    TAKEN BY THE DUKE by Jess Michaels is another fast paced Regency Historical Romance set in 19th century England. #1 in "The Pleasure Wars" and what a beginning. Loved it from the first page to the last page! Fast paced and filled with a bit of danger, passion,revenge,sexual revenge and love that changes two families lives forever. Join the House Rothcastle and House Windbury along with Lady Ava Windbury and Christian Rothcastle as they navigate the waters of love and revenge. Christian blames Lady Ava's brother, for the death of his beloved sister, which was an accident,a bit of a spoiler, it was actually Christian himself which caused the accident,I believed. Ridden with guilt, Christian decides "an eye for an eye and a sin for a sin", will work nicely. He kidnaps the lovely Lady Ava with the intentions of despoiling her, ruin her reputation and paying her brother back. You see Christian is scarred and disfigured and Ava's beloved brother is scarred on the inside, for he loved Christian's sister deeply. A Romeo and Juliet kinda of story. Lady Ava,agrees to exchange her virginity and be Christian's mistress for a month in exchange for her brother's life. But along the way something changes with Christian. A powerful story of redemption,hope,steamy passion, tragedy, a feud between families the younger generation doesn't even know the why of, and the power of love. Oh did I mention, sizzling passion! Written with engaging,and charismatic characters, and an intriguing plot. A not to miss read from the first page to the last. I was captured from the very first page. I can hardly wait to see what is next in the "Pleasure Wars" series, I do hope Ava's brother finds love again. Ms. Michaels is a true historical romance author with a flare for the erotic. Loved it!! A must read and a definite keeper.This was a personnel buy.*"Warning: This book contains scenes of erotic seduction, sexual revenge and the healing power of love."*RATING: 4.5HEAT RATING: STEAMY: Sensual, with more explicit love scenes, and the language may be more graphic and direct.REVIEWED BY: AprilR,for My Book Addiction and More

  • Destiny
    2019-04-20 23:34

    Ok so I could say something cliche here about how happy I am that these feuding families had a happy ending unlike the originals. I said that so now it's out the way. [Insert my usual spiel about finding a book that I wanted to finish in a day. Truthfully it hasn't been THAT long. The last one was Control by Charlotte Stein] This book reminds me of Mary Balogh's The Mistress which in turn reminds me of Jane Eyre. But moving on. Christian is that tortured hero that I apparently like a little too much since I've read 13 of the top tortured hero romances according to Listopia. He was a perk. But it's the heroine Ava that really interested me. She's so...understanding? Idk. Like she talks to herself and I enjoyed thatsays the girl that talks to herself. OUTLOUD LIKE THE HEROINE She's very honest with her feelings. She's a genuinely nice person, but not in the way that other constantly comment on, but it is clear from the text that this is not the case. I'll be truthful and say I bought this because I was looking for erotic historical. I came for the erotica, but I stayed for the story. I can't wait to read the rest of this series.

  • Tonya
    2019-04-28 20:36

    The Rothcastles and Windburys have been feuding for so long they can't even remember what caused their rift. One fateful night the fighting between Lord Rothcastle and Lord Windbury results in a dreadful accident, which causes the death of Lady Matilda Rothcastle, beloved sister of one and lover of the other. That night changes both men. The grief, guilt and hatred festers until Christian Rothcastle devises the perfect revenge: he'll kidnap Lady Ava Windbury, sister of his arch-nemesis, will ruin and then discard her, bringing shame and scorn on the Windbury family.Wow! What a fantastic read. You come to learn things about certain authors. Jess Michaels is an author who always delivers on the hype. Not once have I read one of her books have I been left disappointed. Read full review at Tonya's Book Shelf (

  • Tammy
    2019-05-02 01:28

    Everything you could want in a GREAT historical romance. Drama, LOTS of passion and a daring rescue. The Rothcastle and Windbury families have been fighting for centuries, no one even remembers why. However, this time there are casualties and Christian, Duke of Rothcastle is out for revenge. He kidnaps Lady Ava and decides to ruin her before her brother and all of London Society. His only problem is he is attracted to her as well, can he fight this attraction or will Lady Ava be the victor? If you are a fan of historical romance this is a must not miss! Hot and steamy romance with a story that keeps you saying, just one more page until you realize you have, to your dismay finished it. Ready to preorder the next in the series.

  • EB
    2019-05-21 21:14

    This was a very strange book to read right on the heels of What Happens in Scotland. In WHIS the hero and heroine didn't even meet back up until 47% of the way through the novel. In Taken by the Duke, the hero and heroine just had ridiculous sex constantly. (So many orgasms. If he breathed hard, she orgasmed.)

  • Sabrina Devonshire
    2019-05-13 22:25

    This was a very sexy and entertaining read with compelling characters and extraordinary use of language. The steamy sex scenes and the surprise turns in the plot really kept me reading. Looking forward to the next book in the series.

  • Callista Briars
    2019-05-13 17:24

    Wonderful beauty and the beast themed story! Revenge turns into love. LOTS of steamy sex scenes! Wow! This was the first time I have read Jess Michaels, and it definitely will not be the last! Wonderful writer, she had me crying in the prologue!

  • Victoria
    2019-05-14 19:19

    Another great book by Jess Michaels, looking forward to the rest of the series!

  • *MariaA*
    2019-04-21 17:41

    ****4.5****Can't wait for the next ones in this series!!!

  • Millie
    2019-05-01 22:15

    This was my favorite historical romance of 2013. Powerful and dark with a fabulously broken hero and a really appealing heroine.

  • Steph
    2019-05-18 18:17

    It's a twist on the wounded hero trope: "the wounded idiot".He got hurt doing something stupid and continued to be stupid throughout the book. Fun times.

  • Joanne
    2019-05-04 17:35

    Really enjoyed this book about Christian and Ava!! Looking forward to a book about Liam.

  • Elise Morgan
    2019-05-03 20:35

    I should preface by saying historical erotica is not my favorite genre. I don't like the 'female lead must be married by the end' trope. I much prefer modern settings but I really enjoyed Jess Michaels' Albright sisters trilogy. So much so that when I saw 'Taken by the Duke', I had no hesitations in purchasing.I find myself a bit befuddled, then, to say that it fell short of my hopes. I really liked some of the scenes between Christian and Ava but I didn't enjoy the story around them and thought and how it was all resolved. The initial 10 pages were a bit off putting but then Windbury never became anything else as a character other than the force that stood against Ava and Christian's happiness. I also didn't like the role the maid played. I won't discuss in too much details as I don't want to spoil it if you intend to read it but it wasn't satisfying for me.It was just a bit anti-climactic.I haven't given up on Jess Michaels because the Albright sisters trilogy is a story I would read more than once (a rarity for me) but I wouldn't recommend starting with this book.

  • LOU71
    2019-05-05 20:35

    Taken By the Duke is the first book in the four book The Pleasure Wars series and although it's a historical romance, it was very light on the historical aspect. The author's warning: This book contains scenes of erotic seduction, sexual revenge, and the healing power of love. The story is founded on a long held feud between two families, House Rothcastle and House eye for an eye, a sin for a sin. It was a measured read that kept the reins on distraught drama and held the fires of passion in check. There was so much more opportunity for the depth of emotions to swing, but the writing style was too wordy and explanatory which spoon-fed the reader and denied the reader any pleasure in deciphering the plot for themselves. There were no scene breaks on the pages which was very distracting. I was reading a scene set in Hyde Park and on the very next line I am reading a scene set in the parlour. Hey! Let me stop, get my bearings, and continue. Similarly, I was reading a scene set in a country house and the very next line I am in a scene back in London. There was no paragraph break or swirly leaf to show a change of scene and that annoyed me. I read the iPad version. Some unbelievable moments happened throughout the story that just baffled me. Like when the Heroine struggled for her life and was choked at the throat and passed out, but then sits up and flawlessly delivers a four line paragraph of loving dialogue to the Hero, I was instantly skeptical. It spoiled the desperation and danger of the preceding murder attempt because she was obviously not seriously hurt if she could do that. Disappointing. The plot was predictable. As a reader I felt like a sheep being herded through a series of gates to get to the HEA. Ultimately, I think it was the style of dialogue that took so much away from me experiencing the story unfold for myself. Rather, it was presented with no creativity because the build-up of any angst or anticipation was identified and spoiled by the characters words. Lady Ava Windbury was unbelievably calm and rational during her drama, seemed to capitulate too quickly to the deprivation, and was overly sweet and forgiving after the whole debacle. The blurb suggests she haggles over terms of giving up her virginity. Well, haggle is a strong word and I don't believe she did that. There was so much depth and clever repartee the writer could've covered with that scenario but didn't. Christian Rothcastle was carrying a family feud on his shoulders, struggling with an injury, set on revenge against another man, and frankly, had so much bitterness going on that the strength and sexiness of his character suffered. Christian and Ava's sexy times were intense but unfortunately they stood out rather than seamlessly blending into the story because the lightweight story just didn't match those deeper intimate moments. It was a barely average read. Hopefully the rest of the series improves. I would recommend this book to readers of this genre as an example of historical romance where the history is lacking and you don't need to do much thinking for yourself.

  • Iza
    2019-05-05 20:38

    These days, I'm into hot historical romances and I loved another book by Jess Michaels, so I picked this one up randomly.Unfortunately, I hadn't really read the plot - my bad.It's the "he kidnapped me and wants to rape me, but he's hot and I'm falling for him" kind of book.His excuse ? "This is a punishment for your brother, but I swear to you, it will not be painful for you." Yeah, right.And furthermore : "He would have to steel himself to any emotion associated with it. Otherwise, he would put himself in great danger indeed." Ow come on, poor lamb, *he* would be in great danger ? What if a guy kidnapped him and wanted to rape him but told him he was going to like it, mmm ?DNF at 29% - I don't like "romantic" books that offer the same arguments as rapists.