The Return of the Disappearing Duke by Lara Temple
I’ve been thoroughly enjoying Lara Temple’s books about Regency era characters in Egypt, and this is another excellent addition. Rafe Grey is a duke who wants nothing of his title; his abusive father soured him on it thoroughly. He’s avoiding his own responsibilities when Cleopatra Osbourne literally stumbles into his room, dressed as a boy and desperately avoiding some local henchmen searching for her.
Rafe can’t help himself. Curiosity roused, and long-buried chivalrous instincts rising to the fore, he agrees to help Cleo, despite the massive disruption to his own plans it causes. It’s an arduous and difficult journey through the desert, accompanied by Rafe’s loyal sergeant, a local guide boy and a troupe of stubborn camels, and on the way Cleo and Rafe get to know each other. They both have difficult family backgrounds, each have a younger brother they love deeply. Rafe has secrets, though, and Cleo’s an open book.
The pair of them fall for each other as they travel, and there are a couple of quite steamy sex scenes. Rafe gets a bit high-handed at times and Cleo gets to give him a couple of fantastic set-downs I really enjoyed. The pair of them have some really great chemistry from the very beginning and it was the external conflicts which got in the way of their happy ending, including Rafe needing to come to terms with his title and the destiny which went with it.
The Egyptian setting is beautifully written and I really enjoyed the story. I’m happy to give this five stars.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via the author.