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If the Rogue Fits

(Must Love Rogues, #2)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

A Misunderstood Shrew:

Lady Margaret is infamous throughout London as the most volatile and shrewish of all young ladies. After four years on the market, with a vast fortune, her determination to remain unwed is legendary. Having a decidedly plain face, Margaret has learned that men only want her for her money, and the unkindness of those around her has led her to protect her heart with a cutting tongue and willingness to shove silly young men into orchestra pits. When she meets the Earl of Carlyle, the beautiful and seductive lord, who makes her body yearn for his touch, seems like he might be different than the rest. But when Margaret finds out the earl has been less than honest in his pursuit for her hand, will she ever be able to forgive him and find a way to love?

A Lord Who Has No Wish to Tame Her:

William Deveraux, Earl of Carlyle, is in desperate need of funds. His father, a ruinous gambler, has driven the earldom, it’s estate, and his tenants, into destitution. There’s only one thing for William to do. Wed and wed well. Undaunted that the only available lady with a sufficient fortune at present is Margaret the Mad, he’s determined to win her by any means. . . Even by deceit. But when Margaret discovers his lies, he finds he’s fallen for the plain yet oh so witty woman who is his savior in many ways. Will he ever be able to win her heart and convince her that she is the most wonderful woman in the world? Or will her years of being treated foully by society, ensure Margaret never lets him into her heart?

♥♥♥♥♥♥

This is the second book in Eva Devon’s Must Love Rogues series which features one of my favourite tropes – a marriage of convenience.

Margaret knew that it had not been a fortuitous beginning when her father had first looked upon her countenance, frowned and declared that she was ugly.

Margaret grew up knowing that, in her father’s eyes, she has nothing to commend her. All her parents’ affection and attention is reserved for Isabella, her beautiful, younger sister to whom she is constantly compared and found lacking. There is no love lost between Margaret and Isabella because their father is adamant that Isabella cannot marry until Margaret does, something the younger sister resents. In addition, her disastrous first season and plain looks have made her an outcast among the other young ladies. So, Margaret leads a restricted and lonely life, hiding her wounded heart behind a mask of disdain and a biting tongue.

After four years on the marriage mart, she has received any number of proposals but knows that her suitors do not see her as a person with her own thoughts and feelings, only her ‘jaw-dropping fortune’.  Most of all, she hates their lies – the false compliments that have the power to hurt. Her sharp tongue and ill-temper soon deter would be suitors, earning her the unflattering nickname Margaret the Mad or Margaret the Red Fury. Long ago, she had decided that being on the shelf was far preferable to being married to someone just like her father. Instead, she finds pleasure in reading, studying history and riding, with dreams of being independent and traveling.

William’s father was selfish, unkind and a compulsive gambler who never showed any love for his son. William’s grandfather was a man of honour who always did the right thing and he had been more like a father to William than his own father ever was. Seeking freedom and adventure like his grandfather before him, William left home at nineteen and spent much of the next ten years travelling the globe.

However, he has always known that one day he would have to return to take up his responsibilities. He promised his grandfather to do everything in his power to restore the fortunes of the family estate but when William returns, it is to find that his father has totally bankrupted the earldom. The family home is in a terrible state of disrepair; the mill which provides bread for his tenants needs fixing and the tenants’ cottages are also in desperate need of repairs. Without the necessary funds, he will have no alternative but to start selling off land which has been in his family for nearly eight hundred years. Desperate to keep his promise to his grandfather, there is only one solution…he needs a wealthy wife.

At first, William’s interest in Meg (as he insists on calling her, much to Margaret’s annoyance) is purely mercenary but he soon sees a strong, bold and intelligent woman; one far more interesting than any other woman he has met and rather likes the idea of being married to such an indomitable woman. Having seen how her father and others around her have tried to crush her spirit, he believes that by marrying her, he can give Margaret the independence she has never known. I like how William is genuine in his desire to rescue her from her father’s influence. The scene where he proposes to Margaret is one of my favourites. The back and forth between them is delightful, and I love the sting in the tail for the unsuspecting, overconfident William!

Oh, yes. This was going to be a marvelous union and from the way she was responding to the sensual foray, it would be no time before she agreed to marry him.
She pulled back ever so slightly and smiled softly.
He smiled back. This was the moment. She was going to agree.
Meg’s eyes flashed and she drove her foot down atop his.
He yelped and hopped onto one booted foot.
She backed away and brushed her hands. “You should have recalled Mr. Rutherford.”
“We weren’t dancing,” he wheezed as he struggled to catch his breath.
“Kissing. Dancing.” She shrugged her shoulders. “What does it matter? It’s all the same.” “Like men,” he added, the pain jolting right up his leg.
She gave a terse nod. “Now take yourself and your proposal and hie off, my lord.”

For her part, Margaret finds William very different to her other suitors, who were so easily deterred by her sharp tongue; not so William, with his forthrightness, idiotic sense of humour and total disregard for convention. I love how Margaret is totally bewildered by his behaviour but is clever enough to realise that there could be advantages to marrying William. For the first time, she would be taking her life into her own hands and would no longer be at the beck and call of her father. Some wise advice from her trusted maid, Travers, provides a plan for ensuring her independence and fulfilling her dream of travelling. Having decided on her course of action, I love how she boldly takes matters into her own hands.

He opened the door slowly and peered in through the crack.
A glimpse of fiery red hair met his perusal.
“You’d best come in, Carlyle,” she clipped. “So we can get on with business.”
His jaw dropped.

When William hears Margaret’s conditions for marrying him, I sympathised with his difficult dilemma and understood why he chose to deceive her. He does it for the most honourable of reasons but hates himself for lying to Margaret. I felt Margaret’s deep hurt at discovering William’s duplicity and, although she can understand why he did it, she can never forgive him for lying to her. It seems that an irreparable wedge has been driven between them.

I love how the story is very character-driven and concentrates on the developing relationship between these two. At first, Margaret feels angry and is determined to keep her distance from William but, gradually, she comes to like and admire him. Beneath the arrogant exterior, she sees a man who cares passionately.

…he cared about his tenants. He cared about his servants. He cared about the history of his family. He cared.

She also discovers how cruel and uncaring William’s father was and can relate to the pain of always wishing for a father’s love but never having it. She can’t hate him and comes to realise that William may need her love and care as much as his neglected house does. William soon comes to realise that he wants Margaret for herself and not just for her money and is determined to change her mind about him. Their desire to restore the estate brings them closer together but, when William realises he has fallen in love with Margaret, he knows that she could never love him until she sees her own self-worth and that her beauty radiates from inside.  I love William’s act of selflessness when he offers Margaret the freedom to travel and discover her true self but my heart ached for him.

Margaret’s triumph at her sister’s engagement ball and how she comes into her own is wonderful to see. I also applauded when William is so cutting towards Isabella and her fiancé who have previously caused Margaret such pain.

Ms. Devon throws in a bit of a twist towards the end which makes Margaret realise that she believed alll her fathe’s cruel word; believed that she was ugly and that no one could ever love her. She has been afraid to admit her love for William for fear of being hurt but not any longer…

“You’re going abroad,” he protested. “You’re going to see the world. You’re going to make an informed decision.”
“I have all the information I need,” she scoffed. “You love me…and I love you.”

William’s friend Lord Garret Hart and his wife, Harriet (The Rogue and I) are on hand to provide wise council and moral support, while John Forthryte, Garret’s scheming, bastard half-brother, plays the unlikely role of ‘a strange and marvellous matchmaker’ to steal Margaret’s words. I loathed Margaret’s father with a vengeance but loved Margaret’s maid, Travers, who was more friend than a servant and provided one of my favourite quotes:

“My dear, men do have their uses and a man like that?” Travers smiled and suddenly looked like a girl of sixteen contemplating meeting a lover at the back garden gate. “I’d use him six ways from Sunday. Twice on a Saturday.”

MY VERDICT: I always enjoy Eva Devon’s books because they are entertaining, romantic and sexy with engaging characters and sparkling dialogue. Recommended.

 

REVIEW RATING: 4/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: WARM


Must Love Rogues
series do date (click on the book covers for more details):

The Rogue and I (Must Love Rogues, #1) by Eva Devon If the Rogue Fits (Must Love Rogues, #2) by Eva Devon Duke Goes Rogue (Must Love Rogues, #3) by Eva Devon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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duke-ever-after

(Duke’s Club, #5)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

A Duke With A Scandalous Secret:
The Duke of Aston has always been the talk of the ton. Wild, passionate, and eccentric, women fall at his feet and gentlemen won’t dare to meet him on the dueling ground. But the duke has a secret. A secret that could destroy his family. While the world sees him as a prince of the realm, he knows that in truth, he’s worthless. So, when Lady Rosamund enters his life demanding he teach her the artful ways of seduction, he’s happy to oblige until he realizes she is the best woman he has ever known and therefore a woman he can never have.

A Lady Who Won’t Be Intimidated:
Lady Rosamund, only sibling of the Duke of Blackburn, is lonely. Raised in the remote glens of the Western Highlands, Rosamund has lived a sheltered life where only books and long walks have relieved her isolation. When she meets the Duke of Aston near her home, a man as delicious as the heroes she’s read about, the passion that sparks between them in undeniable. Adventurous spirit that the duke is, Rosamund knows he’s the man for her. But as she grows closer to the duke, opening her heart to him, his own heart closes.

Can she teach this tortured duke that he is worthy of love or will his past drive them apart forever?

♥♥♥♥♥♥

I have enjoyed all the books in Eva Devon’s Duke’s Club series and DUKE EVER AFTER is no exception. Her stories are always entertaining, emotional, romantic and sensual.

The handsome, scandalous, fun loving Duke of Aston was a loveable secondary character in the earlier books who seemed to have everything.  Now we discover that behind this jovial mask is a man burdened with a family secret which he is determined to keep at all costs. His bon vivant air, a love for life, and a desire for all things mad-capped tend to keep people at bay and his secret secure. The only person who truly knows him is his illegitimate son, Tony.

Rosamund loves her Scottish home but, since the death of their profligate father, her brother, Duncan, has become a rigid, dour man…the epitome of everything that is proper. He is no longer the laughing, teasing brother she once knew and Rosamund is discontented with her lonely, unfulfilled life and craves adventure.

As she stared out at the towering bens that were a beautiful boundary she’d only escaped through books, she couldn’t help wishing she could step foot over them once. Just once.

I love how in all the books in this series, the hero and heroine’s first meeting has been unconventional and most memorable. No ballrooms or soirees for Ms Devon. No indeed. In fact, Derek and Rosamund meet while each is swimming naked in a Scottish loch.

She then grinned a most gamine grin, her lips, due to the cold, a striking red against her pale skin. “Lovely day for a swim!”
And with that, she struck off, her feet leaving a froth of water in her wake.
Aston gaped as she swam rapidly away
.

Rosamund is kind, good humoured but also obstinate and headstrong which makes her the perfect match for Derek.  I love how she refuses to be intimidated by him and isn’t afraid to pursue the man she wants. She is the only one to see through his carefully constructed façade and is determined to uncover the real Derek beneath.

She seemed to sense the cracks in his facade and she wasn’t content to just look at them. Oh no. She wanted to know him. And to know him, she’d have to pry at those cracks and break through to the man he was underneath.

Derek has always distanced himself from everyone since childhood, but he finds he has feelings for Rosamund and is totally at sea when it comes to dealing with them. His genuine fear is that, once she knows his secret, she will see him as unworthy of her. I understood Derek’s fears given the nature of the secret he has carried all these years and the way his father succeeded in destroying Derek’s sense of self-worth. However, I was frustrated by his constant refusal to confide in Rosamund but this was tempered by her heart-warming words when he finally reveals the truth.

“From the moment I saw you in the loch, I knew you were the man for me. Not the duke. Not the privileged, titled, legitimate son of some powerful peer. You were the man I wanted. The man who saw into my soul and I saw yours.”
A tear slipped from Derek’s eye. With a groan, he pulled himself into a sitting position. “Then you’ll have me?”
She smiled. A smile so wide and true it almost hurt. “Today. Tomorrow. Every day. Until we are old and wrinkled.”

Derek’s determination to protect his mother’s memory and his overwhelming love for his son, Tony, reveals what an honourable and caring man he is.

I adore Tony with his boyish charm and such a wise head on young shoulders. I enjoyed seeing the rapport between him and Rosamund, who regards him as a younger, cheeky brother.  I like how Tony sees his father as a great duke and a great man but isn’t afraid to stand up to Derek if the occasion arises.

Duncan, Rosamund’s brother, and fellow members of the Duke’s Club cause some problems for Derek and Rosamund before everything is sorted out so they can marry, and the Epilogue promises them a long and happy ever after.

It is worth pointing out that Duncan and Imogen’s story (Wish Upon a Duke) runs concurrently with Derek and Rosamund’s.

MY VERDICT: A thoroughly entertaining romance which I can definitely recommend.


REVIEW RATING: 4/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: WARM

 

Duke’s Club series (click on the book cover for more details):

Once Upon a Duke (Duke's Club, #1) by Eva Devon Dreaming of the Duke (Duke's Club, #2) by Eva Devon Wish Upon A Duke (Duke's Club, #3) by Eva Devon All About the Duke (Duke's Club, #4) by Eva Devon Duke Ever After (Duke's Club, #5) by Eva Devon Not Quite A Duke (Duke's Club, #6) by Eva Devon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(The Dukes’ Club, #4)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

A Lady Who Vows Never to Wed:

Lady Allegra Portmund knows the cost of marriage. After the death of her dearest and only sister, Allegra swears she will never suffer the same fate. She will not become a possession shaped and destroyed by a husband. So, when her parents insist she marry the man of their choosing, there is only one thing for Allegra to do. Run. But when she runs, determined to be free, she meets the Duke of Roth, a singular man who sees her unique and vital spirit. Now that her heart is awakened to the most dangerous longings for love, how will she resist the temptation to break her vow?

A Duke Ruled by Honor:

Nicholas Andrew Edward Forth, Duke of Roth, values family above everything else. Despite his wild reputation, having lost both of his parents when he was a child, his most secret wish is to have a family again. When he meets a young lady in disguise, Nicholas quickly realizes that she is unlike any woman he’s ever met and is also the only woman for him. But when he discovers how quickly she has abandoned her own family, he doubts whether she is the exceptional woman he believed her to be. Now, that he knows the truth about Allegra’s past, will his own sense of honor destroy his only chance at happiness?

♥♥♥♥♥♥

This is the third book in Eva Devon’s entertaining The Dukes’ Club series and, once again, I enjoyed her engaging writing, lively characterisation and great dialogue.

Growing up, Lady Allegra Penthurst and her older sister, Juliana, are fully aware of Society’s expectations that they should marry well. They become accomplished in singing, dancing and playing the piano. However, they are somewhat unconventional because…

they also raced horses, read too many books, and had decided views on slavery and the rights of man.

Allegra is initially jealous when Juliana marries but, as she watches her once spirited sister slowly crushed beneath the conventionality of marriage to a man who considers a woman’s role to be bearing children and running a household, Allegra resolves that marriage is not for her. It’s a decision only strengthened when her sister dies in childbirth while her husband is at his club. She vows then that she will never succumb to her sister’s fate. Three years later, when her parents insist she marry or be forced to spend the rest of her days at the secluded family estate in the far north of England, she takes the only course of action open to her and runs away. Disguising herself as a young lad, she finds employment as a stable boy on the Duke of Roth’s estate in the Devonshire countryside. But under the ever watchful eyes of the duke, how long will it be before her secret in uncovered?

I could understand how seeing what happened to her sister would colour Allegra’s views on marriage and instill in her a desire to be herself and live unfettered by Society’s expectations. She is intelligent, bold and stubborn with a love of horses and talking politics but her parents are self-serving, not caring at all for their daughter’s wishes, only what advantages a good marriage could confer on them.

Nicholas Forth, The Duke of Roth, only wishes his loving parents were still alive. He had lost them both in a terrible carriage accident when he was just a boy. They were his anchor in a world of uncertainty and, since their death, he has always felt adrift and alone. He has built an impenetrable wall around himself, never letting anyone touch him emotionally. He longs for the security he felt as a boy and has even contemplated marriage but has no desire for a typical ton marriage; he wants the sort of love his parents had shared. However, his life is about to take an unexpected turn when he meets the rather perplexing new stable boy.

Of course, Nicholas sees right through Allegra’s disguise but chooses to have a little fun first before admitting he knows the truth. This leads to some amusing situations which had me smiling.

“Alfred?” he said.
“Your Grace?” came her muffled reply, nearly bent halfway into the chest.
“What the Devil are you doing?” he drawled.
An impatient and audible sigh came from the trunk. “Looking for your smalls.”
“I don’t wear them.”

I enjoyed the steady development of the romance. At first, Allegra finds Nicholas arrogant, but fascinating and compelling but gradually she discovers he is kind, honourable and protective of those he cares for. Nicholas is totally disarmed by Allegra and finds he likes her and I enjoyed seeing the walls Nicholas has erected gradually crumbling as he falls under her spell. When they finally make love, it just seems right and I love Allegra’s boldness.

This wasn’t how it was supposed to transpire. He had no idea why, but he’d assumed she would be nervous and need him to ease her fears. Instead, she was beckoning him to bed.
He loved it. God, how he loved it.

Of course, Allegra’s actions have consequences. When Nicholas discovers that she ran away without telling her parents, he is furious and says some pretty hurtful things. In his eyes, what she did to her parents is unforgivable but, of course, his view is coloured by the loss of his own loving parents.

“I would give anything, anything for one more moment with my parents. Anything for a touch, a glimpse, a word. And you have thrown your parents away.”

It takes his friend, the Duke of Aston, to make Nicholas realise just how wrong his judgement of Allegra is and I love his confrontation with her self-serving father and his determination to protect her. I have to admit that I  became frustrated by Allegra’s constant fears of losing her independence after marrying Nicholas, but he understands her so well and I love everything he does to allay those fears. It was satisfying to see Allegra come to realise what truly matters.

She had thought it so important that she have the trappings of freedom. But here, in this room, watched by hundreds of Londoners, her hands in Nicholas’, she knew that the world and its laws matter not a wit. The only things that mattered were their love for each other and their mutual respect.

As with the other books, there is a colourful cast of secondary characters to aide Allegra and Nicholas on their journey to a happy ever after. I absolutely adore the notorious and vain Duke of Aston and the repartee between him and Nicholas is so funny. The heroines from the previous books, Kathryn, Cordelia and Imogen make a welcome appearance when Nicholas thinks Allegra needs intelligent, independent, female friends to help her navigate the strange waters of the ton.

I like how Ms Devon introduces real historical figures into the story. Nicholas likens Allegra to Aphra Behn, a 17th century British playwright, poet, translator and fiction writer, and Allegra converses with Mrs Wollstonecraft in Hatchards bookshop and again later in the story.

Those readers who, like me, have a fondness for a charming Epilogue won’t be disappointed.

MY VERDICT: Another enjoyable addition to this delightful series!

 

REVIEW RATING: 4/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: WARM

Read April 2016

 

The Dukes’ Clubs series (click on the book covers for more details):

Once Upon a Duke (Duke's Club, #1) by Eva Devon Dreaming of the Duke (Duke's Club, #2) by Eva Devon Wish Upon A Duke (The Dukes' Club, #3) by Eva Devon Wish Upon A Duke (The Dukes' Club, #3) by Eva Devon Duke Ever After (Dukes' Club Book 5) by Eva Devon

 

** My thanks to Eva Devon for sending me a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

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(Sins of the Duke, #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency, 1812 & 1817)

Cover Blurb:

A Soldier Driven By Revenge:

Captain Jack Hazard was raised in the slums of the East End. He’s clawed his way to the top of London commerce as the owner of the most powerful bodyguard service in the country. With such achievements, he should be happy. But Jack will never know happiness until he destroys the Duke of Chiles, the man responsible for his only friend’s brutal death. There’s just one thing. The easiest way to destroy the duke is by ruining his granddaughter, Lady Regan. Can Jack do whatever it takes for revenge, or will Lady Regan’s strength and determination reawaken his heart to love.

A Lady Who Won’t Back Down:

Lady Regan is nothing like her grandfather, the powerful and infamous Duke of Chiles. In fact, instead of oppressing the poor she, in the footsteps of her murdered father, is determined to help them any way she can. When Regan starts receiving death threats, she knows she needs help. Captain Hazard seems the perfect choice. But Captain Hazard is a dangerous man. A man who seems the opposite of all her pacifist principles. Will she harden herself to the rough man he presents or discover that loves exists even in the darkest of hearts?

♥♥♥♥♥♥

I love Eva Devon’s books but I also enjoy the dark, intense and compelling romances she writes as Máire Claremont. Her Mad Passions series is one of my favourites and I’m delighted that this is the first book in a new series.

War hero Captain Jack Hazard is a powerful, ruthless, ambitious, self-made man and one of the richest in London. He is runs Hazard’s Outriders, the most illustrious bodyguard service in England, whose clients come from the highest echelons of society. But, however polished his speech or immaculate his dress, a man like Jack, who grew up in the slums of London, will never be accepted within their ranks, not that he has any desire to be. Everything that Jack has achieved has been driven by his desire for revenge against the Duke of Chiles, the man he holds responsible for the torments of his past and his friend’s death.

He would do everything to avenge Devlin and his own life. And if the rage growing inside him would help. . . He’d welcome it in. Without regret.

When, Lady Regan Chance, the duke’s granddaughter, hires Hazard’s Outriders to protect her, Jack sees this as the perfect opportunity to gain access to the Chance household, and search for evidence that will bring about the duke’s downfall.

Jack certainly satisfied my love for tormented heroes. Knowing all that the young Jack suffered made it easy to understand how those experiences had forged the man he had become…hard, cynical and ruthless. All his pent-up anger and hatred is a darkness in his soul which threatens to destroy any shreds of humanity.

Lady Regan Chance is in mourning for her beloved father, who has been brutally murdered. She feels the pain of losing her father deeply; theirs was a loving relationship and she had been truly happy.

Regan closed her eyes. Good God, would it never go away? The need to wrap her arms around her father. To pretend for one moment, that she could rest her head on his chest and feel at home again.

Both her grandfather and her uncle vehemently disagreed with her father’s philanthropic works among the poor of Whitechapel. Despite her grandfather’s efforts to stop her, Regan is determined to continue her father’s charitable works and fulfil his wish to provide schools for the poor. She is fully aware that only her spotless reputation has enabled her to continue her work independently and any hint of scandal would jeopardise everything. While visiting Whitechapel to see the progress being made with the school, she is the victim of a terrifying attack. Although a pacifist, Regan realises that her life is in danger and is forced to compromise her principles and seek the services of Hazard’s Outriders.

I found it easy to sympathise with Regan and feel her pain for the loss of her father. I admire her determination to see her father’s wishes fulfilled and her genuine compassion for those less fortunate than herself.

I love how Jack and Regan’s romance is a journey of discovery about each other. At first, Jack sees Regan as simply a means to an end in his pursuit of revenge against her grandfather but gradually, seeing her bravery, compassion and optimism, she comes to mean more to him.

The woman was slipping into his blood like wine and if he didn’t watch himself, she wouldn’t be leaving.

Regan sees Jack as the epitome of everything she hates…rough and violent. However, as she discovers things about him that seem to belie her initial opinion, her feelings start to change.

She liked him. Too much. Far too much. Regan let out a breath of air. He was a fascinating combination of violence and kindness. And she wanted to understand him in a way she never thought to understand a man.

It is also a story of danger, betrayal, passion, redemption and ultimately love. It is Regan’s love that dispels the darkness from Jack’s soul and makes him realise that hate has no place in his life.

Jack’s fingers tightened around hers and they left together, silently, as if they both knew that together they were entering a new life. One without the shadows of the past and nothing but a future together.

The secondary characters play an important role in the story, none more so than the hateful Duke of Chiles. The lengths to which he is willing to go to protect the social and political status quo is truly shocking. I found Jack’s friend Adam Ashecroft, the Earl of Easton, intriguing as there is the hint of mystery surrounding him and I’m hoping he may be the hero of the next book. I like the scandalous Countess Sylvia Chance, Regan’s aunt-in-law, who is her only ally in the Chance household. I also enjoyed the banter between Jack and Thomas O’Malley, his assistant, which provides some much-needed light relief.

I like how Ms Claremont highlights the darker aspects of Regency society…the plight of orphaned children exploited for monetary gain and the determination of the upper class to keep the lower class “beneath their shining boots”. Fortunately, there were those like Regan with a social conscience, willing to help the less fortunate.

MY VERDICT: If you are in the mood for a dark, intense romance with a suspenseful plot and compelling characters, then I can definitely recommend IN THE DEVIL’S BED.


REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: WARM

 

Read February 2016

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I will buy anything that Courtney Milan writes! This is the first book in her new series.

Source: Purchased from Amazon Kindle

(The Worth Saga, #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb:

The last man Judith Worth wants to see again is Charles Trent, the Marquess of Ashford—the man who spent summers at her family home, who kissed her one magical night…and then heartlessly ruined her father. But when a tricky business matter arises, he’s the only one she can ask for help. With any luck, he’ll engage a servant to take care of the matter, and she won’t even have to talk with him.

But Ashford has never forgotten Judith. He knows she will never forgive him for what he’s done, but when offered the chance to assist her, he arrives in person. His memory of Judith may have haunted him, but it pales in comparison to the reality of the vivacious, beautiful woman he rediscovers. Throughout his life, he has always done what is correct. But now, he finds himself doing something utterly wrong…falling in love with the one woman he can never have.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

 

Tessa Dare returns to Spindle Cove with this novella

Source: Purchased from Amazon Kindle

(Spindle Cove, #4.5)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

A snowstorm hath no fury like a spinster scorned!

Miss Elinora Browning grew up yearning for the handsome, intelligent lord-next-door…but he left England without a word of farewell. One night, inspired by a bit too much sherry, Nora poured out her heartbreak on paper. Lord Dashwood Missed Out was a love letter to every young lady who’d been overlooked by gentlemen—and an instant bestseller. Now she’s on her way to speak in Spindle Cove when snowy weather delays her coach. She’s forced to wait out the storm with the worst possible companion: Lord Dashwood himself.

And he finally seems to have noticed her.

George Travers, Lord Dashwood, has traveled the globe as a cartographer. He returned to England with the goal of marrying and creating an heir–only to find his reputation shredded by an audacious, vexingly attractive bluestocking and her poison pen. Lord Dashwood Missed Out, his arse. Since Nora Browning seems to believe he overlooked the passion of a lifetime, Dash challenges her to prove it.

She has one night.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

 

I love this series!

Source: I received a complimentary copy from the author in return for an honest review

(Duke’s Club, #4)

Genre: Historical Romance

Cover Blurb:

A Lady Who Vows Never to Wed:

Lady Allegra Portmund knows the cost of marriage. After the death of her dearest and only sister, Allegra swears she will never suffer the same fate. She will not become a possession shaped and destroyed by a husband. So, when her parents insist she marry the man of their choosing, there is only one thing for Allegra to do. Run. But when she runs, determined to be free, she meets the Duke of Roth, a singular man who sees her unique and vital spirit. Now that her heart is awakened to the most dangerous longings for love, how will she resist the temptation to break her vow?

A Duke Ruled By  Honor:

Nicholas Andrew Edward Forth, Duke of Roth, values family above everything else. Despite his wild reputation, having lost both of his parents when he was a child, his most secret wish is to have a family again. When he meets a young lady in disguise, Nicholas quickly realizes that she is unlike any woman he’s ever met and is also the only woman for him. But when he discovers how quickly she has abandoned her own family, he doubts whether she is the exceptional woman he believed her to be. Now, that he knows the truth about Allegra’s past, will his own sense of honor destroy his only chance at happiness?

♥♥♥♥♥♥

 

Source: A lovely Christmas gift from a friend

Audiobook narrated by Leslie Mackie

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

Since losing their parents, Kate and Andrew Dunbar have been living with their cold-hearted aunt and uncle within the vaults of Edinburgh’s South Bridge. Worked relentlessly, Kate has little chance to secure a different way of life for herself and her brother.

Then one day Richard Hope walks into her life. An upper-class student training to become a doctor, Richard knows that he and Kate come from very different worlds. Instantly smitten, Richard vows to do whatever it takes to spend his time with her. But as the romance develops, not everyone is happy for the young lovers.

Can their fragile relationship survive the pressures of family betrayal and society’s disapproval, or will they be forced to part?

♥♥♥♥♥♥

 

Victoria Vane is one of the few authors whose contemporary romances I read.

Source: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.


(Hotel Rodeo, #2)

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Cover Blurb:

A COUNTRY BOY

Maybe having a hot and heavy affair with the boss’s daughter wasn’t the smartest move. But country boy Ty Morgan didn’t regret a moment with city girl Monica Brandt…until she left Las Vegas to return to her life in New York. When devastating news sends her running back, Ty can’t help but open his arms. His heart, however, is another matter.

AND A CITY GIRL

Now that Ty has what he’s always wanted—controlling interest in Hotel Rodeo—Monica is certain their time together is at an end. Then Ty asks her to come on board as a partner. Maybe it’s just her money he needs, but the chance to stick close to the sexy wrangler sure could make work a whole lot more interesting.

GET READY TO TANGO

Their partnership doesn’t come without a heap of problems. The two can’t agree on anything—except their iron-hot attraction. As the hotel’s Grand Opening approaches, the truth is all too clear: Ty and Monica must find a way to mix business with pleasure if they have any shot at dancing off into the sunset together…

Expected publication date: February 16th 2016

♥♥♥♥♥♥

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I’m delighted to welcome USA Today Bestselling Author EVA DEVON to Rakes and Rascals today for an exclusive interview.

I adore Rakes and Rascals and am thrilled to be here!

~~~~~~

R&R:
Could you tell us where you were born and what it was like growing up there?

Eva:
I was born in Oregon not far from Portland but raised in the coast range. It was absolutely beautiful. We went to the beach often and I still miss the towering fir, pine, and cedar trees. It was a sea to ski atmosphere and I loved it!

 

R&R:
How would you describe yourself – temperamental or easy-going?

Eva:
Ha! Hmmm. To be honest or to flatter myself! I’, actually pretty easy going and I love to travel. I love the theatre and movies, and FOOD. But I am a bit of a know it all, being an only child, and constantly have to remind myself that I don’t that I don’t have to raise my hand and be the best student. ;D

 

R&R:
When it comes to food do you like sweet or savoury or both?

Eva:
Both! For what is cake without bread? For instance, I adore a good Sunday roast with load of potatoes and gravy, and then follow up with a yummy dessert. I’m a big fan of cake. All kinds.

 

R&R:
What is your most treasured possession?

Eva:
I don’t have one. Both my parents died and sadly, when my mother died, I had to let many things go because I couldn’t afford the storage and that was when I stopped holding the “most special” thing. So, my memories are the most special.


R&R:
If you were able to afford a second home anywhere in the world where would you choose and why?

Eva:
England. London specifically, or just outside of it. Oh my gosh! Can you imagine? You could just pop on the tube and go the museums, or see brilliant theatre almost every night of the week, walk by St. Pauls Cathedral or Westminster whenever you wanted, and eat Victoria sponge cake or farmhouse cheddar and pickle sandwiches whenever you wanted! Swoon. I’d be in heaven.

 

R&R:
Finally, what has been your most embarrassing moment?

Eva:
I was at a conference and had on a favorite dress. I’d been sitting and chatting for a while, and I got up to head to the bar to collect a set of drinks for myself and friends. A wonderful author and saviour raced up to me and whispered that my skirt was stuck up about my waist!!! Luckily, I had tights on. But TIGHTS! Oh boy.

~~~~~~


Thank you for taking time out to be here today and sharing these interesting facts about yourself, Eva.

Thank you, Carol. It was loads of fun! It’s always a delight to be on Rakes and Rascals.

 

If you would like to find out more about Eva and her books, here are the links:

Website

Goodreads

Facebook

Twitter

 

Eva also writes books as Máire Claremont and click the link below to discover more about these darker toned books:

http://evadevonauthor.com/site/?page_id=80

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(Must Love Rogues, #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

A Lady Ready for Battle:
Miss Harriet Manning once made the mistake of falling completely, totally, and irreversibly in love with a duke’s son. It’s a mistake she won’t repeat twice. Truly. Especially since he abandoned her just when they were about to elope to Gretna Green. Five years later, Harriet hasn’t forgotten the way Lord Garret’s smoldering gaze and wicked sense of humor touched her soul. Still, there’s no way she’ll forgive the traitorous libertine, no matter how he stirs her passions. Now, Harriet is determined to show him she doesn’t care, and never did, by making merry right under his nose but a tragic turn of events at her cousin’s wedding has her wondering if just maybe, love deserves one last chance.

A Lord Who Lost His Heart:
Lord Garret Hart, second son of a duke and now brother to the present Duke of Huntsdown, is never ever EVER getting married. Bachelorhood is for him. After all, women are the very devil. Especially one woman. Miss Harriet Manning is Garret’s own personal Medusa and she has turned his heart to stone. Indeed she has, but not before she absolutely ripped it to shreds, leaving him a complete wreck. Nothing will ever induce him to matrimony or nauseating protestations of boyish love again. But when he is forced into close proximity at his brother’s wedding with the woman who first taught him to dream and see the world as a wondrous place, sparks flash and passions explode. Still, Harriet is not to be trusted. She callously betrayed him once. So how can he ever allow himself another chance at love when love always seems to hurt so much?

♥♥♥♥♥♥

I remember seeing the Royal Shakespeare Company’s excellent production of “Much Ado About Nothing” at Stratford upon Avon in 1976, starring renowned British actors Judi Dench and Donald Sinden. You are probably asking what this has to do with my review. Well, Ms Devon draws inspiration for her book from that play…a story of misunderstandings, betrayal, deceptions and enduring love.

As I have come to expect from Eva Devon, THE ROGUE AND I, the first book in her Must Love Rogues series, is funny, emotional, romantic and sensual but also tinged with sadness.

The flashbacks that are interspersed throughout the first part of the book allow us to see Garret and Harriet as romantic young lovers with hopes and dreams before the pain of betrayal shatters their love. These flashbacks made it easy for me to understand the hurt and anger Harriet and Garret feel and why, whenever they meet, they engage in such biting verbal duelling.

“How ever did you survive without me to criticize you these past months? He asked cheerfully.

“Never doubt my ability to sharpen my wit without you about, easy target that you are.”

He tsked. “How sad that you must always be so sharp. “ He crossed towards her, his powerful legs eating up the short space. At last, he stood before her, looking down several inches, his dark eyes glinting. “Someone will soon clip your claws.”

Harry met that gaze and tilted her chin up. With a surprising gesture even to herself, she planted her hands on her hips. “Not before I scratch their face.”

The witty skirmishes between these two strong and stubborn people certainly provide plenty of laughs but also expose their vulnerabilities. It is these vulnerabilities that make Harriet and Garret such endearing characters.

Despite all this hostility, I could feel the sexual tension between them and it’s obvious they still have deep feelings for each other although wild horses wouldn’t drag the truth from them. Family machinations do more harm than good and it takes an act of malice to unite them in a common cause, allowing them to finally admit their love for each other. It does take Garret a little longer to realise how much he loves Harriet but his declaration of love is well worth waiting for…definitely sigh-worthy.

“You are the love of my life and I will never be content in this life without you. How can I live without my happiness anymore, my Lady of Shalot, my Harry.”

There is a secondary romance between Emmeline (Harry’s cousin) and Edward (Garret’s brother) but what happens on their wedding day is truly heart-breaking. I cheered Emmeline when she rises from the ashes stronger and more confident and Edward deserves every harsh word she throws at him. I loved Garret for believing in Emmeline even when his brothers refuse to.

I hated John, Garret’s half-brother, for all the heartache he caused but I was intrigued by his character and his motivations. I just wonder whether redemption is on the cards for him.

I was delighted by Garret’s words in the Epilogue which suggest more books to come…

But none of them are at the end of their story, so happily ever after may yet await them,” Garret said brightly.

How I imagine Garret and Harriet –


Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson in
“Much Ado About Nothing ” (1993)

My Verdict: A great start to a new series. Definitely recommended!

 

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read July 2015

**My thanks to Eva Devon for sending me a copy of this book in return for an honest review. **

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