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(Wicked Widows, #3.5)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency era)

Cover Blurb:

When Sir Lucien Blakemore arrives at his cousin’s estate for a week long Christmas party, he’s shocked to see Miss Winifred Nightingale among the other guests. Employed by his neighbor back in Yorkshire, the governess with the lovely eyes has always seemed off limits, but she’s visiting here as a guest—and there’s nothing like a little mistletoe to make the spirits bright…

Miss Winifred Nightingale never dreamed a holiday visit with her sister would lead to both ladies spending Christmas as the local lord’s guests. But the big surprise is when she finds the handsome Sir Lucien Blakemore staying there too. Their attraction between is undeniable, but will an old nemesis and a party guest bent on mischief make their first kiss under the mistletoe their last?

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This novella features two secondary characters introduced in When Dukes Say I Do (Trevor and Isabella’s story), the first book in Manda Collins’s Wicked Widows series.  Lucien is Trevor’s best friend and Winifred (Winnie) is governess to Trevor’s two young sisters.

Lucien is such a likeable hero…handsome, charming, witty and inherently decent. He has a way of putting people at ease, as he does the shy, stuttering Miss Hawthorn.

It was a sign of Sir Lucien’s kind nature that the young lady didn’t feel unsettled in his presence.

I love how he champions both Winnie and her sister when the noxious Mrs Green makes slanderous remarks.

“…if you persist in your public slander of my affianced bride and her sister, I will  see to it that you and yours are made to feel the sting of my cousin’s censure. Not to mention the ton’s.”

He is honest about wanting to marry Winnie and doesn’t care what society thinks. He knows that his true friends will accept her and, as far as he is concerned – “the others can go to hell.”

Winnie is strong-minded and courageous and I love how she is not afraid to face the disapproving society ladies head on.

She looked, Lucien thought, like a golden goddess delivering a pronouncement to her minions, which was hardly the outcome Lady Emily had wished from her pointed words.

She is reluctant to marry Lucien because of their different stations in life. Her own parents’ marriage had been an unequal match and she had seen how that had ended in tragedy.  I like how Lucien, although he understands her fears,  is determined to show her that they are nothing like her parents.

The Christmas house party provides the perfect background for Lucien and Winnie’s mutual attraction to develop into something deeper. The sleigh ride, skating and gathering of seasonal greenery not only offers an opportunity for them to be thrown together but also gives the novella a lovely Christmas feel.

Ms Collins sustains the mystery of who is threatening Winnie well and it was certainly a surprise to learn the identity of the culprit.

Favourite Quote

To fall in love? She’d always thought it was something that happened all at once. Now she was inclined to see it as the gradual build of a hundred tiny moments: a caress on the hand, a sigh, a stolen kiss.

This friends-to-lovers novella is perfect for bringing a little Christmas cheer and forms a delightful end to the Wicked Widows series.

 REVIEW RATING: 4/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: WARM

Read December 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
*I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via NetGalley for an honest  review.

 

 

 

 

 

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(The Brides of Bath, #6)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency era)

Cover Blurb:

All the characters from the first five Brides of Bath books will be serving up some Christmas cheer, while Glee Blankenship sharpens Cupid’s arrow.

Unbeknownst to scholarly Jonathan Blankenship, his sister-in-law Glee has decided this Christmas he needs a little push to make him see that his dear friend of four years, Miss Arbuckle, will make his perfect mate.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

This was a charming, entertaining and heart-warming friends-to-lovers romance with an endearing hero and heroine.

Jonathan has always considered Miss Arbuckle (Mary) as his dearest friend. They share the same reading interests and he admires her intelligence but has never really seen her as a woman.

Poor Mary has been in love with Jonathan from the moment they first met but is pragmatic enough to accept that he wouldn’t look twice at a shy, drab, bookish spinster like herself in a romantic way.

Enter her fairy-godmother in the shape of her friend Glee, Jonathan’s sister-in-law. Glee is convinced that Jonathan is in love with Mary and just needs a push into realising it. According to Glee…

“I do know that he loves you. He first fell in love with your mind; now, he needs to be stunned by your appearance”.

And stunned he is! I love Jonathan’s reactions to Mary’s transformation.

For some confounded reason, he could barely catch his breath, and against all his control, this…this attractive Miss Arbuckle had a profound effect on him. Below the waist.

In addition, he can’t seem to take his eyes off her womanly bosom and has the urge to do bodily harm to her newly-acquired suitors. Jonathan is adorably sweet but somewhat slow in realising that he is in love with Mary and so it takes some sneaky scheming on Glee’s part to bring about the couple’s Happy Ever After.

I love how Glee is constantly making the prim and proper Mary blush with her complete openness. It was amusing to visualise Mary looking anywhere but below Glee’s neck as she is nursing her baby.

I haven’t read the other books in The Brides of Bath series but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the story. I like Cheryl Bolen’s engaging writing style and the story had an authentic Regency feel to it.

Full of romance, charm and humour, this novella was the perfect holiday read and I look forward to reading more of Cheryl Bolen’s books in the future.

REVIEW RATING: 4/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: KISSES

Read December 2014

The Brides of Bath series (click on book cover for more details):

The Bride Wore Blue (The Brides of Bath #1) by Cheryl Bolen With His Ring (The Brides of Bath #2) by Cheryl Bolen A Fallen Woman (The Brides of Bath #3) by Cheryl Bolen To Take This Lord (Brides of Bath, #4) by Cheryl Bolen Love In The Library (The Brides Of Bath, #5) by Cheryl Bolen A Christmas in Bath ( Brides of Bath, #6) by Cheryl Bolen

 

 

I would like to thank Cheryl Bolen for sending me a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

 

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Genre: Historical Romance (Regency era)

Cover Blurb:

No good deed goes unpunished

To save her hen-witted sister from scandal, Philippa Sanders ventures into a rake’s bedroom—and into his power. Now her reputation hangs by a thread and only a hurried marriage can rescue her. Is the Earl of Erskine the heartless libertine the world believes? Or will Philippa discover unexpected honor in a man notorious for his wild ways?

Blair Hume, the dissolute Earl of Erskine, has had his eye on the intriguing Miss Sanders since he arrived at this deadly dull house party. Now a reckless act delivers this beguiling woman into his hands as a delightful Christmas gift. Is fate offering him a fleeting Yuletide diversion? Or will this Christmas Eve encounter spark a passion that lasts a lifetime?

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This was a charming marriage of convenience story from one of my favourite authors who never disappoints.

I loved watching both Blair and Philippa discovering so many things about each other but also about themselves during the course of the story.

Blair’s decadent life style has begun to pall and he feels he is simply going through the motions. When he meets Philippa, she is unlike any woman he has ever met and he is totally captivated by this small, bossy woman who makes him want to be a better man. I love how his actions show him to be honourable and caring. When they are caught in a compromising situation, he steps up to defend Philippa’s honour, saying she is blameless and offering marriage. His anger against her family for belittling her makes him swear that she will never feel insignificant again. I also love him for making her feel like a “goddess”.

Philippa has always regarded herself as unremarkable and is content to be the mainstay of the family, managing the farm and the household. However, I love how being with Blair makes her question that belief and encourages her to take the first step towards independence even though it means an uncertain future with Blair. I could also relate to Philippa’s yearning to be wicked just once in her life. If you think you are going back to a boring country existence, why not enjoy Blair’s rakish skills? I was pleased that the trust that had grown between Philippa and Blair couldn’t be broken by her sister’s devious manipulations. I don’t think I would have been quite so willing to forgive Amelia as Philippa was!

The love scene was handled delicately and I loved the fact that Blair felt like a novice too.

How strange to recognise that despite his experience, tonight he was a novice like his bride. Never had getting everything right mattered so much.

He was perfectly in tune to his wife’s fears and, despite his own desires, he was willing to take things slowly, even retreat to the next room but fortunately he doesn’t have to…

“You don’t want to sleep alone in a strange place? I can understand that”
Her eyes flashed with annoyance, surprising him. “No, I don’t want to sleep alone. But that’s not what I meant.”
“What do you mean?”
Her lips tightened with displeasure. “You’re the blasted rake. You work it out.”

This novella was a delightful start to my Christmas reading.

REVIEW RATING: 4/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read December 2014

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(School of Gallantry, #5)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb:

The greatest divide between a man and a woman is not the one society sets before them but the one they set before themselves…

After Miss Leona Olivia Webster had allowed herself to fall in love with a dashing childhood friend who had left her scorned and pregnant, she is done chasing her happily-ever-after. Shunned by society, she dedicates herself to raising her young son and putting money in their pockets. She doesn’t expect to be drawn to her latest master, a brooding man of hulking presence who carves random messages into walls with his Persian blade as a means of starting a flirtation.

Malcolm Gregory Thayer, the earl of Brayton, may have dedicated himself to a life of religious virtue after leaving the monastery due to dark tendencies, but after meeting Leona, he begins to yearn for the life that had never been his. When he meets a retired French courtesan who invites him to embrace what he has long feared, he seizes the opportunity to become the man he always wanted to be. His new mission is clear. He intends to finally serve the one thing he never had: his heart.

Warning: This historical romance is cotton candy with a razor on top. Themes include male virginity, BDSM, religion and language you really shouldn’t use at home. If you are easily offended by graphic sex and dirty humor, this book is not for you.

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I love Delilah Marvelle’s books because she is not afraid to embrace darker themes that are rarely found in traditional historical romance and this book is no exception.

The Prologue is very explicit and often brutal but it is essential reading to understand why Malcolm has become the man he is.

Malcolm Gregory Thayer, Earl of Brayton

There is something so fascinating and compelling about Malcolm. He is big and gruff but also kind, generous and compassionate…a complete contradiction. There is also a side to him that he has always suppressed – his liking for pain. Only through iron control has he been able to master his darker desires and he has remained celibate fearing what might happen if he ever lets himself fully embrace who he really is. He longs to be “normal”.

He’d always yearned to be able to gently kiss a woman’s hand without thinking of nipping or biting it. He’d always yearned to be able to bend a woman backward without breaking her back.

Miss Leona Olivia Webster

Despite her reduced circumstances and society’s condemnation, Leona has remained strong and refuses to wallow in self-pity. I admire her for bringing up her son single-handed and her determination to provide a better life for both Jacob and herself. She is a fiercely protective mother with plenty of backbone. I love the scene where she takes on the unscrupulous creditor to retrieve her son’s favourite bear.

“Let go or I swear I’ll swing at more than your pea-sized bollocks, you-you…rumpot!”

There is nothing sweet and tender about their romance and Malcolm is no charming, tender hero but there is just something about him that is so appealing. He struggles with the need to make Leone understand his darker desires but fears revealing the truth could drive her away. I enjoyed seeing this vulnerable side to him.

I thought Ms Marvelle handled Leona’s reactions to Malcolm’s revelations in a realistic way. I could relate to her initial feelings of confusion and disbelief but also her subsequent willingness to understand and accept the man she loves.

She already loved him for being so good, so honorable, so gruff, so stupid, so determined and so everything that wasn’t perfect. He didn’t need to be perfect. He was perfect being imperfect.

The secondary characters not only add richness but are also an integral part of the story, none more so than Madame de Maitenon who has been a favourite of mine throughout the series. Her life experiences have given her a special gift when it comes to understanding and counselling each of her “students”,  just as she does Malcolm…

… it is rather obvious this is merely about teaching yourself to be comfortable with your tendencies. You need to accept them and safely apply them. Nothing more. Once I assist you to fully embrace what you have long denied, I foresee nothing but rainbows in the sky.”

We learn more about Prince Nasser, Malcolm’s friend (I think he is certainly worthy of his own story) and Andrew Holbrook, whose house Malcolm shares, adds some light relief to the proceedings. Leona’s six year old son,Jacob, is simply adorable and his scenes with Malcolm are not only delightful but also serve to reveal a surprisingly different side to our hero. The School of Gallantry itself makes only a brief appearance in this book but the scene there is still quite a memorable one!

Throughout the series Madame de Maitenon has been instrumental in bringing others happiness so I’m thrilled that, at long last, she will finally be getting her own Happy Ever After in The Duke of Andelot due to be published next year.

I have loved all the books in this series whether uproariously funny, deeply touching, intensely emotional, unashamedly romantic, enthralling and emotionally charged or dark and complex. This is a series I can definitely recommend.

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: SIZZLING

Read November 2014

School of Gallantry series (click on the cover for more details):

Mistress of Pleasure (School of Gallantry #1) by Delilah Marvelle Lord of Pleasure (School of Gallantry #2) by Delilah Marvelle Lady of Pleasure (School of Gallantry #3) by Delilah Marvelle Night of Pleasure (School of Gallantry, #4) by Delilah Marvelle Master of Pleasure (School of Gallantry, #5) by Delilah MarvelleThe Duke of Andelot by Delilah Marvelle – due 2015

I received a copy of this book from the author via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

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Genre: Historical Romance (Early Victorian)

Cover Blurb:

The secrets behind the wedding veil

For penniless widow Ainsley McBrayne, marriage is the only solution. She’s vulnerable yet fiercely independent, so shackling herself to another man seems horrifying! Until handsome stranger Innes Drummond tempts Ainsley to become his temporary wife.

Once married, Ainsley hardly recognizes the rugged Highlander Innes transforms into! He sets her long-dormant pulse racing, and she’s soon craving the enticing delights of their marriage bed. She has until Hogmanay to show Innes that their fake marriage could be for real…

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This is only the second book I have read by Marguerite Kaye but she is already on my must-read list of authors. She writes with such emotional depth and her characters are so finely drawn that I couldn’t help but be captivated by this ‘marriage of convenience’ story.

Fourteen years ago, to escape his father’s iron rule, Innes Drummond left his home in Scotland, to forge a life of his own in England. He is now a successful engineer but, when his father dies, Innes discovers that the only way he can take control of the family lands from the trust set up by his father is to marry – an institution he abhors. But fate intervenes when he meets a young woman in the solicitor’s office who may be the perfect candidate for his bride.

Ainsley McBrayne’s late husband was weak and a spendthrift and constantly undermined her self-esteem and made her feel inadequate sexually. Now she has gained her independence, Ainsley has no desire to be under anyone else’s control ever again.  But with all her husband’s debts to clear and her entire inheritance now in a trust for her first child, things are looking pretty dire. However, the gentleman she meets in the solicitor’s office may have the perfect answer to all her problems…a temporary marriage of convenience.

“…we are of one mind on another thing, which is our determination to make our own way in life. If you let me pay your debts, I can give the freedom to do that, and you’ll be freeing me to make up my own mind on what to do – or not – about my inheritance.”

What seems most improbable – two complete strangers meeting by chance and agreeing to such an arrangement – seems totally believable to me because of Ms Kaye’s ability to create an immediate chemistry between Innes and Ainsley through their dialogue.

Ghosts of the past still haunt Innes and all his feelings of guilt and inadequacy come to the fore again when he returns to Strone Bridge. He believes that, after what happened all those years ago, he doesn’t deserve to find love or happiness.  He has to put the past to rest and Ainsley is instrumental in bringing this about. It is satisfying to see Innes slowly accept his responsibilities as laird and come to care for the land and the people.

Innes helps to restore Ainsley’s self-esteem and self-confidence and shows her that she is a desirable woman. I enjoyed seeing her challenge Innes for not seeking her opinions when making decisions.  I liked the idea of Ainsley having a secret existence as “agony aunt” Madame Hera (Ms Kaye’s research confirms that agony aunts existed as far back as the 17th century), something her husband knew nothing about and couldn’t control. It gave her an element of freedom.  I love this analogy in one of her letters.

I applaud your wish to explore new territory, as you call it. No matter how enthralling a favourite wee-thumbed book might be, no matter how satisfying the conclusion, it is human nature to wish to read other volumes, provided you are prepared to find some of them less – shall we say enthralling.”

It’s obvious from their first meeting that there’s a definite spark between them and I like that, as mature adults, they are not afraid to explore their physical attraction.  I think that the temptation for two people who are attracted to each other and living so closely together would find it difficult not to succumb to their physical desires. The love scenes are vivid, sensual and passionate but never overly explicit.

There was a hint of a possible romance between Ainsley’s friend, Felicity Blair and Innes’s friend, Eoin Ferguson and I’m wondering if they will get their own story.

I love Ms Kaye’s style of writing and here are some of my favourite quotes.

Directly across, the Isle of Arran lay like a sleeping lion, a bank of low. Pinkish cloud that looked more like mist sitting behind it and giving it a mysterious air. In front of them stretched a crescent beach, the sand turning from golden at the water’s edge to silver where the high dune covered in rough grass formed the border.

It was like one of those seventh waves, building from the swell, scooping up memories and guilt and remorse, hurtling them at him with an implacable force.

“Debauchery and chastity belts – who’d have thought that conversation over breakfast cups could be so interesting.”

“I assume that you and Mr Drummond have not been ships that passed in the night.”
Ainsley flushed. “Well I know now that palpitations are not necessarily the prelude to a fainting attack.”

Ms Kaye delivers a captivating and emotionally satisfying love story which I can definitely recommend.

 

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read November 2014

 

My sincere thanks to Marguerite Kaye who provided me with a copy of her book in return for an honest review.

 

 

 

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(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…

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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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