(Maiden Lane, #8)
Genre: Historical Romance (Georgian – 18th Century)
HE CAN GUARD HER
Lady Phoebe Batten is pretty, vivacious, and yearning for a social life befitting the sister of a powerful duke. But because she is almost completely blind, her overprotective brother insists that she have an armed bodyguard by her side at all times-the very irritating Captain Trevillion.
FROM EVERY DANGER
Captain James Trevillion is proud, brooding, and cursed with a leg injury from his service in the King’s dragoons. Yet he can still shoot and ride like the devil, so watching over the distracting Lady Phoebe should be no problem at all-until she’s targeted by kidnappers.
BUT PASSION ITSELF
Caught in a deadly web of deceit, James must risk life and limb to save his charge from the lowest of cads-one who would force Lady Phoebe into a loveless marriage. But while they’re confined to close quarters for her safekeeping, Phoebe begins to see the tender man beneath the soldier’s hard exterior . . . and the possibility of a life-and love-she never imagined possible
This is the 8th book in the Maiden Lane series but Ms Hoyt still continues to captivate me with her unforgettable characters, compelling plots and sensual romances.
This book has a very different feel to the others in the series and I think it is because it is very character-driven. There is mystery and suspense enough to keep the story moving but the main focus is definitely on Phoebe and James which I really enjoyed. Their romance is tender, sweet and passionate and just so beautifully written.
Phoebe makes such a wonderful heroine…pretty, vivacious, brave, funny and stubborn. She lights up the pages with her presence. I love her determination that her blindness should not prevent her from living life to the full even if it means taking risks. Although she loves her brother and knows that Maximus has always cared and protected her, she hates the constraints he puts on her life. I love the scene when she finally voices all her pent-up anger and frustration.
“I never even had a damned season. No new gowns, no new friends, no new beaux. You wouldn’t let me. You keep me hidden and swathed like an elderly aunt with dementia. It’s a wonder I haven’t gone insane in the last several years.” She laughed, wild and unseemly, bile pouring from her mouth. “I can’t breathe, do you understand me? You can’t do this to me anymore, Maximus, you simply can’t!”
For once, the mighty Duke of Wakefield is stuck dumb!
Initially, Phoebe sees James as nothing more than her irksome bodyguard – stern, correct and immovable – but she has never doubted his ability to keep her safe. So I enjoyed watching her come to appreciate James as an attractive man and a friend.
He’d been a friend. She’d never considered him a friend before… and if she had that wrong…
Perhaps that wasn’t the only thing she had wrong about her guard.
Ms Hoyt writes some sigh-worthy heroes and James is no exception. I love his determination to keep Phoebe safe whilst struggling to keep a rein on his feelings for her. He knows that she can never be his…
She was everything he was not: young, innocent, filled with the joy of life. She had the blue blood of centuries of aristocrats running in her veins.
He was a cynical, older ex-soldier and his blood ran common red.
So I enjoyed watching James’s resolve slowly crumble as they are forced to spend time alone together. I loved him for coming to understand Phoebe’s desire for freedom and realising that he wanted her to live even though she might stumble and fall.
Having a blind heroine gave me a very different reading experience. Phoebe relies on her other senses to navigate the world…touch, smell and taste… and I found myself using those same senses. I felt the sand slipping through my toes; I smelt the flowers in her special garden; I tasted the bitter ale she comes to like. One of my favourite scenes is where Phoebe applies perfume to James so that she will be able to find him in a room. Ms Hoyt succeeds in creating a very sensual scene through touch alone.
A third time she wet her fingers and this time when she touched him, she knew she’d found his throat, warm and living.
She stroked slowly down, her fingers trailing over his Adam’s apple.
It flexed as he swallowed. Lower, to the smooth skin at the base of his neck.
Her fingertips met his cravat, a maddening barrier, and she stroked along it, dipping her fingertip just a little beneath the cloth.
It is obvious that there was something in James’s past that caused him to leave Cornwall and the family he loved. He is forced to confront that past when he returns home, knowing that Phoebe will be safe there until the kidnappers are caught. I loved the scenes with his family, especially his niece, Agnes, and was happy that James is finally relieved of the burden he has been carrying all those years.
I thought the kidnapping plot was rather weak but I am even more intrigued by Valentine Napier, the Duke of Montgomery. He is certainly scheming and manipulative with lots of secrets, I’m sure. Ms Hoyt has confirmed that he will be getting his own book and I can’t wait to see how she redeems this bad-boy!
A new character, Eve Dunwoody, is introduced and there is quite a surprise revelation about her….definitely another one with dark secrets. Now I’m looking forward to the next book, SWEETEST SCOUNDREL which pairs Eve with the equally mysterious Asa Makepeace. From the excerpt at the end of DEAREST ROGUE, they look to be an explosive combination.
MY VERDICT: Another excellent addition to the superb Maiden Lane series. Highly recommended!
REVIEW RATING: 5/5 Stars
SENSUALITY RATING: HOT
Read May 2015
**I received a free copy of this book from Grand Central Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. **