Posts Tagged ‘Unconventional-Hero’

(The Rumor, #3)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

He’s a fighter, not a lover.
But that’s about to change…

Lady Imogene Norwood lives a sheltered life of quiet respectability and routine…until she debuts at her first Season. There among London’s elite she meets the wild and broken Lord Atwood. And the very shy English rose suddenly realizes that a little chaos might just be what her heart desires.

Lord Nathaniel James Atwood doesn’t believe true love exists. Since scandal tore him away from his family at an early age, he has spent his life fighting for what he wants. That attitude has made him a rising star in bare-knuckle boxing, and now leads him back to London to reclaim the life that was stolen from him. But upon meeting the innocent Imogene, his beliefs are trounced…as guarding his heart against her proves to be the fight of his life.

Personal Note: This book can be read as a standalone but there are some scenes which are mirrored in Forever and a Day (book 1) and Forever a Lady (book 2) although seen from a different character’s point of view. These scenes might, therefore, seem confusing if you haven’t read the earlier books.


An enthralling, gritty and emotionally charged story.

This is the last book in the addictive The Rumor series and we finally discover the truth of the mystery surrounding Lord Nathaniel Atwood’s kidnapping and what happened to him during all the years he was presumed dead.

Nathaniel’s experiences…being locked in a windowless cellar for five years, his father’s betrayal and abandonment of him and the years spent surviving the dangers of New York’s notorious Five Points…have left him with deep emotional scars and a scandalous secret he can never share. Caught between two worlds…’He was neither fop nor street boy‘…he has never felt that he truly belongs anywhere. He enjoys sex but love isn’t an emotion he has ever felt or wanted to. Boxing is the only thing in his life that makes sense…it is what kept him alive on the streets of Five Points. Beneath that tough exterior, Nathaniel’s heart is in the right place. Together with his friend, Matthew Milton, he created the Forty Thieves and is committed to protecting those vulnerable people living in the slums.

Imogene is an unusual heroine. The abuse she suffered at the hands of her governess when she was a child has left her with health problems…fainting spells and a stutter. She is tired of being defined by her illness and longs to be independent and, therefore, no longer a burden to her brother, Henry. Imogene knows the sacrifices Henry has made to ensure she gets the medical treatment she needs and she longs to see her brother happy.

Delilah Marvelle’s stories are always refreshingly different and her characters infinitely fascinating. The brawny, tough, bare-knuckle boxing Nathaniel seems an unlikely pairing for the sweet, innocent, fragile Imogene who is twenty years his junior, but Ms Marvelle makes their romance work so beautifully. Imogene reveals a maturity beyond her years when she shows Nathaniel the patience, understanding and respect that he has never known before. I love how protective Nathaniel is of Imogene and how he gives her a sense of worth and confidence in herself so she no longer has to rely on others. Nathaniel’s desire to be in control all the time extends to the bedroom and adds some spice to the love scenes. I enjoyed seeing him come to love and trust Imogene enough to relinquish that control.

The boxing scenes are so visually compelling and Ms Marvelle conveys the brutal reality of the fights so powerfully.

I guessed the reason for Nathaniel’s kidnapping before it was actually revealed but there is a very dramatic scene towards the end of the book which I certainly didn’t anticipate.

The Epilogue provided the perfect ending to the series.

How I Imagine Nathaniel…

How I Imagine Imogene…

Memorable Moments

Everything about him was so beautifully raw and real. She didn’t realize a man could make a woman’s toes curl in her own slippers.
It was divine. He was divine.


“Now take your fancy prick of a wig and get him before I put your liver into your hand and make you swallow it through your nostrils.”


“You underestimate a woman’s worth and her ability to redefine a man. A woman can give you hope in a world that has none. She can fight for you when you have ceased fighting for yourself and everything you believe in.”


“I’m trying to save your pretty ass from getting spanked.”
Her brow creased. “You shouldn’t use words like that. Or tea is out of the question.”
” He rolled his eyes. “Unless tea involves you fully naked with your arms tied behind your back, I’m not interested.”
She gasped. “No waltz for you, either.”


God, but she was stealing away pieces of his heart. A heart he didn’t know he had to give.


I am sad to see the end of this series but I will be eagerly waiting to see what other reading pleasures Delilah Marvelle has in store for me.



Read August 2014

The Rumor series (click on the books for more details):

Important Note from Ms Marvelle’s Website:

Bonus Chapters from Forever Mine that were not included in this Prequel Novella are available for free download. These two bonus chapters are the untold story of what happened to Nathaniel from Augustine’s point of view. The publisher removed these two chapters from Forever Mine, despite my insisting upon their importance to the series and the novella. Which is why I am offering them for free. I feel this story and the entire series is incomplete without them, and in my opinion, are critical in understanding Nathaniel’s story whom the entire series is based on. I have provided the link to her website:

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(Jaded Gentlemen, #3)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb

Like all the Jaded Gentlemen, Dr. Rowan West may have his secrets, but he’s done his best to forgive the ghosts of his past and move on with his life. Until the beautiful Miss Gayle Renshaw appears on his doorstep, jeopardizing his medical practice, his reputation, and, worst of all, his heart.

In her desperation to become a doctor, Gayle uses what she knows of Rowan’s fiancée’s mysterious death to blackmail him into taking her on as an apprentice. With his back against the wall, Rowan agrees, but quickly discovers that Gayle isn’t as heartless as she seems. Captivated by his tenacious and brilliant new student, Rowan finds himself surrendering to temptation, just as the enemies of the Jaded start to encroach. Now, with both their lives threatened, Rowan may be forced to give up the woman he loves to save her life…


This is the third book in the brilliant Jaded Gentlemen series. Once again, Ms Bernard pens an enthralling, original and passionate love story and the world of Victorian medicine forms a fascinating and refreshingly different setting.

Rowan, with his inherent kindness and compassion, makes a great hero. He has an enquiring mind and, is willing to embrace new ideas in medicine whilst others are firmly entrenched in traditional thinking. He truly cares about his patients and treats them all with respect regardless of their social status. He even treats his staff more like family than employees.

“I strive for balance in my profession. And while some may see the populace as fodder for their laboratories, I refuse to ignore a person’s humanity so that I can feel secure and important.”

Gayle is an unconventional heroine. Although her desire to become a doctor flies in the face of Victorian convention, she is fiercely determined to succeed. Even when Rowan attempts to work her so hard that she would ‘quit after a fortnight of training and limp from the house with her baggage’, although exhausted, she refuses to be beaten and I couldn’t help but admire her resilience.

He’d pushed her harder than any apprentice had ever been pressed, and she’d simply borne it with a grace that often left him speechless.

I love how their romance grows through their love of medicine. It allows each of them to recognise their misconceptions about each other. At first, Rowan sees Gayle as nothing more than ‘a vicious little thing’ willing to destroy his reputation to achieve her aims but, as he comes to understand her, everything changes.

And there he was- inspired by her intense hope and wishing he could shield her from the worst to come and give her whatever she needed to make her dreams come true.

Gayle believes Rowan to be the ‘vile man’ who was responsible for her cousin Charlotte’s death and has no qualms about using a little blackmail to persuade him to take her on as his apprentice. As she watches him with his patients and his staff, she comes to see a very different man.

But the more I know of him, the more I wish to be near him. The way he respects his household staff and the way he spoke to his patients today – my father always said it was how a gentleman treats the common man that betrays the most about his character.

Some of the other Jaded Gentlemen make a welcome appearance and I loved the witty banter between Ashe and Michael. No wonder Gayle is charmed by them! The suspense sub-plot adds substance without overshadowing the romance and, although I didn’t find it difficult to guess the identity of the villain in this particular story, there is still the continuing mystery of who is ultimately threatening the Jaded.

Ms Bernard’s has such a beautiful writing style. It is romantic, sensual and emotional with lovely touches of humour. Here are some of my favourite moments.

He watched her ascend the stairs, as graceful as a duchess despite the awkward load she carried, and marvelled that anyone could be that beautiful and still make a man dedicated to healing consider poisoning her poached eggs in the morning.


And there it was – that bright, fierce light in her eyes that made him want to kiss her senseless or just laugh and waltz her around the room. Her dreams were spinning out in her head, and he could almost see them, they were vibrant and powerful.


She was pure innocence and pure passion – the duality of perception and reality collided and a new lesson was initiated, but Rowan knew that he was likely the student.


“Just one last check for any glass slivers that may have strayed to your stockings.”
  “Oh!” His touch was efficient and feather soft, but the miasma of fire and delight that spread up her limbs to form a molten pool between her hips was intoxicating. Her knees turned to rubber, and she bit the inside of her cheek to stare at the ceiling as a thousand wicked thoughts nearly overcame her. The slay of warm fingers were telegraphing electric sweet storms all over her body, and she wasn’t sure she could survive another pass of his hands without betraying herself with a moan or a sigh.

ECSTASY WEARS EMERALDS is another wonderful addition to what is becoming a highly addictive series.



Read March 2014

The JADED GENTLEMEN series (click the cover for more details):

Revenge Wears Rubies (Jaded Gentleman, #1) Seduction Wears Sapphires (Jaded Gentleman, #2) Ecstasy Wears Emeralds (Jaded Gentleman, #3) Passion Wears Pearls (Jaded Gentleman, #4) Obsession Wears Opals (Jaded Gentleman, #5) Desire Wears Diamonds (Jaded Gentleman, #6)

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Lonely Lords #1

Setting : Regency England

Official Blurb

Desperate, penniless, and shunned by his wealthy father, Darius Lindsey begins offering himself secretly to jaded society ladies. He hangs onto his last shreds of honor, but he’s losing ground financially each month.

That is until the aging Lord William Longstreet makes Darius an offer he can’t refuse: get the Lord’s pretty young wife-of-convenience, Lady Vivian, pregnant discreetly, and he will earn enough money to never want again. But problems lie ahead when the stunning Vivian captures his heart, and his clients refuse to let him go. Can Darius untangle himself without scandal and offer himself to Vivian heart and soul?


I started reading this book with some trepidation given the story premise, but I was totally captivated by this beautifully crafted and emotionally satisfying tale of love and redemption.

The time had come to ransom his soul back from hell.

Ms Burrowes took a risk with a hero who, to put it in his own words, was crassly bought and paid for, a stud to service a highbred filly, a cicisbeo in the most vulgar, unflattering sense. But for me that risk definitely paid off because it is Darius’s very flaws that make following his journey to regaining his honour and self-respect so much more satisfying. He’s a good and noble man at heart:

…it struck her like a thunderclap that Darius had prostituted himself to provide for John and the collection of castoffs that formed the staff at Averett Hill. There was nothing, nothing Darius would not do to protect his loved ones.

and truly deserves his happy ending.

I was a biddable, unpaid nurse-companion in an ugly dress. I am not… I am not the woman I am supposed to be, unless I am with you. I had no courage. I had no fortitude. I had no trust. I was nobody’s mother, nobody’s lioness, nobody’s lover.”

I adore Vivian. She’s kind, honest, intelligent and a genuine lady. I loved watching her blossom into the woman she’s meant to be – confident, courageous, passionate and a wonderful mother. Most of all I love her for seeing what a truly wonderful man Darius is.

He was just a man, she was just a woman, and it would be… just sex.

One of the highlights of the book is the slow-building romance between Darius and Vivian. It makes their falling in love seem natural and inevitable. There are so many things I love about the relationship – Darius’s flirting and teasing, Vivian’s delightful innocence, the passion and their overwhelming love for each other.

The secondary characters certainly add depth the story. There’s Vivian’s kindly and astute husband, Lord Longstreet, Thurgood Ainsworthy, Vivian’s avaricious step-father and Lady Cowell and Lady Milne (I would hesitate to use the word Lady in connection with them!), those harpies who make Darius’s life such a misery. I’m happy to report that both the harpies and Ainsworthy get their just desserts.

I can’t end this review without mentioning the scenes with Darius and the baby.  They’re so moving and heart-warming.

If you are looking for a story with unforgettable characters and a love story that touches the heart, look no further than this book.


RATING:  5/5 Stars


Read April 2013

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