This is the final book in Delilah Marvelle’s delightfully wicked School of Gallantry series. If you haven’t read the series yet, you are definitely missing a treat!
Archive for November, 2014
(Wicked Widows, #3)
Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)
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):
If you haven’t read this fabulous series yet, then here is a great opportunity to buy the first two books for only $0.99 from Amazon Kindle.
BOXED SET: THE DEVIL DEVERE ROMANTIC COMEDIES
A WILD NIGHT’S BRIDE by Victoria Vane
With the devil in charge … there could be hell to pay
She needs a protector… Once seduced by whispered promises of a faithless lover, Phoebe Scott is determined to make a name on the Covent Garden stage, but after three years of bit parts, she realizes she’ll never achieve her goals on her own merits. Acknowledging her success is dependent on a powerful patron, Phoebe is now resolved to find a protector to secure her future. With this goal in mind, she seeks out the best prospects at London’s most notorious brothel.
He’s avowed to celibacy… Sir Edward “Ned” Chambers has been lost and lonely since his wife’s death in childbirth. Burdened with blame, he has sworn to a life of celibacy, but after three years, he is inwardly edgy, irritable, and increasingly discontent. Perceiving the cause behind Ned’s unhappiness, as well as the obvious cure, his best friend and rake of the first order, “The Devil” DeVere, is hell-bent to return Ned to the land of the living. DeVere’s machinations result in an outrageous wager that could lead Ned to a new love… or land them all in the Tower!
All bets are off in in this racy Georgian romp! (romantic comedy with mature content)
THE VIRGIN HUNTRESS by Victoria Vane
All’s Fair in Love and Abduction
In the second installment of the award-winning Devil DeVere series, Ned’s daughter Vesta is preparing for her come-out only to have her world turned upside down when her father returns from London with a bride of his own! Put out that he is so wrapped up in Phoebe, Vesta accompanies her godmother, Diana, to town where she meets and falls instantly in love with the gallant Captain Hewett DeVere.
“Hew” DeVere, younger brother to Viscount Ludovic “The Devil” DeVere, has returned from the war with plans of selling his commission and settling down. He quickly becomes enamored of the older but beautiful Diana, and barely notices eighteen-year-old Vesta. When Hew fails to respond to her feminine charms, Vesta takes extreme measures to capture the object of her desire, but Hew didn’t survive the worst of the war only to succumb to Vesta’s wayward wiles. Proving the adage that opposites attract, this hilarious romp pits the would-be huntress against the gallant hero in an epic war of wills. (Romantic comedy with mature content)
The eye-catching cover for the fourth book in Violetta Rand’s exciting Viking series.
Genre: Historical Romance (Viking – 11th century)
Betrayed by the woman he loved, Captain Marteinn can’t think of a better way to escape his misery than to win the summer games in Lagenheim. The victor is entitled to ask one favor from the jarl. And Marteinn knows exactly what he wants—his freedom from duty.
Taken to Norway after the Normans invade England, Mercia works hard to prove her loyalty to the Vikings. However, she fears she’ll never find true love. Until she meets Marteinn, a brooding warrior who never smiles, but still makes her legs quiver.
Is it just lust that makes their hearts spark, or is Marteinn being given a second chance at love?
Expected date of publication: 30th December 2014
(League of Rogues, #2)
Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)
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.
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 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):
My sincere thanks to Lauren Smith for providing me with a copy of her book in return for an honest review.