Thomas Powell has just become the Duke of Northfield and has to set aside his previously rakish ways to protect his father’s legacy and ensure a good future for his younger sister. She’s very much in love with the son of one of their father’s most trusted allies in Parliament, who clearly expects Thomas to continue supporting him, whether Thomas actually agrees with his views or not. Torn between duty and his own conscience, Thomas is struggling. The one place he feels at ease, the Orchid Club, is a deeply inappropriate hang-out for a duke.
Lucia Marini has had to make her own way in the world. The illegitimate daughter of a wealthy Englishman and a poor Italian woman, she came to England when her mother died, only to find her grandparents refusing to take her in. Now she is known to all that visit the exclusive Orchid Club as “Amina”, the beautiful and elusive proprietress. The Orchid Club takes visitors from all levels of society, and charges what the visitors feel they can afford. Everyone has to appear masked, and all the sexual acts are entirely consensual. The club was successful even before Lucia took over its management with some of her found family, but now they have received news that the club’s noble patron has passed away, Lucia and the rest who work there are worried that they may find themselves homeless and without a way to make a living.
While Tom has been drawn to the beautiful Amina since he first visited the Orchid Club, he has never propositioned her in any way, quite happy for their friendship to be platonic (while they flirt shamelessly). Now that he knows he has to become all that is dutiful and responsible, and he comes to the club to say goodbye, he requests one night with her, before he and Amina go their separate ways forever.
Full review on my blog.