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Posts Tagged ‘Sigh-Worthy Hero’

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb:

No man, gentleman or otherwise, has ever looked at Lady Edwina Bollash the way the brash, handsome man standing before her is doing now. Edwina has accepted the challenge to transform incorrigible Mick Tremore into a gentleman in just six weeks. And although the linguist is sure she can rise to the task, she isn’t at all certain she won’t swoon under his frankly sensuous gaze before her job is done.

Mick has lived outside of London society long enough to know that appearances can be deceiving. Edwina might look all buttoned up-the perfect English lady-but there is unleashed passion existing just below her placid facade (not to mention a great pair of legs!). And as she prepares him to take his place in society, Mick prepares Edwina to take her place in his heart…and in his bed.

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WOW!  WHAT A FABULOUS BOOK! IT IS DEFINITELY ONE OF MY TOP PICKS FOR THIS YEAR!

I was totally captivated by this book…by the fresh working of the “Pygmalion” story, the lyrical writing and sparkling dialogue, the unforgettable characters and the wonderful romantic chemistry. In fact, everything blended so perfectly.

MICK TREMORE

Mick is such a unique and wonderful hero…handsome, charming, honest, hard-working and so sexy in an earthy way.  He is a very caring person , sending most of his money back to Cornwall to support his ten younger siblings. That care extends to his dogs and ferrets as well and it was touching to see his genuine concern for his old and frail ferret, Freddie.

I couldn’t help but be swept away by his positive attitude and carefree enjoyment of life – “Miss Bollas, life be rich. Why don’t you bite yourself off a piece?”  

EDWINA BOLLASH

It was refreshing to have a heroine who doesn’t conform to the standard mold. Winnie is a 6ft tall, bespectacled, gawky, 29 year old spinster, who sees herself as unattractive and has no romantic expectations. She is strong and capable but with vulnerabilities that make her such a sympathetic character.

The daughter of the Marquess of Sissingley, she once lived a life of wealth and position until her father died and a distant cousin inherited the marquisate. Left to fend for herself, she makes ends meet by tutoring private students in elocution and deportment. Her father had been a linguistics scholar of some stature and she too had developed an interest in people’s speech.

THE ROMANCE

The romance between Mick and Winnie was funny, sweet, poignant and passionate and I loved sharing every moment. If I was asked to pick a favourite scene, it would have to be where Winnie suggests that Mick shaves off his mustache. The mustache isn’t going without something in return…after all it is an outward symbol of his “lionhearted virility“. For a man with a fetish for long, long legs, there is only one bargaining chip…

“Hop up here, loov. Let’s see what’s under those skirts.”

What follows is one of the best sexually charged scenes I have ever read. Brilliantly done.

I enjoyed seeing how each of them grows and changes in the course of the story, Winnie most of all. Mick opens up a world of fun and passion to her and nothing exemplified the changes in her more than the scene in the Bull and Tun tavern where she lets go of her all inhibitions.

How grand! Oh, how grand it was simply to do what she felt like doing! How grand to be alive tonight!

I loved how Mick adored Winnie and saw only beauty in her irregular features..who wouldn’t love a man like that!

Pretty faces are a guinea a dozen. So predictable. I’m tired of pretty faces already. Your face, though, I’d never tire of.”

Like other reviewers, I was disappointed by the rather conventional ending but it did not detract from the sheer pleasure of reading this story.

MY VERDICT: A MUST READ FOR ANYONE WHO LOVES HISTORICAL ROMANCE!


REVIEW RATING:  STELLAR 5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING:  HOT

Read April 2015

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(Lost Lords of Pembrook, #2)

Genre:  Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb

Three young heirs, imprisoned by an unscrupulous uncle, escaped—to the sea, to the streets, to faraway battle—awaiting the day when they would return to reclaim their birthright.

Once upon a time, he was Lord Tristan Easton—now he is Crimson Jack, a notorious privateer beholden to none, whose only mistress is the sea. But all that will change when exquisite Lady Anne Hayworth hires his protection on a trip into danger and seduction. . .

Desperation brought Anne to the bronzed, blue-eyed buccaneer. But after the Captain demands a kiss as his payment, desire will keep her at his side. She has never known temptation like this—but to protect her heart, she knows she must leave him behind. Yet Tristan cannot easily forget the beauty—and when they meet again in a London ballroom, he vows he won’t lose her a second time, as fiery passion reignited takes them into uncharted waters that could lead the second lost lord home. . .

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Lorraine Heath is a consummate story teller and I love this beautifully written
and totally captivating love story

How I imagine Lord Tristan Easton/Captain Crimson Jack…
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Once Lord Tristan Easton, he is now the roguish, sexy, witty, adventure-loving Captain Crimson Jack but he still bears the emotional scars of leaving Pembrook all those years ago.

From the moment he’d galloped away from Pembrook, he’d sworn that he would never complain, whine, or cry about the unfairness of life. He’d buried deeply anything that could hurt him, because it had very nearly destroyed him to leave all that he loved.

He has built a wall around his heart so nothing could ever hurt him again; he had become his own man, strong and independent. Having tried to return to his former life as a lord, he knew he could never embrace society and would always return to his first love, the sea.

…he couldn’t imagine giving up his roving life, his ship, his unencumbered existence.

Tristan gives the impression that he doesn’t care about anything but rescuing the young boy ‘Mouse’ from being eaten by sharks shows just how deeply he cares about others.

How I imagine Lady Anne Hayworth…

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She loved Walter, but during their last night together before he left, she’d hurt him with words and deeds. Perhaps if she hadn’t, he would have come home. She needed to apologise, to ask forgiveness.

For the past two years, Anne has been in mourning for her fiancé, Walter, who fought and died in the Crimea but now her father and brothers are urging her to return to society and find a husband. She feels so much guilt and regret about the argument she and Walter had before he left and desperately needs to go to Scutari to say a final farewell to him. I appreciated that Anne genuinely loved Walter and he wasn’t portrayed as unworthy of her which happens in so many romances.

Anne loves her father and brothers but feels smothered by them because of their belief that, as a woman, she needs looking after. I thought it was a nice touch that she considers her brothers the worst gossips.

Their initial meeting in the tavern is so entertaining. I had this vivid mental picture of the disreputable looking Tristan, sprawled in his chair, insolently eyeing the very proper Anne up and down and responding to her request for help with a mocking smile:

“Depends on what sort of help you’re needing,” he said. “If it’s an adventure between the sheets—”

“Definitely not!” she snapped at the arrogant cad.
 “Pity.”

I love how Anne stands up to him and thinks of him as a ‘mannerless jackanapes’.

I enjoyed watching their romance gradually unfold and love the scene where Tristan comforts Anne as she stands by Walter’s unmarked grave. It is so poignant and shows just how kind and caring Tristan is.

“I would take your pain if I could,” he said in a low rough voice.
When she thought her heart could ache no more, he bent his head and tenderly brushed his lips over hers, before gathering her into his arms and holding her near.

I like that Anne is willing to break all the rules of propriety to experience what it is like to be Tristan’s lover but she realistic enough to know that he will never marry her. They come from different worlds and Tristan’s first love will always be the sea.

I love how Ms Heath describes that first kiss:

Long. Slow. Leisurely. It was all there, and yet in spite of that, the kiss was wild, untamed, unyielding. It commanded, it tempted, it seduced. Thoroughly, irrevocably.

It’s impossible for Tristan to keep away from Anne even after they get back to London, but she wants something he can’t give her…a husband she sees every day, children and a home on dry land. So she accepts a marriage proposal from Walter’s brother, Lord Chetwyn. I love how she compares Chetwyn to Tristan as comparing an unfolding blossom to a raging storm.

I am so pleased that Chetwyn will be getting a Happy Ever After in the next book because he truly deserves it. He is prepared to face the humiliation of being jilted so that Anne can marry the man she truly loves

The scene when Tristan returns to the ruined tower, where he and his brothers were imprisoned, is such a powerful image and so heart-breaking that it just reduced me to tears.

“I’m not lost anymore, Anne,” he said quietly . “After fourteen years of wandering, I’ve finally found home. You are my safe harbor.”

If this perfect ending wasn’t enough, there is a lovely, heart-warming Epilogue too.

This is such a beautifully crafted and emotionally satisfying love story and only confirms why Lorraine Heath remains one of my all-time favourite authors..


REVIEW RATING:   5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read May 2014

 

The Lost Lords of Pembrook series(click on the covers for more details):
She Tempts the Duke (The Lost Lords of Pembrook, #1) by Lorraine Heath Lord of Temptation (The Lost Lords of Pembrook, #2) by Lorraine Heath Deck the Halls With Love (The Lost Lords of Pembrook, #2.5) by Lorraine Heath Lord of Wicked Intentions (The Lost Lords of Pembrook, #3) by Lorraine Heath

 

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(Mad Passion, #2.5)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb

In this all-new novella from the award-winning author of Lady in Red and The Dark Lady, comes a story of fatal plots, seductive spies, and irresistible passions…

Duchess Clare Ederly is lucky to be alive. Having outlived her violent, abusive husband, she decides to put her significant inheritance to good use helping other battered women by opening a refuge for those seeking to escape. But not everyone is pleased with her work. Someone wants to see her sanctuary torn down—at any cost. Her only hope of protecting her home and tenants is a former spy, whose skill at tracking deadly men is matched only by his dangerous charm…

The Earl of Wyndham has done his part for Queen and country; he has had his fill of plotting and politics and simply wants to retire to the pleasant life of his club. But Duchess Clare’s razor-sharp wit and fierce determination awaken new purpose and admiration in him. To protect her, he will once again delve into the treacherous world of espionage. To win her love, he will do almost anything…

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**4.5 Absolutely Delightful Stars**

I LOVED this novella! It is a captivating and heart-warming story and made a lovely interlude between the darkness and intensity of the other books in this series. It brings together two secondary characters from the previous books –  Lord Byron Cartwright, the Earl of Wyndham (friend to Lord Ian Blake, the hero of the first book, The Dark Lady) and Clare, Duchess of Duncliffe (stepmother to Mary, the heroine of the second book, Lady in Red).

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Byron is a wonderful hero. There is something so adorable about him, with his easy charm and his propensity for quoting Shakespeare. He has experienced the horrors of war but hasn’t let it taint his view of life. His optimism is contagious.

“I am saying that there are things more wondrous in this world, more full of magic than we could ever imagine. And I, for one, despite the terrible things I have seen or perhaps because of them, choose to believe in them.”

He is an uncomplicated person and his dreams are simple…a quiet life, a wife who loves him and children.

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As a young woman of only seventeen, Clare married the Duke of Duncliffe with expectations of happiness, only to discover that her husband was cruel and abusive.

…her gaze bore that haunted mark of one who had seen hell and lived to tell the tale.

Now twenty-five and a widow, she devotes her time to helping other abused women. Her life is her work and she has long since given up any hope of love. Understandably, she is wary of men.

Ms Claremont’s writing perfectly conveys the mood of this enchanting romance. Here are a few of my favourite moments.

How could he do that? With two words? How could he somehow wrap her up in the safety of his voice and presence?

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Right now, she was in hiding, for goodness ’ sake. And the man leading her to God knew where kept spouting Shakespeare and making inappropriate remarks.

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The soft brush of Lord Wyndham’s lips sent Clare reeling. In all her life, she’d never been kissed. Not like this. Not this kind of kiss that every girl imagined and cherished in her heart.

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This was the stuff of knights and their ladies, of Abelard and Eloise, of Darcy and Elizabeth, of Jane and Rochester, of every romance she’d ever read. How she’d longed for it.

The mystery element never overshadows the romance and, although you don’t have to be a great detective to guess the identity of the person threatening Clare, I was so captivated by the characters that it didn’t really matter.

This novella may be short in terms of page count but Ms Claremont’s delightful and heart-warming tale captured my heart.

REVIEW RATING: 4.5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read April 2014

 

The Mad Passions series (click on the book cover for further details):

The Dark Lady (Mad Passions, #1) Lady in Red (Mad Passions, #2) A Lady Undone (Mad Passions, #2.5) The Dark Affair (Mad Passions, #3)

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(Lonely Lords, #2)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb

Nicholas Haddonfield has something to hide…

After a wild youth, Nicholas Haddonfield, Viscount Reston, has promised his ailing father he’ll finally take a bride, though doing so will force Nick to make impossible choices and face old, painful wounds.

Leah Lindsey is glad to find refuge from her own desperate situation in a marriage of convenience with the gallant viscount. But soon convenience is not enough, and Leah can’t understand why Nick remains so distant. What is he hiding, and will he ever allow her into his heart?

An extraordinary and passionate tale of courage tested and fears overcome. Once you enter the lush Regency world of award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes, you’ll never want to leave.

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This is the second book I have read in the Lonely Lords series and, once again, Grace Burrowes has written an engaging story full of heartfelt emotion and richly drawn characters.

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The Snowdrop is for hope.”

Nicholas is a big man with an even bigger heart…so devoted to his family and willing to allay all Leah’s fears and do whatever it takes to protect her from harm –

I will see to your welfare, and without bringing you further misery. You are out of the habit of hoping and trusting, and you grow frantic at the thought of fate pressing upon you. Trust me, and I will win you free of it.”

I did want to bang his big, stubborn head against the nearest wall for keeping secrets from Leah for far too long and causing so much pain and heartache. But the scene where he finally gives up all his secrets was so moving, that I couldn’t help but want to throw my arms around that great big bear of a man and hug him tightly.

Hope, he thought with a flash of insight. Hoe that set teats seeping from his closed eyes, and joy sang through him in the very coursing of his life’s blood.

Other things endeared him to me; his charm and humour and when he sends flowers to Leah with a special meaning and the fact that he likes making birdhouses.

I had so much sympathy for Leah; her life marred by a youthful scandal and feeling alone and unloved.

She’d felt cast out, judged, unclean, and unforgivably stupid as a younger woman, and Society had done its cruel best to reinforce her opinion.

She is barely tolerated by a cruel, unfeeling father, who is only too happy to see her off his hands and married to an old lecher of a man. All she has ever wanted is to be accepted, loved and cherished. I love her courage, her honesty and her wit. Despite Nicholas’s insistence on a ‘White Marriage’,  Leah’s love and loyalty remains steadfast. She is there to support him when he most needs her.

The story also introduces Nicholas’s older, illegitimate half-brother, Ethan Grey. He is still living with the legacy of his father’s betrayal when he was a boy. which also caused a rift between himself and Nicholas. It was heart-warming to see these two starting to rebuild the close relationship they once shared and I was also moved by the poignant scene between Ethan and his dying father.

Favourite romantic quotes

When Nick Haddonfield held her, she felt protected, cherished, understood, and…treasured. When he kissed her, she felt all that, and so much more.

Sitting on the stone bench in the moonlight, his backside going numb, his wife in his arms, Nicholas Haddonfield knew he was absolutely and unshakeably, unequivocally and eternally loved.

Nicholas: Lord of Secrets is another wonderful addition to this delightful series.

REVIEW RATING: 4.5 /5 Stars

SENSUALITY RATING:  HOT

Read April 2014

 

The Lonely Lords series to date (click on cover for more details):

Darius  Lord of Pleasures (Lonely Lords, #1) Nicholas  Lord of Secrets (Lonely Lords, #2) Ethan  Lord of Scandals (Lonely Lords, #3) Beckman  Lord of Sins (Lonely Lords, #4) Gabriel  Lord of Regrets (Lonely Lords, #5) Gareth  Lord of Rakes (Lonely Lords, #6) Andrew  Lord of Despair (Lonely Lords, #7) Douglas  Lord of Heartache (Lonely Lords, #8) David  Lord of Honor (Lonely Lords, #9) Trenton  Lord of Loss (Lonely Lords, #10)

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(Marlow Intrigues, #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb

Trapped under the reign of a cruel keeper, Ellen Harding longs to be free. Under his oppression, her soul and conscience have died while her body lives on, fulfilling his dissolute desires. She is empty—a vessel—deaf to the voice of morality and blind to shame.

When her eyes are drawn to a beautiful man for no other reason than his looks, she imagines what it would be like to escape her chains for a night by giving her body to him.

But Edward Marlow is kind and gentle when he touches her, and her subconscious whispers, this man could be her salvation. Yet how can he help her when she has secrets which prevent her freedom?

Edward is restless, lonely, and a little angry with his lot in life—it is his only excuse for being drawn to another man’s mistress. The woman’s dark hair and pale eyes are striking, and he cannot take his gaze off her while she watches him over the top of a fan with an illicit intent in her eyes.

Once he’s known her, he cannot forget her, and once he’s seen the evidence of her supposed benefactor’s brutality, he wants to help her. But how can he when she will not run any more than she will speak of her past?

When a desperate Ellen finally relents and shocks Edward from his sleep, he doesn’t hesitate, he helps her flee. He just doesn’t know he’s running headlong into the secrets of her past.

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I loved this passionate, intense and engrossing romance. Jane Lark brings such emotional depth to the story and a gift for breathing life into her characters.

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… if God judged a woman with such a pure, good heart as hers, for deeds that were forced upon her, then in his opinion, God was an ass.

I feel so much sympathy for Ellen, trapped in a sordid existence with an abusive and manipulative protector with no way out. Sometimes, I would catch a glimpse of the vulnerable woman beneath the hard, protective shell…a woman who still dreams of a happy-ever-after although she knows it can never be.

…no matter what Edward said or what she thought, he could not rescue her from this life and nor could he take back the intervening years of pain.

It was so satisfying to watch Ellen slowly regain her self-esteem and, through Edward’s steadfast love, have the courage to face her father and take back the life which should have been hers. Seeing her overwhelming love for her son, John, was so touching.

 

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She loved him, his patience, his kindness—his determination.

Edward is a true hero. His love for Ellen never falters and he will do anything to protect her and restore her to the life she deserves.

He’d vowed to give it back to her—that time—the life she’d lost.

I adore him for making Ellen challenge all the assumptions she has accepted about her own worth and see the woman she truly is.

Ellen and Edward’s romance is full of ups and downs and Ms Lark captures all the charming, heartrending, poignant, passionate and joyous moments so beautifully.  What really shines through is the unshakeable love that they share.

I admit to being intrigued by Edward’s brother, Robert. He is downright unpleasant at first, insulting Ellen and baiting Edward so much that they almost come to blows. But I got the sense that there is something in Robert’s past that has made him who is.He does redeem himself when he comes to Ellen’s defense when she is threatened by Gainsborough. Luckily, the next book in the series, The Passionate Love of a Rake, tells Robert’s story.

The reunion between Ellen and her sisters is heart-warming and I love how the sisters and their husbands all rally round to support Ellen in any way possible. Gainsborough may be a loathsome toad but the Duke of Pembroke, Ellen’s father, is an outright bastard. It was bad enough that he spurned his daughter and made her mother and sisters believe she was dead, but when the full extent of his betrayal is revealed, I would gladly have seen him horsewhipped.

With its passionate and sensual love story, memorable characters, compelling plot and great writing, I can highly recommend THE ILLICIT LOVE OF A COURTESAN to lovers of Historical Romance.

REVIEW RATING:  5/5 Stars

SENSUALITY RATING:  HOT

Read April 2014

The Marlow Intrigues series (click on cover for more details):

The Illicit Love of a Courtesan (Marlow Intrigues, #1) The Passionate Love of a Rake (Marlow Intrigues, #2) The Scandalous Love of a Duke (Marlow Intrigues, #3)

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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.

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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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(The Devil DeVere, #5)

Genre: Erotic Historical Romance (Georgian)

Cover Blurb

Having once lived his life only for larks, laughter, and ladies of easy virtue, Captain Simon Singleton has returned from the war with the colonies a shambles of a man. Now free from six years of captivity, he’s still fettered by irrational fears that confine him to a life of seclusion.

Once the crowning jewel of the most lavish brothel in London, the exotic Salime finds her reputation and livelihood destroyed by a bitter rival. With a closely guarded secret stripped away, Salime fears no man will ever desire her again. Seeking aid from the man who once saved her life, Salime accepts a proposition to repay her debt to him by becoming a companion to his war-scarred friend.

Circumstance brings these two damaged souls together; but fate ignites a love story worthy of the Arabian Nights.

*May be read as a standalone*

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**5 Mesmerising Stellar Stars**

Ever since Victoria Vane announced that she was writing Salime and Simon’s story, I have been anxiously waiting to read it. Does it live up to my expectations? YES! It’s romantic, sensual, emotional and erotic and I loved every page! Ms. Vane has the ability to infuse her books with such realism, and her characters have such depth and feeling.

I love Salime and she must be one of the most unique heroines I have ever come across…a Turkish courtesan and a former slave at the Topkapi Palace. It makes her such an intriguing character, in Simon’s words…

She was a perplexing paradox—fiercely proud and demure, meek yet bold, submissive yet self-assured.

With everything life has thrown at her, Salime has had to be strong to survive. She accepts her life because she knows that having all those things that other women have…love, a husband and a family are just an impossible dream. Ms Vane has worked her magic to create such a wonderfully sympathetic character. I desperately wanted Salime to find a man who could see the beautiful woman she truly is and love her without reservation.

What can I say about Simon! DeVere will always remain my favourite but Simon is close on his heels. After watching the antics of the devil-may-care young man in The Trouble with Sin, it’s a shock to see the tormented man he has become…a man who has given up on life.

But now, he was himself a shattered shambles of a man. Feeling neither alive nor dead, he was doomed to this horrific half-existence, destined to be a mere observer. Life as he remembered it—the one he had desperately hoped to resume—was over.

Even his best friends, DeVere and Ned, are shocked to see the thin, unkempt, short-tempered, bearded man before them. Simon may have given up on himself, but his friends aren’t about to give up on him. I love DeVere and Ned…everyone needs friends like that.

Their compassion and sheer doggedness had finally worn him down. Simon raised his hands in surrender. “All right. You win. I’ll go to Bloomsbury.”

I love Ms Vane’s evocative writing which appeals to all the senses. I could see the sumptuous room with its silk hangings and low-burning brass lanterns and Salime in her voluminous Turkish trousers; smell the jasmine and exotic spices; taste the dark Turkish coffee; hear Salime’s soothing voice.

Salime and Simon definitely heat up the pages! I love the slow burning attraction between them and the scene where Salime dances for Simon just oozes sensuality…no wonder he is totally mesmerised. Ms Vane’s love scenes are vivid, passionate and scorching hot.

I love how the Turkish exotic arts and culture are woven into the story and form an integral part of the developing relationship between Salime and Simon …the stories and poems, the hookah and the hammam.

There seem insurmountable obstacles facing Salime and Simon but I think Ms Vane resolves everything in a way that is believable and gives these two wounded souls the Happy Ever After they truly deserve. The scene at the end with the wedding gifts is totally sigh-worthy.

Favourite Romantic Quote

“There are no words to express what I feel,” she gushed. “It is a gift beyond all gifts.” 
He pulled her tightly into his arms. “No, my dearest…that would be you.”

If you haven’t read this series yet, then you have a treat in store. Each book is an amazing read and Ms Vane has promised more books which is fabulous news!


REVIEW RATING: STELLAR 5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: SIZZLING

Read January 2014

The Devil DeVere series so far (click on the covers for more details):

A Wild Night's Bride (The Devil DeVere #1) The Virgin Huntress (The Devil DeVere #2) The Devil You Know (The Devil DeVere #3) The Devil's Match (The Devil DeVere #4) Jewel of the East (The Devil DeVere #5)

Devilish Vignettes:

Devil in the Making (Devilish Vignettes, #1) The Trouble With Sin (Devilish Vignettes #2)


My sincere thanks to Victoria Vane for sending me a copy of this book in return for an honest review. As always, it was a pleasure reading it.

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