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Posts Tagged ‘School of Gallantry’

(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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This is the final book in Delilah Marvelle’s delightfully wicked School of Gallantry series. If you haven’t read the series yet, you are definitely missing a treat!

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(School of  Gallantry, #4)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb:

An arranged marriage is daunting, but not as daunting as seducing a spouse whose passions you do not understand…

Derek Charles Holbrook, Viscount Banfield, knew his fate since he was seventeen when his father announced his union to the beautiful but mysterious American girl by the name of Miss Grey. To protect the troubled estate, Derek submits to his father’s wishes, not realizing he’s about to entangle himself in a hell of a lot more than marriage.

Miss Clementine Henrietta Grey may be worth millions, but not a single coin has ever bought her a smidge of happiness. When she marries the charismatic and dashing Viscount Banfield, whose only strife in life appears to be the uneven seams in his coat, she finds that siring the heir he wants requires far more than her heart is prepared to give.

Unable to seduce his overly-serious and reluctant wife, Derek realizes his dreams of creating a loving family has turned into a nightmare. But with the unexpected assistance of a retired courtesan and her outrageous school, Derek and Clementine discover that passion is a language spoken not just from the body, but from the mind, heart and soul.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

NIGHT OF PLEASURE is the third book in the School of Gallantry series and, once again, Delilah Marvelle delivers another enthralling and emotionally charged story.

How I imagine Derek…

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“Spice makes a soul breathe in deep. Live a little.”

I simply adore Derek…so intense, passionate and with an overwhelming enthusiasm for life. His fondness for those strongly spiced candies seems to mirror his nature perfectly. I love his charm, his wit and his unfashionably long hair.

I admire how, even at such a young age, he takes on his responsibilities as Viscount Banfield with a determination to be ‘strong, responsible and reliable’. Not only does he care for his brother Andrew and his mother, but also for numerous cousins.

So often, it is the heroine who falls hopelessly in love with the reluctant hero. It was refreshing to see Derek fall head over heels in love with Clementine, remaining constant in his love throughout their seven years apart and sending her such passionate letters. I do so love a besotted hero!

How I imagine Clementine…

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Unlike other females, she didn’t laugh. She didn’t flirt. She didn’t sashay into a room with a whirl, looking for things to play with next . Her sense of humor was nonexistent and pathetic. 

Clementine is the complete opposite of Derek…cool, calm and overly serious and It is easy to understand what shaped her into the person she has become. Her life has been so very different to Derek’s. Her childhood was marred by the violent clashes between her father and her volatile, irrational mother, leaving her fearful of what unrestrained emotions could do. After her mother’s death, she had to deal with her father’s excessive drinking and the sometimes dangerous backlash from his political career.

I understood her reaction to Derek and her determination not to marry him. He completely overwhelms her with his passionate nature and she is afraid of succumbing and losing control. Her fear is that she will be just like her mother. She feels totally unworthy of him…

This laughing, playful Adonis deserved a world she would never be able to offer him. Her eyes burned. Everything about her was pathetic. And a man like Derek, her beautiful Derek, deserved so much more.

I love how Ms Marvelle developed the romance between Clementine and Derek, emphasising the importance of respect, trust and friendship within a relationship. It was a emotional roller coaster of a journey as these two young and inexperienced lovers had to work past their fears, insecurities, frustrations and anger to find a strong and lasting love. Of course, this is Delilah Marvelle, so expect some simmering sexual tension and steamy love scenes.

How I imagine Madame de Maintenon…

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Madame de Maintenon was a favourite character of mine in the previous books. She’s such a colourful and larger than life figure who delights in flaunting the stuffy rules of society. Here she dispenses her unique and wise brand of marriage counselling, including the scandalous contents of a large, red velvet satchel!

Ms Marvelle’s secondary characters always add richness to the story. I like Prince Nasser who understands Clementine so well and is a genuinely good friend. I also enjoyed that he rattled Derek’s cage. I wonder if Derek’s brother, Andrew will be a connecting link to the forthcoming new series, The Whipping Society. I’m really intrigued by the mysterious and scarred Lord Brayton whose story will be told in Master of Pleasure, due for release in Autumn 2014.

I did love the scene at the School of Gallantry involving the dildos. I think I was actually blushing!

This book had the sort of Epilogue that warms the heart and when Derek reveals his special gift for Clementine, it is definitely an ‘Aww’ moment!

Once again, Delilah Marvelle spins an unforgettable and beautifully written story full of vibrant characters, emotional depth, witty banter, sensual love scenes, and a heart-warming ending.

 

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 Stars

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

 

Read March 2014

 

The School of Gallantry Series (click on the cover for more details)

Mistress of Pleasure (School of Gallantry #1) Lord of Pleasure (School of Gallantry #2) Lady of Pleasure (School of Gallantry #3) Night of Pleasure (School of Gallantry, #4) Master of Pleasure (School of Gallantry, #5)– 1 August 2014

 

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

 

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I’m thrilled to welcome the fabulous Delilah Marvelle as my guest on Rakes and Rascals today.  Delilah recently released NIGHT OF PLEASURE, the fourth book in her delightfully wicked School of Gallantry series, and she’s talking about what inspired the series.  It’s over to you, Delilah…


THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THE SCHOOL OF GALLANTRY

For those of you who don’t know about my School of Gallantry Series, please allow me to give you the quick lowdown of what you can expect. It’s a very quirky, very sexy historical romance series about couples who in one form or another get pulled into a “school” led by a retired French courtesan who educates men in the topic of love and seduction. It’s cheeky and believe it or not “The School of Gallantry” is based on real history.

The inspiration behind Madame de Maitenon, my silver haired retired French courtesan and headmistress of the School of Gallantry comes from a real life figure, Ninon de L’Enclos. I stumbled across her name during some research for another book and the more I unearthed about this woman and her personal history, the more I realized I *had* to create an equally fascinating character and a series around her.

Ninon de L’Enclos was born in Paris in 1620 and came from an interesting family. Her father had been exiled from France for participating in a duel. When her mother died, and having no siblings or family, she decided to enter a convent. Of course, Ninon didn’t last very long and a year later, she left the convent and decided to strike out on her own using her wit and her body to make her fortune. And she was a huge success. How did she decide to go from convent to courtesan? The one thing Ninon wanted was to remain unmarried. That left a woman only one of two choices back in those days to survive. She either went into a convent or turned to the life of a courtesan. She figured out pretty quickly that there wasn’t any fun to be had at that convent…lol.

Once Ninon went out into the world, she actually became well known for her passionate involvement in the literary arts, not just the sexual arts. She interacted and encouraged writers such as Molière to fame and even left money from her estate to her accountant’s son, Francois Arouet, better known to the world as Voltaire. Voltaire has Ninon herself to thank for his education. Without the money she had left him, who knows if we would have ever heard of him. This is why my readers will see references to Voltaire sprinkled throughout my School of Gallantry books. Because it is my ultimate nod to Ninon de L’Enclos.

After reading all about her life, and all of her letters, it was the older Ninon who ultimately fascinated me. She took on many lovers throughout her life, but never more than one at a time and involved herself with powerful, wealthy men, such as the King’s cousin and dukes. Perhaps the most heartbreaking, yet fascinating is the story about her son. Ninon involved herself with a wealthy, powerful man and bore him a son. This man took the son from Ninon and asked that she never disclose herself as being the boy’s mother. She agreed and watched her son grow up from a distance. Imagine her astonishment when her fully grown son appears at her door one day and ardently pleads to her if she’d take him into her bed. Ehm. Talk about awkward. At first, she simply denied him and brushed him off, hoping that his pride would simply squash whatever hopes he had. But her son was so obsessed and so in love with her that he simply wouldn’t give her peace. Ninon knew she had to reveal the truth to him if only to get him to stop. When she revealed the truth, her son committed suicide that same day by impaling himself on his own sword. It was a tragedy that haunted Ninon for the rest of her days. A tragedy I made sure that my own character, Madame de Maitenon lived with.

Because such tragedies often lead to great wisdom. (Don’t we know it…) she thrived on using her experience and applying it to her world. When she wasn’t bedding her current lover, she held literary events and discussions with aristocratic men having to do with philosophy, life, love, and sex. It was a “school” of sorts she had created and she had quite the following of men. In the early stages of creating my books, I decided to take these “discussions” of hers with men and turn it into an actual school. Hence the creation of the School of Gallantry.

Without a doubt, Ninon was known for her quips and wit. She had great sayings like, “Much more genius is needed to make love than to command armies.” And my favorite “The resistance of a woman is not always a proof of her virtue, but more frequently of her experience.” These fabulous quotes of hers gave me ideas upon ideas as to how my imaginary school should be run as well as the sort of quotes I wanted to see at the beginning of each chapter within my books. Hence the lessons. Call it a tribute, if you will, to the fabulous Ninon.

What is perhaps the most fascinating aspect of Ninon and why I created an elderly courtesan for my series as opposed to a young one, is that the older Ninon got, the more sought after she became by men. Unlike most courtesans who were all forced to retire due to age and lack of beauty, Ninon’s circle of admirers grew because they simply could not get enough of her wit and charm. Even women flocked to her for advice. One of my favorite stories about Ninon is when she was approached by a young gentleman who desperately wanted to bed her, but she really didn’t care for him. So she told him, “When I turn 80.” The man was so obsessed with her, that he waited, and when she turned 80, he showed up at her door saying it was time. Ninon was so amused by the man, she bed him for the hell of it. Her approach toward life and the amount of wealth and power she acquired in her lifetime is beyond the comprehension of even a modern woman. I hail her for this alone. Ninon died at 84 and left her vast fortune to friends and admirers.

I would also like to add that Madame de Maitenon also shares a lot of characteristics with own grandmother. My grandmother is a retired opera singer who once had the honor of singing with Pavarotti. Even though she is in her 70’s, she looks like she’s 50. Men of all ages stare at her and drool because she wears things I know I could never pull off. Amusingly enough, she has always oozed of sex but could never say the word sex. She always refers to sex as “Poom-poom.” And this is exactly why my French courtesan says “Poom-poom” because she is a combination between Ninon and my grandmother. And yes, my dearest grandmother knows I ripped off her antics and is rather pleased with it, lol.

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About Night of Pleasure:

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(School of Gallantry, #4)

 Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb

An arranged marriage is daunting, but not as daunting as seducing a spouse whose passions you do not understand…

​Derek Charles Holbrook, Viscount Banfield, knew his fate since he was seventeen when his father announced his union to the beautiful but mysterious American girl by the name of Miss Grey.
To protect the troubled estate, Derek submits to his father’s wishes, not realizing he’s about to entangle himself in a hell of a lot more than marriage.

Miss Clementine Henrietta Grey may be worth millions, but not a single coin has ever bought her a smidge of happiness. When she marries the charismatic and dashing Viscount Banfield, whose only strife in life appears to be the uneven seams in his coat, she finds that siring the heir he wants requires far more than her heart is prepared to give.

Unable to seduce his overly-serious and reluctant wife, Derek realizes his dreams of creating a loving family has turned into a nightmare. But with the unexpected assistance of a retired courtesan and her outrageous school, Derek and Clementine discover that passion is a language spoken not just from the body, but from the mind, heart and soul.

Excerpt Link: http://bit.ly/Or75YH

Goodreads Page: http://bit.ly/1lE9gU6

Buy Links:

iBooks: coming soon


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Meet Delilah:

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Delilah Marvelle is the winner of the Reviewer’s Choice for Best Sensual Historical Romance of the Year and had Booklist name her historical romance ‘Forever and a Day’ one of the TOP 10 Romances of the year. When she isn’t writing, she’s digging through inappropriate research books that include anything in history having to do with courtesans, brothels, sexual contraptions that were never properly used and other fascinating forms of dirty history that never made it into college textbooks. You can visit her at her website at www.DelilahMarvelle.com

Links:

Website: www.DelilahMarvelle.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Delilah-Marvelle/73234401876
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DelilahMarvelle
Delilah’s Newsletter: http://delilahmarvelle.wordpress.com/

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Delilah is giving away a $5 Amazon gift card (US/CA only).  Leave a comment and your email address to be eligible for the Giveaway.

The Giveaway will last one week from March 29th to April 5th.

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(A School of Gallantry Novella)

Genre: Victorian Historical Romance

Official Blurb 

He believes in destiny. She just wants to survive it…

At forty, Lady Cecilia Evangeline Stone thinks she has everything a woman could ever want. A title, a fortune, and four children who make her proud. After a marriage of convenience that was anything but convenient, she has no desire to complicate her life by including a man in it again. When her eldest son announces his engagement to a Russian actress in Saint Petersburg, Cecilia sets out to do what any good mother would do: stop the wedding. Unfortunately, destiny has other plans.

Konstantin Alexie Levin never considered himself to be a villain. In fact, he considers himself to be a Russian gentleman. Having grown up in a refined and well-educated family that embraced criminal life to avoid debtor’s prison, the only thing preventing him from knowing happiness is the rest of the world. Everything changes, however, when Konstantin is given a chance to start life anew and travel to London to collect an unexpected reward for saving a man’s life. To his surprise, he is about to become a hero at midnight to a beautiful aristocrat who desperately needs his help. The problem is…he wants to do more than save Lady Stone. He wants to make the woman his, all his.

WARNING: This book is Rated Double S (Sweaty & Sinful) and contains strong language and sexual content which may cause respectable people to swoon.

★✩★✩★✩★

ROMANCING LADY STONE is unashamedly romantic and I loved every moment of it! This novella has everything I love about Delilah’s books in a small, neat package…emotive and evocative writing, an innovative story, richly drawn characters, wonderful chemistry, sizzling love scenes and lovely touches of humour.

In the distance, she heard a hall clock chime twelve times.
It was destiny.
 

I totally fell in love with Konstantin and Cecilia…so perfect for each other. Through their love, Konstantin shrugs off the shackles of his criminal past to become the man he was meant to be…respectable and honourable; Cecilia becomes the woman she has always longed to be…daring and passionate. The idea of destiny, the watch and the magical hour of midnight being central to the plot has great appeal. I love that this is simply the story of two people falling in love…their uncertainties…their hopes…their dreams.

Delilah’s stories aren’t just a series of steamy love scenes but a beautiful blending of poignancy, tenderness and sensuality. I love how the romance plays out…they talk …they laugh…they make love… they even dance naked together. Everything seems so real and natural. It feels they are truly meant to be together.

Delilah is known for her scorching hot love scenes but just wait until you read the BATH SCENE! This is one of the funniest and sexiest scenes I’ve read in a long time!

I am so happy that the enigmatic, scarred Duc de Andelot and Madam de Maintenon, owner of the School of Gallantry, will be getting their own full length book. From the teasers in this novella, it promises to be a heartrending second-chance love story.

I adore Cecilia’s overly romantic, starry-eyed daughters. I cheered them when they encouraged their mother to call on Konstantin and find the happiness she deserves. The scene where Konstantin asks the girls for permission to marry their mother is such a delightful touch and the charming Epilogue left me with a big smile on my face.

If you have never read any of Delilah’s books, then ROMANCING LADY STONE is the perfect introduction. I’ll be surprised if don’t want to rush out and grab the rest of the School of Gallantry series!

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT!

Read August 2013

My thanks to Delilah Marvelle for kindly sending a copy of this novella in return for an honest review. The pleasure was all mine.

School of Gallantry series to date (click on the covers for more details) :

Mistress of Pleasure (School of Gallantry #1) Lord of Pleasure (School of Gallantry #2) Lady of Pleasure (School of Gallantry #3) Romancing Lady Stone (School of Gallantry #3.5) Night of Pleasure (School of Gallantry, #4)

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I was thrilled this morning, when I received a review copy from Delilah Marvelle of ROMANCING LADY STONE, her latest addition to the School of Gallantry series!

(A School of Gallantry Novella)

Genre: Victorian Historical Romance

Official Blurb 

He believes in destiny. She just wants to survive it…

At forty, Lady Cecilia Evangeline Stone thinks she has everything a woman could ever want. A title, a fortune, and four children who make her proud. After a marriage of convenience that was anything but convenient, she has no desire to complicate her life by including a man in it again. When her eldest son announces his engagement to a Russian actress in Saint Petersburg, Cecilia sets out to do what any good mother would do: stop the wedding. Unfortunately, destiny has other plans.

Konstantin Alexie Levin never considered himself to be a villain. In fact, he considers himself to be a Russian gentleman. Having grown up in a refined and well-educated family that embraced criminal life to avoid debtor’s prison, the only thing preventing him from knowing happiness is the rest of the world. Everything changes, however, when Konstantin is given a chance to start life anew and travel to London to collect an unexpected reward for saving a man’s life. To his surprise, he is about to become a hero at midnight to a beautiful aristocrat who desperately needs his help. The problem is…he wants to do more than save Lady Stone. He wants to make the woman his, all his.

WARNING: This book is Rated Double S (Sweaty & Sinful) and contains strong language and sexual content which may cause respectable people to swoon.

This novella is available to download on Kindle from Amazon UK (£0.77) and Amazon US ($1.19). Here are the links: 

Amazon UK:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Romancing-Sch…

Amazon US:

http://www.amazon.com/Romancing-Schoo…

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(School of Gallantry #3)

Genre:Historical Romance

Official Blurb 

Educating one’s self in the art of love takes time…

Lady Caroline Arabella Starling has been in love with her older brother’s best friend, Caldwell, since she was thirteen. Unfortunately, too many things keep getting in the way of proving her love. Her four younger sisters, her mother, her brother, all of society and the man she loves himself. But where there is a will, there is a way, and Caroline is about to redefine not only respectability but true love.

Ronan Henry Dearborn, the fourth Marquess of Caldwell, lives to see himself through Caroline’s eyes but knows he is leading a life unworthy of her or her dreams. He will do anything to keep her from learning the truth about himself and his past, including keeping her at a distance. But when he and Caroline get tangled in a situation neither of them can get out of, the only way to create a happily-ever-after between them is to take up the advice of a French courtesan who re-educates them both in the art of love.

★✩★✩★✩★✩★

LADY OF PLEASURE is very different in tone to the previous two books in the series, MISTRESS OF PLEASURE AND LORD OF PLEASURE. Whilst these two were uproariously funny, this book is much darker…a compelling and intensely emotional story of friendship, heartache, love, understanding, forgiveness and redemption. It’s a story that really drew me in and elicited so many emotions as I was reading it. Ms Marvelle is an author who isn’t afraid to push the boundaries of historical romance. I admire her for tackling not only the subject of male sexual abuse but also touching on racial prejudice.

How I Imagine Ronan…

“I have always known there was something special between us. From the very beginning. From the moment I met you. You changed my way of thinking in a way I never expected and made me want to be perfect. Even though I wasn’t. Even though I knew I could never be.”

Ronan was such a tortured hero. I wanted to comfort the lonely fourteen-year-old Ronan who was so betrayed by someone he trusted. He lost his pride, his innocence and his soul. His sense of shame and self-loathing is so great that he has never been able to talk about what happened to anyone, even to his best friend Hawksford. He keeps all his feelings locked up inside. I understand why his friendship with Caroline is so important to him. She is the only unsullied thing in his life and he clings to their friendship like a drowning man. When he finds that his feelings for Caroline are more than just friendship, he is determined to distance himself from her rather than see her tainted in any way.

How I Imagine Caroline…

Love was not meant to be shared with the world. It was a secret romantic language between two willing hearts and two willing souls that only needed each other to survive. And, one day, she would know of such love with Caldwell. One day.

Caroline is everything I would expect of a member of the unconventional Hawksford family; uninhibited, independent, proud, outspoken and passionate. The anger, hurt and humiliation she feels when it seems that Ronan has betrayed all they shared and the devastation she feels on learning the true nature of her parents’ marriage reveal just how vulnerable she really is beneath that confident exterior.

Ronan and Caroline’s journey is such an emotional roller-coaster. Ms Marvelle captures all the charming, heartrending, poignant and passionate moments so beautifully:

The special friendship… 

She nestled her cheek against his embroidered waistcoat and achingly wished he could love her in the way she loved him. “Know that I will always love you. No matter how much or how little you have. No matter how hard you fall. I will be here for you. Always.”

The undeniable attraction… 

The warmth of his breath fanned her throat in uneven takes. Still buried in the curve of her neck, his full lips slowly, slowly dragged leaving a moist trail that cooled against the fire of her skin. The tip of his hot tongue suddenly slid across her skin just above her necklace, causing her to sway.

The Broken Heart… 

She had already turned toward him, tears still streaming down her face. And as those grief stricken blue-green eyes met his, he knew everything he had hoped to keep sacred between them was sacred no more.

The Desperate Plea… 

“A sixteen-year-old girl once told me she would embrace me no matter how hard I had fallen. I need that girl right now. I need her back in my life. I need her to believe in me in the way she used to. The question is, can she? Will she?”

The Heartrending Truth… 

For the first time since knowing Ronan, she felt as if she were touching more than his hand. She felt as if she were touching his soul.

The Kiss 

His lips parted hers slowly as if unsure as to what he should do. Her tongue met his gently and together, they became one. Her fingers and her toes tingled and went numb. She was Anne Elliot. At long last, she was Anne Elliot.
It was everything she could have ever dreamed of… and more.

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It was… delicious. Caroline’s lips were like all those strawberries he had dipped in cream. Her lips were moist and soft, yet firm. And her tongue was gentle, but playful, making him feel welcome and warm, yet in control. It was beautiful.
She was beautiful.

I love all the secondary characters, particularly the quirky Hawksford sisters who provide some lighter moments among the intensity of the romance. Here are two of my favourites.

“Aside from the braids, how do I look?”
Anne squinted up at her, crinkling her freckled nose. “Do you want our honest opinion? Because all those pimples make it very difficult to see your face.”

Anne sat up and glared at Mary. “How about I buy you a casket so you can sleep in it every night?”
Mary paused. “How much do you think one would cost? If I did want one for my room? Are they expensive? Do you know?”
Caroline groaned. “For heaven’s sake, Anne, don’t give her ideas.”

I like Ronan’s uncle who, despite their occasional spats, obviously loves his nephew as a son. I was conflicted about Lady Danbury whose meddling caused so much heartache, but I don’t see her as malicious, simply misguided. Lord Banfield, Lord Brayton and the Earl of Hawksford, the other ‘students’ at the School of Gallantry all make an appearance. The plots for this book and Lord of Pleasure (Hawksford’s story) run concurrently and it’s interesting to see the same events from a different perspective.

Delilah Marvelle proves once again why she is one of my top favourite authors with this moving love story. Definitely a keeper!

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 Stars

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read July 2013

The School of Gallantry Series so far (click on the cover for more details)

Mistress of Pleasure (School of Gallantry #1) Lord of Pleasure (School of Gallantry #2) Lady of Pleasure (School of Gallantry #3) Night of Pleasure (School of Gallantry, #4)

My sincere thanks to Delilah Marvelle for sending me a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

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This summer Delilah is issuing a School of Gallantry novella and here are the details from her website…

Who says the School of Gallantry is only open to British aristocratic men?

The School is about to get crashed by a Russian who thinks he knows it all.

The cover and title will be unveiled on the day of publication.
(publication date TBA)

This e-novella will be offered FREE for the first two weeks of its release as a huge thank you to readers.

Don’t miss out on getting your FREE copy when it hits. Sign up for Delilah’s newsletter on her homepage to be notified the moment it’s out!

A print edition will be available for sale.

Click the link below to access Delilah’s website and sign up for her newsletter!

http://www.delilahmarvelle.com/

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*Book 2 of the SCHOOL OF GALLANTRY series*


Setting: London, England, 1830

Official Blurb

DESPERATE TIMES…

It’s been months since Lady Charlotte Chartwell’s philandering husband met his untimely end at the hands of an angry mistress. But as miserable as he made Charlotte in life, his death proves to be an even harsher blow. For not a farthing of his fortune or estate have passed on to her, and as a ruined widow, she is destitute, penniless and utterly without hope.

LEAD TO DESPERATE PLEASURES…

Then, as Charlotte is considering the worst, a man steps into her carriage. His intentions are quite indecent at first, but the more he learns about her, the more an unfamiliar—and undesirable—emotion creeps over him. Could it be compassion? Never! For this is Alexander Baxendale, third Earl of Hawksford. He is known throughout the ton as the Lord of Pleasure, dedicated to passion, ruthless in his pursuit of sensual gratification. Yet never in all his exploits has he met a woman who could intrigue him as Charlotte does. Can this mysterious beauty make him hang up his title and see to her pleasure alone?

★✩★✩★✩★✩★

WHAT A SINFULLY DELECTABLE TREAT!  LORD OF PLEASURE WAS JUST THE PERFECT TONIC FOR A COLD, WET MARCH DAY!

It’s original, funny, touching and sensual, with a delightful array of quirky, larger-than-life characters who stole my heart.

How I imagine Alex…

A woman could learn to fall in love with a man who not only saw to his family but also offered a struggling woman assistance without making it feel as such.

I know I fell for Alexander (Alex). I love his charm, his wit, his honesty and his protectiveness towards his family and Charlotte. The fact that he is drop-dead gorgeous and just oozes sex appeal, doesn’t hurt either!

How I imagine Charlotte …

Strong-willed. Intelligent. Tough. Yet still made of enough fine porcelain to make her fragile.

I like Charlotte. She’s strong and independent but with a core of vulnerability which makes her all the more endearing. She’s completely alone in the world, after her scoundrel of a husband dies under scandalous circumstances, leaving her penniless. She’s realist enough to believe that her dream of finding the sort of genuine love her parents had shared and a family of her own will never be more than a dream now.

Whilst I love the simmering sexual tension and steamy love scenes between Alex and Charlotte, I also look for moments of deep emotional connection between them. It makes their feelings for each other seem real. There’s one particular scene where they really open up to each other and the emotional connection is so strong.

“You came.” He said it as if she had bestowed him with the greatest of gifts.

♥♥♥♥

Seeing the compassion and tenderness in his eyes made her feel as if a new beginning was possible. And it was a wonderful, warm feeling, to say the least.

There are so many uproariously funny scenes in this book that I’m hard-pressed to pick my favourite. But I do love the scene where Charlotte interviews Alex for entry into the School of Gallantry with its racy, quick witted exchanges and tantalizing sexual tension simmering just beneath the surface. Here’s a snippet from one of their exchanges…

“Do you sheath yourself during your escapades, My Lord? Or is there a chance you could be unclean?”
Alexander genuinely laughed in response. “A man of my experience would never engage in any escapade without sheathing himself. I always come prepared. Rest assured, love, I am clean. Very clean.”
He stood and gestured toward the buttons on his trousers, trying to remain serious, though he felt anything but. “Does the school require proof?”

Of course, there’s much more to this scene but I won’t spoil the fun!

I love the secondary characters; Alex’s outrageous family, otherwise known as the ‘Hawksford Misfits’, his friend Lord Caldwell, with the mysterious ‘secret’ and, my favourite, Madame de Maintenon.

How I imagine Madame de Maintenon…

Ah, what can I say about the notorious Madame de Maintenon… she’s sexually liberated, delights in flaunting the stuffy rules of society at every turn and, ah yes, such a colourful life she’s led!

“…I once had the honor—and I do mean that—of pleasuring his father.” She eyed her. “And his mother. Though I ask that you keep that to yourself and not tell Maybelle or anyone else.” She winked mischievously and lowered her voice. “I was supposed to be in retirement, but the money was simply too good.”

I’ll let Alex have the final word….

Then she, he, and all of his sisters—and, yes, even his blasted mother—would all live excessively and happily ever after. The way a Hawksford damn well should.

Just as it should be!

If you want a richly entertaining slice of escapism, then LORD OF PLEASURE is just perfect!

VERDICT:  FANTASTIC! LOVED IT!

MY RATING:  5/5 Stars

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read March 2013

The School of Gallantry series (click the book covers for more details) :

Mistress of Pleasure (School of Gallantry #1) Lord of Pleasure (School of Gallantry #2) Lady of Pleasure (School of Gallantry #3) Night of Pleasure (School of Gallantry, #4)

 

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Image

SCHOOL OF GALLANTRY BOOK 1

REAL PLEASURE CAN’T BE TAKEN…

Granddaughter of a renowned courtesan, Maybelle de Maitenon has no interest in her grandmother’s school in London where gentlemen receive instruction—in the art of seduction. Her only desire in life is to remain independent, free from men and the shackles of marriage. But when Maybelle lays eyes on Edmund Worthington, the Duke of Rutherford, at a soirée, and hears of his scandalous reputation, she decides he’s the perfect person for her to have a tryst with no strings attached…

IT MUST BE GIVEN…

Unbridled passion has again muddied Edmund Worthington’s family name. After his very public dalliance with the strikingly beautiful and sensual Maybelle, his mother insists he marry her. But much to the duke’s surprise, Maybelle scoffs at his proposal. Never has he encountered such a brazen—and maddeningly irresistible—woman. But when Maybelle’s grandmother falls ill, forcing Maybelle to take over the operation of the school, Edmund devises a plan to make her his. He enrols in the school, where no one other than Maybelle must give him expert lessons in carnal pleasure…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What a deliciously saucy book this was!  It was refreshingly different, uproariously funny, wickedly sexy, and peopled with a wonderful array of richly drawn characters. I didn’t even mind that the plot veered towards the implausible at times because overall it was a fun read.

Here are some of my favourite moments ~

Maybelle has decided to ensure her independence by losing her virginity and
thereby making herself unmarriageable. All she has to do now is find the
right man!  I love her reaction when she first sees Edmund…

Maybelle’s heart skipped as her eyes unwittingly followed him. Now there was a chariot worth riding into hell on.

I SECOND THAT!

Having compromised Maybelle, Edmund’s honour requires that he offer her
marriage but the independent minded lady is certainly not impressed by
his ducal arrogance or his attempts to persuade her using other wiles…

That good-for-nothing bastard. He couldn’t get her to flip up her skirts in his parlour or be his pot-flesh wife, so he went and used the only thing he did have. His title. Well, she might not have a title, or a reputation for that matter but she would ultimately win this battle. Not him.

LET BATTLE BEGIN!

Maybelle is forced to take on the role of headmistress of the School of
Gallantry when her grandmother is taken ill. For her first lesson she
will be addressing bedside manners and has asked the students to bring
their nightshirts along and she must comment on each one. The first
nightshirt selected belongs to Lord Hawksford (he has a bad reputation
even by her grandmother’s standards!). It’s in somewhat of a
disreputable state…

”Lord Hawksworth, the only pleasant  aspect of your nightshirt is the way it is scented. It is wrinkled, disturbingly tattered, and has unidentifiable stains. How do you think a  lady will respond when she  sees you in this? “
Hawksford smirked. “Unfortunately, love, I am unable to keep up with all the demands. As  for the stains, I think they speak for themselves.”

DON’T YOU JUST LOVE AN UTTER ROGUE!

Maybelle then moves on to a subject close to a man’s heart. SEX!
I’d  love to share a moment but this scene is deliciously wicked, so no
spoilers. If you want to know more, you’ll have to read the book!

SPOILSPORT!!

Things between Maybelle and Edmund definitely heat up…

”Do what you will,” she whispered. “I am certain I will enjoy every moment of it.”
He growled down at her as his other hand came up. His hold on the front of
her gown tightened and, in one swift motion, he ripped the front of her
bodice and kept ripping his way down until he had enough room for it to
slip off her arms and waist and onto the floor. Maybelle stood only in a petticoat, chemise, corset, stockings, and of course, her slippers.
A shiver shot through her as the cool air around her flecked goose
bumps across the exposed skin of her arms. She could feel herself
growing wet, anticipating more.

SATISFACTION GUARANTEED!!

Unfortunately, the course of true love doesn’t exactly run smoothly with misunderstandings all round…

“How about I equip you with a new face!” Edmund snapped up his right hand
and smashed his fist into Hawksford’s face, sending Hawksford stumbling
back into the waiter who stood by the decanter.

The fight continues and some minutes later…

“Cease this nonsense! Cease this at once!” Maybelle rushed toward Edmund and Hawksford as they continued to thrash blow after blow at each other’s’
heads, chins, guts, and God knows what else. “Edmund! Hawksford! Enough!”

WELL SAID MAYBELLE! MEN CAN BE SUCH IDIOTS

Thank goodness, the Happy Ending is on the horizon…

He drew back his hand and cleared his voice in a theatrical manner. “Miss
Maitenon, granddaughter of Madame de Maitenon, better known as the
headmistress of the School of Gallantry, at least for the time being,
will you give me the honor of becoming my wife, my duchess, my one true
love?”
She sighed as if it were the best ever given in the history of
England’s courtship. “Yes, Edmund. Yes.” She reached up and traced a
loving finger alongside his face.



VERDICT:  ORIGINAL, FUNNY AND DELICIOUSLY SEXY

RATING: ★★★★½

Note

There are four further books in this series. Book 2, LORD OF PLEASURE, is available now; the expected date of publication of Book 3, LADY OF PLEASURE, is 1st March 2013; no publication details or titles are currently available for Books 4 and 5.

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