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(Sons of Sin, #3)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

A REPUTATION AT RISK

What woman in her right mind would say no to marrying the dashing Duke of Sedgemoor? Miss Penelope Thorne, that’s who. She’s known Camden Rothermere since they were children-and she also knows she’d bring nothing but scandal to his name.

Cam can hardly believe Penelope turned down his proposal. But if she wants to run off to the Continent and set the rumor mill ablaze, he can’t stop her. Then her brother’s dying request sends him to bring home the one woman he thought he’d finally gotten over.

The only way they’ll both get back to London without their reputations in tatters is to pretend they’re married during the journey. That means kissing like they mean it and even sharing a bed-until it becomes hard to tell where the game ends and true desire begins . . .

♥♥♥♥♥♥

THIS IS HISTORICAL ROMANCE AT ITS BEST!

WHAT A DUKE DARES is the third book in the marvellous ‘Sons of Sin’ series and, once again, Anna Campbell delivers an emotive, romantic and passionate love story.

How I imagine Cam….

When Camden (Cam) Rothermere, heir to a dukedom, proposes to his childhood friend, Penelope Thorne, he can’t believe his ears when she turns him down. Even his declaration that he esteems and admires her and enjoys her company does nothing to persuade her to change her mind. She refuses to marry for anything but love. Cam has seen first-hand the devastating effect love had on his parents:

“As a result of love, my father descended into cruelty and obsession and my mother became a byword for promiscuity.”

and it has no place in his life now or ever.

How I imagine Pen

Penelope (Pen) Thorne has loved her childhood friend, Camden Rothermere for as long as she can remember and, when he proposes, it should be the happiest day of her life…a girlish fantasy come true. The reality is very different because she knows that Cam can never give her the one thing she desires…his heart. If he truly loved her, she’d even be willing to curb her impulsive and headstrong ways to become the wife he needs…someone dignified and above reproach…someone to help him restore respectability to the scandal-ridden Rothermere name.

So they go their separate ways.

In the intervening nine years, Cam is now the powerful Duke of Sedgemoor, renowned for his cold demeanour, self-assurance and his iron control, devoting his life to restoring the family’s good name. Pen had fled England to travel the continent with her eccentric aunt and Cam was well aware of all her amorous intrigues over the years.

When he receives an urgent summons from his friend, Pen’s brother, Peter, Cam travels to Calais to find his friend with very little time to live and fearful for his sister’s safety. Cam is honour bound to fulfil the dying Peter’s request that Cam find her and bring her home to England.

Ms Campbell took me on an enthralling and emotional roller-coaster of a journey before Cam and Pen finally attain their hard-earned Happy Ever After. I enjoyed every moment…the antagonism and the simmering sexual tension; the temptation and the heady passion; the stark danger and the anguish; the scandal and the poignant emotions, the betrayal and the heartbreak; the tenderness and the enduring love.

I enjoyed the secondary romance between Pen’s brother, Harry and Sophie, the sister of Cam’s enemy, James Fairbrother, Marquess of Leath. Their sweet, tender romance forms a contrast to the hot, passionate one between Cam and Pen. It also precipitates events that cause Cam to finally admit his love for Pen.

The Marquess of Leath obviously loves his sister very much which was a point in his favour and, once he and Cam had settled their differences, I liked him even more. I look forward to reading his story in the next book in the series.

Jonas and Sidonie (Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed) and Richard and Genevieve (A Rake’s Midnight Kiss) all make an appearance and I love the banter between Cam, Richard and Jonas.

Call me a sentimental old fool but I love a good Epilogue and Ms Campbell made me go all misty-eyed when Cam gives Pen her special Christmas present.

Some Memorable Moments

“What in heaven’s name brought you to choose this hovel?”

One slender hand brushed her tumble of hair back from her face. To his dismay, he saw she was shaking.

“Try the weather.” Her tone was sharper than his sword. “I know you could barge through an avalanche without creasing your neckcloth, but we lesser mortals must seek shelter when snow blocks the roads.”

♥♥♥

For a second that extended into eternity, they regarded one another. He should leave. He had no right to absorb every glorious, forbidden detail and imprint it on his mind to remember forever.

♥♥♥

He’d burned to wrench his wife from her chair and muss her neat perfection. Then fling her across the polished table and do things likely to make the butler resign.

♥♥♥

“ Anyway, you know that even if you were off your head with opium or inclined to slobber into your dinner, chits would still line up for the duchess’s coronet.”

♥♥♥

THIS IS CLASSIC ANNA CAMPBELL – COMPELLING, EMOTIVE, ROMANTIC AND SENSUAL!

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT!

 

My sincere thanks to Anna Campbell for sending me a complimentary copy of this book  in return for an honest review.

The Sons of Sin series so far (click the covers for more details):

Seven Nights in a Rogue's Bed (Sons of Sin, #1) by Anna Campbell A Rake's Midnight Kiss (Sons of Sin, #2) by Anna Campbell What a Duke Dares (Sons of Sin, #3) by Anna Campbell

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A Week to Be Wicked (Spindle Cove, #2)

SPINDLE COVE (#2)

When a devilish lord and a bluestocking set off on the road to ruin…Time is not on their side.

Minerva Highwood, one of Spindle Cove’s confirmed spinsters, needs to be in Scotland. Colin Sandhurst, Lord Payne, a rake of the first order, needs to be…anywhere but Spindle Cove.

These unlikely partners have one week to…

~fake an elopement
~convince family and friends they’re in “love”
~outrun armed robbers
~survive their worst nightmares
~travel four hundred miles without killing each other

All while sharing a very small carriage by day and an even smaller bed by night.
What they don’t have time for is their growing attraction. Much less wild passion. And heaven forbid they spend precious hours baring their hearts and souls.
Suddenly one week seems like exactly enough time to find a world of trouble. And maybe . . . just maybe . . . love.

★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩

There are so many wonderful reviews of this book, there’s little more I can say, other than…

This book is all sorts of amazing!!  AN ABSOLUTE MUST READ!!!!

Thank you Tessa Dare for writing such a truly wonderful book and creating such an unforgettable couple in Colin and Minerva! You made me laugh! You made me cry!  You made me blush! You made me sigh!

RATING : A STELLAR ★★★★★

[Read March 2012]

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THE DRESSMAKERS SERIES BOOK 2

From the Journals of Sophia Noirot: “A dress is a weapon. It must dazzle his eye, raise his temperature . . . and empty his purse.”

A blue-eyed innocent on the outside and a shark on the inside, dressmaker Sophy Noirot could sell sand to Bedouins. Selling Maison Noirot’s beautiful designs to aristocratic ladies is a little harder, especially since a recent family scandal has made an enemy of one of society’s fashion leaders. Turning scandal to the shop’s advantage requires every iota of Sophy’s skills, leaving her little patience for a big, reckless rake like the Earl of Longmore. The gorgeous lummox can’t keep more than one idea in his head at a time, and his idea is taking off all of Sophy’s clothes.

But when Longmore’s sister, Noirot’s wealthiest, favorite customer, runs away, Sophy can’t let him bumble after her on his own. In hot pursuit with the one man who tempts her beyond reason, she finds desire has never slipped on so smoothly . . .

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I’m a huge Loretta Chase fan. Her books are always a delicious combination of sexy heroes, strong but feminine heroines, fun plots and rib-tickling humour. I loved Silk is for Seduction, the first book in her Dressmakers series, and so I had high expectations of the second book, Scandal Wears Satin.

There’s one thing certain, if you’re feeling miserable when you start reading this book, you’re sure to have a big grin on your face by the time you get to the end. It is everything I have come to expect from Ms Chase – funny, sharp, witty, imaginative, entertaining and romantic. Maybe the plot is far-fetched but it is pure entertainment from start to finish.

In most romances it is usually the hero who takes centre stage but, in Scandal Wears Satin, Sophy is definitely the star of the show in my opinion. She’s such a vibrant character – clever, vivacious, independent,determined and self-possessed. But, occasionally, she has moments of insecurity and uncertainty and I love that vulnerable side of her. It makes her even more lovable.

When it comes to saving the Maison Noirot from disaster, I adore how she uses her amazing arsenal of talents – considerable guile, irresistible charm, remarkable literary talents and brilliant disguises – to maximum effect. I found this little scene between Clevedon and Longmore in which they discuss Sophy’s literary talents so amusing.

”Hers is an exceptionally keen eye for detail,” Clevedon said.
“And an exceptionally busy pen,” Longmore said. “It’s easy to recognise her work in the ‘Spectacle’. Streams of words about ribbons and bows and lace and pleats here and gathers there. No thread goes unmentioned.”
“She notices gestures and looks as well,” Clevedon said. “She listens. No one’s stories are like hers.”
“No question about that,” Longmore said. “She’s never met an adjective or adverb she didn’t like.”

Sophy tries to stay level-headed and not let her attraction for Longmore get in the way of what needs to be done to save the Maison Noirot. But it doesn’t stop her indulging in fantasies about him from time to time. After all, she’s a member of the Noirot family, a breed keenly tuned to animal excitement – and not possessing much in the way of moral principles.

There’s something about Longmore that I just find so endearing and I think it’s because he’s totally honest about himself. Yes, he’s arrogant, reckless and loves nothing more than a good brawl but, somehow, he manages to put all these would be black marks to good use during the course of the story. He has a great sense of humour which is a big plus in my book. He never professes to be an intellectual giant but he is far more intelligent than he gives himself credit for. I love the scene where Longmore and a disguised Sophy go to Mrs Downes’s shop to gauge the competition and Longmore handles himself so brilliantly.

Sophy was too experienced in deceit to show her feelings. She didn’t gawk at him, except in her thoughts. He’d said he was confused, and she’d had a moment’s alarm, that subterfuge was beyond his intellectual capabilities.
But whether by accident or not, he’d created a beautiful opening, and she knew how to play along.

When they find Clara, Longmore doesn’t judge her but understands that she needs help. He also considers how worried his parents must be and sends a message to let them know she is safe. I totally agree with Sophy’s sentiments.

”She’s lucky to have you for a brother, and your parents are lucky to have you as a son.”

If I didn’t already adore Longmore, then these few words would definitely have won my heart.

” We might have made one of those…you know…little squirmy pink things that howl.”

The chemistry between these two is absolutely delicious and their witty banter, a pure delight. I also love Longmore’s internal monologues such as this one.

His mind went hazy then, images of muslin and lace underwear strewed themselves about his brain, and somewhere in that dishevelment was a blue-eyed angelic devil, mostly unclothed. He waved a hand, waving the images away. Now wasn’t the time. He was only beginning his siege, and he knew – he could always tell – he faced a very trick fortress. All sorts of hidden passages and diversions and booby traps.

The clothing is definitely a major player in this book. Ms Chase describes everything in gorgeous detail, the outrageous hats and the wondrous confections of gowns.

Scandal Wears Silk made me think of that delightful 1934 screwball road –trip romantic comedy, It Happened One Night, with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert.

VERDICT : SUPERB, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

RATING : ★★★★★

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CARSINGTON BROTHERS SERIES BOOK 5

After surviving the perils of Egypt, Peregrine Dalmay, Earl of Lisle, is back in London, facing the most dire threat of all: his irrational family . . . and Miss Olivia Wingate-Carsington. A descendant of notorious–but very aristocratic–swindlers, the delectable redhead has the ability to completely unhinge him and a long history of dragging him into her scandalous schemes.

Olivia may be Society’s darling, but she’s aware a respectable future looms menacingly. And so when Lisle is forced to go on a family mission, she sees this as the perfect chance for one last adventure–even if it is with the one man in the world she can’t wrap around her finger. But really, she only wants to “help”.

Which is why Lisle and Olivia find themselves in a gloomy Scottish castle inhabited by spiteful ghosts and craven murderers . . . and a shocking secret: the greatest peril of all may be burning within their own stubborn hearts.

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When I read Lord Perfect, the two adventurous youngsters, Peregrine Dalmay (Earl of Lisle) and Olivia Wingate, really captured my heart. I thought they deserved their own story and I am delighted that Loretta Chase agreed with me because this is their story.

I absolutely love this book! What makes it so special for me is the wonderful chemistry Ms Chase creates between Lisle and Olivia. From the moment they first see each other at the ball, the atmosphere positively sizzles with the awakened sexual awareness between them. They are uncomfortable with these strange new feelings because they still regard each other as ‘best friends’. I chuckled to myself at the way in which Lisle keeps trying to distract his thoughts from her creamy bosom more than amply on display.

They are as different from each other as night and day. Olivia is volatile, impulsive and stubborn while Lisle is practical, honourable and principled, but they just seem so right for each other even Olivia says at one point – “We balance.”

I really like Olivia probably because I have a soft spot for unconventional heroines. She is such a vivid and memorable character and I think it’s her oddball qualities that make her so. After all, she does have the blood of those dreadful Deluceys flowing in her veins!

I see her reason for wanting to go to Scotland as partly selfish because she feels pressured into settling down and wants one more taste of freedom before that happens. She sums up her feelings eloquently:

Women lead narrow lives. We’re somebody’s daughters, then somebody’s wives and somebody’s mothers. We never do anything, not as men do.

I also see her determination to help Lisle because she understands him better than anyone else and knows that Egypt is his first love and she is willing to try anything to help him get back there. This is the main reason why she knows that she and Lisle would never suit. She wants to be first in a man’s heart but she knows that Lisle’s heart is already given to Egypt. Underneath, Olivia is really a romantic!

Lisle has a difficult time resisting Olivia’s allure but he is wary of anything that upsets his orderly life and Olivia certainly does that. At one point, he describes her as a simoon – a sudden, immense whirlwind racing across the desert – which I think is a very apt description. Despite his rational exterior, Lisle does have a temper, which explodes when he sees Lord Belder, one of Olivia’s admirers, manhandling her. When Olivia sprains her ankle at York Cathedral, his concern transforms into anger because she could have been badly injured or even killed. As with any argument, this one gets out of hand and they say hurtful things to each other. Lisle’s remorse afterwards is really heartfelt:

She was his friend. A demented and dangerous friend, true, but he was far from perfect.

His temper, for one thing. Too quick, he knew – but when before had he unleashed it so cruelly on a woman?

And this woman who’d loyally and faithfully written to him, week after week. This was the woman who’d always understood what Egypt meant to him.

It is these very human traits that make Olivia and Lisle come alive for me.

The eventful journey to Scotland and the assorted goings on at the castle are like watching a zany slap-stick comedy and, while I accept that it may not be to everyone’s taste, I love it. Then again, I am British and was brought up on this type of comedy and so that may account for it! The two elderly chaperones, Lady Cooper and Lady Withcote, certainly add spice to the proceedings. I knew I was in for a treat when Lisle makes the following observation about them:

Like all the dowager’s friends, they lived to gossip, drink, gamble and ogle young men. There couldn’t exist more unsuitable chaperons outside of a brothel.

Their bawdy conversations certainly brought a smile to my face.

I enjoyed seeing Olivia and Lisle trying hard not to succumb to their obvious attraction to each other but failing miserably. Ms Chase evokes their initial passionate encounters so well:

It was hot and lewd, a kiss of tangled tongues and thrust and withdraw, like the coupling every instinct screamed for.

It is refreshing to have a heroine who, although a virgin, is neither shy nor naïve and Olivia embraces Lisle’s lovemaking in a totally unrestrained way when they make love for the first time. Ms Chase is one of the few authors who can combine sensuality and pure romance all in one scene.

When reading the book, I found myself conjuring up vivid images of scenes in my mind, thanks to Ms Chase’s superb writing such as when Lisle studies Olivia as she is gazing at Gorewood Castle for the first time:

Over the mass of red curls she wore the usual milliner’s insanity: a thing with a brim the size of a flagship’s foredeck, with feathers and ribbons sprouting out of the top.

I could just imagine that enormous hat with all the feathers and ribbons waving about. I don’t think even the outrageous creations at Royal Ascot could ever compete!

I also love the way she combines rib-tickling humour, social commentary and glorious romantic prose with such ease. I am sure I have filled a notebook with worthy quotations. Here are just a few of my favourites:

He was a man. Men always had lewd thoughts. It was perfectly natural and normal.

Just because I squeezed my gigantic bottom into men’s trousers, you needn’t assume my brains have shrunk to masculine size.

All he could see was her. All he could think was her. All the world was Olivia.’

Why must women stay quietly? Why must we be little moons, each of us stuck in our little orbit, revolving around a planet.

VERDICT: SUPERB, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

RATING: ★★★★★

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