A mistress. A mountain of debt. A mysterious wreck of a building.
Delilah Swanpool, Countess of Derring, learns the hard way that her husband, “Dear Dull Derring,” is a lot more interesting—and perfidious—dead than alive. It’s a devil of an inheritance, but in the grand ruins of the one building Derring left her, are the seeds of her liberation. And she vows never again to place herself at the mercy of a man.
But battle-hardened Captain Tristan Hardy is nothing if not merciless. When the charismatic naval hero tracks a notorious smuggler to a London boarding house known as the Rogue’s Palace, seducing the beautiful, blue-blooded proprietress to get his man seems like a small sacrifice.
They both believe love is a myth. But a desire beyond reason threatens to destroy the armor around their hearts. Now a shattering decision looms: Will Tristan betray his own code of honor…or choose a love that might be the truest thing he’s ever known?
Julie Anne Long is writing historicals again–woot!
I absolutely adored Lady Derring Takes a Lover. This one has it all! There’s an impoverished widow who teams up with her husband’s mistress (also left destitute by that less-than stellar gentleman), as one does, to open a boarding house down by the docks (it’s not a particularly genteel location, in case you were wondering). There’s a naval captain on the trail of smugglers–he always gets his man (“Oh, you’re thatCaptain Hardy,” is said more than once), though this time he’s afraid it might be a woman he’s after, or maybe not…? There’s a delicious mystery–seemingly throw-away clues dance in and out of the pages, taunting the reader with what they think they know and making them wonder how and when the hero will finally figure it out. Of course our hero and heroine aren’t at all interested in love, yet they can’t help but be drawn to each other–except one of them isn’t being quite honest, and it could ruin everything…
Goodness, I laughed so much in this book. And sighed, both in frustration and with happiness. And that grand gesture? “That Captain Hardy” just might have spoiled me for all other romance heroes, because OMG he could teach a master class on the subject. It was freaking brilliant. I’m still getting chills, just remembering.
My only complaint? The mysterious employer of Mr. X doesn’t bother to show up until the very last page, and then the book is over! Please write fast, Ms. Long, because I need to know what is going on! 🙂
Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.