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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 all her father’s cruel words; 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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(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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I haven’t posted my additions for a while and so there are quite a few. 

Source: Giveaway Prize

(Whitechapel Wagers, #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb:

Set against the backdrop of London’s dangerous East End in 1888, Victorian propriety and passions collide when a beautiful widow makes a wager with a wounded police detective obsessed with solving the Ripper mystery.

Burned by love and estranged from his family, Detective Sergeant Benjamin Quinn has become obsessed with solving the Ripper crimes. When he’s suspended from the Metropolitan Police, it’s another failure in a long line of disappointments. But a new mystery arises when a beautiful widow shows up at the most infamous pub in Whitechapel seeking his help. He’s determined to assist Kate Guthrie, and equally determined to quell his growing attraction to her.

Kate Guthrie hides painful secrets from her first marriage and has avoided matrimony for nearly ten years. Now she’s finally decided it’s time to remarry and move on with her life, even if it means giving up the charity clinic work in Whitechapel that makes her days worthwhile. But when a battered young woman turns up at the clinic claiming to have been attacked by Jack the Ripper, Kate seeks out Detective Sergeant Benjamin Quinn, a man who sparks feelings in her too potent to deny.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

Source: Purchased from Amazon Kindle

(A Lady Forsaken, #3)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

**Warning: Not every story of love has a happy ending**

A man willing to sacrifice all…

Andrew Penton, The Marquis of Drake, is a man used to getting all he desires, for nothing in return. But when a mysterious woman catches his eye, he’s helpless to do anything but offer her all he is.

A woman determined to take everything…

Lady Lorelei de La Valette, daughter of the French Comte of Epernon, is new to London society and not the lady she appears to be. Her life has been controlled since birth, yet she’ll have to decide if her destiny lies with her country or her heart.

A love lost forever…

♥♥♥♥♥♥

Source: Purchased from Amazon Kindle

(The Renegade Royals, #2.5)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

He’s the man behind the mission to track down the illegitimate children of England’s Royal Princes and help them get their due. But his deepest desire is far more personal…

Magnificent and stubborn. Fourteen years apart had not changed Chloe Steele, or Dominic’s love for her. He’d been a street urchin, a boy raised at court, and finally a magistrate, yet he’d never belonged anywhere—except by her side. Now Chloe devoted herself to girls threatened by scandal—like she had been. But she was in danger, and Dominic was determined to help—and hopefully make up for lost time…

Even in childhood, Dominic had made Chloe feel safe. Now she also felt thrillingly flustered by the powerful man he’d become, and by the longing he inspired. Because Dominic meant not only to protect her, but to untangle the lies that had separated them. Yet for Chloe, surrendering to temptation may be easier than risking a future that could ruin them both…

♥♥♥♥♥♥

Source: Received from the author in return for an honest review

(Must Love Rogues, #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Georgian – 1805)

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?

♥♥♥♥♥♥

Source: Received as a gift from the author

Genre: Historical Romance (Georgian – 1790)

Cover Blurb:

Revolution in France, rebels in England, and one woman caught in the crossfire…

For her unwitting participation in a plot to embezzle the Exchequer, Lady Abigail Houghall has spent the last two years exiled to the city of Bath. A card sharp, sometime mistress, and target of scandalous gossip by the London Beau Monde, Lady Abigail plots to escape her gilded cage as well as the prudish society that condemns her. But the times are not easy. France is in chaos. The king has been executed, and whispers of a similar revolution are stirring in England. And because of her participation in the robbery plot, the Spymaster of England is blackmailing her into passing him information about the members of London’s upper crust.

When the dashing English spy Daniel Ridgeway takes a seat at her card table and threatens to expose her for cheating, she has no choice but to do as he demands: seduce the leader of the revolutionaries and learn what she can about their plot. As she’s drawn deeper into Daniel’s dangerous world, from the seedy backstreets of London to the claustrophobic catacombs of a war-torn Paris, she realizes an even more dangerous fact. She’s falling in love with her seductive partner. And the stakes of this game might just be too high, even for her.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

Source: Giveaway prize

Genre: Comtemporary Romance

Cover Blurb:

When Verity Peters’ boss, Marco Philippi, asks her to translate an urgent document before she heads off to the staff Christmas party, the last thing she expects…or wants…is to be trapped in the elevator with this distant man.

But is Marco really the cold man she thought he was? Can one night in Tuscany lead to a lifetime?

♥♥♥♥♥♥

Source: Giveaway prize

(The Grooms, #3)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

Widower Lord Patrick Ramsey, Viscount Drakely, fell in love and married at eighteen only to be devastated by losing her as she bore his third daughter. Now, as his girls are getting older he realizes they need a mother—and a governess. Not able to decide between the two which they need more, he marries an ordinary young lady from the local village in hopes she can suit both roles. But this ordinary young lady isn’t so ordinary after all, and he’ll either have to take a chance and risk his heart once more or wind up alone forever.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

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