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Posts Tagged ‘Regency Era’

(Wicked Widows, #3)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

THE TRUTH COULD RUIN HER

In Manda Collins’s Why Lords Lose Their Hearts, Perdita, the widowed Duchess of Ormonde, keeps a dangerous secret—the truth of how her brutish husband died. But a mysterious avenger seems to know it, too, and when anonymous threats turn into public attacks, there’s only one friend she can turn to for help—her husband’s former secretary, Lord Archer Lisle. The man who witnessed her every heartache. The kind of man whose love she can only dream of …

WILL HIS LOVE SAVE HER?

The youngest of the Duke of Pemberton’s five sons, Lord Archer Lisle is used to waiting his turn. For years, he could only stand by, seething, as Perdita suffered at the hands of her husband, but now she’s under threat from another source—one who will stop at nothing to make her pay for the late duke’s death. But the good-natured Archer can be dangerous when crossed—and he’ll do anything to keep the woman he’s adored for so long safe in his arms…

♥♥♥♥♥♥

This is the final book in Manda Collins’s Wicked Widows series, although there is a Christmas novella, Once Upon a Christmas Kiss, which features Sir Lucien Blakemore, a secondary character in the series, as the hero.

The series centres on sisters, Isabella and Perdita, and their friend, Georgina… all widows of abusive husbands. They share a terrible secret concerning the death of Perdita’s husband, the Duke of Ormonde, but find themselves threatened by someone who obviously knows that secret and is out for revenge.

I adore Archer. He is the epitome of everything a hero should be…gentle, caring, patient and funny. I also like the idea of the unrequited love being on the hero’s side rather than the more usual scenario of the heroine pining away for the hero.

From that moment on he had been a goner. And in spite of himself he’d fallen in love with his employer’s wife.

His strong protective instincts come to the fore when he shows his determination to keep Perdita safe even if his methods are a little unusual.

I had somewhat conflicting views about Perdita. Having been under the control of her abusive husband for so long, I could understand why she values her independence and her need to make her own decisions. However, I was really frustrated by her stubborn refusal to take Archer’s concerns for her safety seriously.

Thus far, the threats against her had not persuaded the headstrong Perdita to curb any of her normal activities, a resistance for which she was inordinately proud.

On the other hand, she is kind and compassionate towards her servants, always setting them at ease and also refuses to do anything that might place her sister Isabella or her friend Georgie in any danger.  I love how she castigates Lord Dunford when he treats Archer as if he were a mere servant.

The romance is both tender and passionate and Archer is so tenacious in his resolve to persuade Perdita to marry him despite her fears.

“You may do what you wish to convince Dunthorp to  propose, but I will do whatever it takes to convince you that the only man you should marry is me.”

Knowing what she suffered at Gervase’s hands, he is such a considerate and generous lover putting her pleasure before his own and taking care not to do anything she is uncomfortable with. I enjoyed the bolder Perdita …

“I’d like to watch you lose control.”

  Of course, her words had the expected effect and she gave an evil laugh. “You did that on purpose,” he said, flipping her neatly onto her back. “I think I’m going to have to get used to this naughty side of you, Perdita. I had no idea you had it in you.

“I can think of something I’d rather have in me.”

I adore Archer’s family. His parents, the duke and duchess are genuinely fond of their sons and, in spite of the usual sibling disagreements, it is plain to see the strong bond between the brothers. There is plenty of banter between them and the story about the Kimball twins is so funny.  I love Archer’s mother because she is instrumental in convincing Perdita to trust what her heart tells her.

Isabella, Trevor, Georgie and Con are on hand to push and prod Archer and Perdita into each other’s arms and to provide practical help against the threat to Perdita.

Ms Collins maintains the suspense well and I didn’t guess the identity of the mastermind behind all the threats. However, there was one scene where you needed a strong stomach and the villain’s back story definitely stretched my credulity.

In spite of my quibbles, I did enjoy this book but not as much as the first two in the series.  It appears that Archer’s brothers are getting their own stories as Lord Frederick Lisle is the hero of  A Good Rake is Hard to Find, the first book in Ms Collins’s new Lords of Anarchy series, which is due to be published on 31st March 2015.

 

REVIEW RATING: 4/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read November 2014

 

Wicked Widows series (click on cover for more details):

Why Dukes Say I Do (Wicked Widows, #1) by Manda Collins Why Earls Fall in Love (Wicked Widows, #2) by Manda Collins Why Lords Lose Their Hearts (Wicked Widows, #3) by Manda Collins Once Upon a Christmas Kiss by Manda Collins

 

 

 

 

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(League of Rogues, #2)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb::

Can the League’s most wicked rakehell be tamed? Or has this Rogue fallen too far?

Horatia Sheridan has been hopelessly in love with Lucien, her brother’s best friend, ever since he rescued her from the broken remains of her parents’ wrecked carriage. His reputation as London’s most notorious rakehell doesn’t frighten her, for under his veneer of cool authority she has glimpsed a man whose wicked desires inspire her own.

Lucien, Marquess of Rochester, has deliberately nurtured a reputation for debauchery that makes every matchmaking mother of the ton quake with fear. His one secret: he is torn between soul-ripping lust for Horatia, and the loyalty he owes her brother.

That loyalty is put to the test when an old enemy of the League threatens Horatia’s life. With Christmas drawing near, he sweeps her away to his country estate, where he can’t resist granting her one wish—to share his bed and his heart.

But sinister forces are lurking, awaiting the perfect moment to exact their revenge by destroying not only whatever happiness Lucien might find in Horatia’s arms, but the lives of those they love.

Warning: This book contains an intelligent lady who is determined to seduce her brother’s friend, a brooding rake whose toy of choice in bed is a little bit of bondage with a piece of red silk, a loyal band of merry rogues and a Christmas love so scorching you’ll need fresh snow to extinguish it.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

This is the second book in Lauren Smith’s League of Rogues series and I couldn’t wait to be in the company of those loveable rogues Godric, Lucien, Cedric, Charles and Ashton once again.

Lucien…

The hero falling for his best friend’s sister just happens to be one of my favourite tropes. I enjoyed that “forbidden love” aspect which raises the heat level of the sexual tension between Lucien and Horatia and causes such a dilemma for Lucien.

Lucien has managed to hide his attraction to Horatia beneath a show of coldness. Horatia deserves better than someone as debauched as him and he is unwilling to expose her to his darker passions.

She was too good a woman for him, and he was far too wicked to be worthy of her. Rather like a demon falling for an angel.

Of course, he finds it harder and harder to resist Horatia’s allure and I enjoyed watching him lose control and succumb to temptation.

“Christ. I’m no saint woman. I can’t… Oh to hell with it.”
The warmth of his breath tickled her lips before he devoured her throat in a slow languid kiss.

Horatia…

Horatia is the perfect match for Lucien with her intelligence and strength. She knows what she wants and is willing to go after it and I liked that about her. I enjoyed the smouldering scene in the Midnight Club when Lucien introduces Horatia to passion in the hope that it might scare her away, only to find it has the opposite effect. I love the scene afterwards when they are looking at the stars. There seems a special connection between them and it’s a lovely romantic moment when Lucien calls Horatia his ‘lovely stargazer’.

I love Lucien for being there whenever Horatia needs him most – comforting the distraught fourteen year old girl when her parents are killed or easing the pain of losing her beloved cat, Muff.

This moment, this embrace, was everything that mattered. A man who would do this for her was the only man she could ever have, ever want.

Although, I know Cedric loves his sister and wants to protect her, I felt like shaking him until teeth rattled because of his actions towards Lucien. Cedric fails to see beyond Lucien’s reputation to the honourable, caring man beneath until Lucien proves to be a true hero risking his life for those he loves.

What I love about the secondary characters is they each have their own distinct personalities. Ms Smith gives us a little more insight into both Charles and Ashton’s characters and I enjoyed seeing Godric and Emily so deliriously happy. I adored Audrey, Horatia’s sister, and fell in love with Lucien’s mad-cap siblings. My favourite secondary character has to be Lucien’s mother, Lady Rochester who actively encourages Horatia to seduce Lucien and whose voice can still have her sons running for cover!

“Sit down, all of you.” She’d spent twenty years perfecting that tone of voice and Avery, Lawrence and Linus all but dove for the nearest chairs.

I love how all the ladies band together to form The Society of Rebellious Ladies and the snow ball fight between the ladies and the men is hilarious. It reminded me of the deadly game of Pall Mall the Bridgertons play in Julia Quinn’s The Viscount Who Loved Me.

The plot had plenty of action, danger and betrayal as the League’s enemy, Hugo Waverly, plots his revenge, threatening not only the League members but their families as well. I wasn’t prepared for the tragic event which occurred towards the end. It was a bit of a shocker.

My Favourite Quote

He tugged long slender strip of crimson silk out from the center pages. Too long for a bookmark, it was embroidered with silver stars and crescent moons. “I thought you might find other uses for that.” Horatia nibbled her lower lip with a gleam in her eyes. Damn the woman, she was perfect. Too bloody perfect.

His Wicked Seduction is another wonderful addition to such an entertaining series. Eagerly awaiting Cedric’s story now.

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read November 2014

League of Rogues series so far (click on the book cover for more details):

Wicked Designs (The League of Rogues, #1) by Lauren   Smith His Wicked Seduction (The League of Rogues, #2) by Lauren   Smith

My sincere thanks to Lauren Smith for providing me with a copy of her book in return for an honest review.

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(Jewels of the Ton, #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

He had a perfectly orderly life…

William, the sixth Duke of Pelham, enjoys his punctual, securely structured life. Orderly and predictable—that’s the way he likes it. But he’s in the public eye, and the scandal sheets will make up anything to sell papers. When the gossip papers link him to Juliette, one of the most beautiful and celebrated courtesans in London, chaos doesn’t begin to describe what happens next…

Until she came along…

Juliette is nicknamed the Duchess of Dalliance and has the cream of the nobility at her beck and call. It’s disruptive to have the duke who is the biggest catch on the Marriage Mart scaring her other suitors away. Then she discovers William’s darkest secret and decides what he needs in his life is the kind of excitement only she can provide…

♥♥♥♥♥♥

This is my first book by Shana Galen and I can understand why she is one of the foremost authors of Historical Romance. I loved this opposites attract story with its entertaining blend of romance and mystery.

To paraphrase the opening lines of ‘Hart to Hart’, one of my favourite TV shows:

This is William, the sixth Duke of Pelham. He is rich, powerful and influential. His world is one of order, decorum and punctuality.

This is Juliette, the Duchess of Dalliance. She is a much sought after courtesan. Classically beautiful with pale blonde hair, she can break hearts with just a smile.

and when they meet….sparks are bound to fly!

“I would never be rude to a lady. You, madam, are not a lady. You are nothing more than a well-paid whore.”

Oh yes, William’s hero status is definitely a bit rocky at first, but as details of his early life are gradually revealed, I understood how his cold, heartless father had shaped him into the man he has become. Since birth, his father had drummed into William the principles he must adhere to…’a duke was never uncertain, never faltered, never showed emotion. And a duke was most certainly never late’…any failure resulted in a harsh retribution from his father. One of the delights of this book is watching William slowly emerge from his orderly existence to discover that he doesn’t have to be a prisoner of the past, that he can choose his own destiny.

Juliette is not everything she is perceived to be by the ton, who never know the real woman behind the façade. Divorced from an abusive husband, she still dreams of finding someone ‘who loves the farmer’s daughter and the Duchess of Dalliance and everyone I’ve been in between.’

It is fun seeing how she completely disrupts Will’s (as she insists on calling him) orderly life and makes him realise that he can be both a man and a duke…that it is okay to laugh and have fun. Her refusal to conform to his rigid rules had some hilarious consequences such as when Will physically drags her out of bed because she’s late for breakfast! But Juliette is more than a match for him…

Do you ever cease looking at that watch of yours? I think it must be permanently affixed to your hand.”

“Some of us must live our lives on a schedule,” he answered.

She lifted a plate. “Eat on a schedule, sleep on a schedule, walk on a schedule. Tell me, do you visit the privy on a schedule, as well?”

I felt that Will not knowing the truth about Juliette’s real situation made his willingness to declare his love for her in such a public way so romantic.

“But I’m a courtesan. I can’t be your duchess.”

“Juliette, you are my love. No other woman could ever be my duchess.”

I enjoyed the scene in Will’s club where he is joined by his friends, Lord Andrew Darlington and Warwick Fitzhugh. The banter between them is so amusing.

The plot had enough action and danger to hold my interest and the unresolved story thread involving the ruthless Lucifer neatly sets the scene for If You Give a Rake a Ruby, the next book in the series.

This was a wonderful introduction to Shana Galen’s books and I’m looking forward to reading the other two books in the series.

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read October 2014

The Jewels of the Ton series (click cover for more details):
When You Give a Duke a Diamond (Jewels of the Ton, #1) by Shana Galen If You Give a Rake a Ruby (Jewels of the Ton, #2) by Shana Galen Sapphires Are an Earl's Best Friend (Jewels of the Ton, #3) by Shana Galen

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(Scottish Brides, #3)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb

He will expose her as the criminal he seeks, or seduce her as the woman he desires…

An old maid—that’s all Lady Christina McMorlan, daughter to the Duke of Forres, is to society now that she’s past thirty. She hosts her father’s parties and cares for her siblings, knowing she’ll never have her own home and family. She has no time to pine, however. By night, she’s The Lady, head of a notorious whiskey-smuggling gang that supports her impoverished clan. They’re always one step ahead of the revenue man—until Lucas Black shows up.

Rejecting his title and the proper society that disparaged his mother, Lucas earns his living running a successful gambling house. He’s also a spy, charged with bringing down the Forres Gang. He thinks The Lady’s just a bored society spinster. She thinks he’s a lost child playing at rebellion. And when the truth comes out, it’s not just their love on the line…

♥♥♥♥♥♥

The perfect combination of intrigue, passion and romance.

This is the third and final book in Nicola Cornick’s enjoyable Scottish Brides series

Lady Christina is the eldest of the MacMorlan sisters and, at the age of 33, considered to be the ‘old maid’ of the family…the dutiful daughter, keeping house for her father, the Duke of Forres. While he selfishly indulges in his academic studies, Christina also runs the estate and cares for the welfare of her father’s tenants. None of her family suspects that, at night, she becomes The Lady, leader of a successful whisky smuggling gang.

I love Christina’s dual personality…the staid spinster who is easily overlooked and the brave woman who is willing to risk her life to support and protect her people from those who would exploit them. Her family see her as a passionless woman but, in her youth, she had been wild and reckless but sacrificed her own happiness to take care of her father and younger siblings after her mother dies.

When Lucas’s half-brother, Peter, is murdered whilst on a trip to Scotland, Lucas is determined to bring the murderer to justice. The Home Secretary, Lord Sidmouth, is convinced that the infamous Kilmory smuggling gang are involved and Lucas volunteers to go to Castle Kilmory and, posing as a footman, infiltrate the smuggling gang and discover the identity of his brother’s murderer.

I do love a hero who has had to drag himself up by his bootstraps and Lucas did that and more. The legacy of being the illegitimate son of a Scottish laird and a Russian princess and his anger over his father’s abandonment of himself and his mother has fuelled Lucas’s determination to succeed. The hardships he endured taught him to be hard, strong and ruthless. Now he runs the most prestigious gambling salon in Scotland, rejecting the title and lands inherited from his father. Emotions have no place in his life…they weakened a man.

Lucas is totally unsuited to this role as footman, more used to giving orders rather than taking them. His irreverence results in some amusing exchanges with Christina and this is one of my favourites, when they are discussing plans for her father’s grotto:

“Here you have them, Mr Ross. I hope they will give you an idea of what my father has in mind.” Her gaze fell on the top book and she bit her lip, recoiling slightly. “Oh, my goodness! I assume papa does not intend his statues to be quite so overendowed.”

“I now have a mental image of the garden grotto as a woodland glade in which satyrs ravish innocent maidens,” Lucas said, enjoying her discomfiture. He was sure that for a moment her gaze had flickered to his groin as though comparing him to the preposterously huge men in the book.

“Pray remove that image from your mind, “Christina said sharply. “We do not require you to use your imagination, Mr Ross. Not at all.”

It was easy to sympathise with Christina’s insecurities about herself…a complexion that had lost its youthful sparkle and a chin that was showing signs of sagging (I know the feeling well) and I loved that Lucas saw her as beautiful and desirable.


His hand closed over hers and she froze, catching her breath. Her face was in profile and he could see the curve of her lips and a pulse beating in the delicate hollow of her throat. Beneath his hand her fingers trembled. The awareness shimmered beneath them like a heat haze.

The romance was perfectly paced…an intoxicating mix of heart-warming tenderness and delicious sensuality. I could feel the deep emotional connection between Christina and Lucas which made their love for each other both genuine and believable. I enjoyed seeing how Lucas’s love for Christina enables him to come to terms with his painful past.

There was an interesting cast of secondary characters; the merciless excise man, Mr Eyre, who is a vicious adversary, the selfish Duke of Florres, Christina’s father and Gertrude, Christina’s viper-tongued sister-in-law. Robert and Lucy (The Lady and the Laird) and Jack and Mairi (One Night with the Laird) are on hand to lend their support.

There is plenty of drama and excitement and the identity of Peter’s murderer came as a big surprise. The one thing that I could have wished for was a charming Epilogue with a glimpse of the future. Yes, I’m a real pushover for all those cute children.

A captivating and sensual love story and a satisfying finish to this enjoyable series.

 

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read September 2014

Scottish Brides series (click on the covers for more details):
The Lady and the Laird (Scottish Brides, #1) by Nicola Cornick One Night with the Laird (Scottish Brides, #2) by Nicola Cornick Claimed By The Laird by Nicola Cornick

 

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(Scandalous Seasons, 1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb

Hopeless romantic, Lady Emmaline Fitzhugh, is tired of sitting with the wallflowers, waiting for her betrothed to come to his senses and marry her. When Emmaline reads one too many reports of his scandalous liaisons in the gossip rags, she takes matters into her own hands.

War-torn veteran, Lord Drake devotes himself to forgetting his days on the Peninsula through an endless round of meaningless associations. He no longer wants to feel anything, but Lady Emmaline is making it hard to maintain a state of numbness. With her zest for life, she awakens his passion and desire for love.

The one woman Drake has spent the better part of his life avoiding is now the only woman he needs, but he is no longer a man worthy of his Emmaline. It is up to her to show him the healing power of love.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

FOREVER BETROTHED, NEVER THE BRIDE is the first book I have read by Christi Caldwell and I was totally captivated by this charming, romantic, funny and poignant story.

Drake resents the fact that his future had been mapped out for him since he was a young boy. Desperate to escape the exacting expectations imposed by his father, he enlists in the army only to find himself caught up in the horrors of the Napoleonic war…a war that he can never forget.

He would never escape the war. His mind would forever remain on the bloody fields of battle.

Sleepless nights, hellish nightmares and bouts of lost self-control convince him that he is a madman. To retain a hold on sanity, he buries himself in mindless pursuits… drink and women…his relationships devoid of any emotional connection. He has no intention of marrying…he has no intention of submitting any woman to his dark nightmares. Although betrothed to Emmaline for fifteen years, their contact has been limited and, since his return from the war, he has deliberately avoided her. So he knows very little about Emmaline until one memorable encounter leaves him eager to find out more about his intriguing betrothed.

Wallflowers were content to be dull creatures seated on the sidelines, escaping any notice. They were not clever young ladies with cheeky retorts.

A little over 5 feet tall and lacking the requisite curves, Emmaline is considered rather unremarkable by the ton. Everyone knows she is betrothed and, therefore, honour dictates that no other gentleman can court her. Relegated to the being a virtual wallflower and food for the gossips, she has suffered the indignities with only her dear friend, Sophie for moral support. Although she longs for a marriage full of love and passion, her strong sense of loyalty to her father makes her determined to fulfil her obligation and marry Drake. Drastic situations require drastic measures.

“There will be no more opera singers, ballet dancers, young widows, none of it. His days of carefree debauchery are officially at an end. He just doesn’t know it yet, but he will, beginning tonight.”

Oh, Emmeline is such a delightful heroine…mischievous, courageous and funny. Oh yes, she also talks to plants and reads Gothic novels. When she decides to ‘stalk’ Drake, I thought it was hilarious. My favourite scene is when she suddenly appears unannounced in his opera box, proceeds to rebuke him for his behaviour and then makes a dramatic exit, leaving Drake furious.

Drake sputtered around another mouthful of red velvet curtains as Lady Emmaline made her dramatic exit from his opera box. Cursing under his breath, he violently slammed the drapes down, back into place.

I even felt a little sorry for Drake…poor man didn’t know what hit him!

Emmaline’s compassion for and empathy with the soldiers she visits in the London Hospital has earned her their respect, admiration and loyalty. It also helps her to understand Drake and see beyond the protective barrier Drake has erected around himself to the emotionally scarred man beneath. She is perfect for Drake with her warmth, compassion and insight, she makes him laugh and feel alive again.

I love tormented heroes because they always have a tougher time on their road to a happy ending but, it makes their journey more satisfying to me as a reader. Drake’s struggle to confront his wartime experiences and not run from them adds a serious note to the story and the scene where he visits the London Hospital and talks to fellow soldiers is both poignant and heart-warming.

A wave of relief filled him. There was solace in knowing he was not alone – that there were others who shared his struggle.

I love the analogy Emmeline’s brother, Sebastien draws between her old bonnet and Drake and it was a charming touch at the end when Sebastien says to a confused Drake…

“Tell Emmeline to throw out the bonnet I’d given he. Tell her I said her bonnet is just fine.”

Ms Caldwell has gathered an interesting cast of secondary characters, all begging for their own stories; Drake’s best friend, the straight-talking, witty Lord Sinclair (I loved their banter); Emmaline’s bubbly friend and confidante, Sophie Winters and Emmeline’s haughty, over-protective brother Sebastian, Duke of Mallen (he doesn’t stand a chance when Emmeline and their mother gang up against him). There is one more important character I must mention – a little, scruffy, black puppy called Sir Faithful.

Overall, this was an engaging story written with warmth, wit and style and I will definitely be reading the other books in the series.

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read September 2014

Scandalous Seasons series (click on the covers for more details):

Forever Betrothed, Never The Bride (Scandalous Seasons, #1) by Christi Caldwell Never Courted, Suddenly Wed (Scandalous Seasons) by Christi Caldwell Always Proper, Suddenly Scandalous (Scandalous Seasons Book 3) by Christi Caldwell Always a Rogue, Forever Her Love (Scandalous Seasons Book 4) by Christi Caldwell

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(The Rumor, #3)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

He’s a fighter, not a lover.
But that’s about to change…

Lady Imogene Norwood lives a sheltered life of quiet respectability and routine…until she debuts at her first Season. There among London’s elite she meets the wild and broken Lord Atwood. And the very shy English rose suddenly realizes that a little chaos might just be what her heart desires.

Lord Nathaniel James Atwood doesn’t believe true love exists. Since scandal tore him away from his family at an early age, he has spent his life fighting for what he wants. That attitude has made him a rising star in bare-knuckle boxing, and now leads him back to London to reclaim the life that was stolen from him. But upon meeting the innocent Imogene, his beliefs are trounced…as guarding his heart against her proves to be the fight of his life.

Personal Note: This book can be read as a standalone but there are some scenes which are mirrored in Forever and a Day (book 1) and Forever a Lady (book 2) although seen from a different character’s point of view. These scenes might, therefore, seem confusing if you haven’t read the earlier books.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

An enthralling, gritty and emotionally charged story.

This is the last book in the addictive The Rumor series and we finally discover the truth of the mystery surrounding Lord Nathaniel Atwood’s kidnapping and what happened to him during all the years he was presumed dead.

Nathaniel’s experiences…being locked in a windowless cellar for five years, his father’s betrayal and abandonment of him and the years spent surviving the dangers of New York’s notorious Five Points…have left him with deep emotional scars and a scandalous secret he can never share. Caught between two worlds…’He was neither fop nor street boy‘…he has never felt that he truly belongs anywhere. He enjoys sex but love isn’t an emotion he has ever felt or wanted to. Boxing is the only thing in his life that makes sense…it is what kept him alive on the streets of Five Points. Beneath that tough exterior, Nathaniel’s heart is in the right place. Together with his friend, Matthew Milton, he created the Forty Thieves and is committed to protecting those vulnerable people living in the slums.

Imogene is an unusual heroine. The abuse she suffered at the hands of her governess when she was a child has left her with health problems…fainting spells and a stutter. She is tired of being defined by her illness and longs to be independent and, therefore, no longer a burden to her brother, Henry. Imogene knows the sacrifices Henry has made to ensure she gets the medical treatment she needs and she longs to see her brother happy.

Delilah Marvelle’s stories are always refreshingly different and her characters infinitely fascinating. The brawny, tough, bare-knuckle boxing Nathaniel seems an unlikely pairing for the sweet, innocent, fragile Imogene who is twenty years his junior, but Ms Marvelle makes their romance work so beautifully. Imogene reveals a maturity beyond her years when she shows Nathaniel the patience, understanding and respect that he has never known before. I love how protective Nathaniel is of Imogene and how he gives her a sense of worth and confidence in herself so she no longer has to rely on others. Nathaniel’s desire to be in control all the time extends to the bedroom and adds some spice to the love scenes. I enjoyed seeing him come to love and trust Imogene enough to relinquish that control.

The boxing scenes are so visually compelling and Ms Marvelle conveys the brutal reality of the fights so powerfully.

I guessed the reason for Nathaniel’s kidnapping before it was actually revealed but there is a very dramatic scene towards the end of the book which I certainly didn’t anticipate.

The Epilogue provided the perfect ending to the series.

How I Imagine Nathaniel…

How I Imagine Imogene…

Memorable Moments

Everything about him was so beautifully raw and real. She didn’t realize a man could make a woman’s toes curl in her own slippers.
It was divine. He was divine.

♥♥♥

Now take your fancy prick of a wig and get him before I put your liver into your hand and make you swallow it through your nostrils.”

♥♥♥

“You underestimate a woman’s worth and her ability to redefine a man. A woman can give you hope in a world that has none. She can fight for you when you have ceased fighting for yourself and everything you believe in.”

♥♥♥

“I’m trying to save your pretty ass from getting spanked.”
Her brow creased. “You shouldn’t use words like that. Or tea is out of the question.
” He rolled his eyes. “Unless tea involves you fully naked with your arms tied behind your back, I’m not interested.”
She gasped. “No waltz for you, either.”

♥♥♥

God, but she was stealing away pieces of his heart. A heart he didn’t know he had to give.

♥♥♥

I am sad to see the end of this series but I will be eagerly waiting to see what other reading pleasures Delilah Marvelle has in store for me.

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read August 2014

The Rumor series (click on the books for more details):

 

Important Note from Ms Marvelle’s Website:

Bonus Chapters from Forever Mine that were not included in this Prequel Novella are available for free download. These two bonus chapters are the untold story of what happened to Nathaniel from Augustine’s point of view. The publisher removed these two chapters from Forever Mine, despite my insisting upon their importance to the series and the novella. Which is why I am offering them for free. I feel this story and the entire series is incomplete without them, and in my opinion, are critical in understanding Nathaniel’s story whom the entire series is based on. I have provided the link to her website:
http://www.delilahmarvelle.com/#!forever_mine/c19oc

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(Sons of Sin, #3)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

A REPUTATION AT RISK

What woman in her right mind would say no to marrying the dashing Duke of Sedgemoor? Miss Penelope Thorne, that’s who. She’s known Camden Rothermere since they were children-and she also knows she’d bring nothing but scandal to his name.

Cam can hardly believe Penelope turned down his proposal. But if she wants to run off to the Continent and set the rumor mill ablaze, he can’t stop her. Then her brother’s dying request sends him to bring home the one woman he thought he’d finally gotten over.

The only way they’ll both get back to London without their reputations in tatters is to pretend they’re married during the journey. That means kissing like they mean it and even sharing a bed-until it becomes hard to tell where the game ends and true desire begins . . .

♥♥♥♥♥♥

THIS IS HISTORICAL ROMANCE AT ITS BEST!

WHAT A DUKE DARES is the third book in the marvellous ‘Sons of Sin’ series and, once again, Anna Campbell delivers an emotive, romantic and passionate love story.

How I imagine Cam….

When Camden (Cam) Rothermere, heir to a dukedom, proposes to his childhood friend, Penelope Thorne, he can’t believe his ears when she turns him down. Even his declaration that he esteems and admires her and enjoys her company does nothing to persuade her to change her mind. She refuses to marry for anything but love. Cam has seen first-hand the devastating effect love had on his parents:

“As a result of love, my father descended into cruelty and obsession and my mother became a byword for promiscuity.”

and it has no place in his life now or ever.

How I imagine Pen

Penelope (Pen) Thorne has loved her childhood friend, Camden Rothermere for as long as she can remember and, when he proposes, it should be the happiest day of her life…a girlish fantasy come true. The reality is very different because she knows that Cam can never give her the one thing she desires…his heart. If he truly loved her, she’d even be willing to curb her impulsive and headstrong ways to become the wife he needs…someone dignified and above reproach…someone to help him restore respectability to the scandal-ridden Rothermere name.

So they go their separate ways.

In the intervening nine years, Cam is now the powerful Duke of Sedgemoor, renowned for his cold demeanour, self-assurance and his iron control, devoting his life to restoring the family’s good name. Pen had fled England to travel the continent with her eccentric aunt and Cam was well aware of all her amorous intrigues over the years.

When he receives an urgent summons from his friend, Pen’s brother, Peter, Cam travels to Calais to find his friend with very little time to live and fearful for his sister’s safety. Cam is honour bound to fulfil the dying Peter’s request that Cam find her and bring her home to England.

Ms Campbell took me on an enthralling and emotional roller-coaster of a journey before Cam and Pen finally attain their hard-earned Happy Ever After. I enjoyed every moment…the antagonism and the simmering sexual tension; the temptation and the heady passion; the stark danger and the anguish; the scandal and the poignant emotions, the betrayal and the heartbreak; the tenderness and the enduring love.

I enjoyed the secondary romance between Pen’s brother, Harry and Sophie, the sister of Cam’s enemy, James Fairbrother, Marquess of Leath. Their sweet, tender romance forms a contrast to the hot, passionate one between Cam and Pen. It also precipitates events that cause Cam to finally admit his love for Pen.

The Marquess of Leath obviously loves his sister very much which was a point in his favour and, once he and Cam had settled their differences, I liked him even more. I look forward to reading his story in the next book in the series.

Jonas and Sidonie (Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed) and Richard and Genevieve (A Rake’s Midnight Kiss) all make an appearance and I love the banter between Cam, Richard and Jonas.

Call me a sentimental old fool but I love a good Epilogue and Ms Campbell made me go all misty-eyed when Cam gives Pen her special Christmas present.

Some Memorable Moments

“What in heaven’s name brought you to choose this hovel?”

One slender hand brushed her tumble of hair back from her face. To his dismay, he saw she was shaking.

“Try the weather.” Her tone was sharper than his sword. “I know you could barge through an avalanche without creasing your neckcloth, but we lesser mortals must seek shelter when snow blocks the roads.”

♥♥♥

For a second that extended into eternity, they regarded one another. He should leave. He had no right to absorb every glorious, forbidden detail and imprint it on his mind to remember forever.

♥♥♥

He’d burned to wrench his wife from her chair and muss her neat perfection. Then fling her across the polished table and do things likely to make the butler resign.

♥♥♥

“ Anyway, you know that even if you were off your head with opium or inclined to slobber into your dinner, chits would still line up for the duchess’s coronet.”

♥♥♥

THIS IS CLASSIC ANNA CAMPBELL – COMPELLING, EMOTIVE, ROMANTIC AND SENSUAL!

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT!

 

My sincere thanks to Anna Campbell for sending me a complimentary copy of this book  in return for an honest review.

The Sons of Sin series so far (click the covers for more details):

Seven Nights in a Rogue's Bed (Sons of Sin, #1) by Anna Campbell A Rake's Midnight Kiss (Sons of Sin, #2) by Anna Campbell What a Duke Dares (Sons of Sin, #3) by Anna Campbell

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