Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Duke and the Lady in Red (Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James #3) by Lorraine Heath - Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway

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The Duke and the Lady in Red
Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James #3
By: Lorraine Heath  
Releasing April 29, 2015

Sparks fly in the finale of the Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James Place series, as the last wicked rogue meets his match.

When Rosalind Sharpe gains the attention of the deliciously wicked Duke of Avendale, she’s torn between her distracting attraction to the notorious rogue and the knowledge that he—rich as Croesus—is the perfect target for a deception that will put her swindling days behind her.

However, Avendale is no fool. After he discovers the tantalizing lady packing up to leave London with his coins in tow, he confronts her with a scandalous proposition: she can have all the money she requires…for a week in his bed.

Desperate for the funds, Rose agrees, but on one condition: he must never question her motives. Avendale quickly sees beneath her mask and discovers she is more than passion and pleasure—she is everything he has ever desired. But claiming her requires he unveil her secrets and lose her forever. Unless he can put his own dark past aside and risk everything for a chance at love.

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As they strode—as this man could do nothing except stride with confidence—through the room, he acknowledged a few but was greeted with deference.

“Your Grace.”



She’d been correct about his title. She wondered how many lesser ones he might possess, how much property. What was he worth? Based upon the excellent tailoring of his black swallowtail coat, trousers, and waistcoat, along with the jeweled pin nestled in his cravat, he was worth a princely sum.

They arrived in a room that was much darker than any of the others she’d viewed. The walls were papered in rich burgundy and forest green. The furniture matched. A massive fireplace dominated one of several sitting areas. Glass cabinets held an assortment of spirits. Liveried footmen served amber liquid.

She finished off her champagne and set the flute on the tray of a passing footman. The man beside her—Avendale—did the same. She didn’t like noticing that he seemed to belong here more than in any other place. That he was made of—and for—debauchery. He was comfortable with his surroundings, would flourish here as well as in the bedchamber. She was rather certain of it. Even in shadows, he would stand out, prowling toward her, conquering every aspect of the night, conquering her. She wouldn’t so much as whimper in protest.

“Would you care for something darker?” he asked.

He grinned wolfishly, and for a moment she feared he read all her thoughts. A shiver went through her before she grasped his meaning. He’d distracted her. Normally she kept her head around men, even handsome ones. Or perhaps she was giving him too much credit, had simply sipped the champagne far too quickly so that her mind had dulled for a moment.

“Is it allowed?” she asked innocently.

“It is. That’s Darling’s purpose here—to open up every manner of vice and decadence to the ladies. But wouldn’t it be far more enjoyable if it weren’t allowed?”

He held her gaze and she was no longer certain they were discussing liquor. Things not allowed generally were more enjoyable. How did he know that was what she preferred? What she thrived on? The forbidden was always more alluring. She suspected many of the ladies would soon wonder what all the fuss had been about now that they could walk through the doors whenever they chose.

“Did I hear my name taken in vain?” a deep voice asked.

Turning to the side, she came face to face with the man she’d earlier seen kissing the woman in the dance area. That woman was now beaming with happiness and inappropriately nestled against his side. But then Rose supposed in a place like this nothing was entirely inappropriate. That was the entire point to it.

“I’ve been taking your name in vain ever since you came up with this ghastly idea to allow women into our sanctum,” Avendale said, clearly disgruntled.

“Yet, here you are walking about with one of those ladies,” Drake Darling said. “Are you going to introduce us?”

“I fear we have not yet been introduced.” Avendale’s gaze ran over her. “Names are unimportant to me.”

So he had only a temporary interest in her. Perhaps for just tonight. A tryst, something wicked. She was insulted enough to take offense, but not so much that she wasn’t also flattered. But both emotions were schooled not to show. Much more satisfying to make him pay later for his arrogance. Oh, and how he would pay. She could hardly wait, but taking her time would make it all so much sweeter.

This is one of my favorite historical romances! The story develops at the perfect pace, unveiling secrets and the motives for the characters actions. Rose's brother Harry almost steals the spotlight from the couple as he is a very important part of their love story. The passion between Avendale and Rose runs deep and it comes through in their lovemaking. The love and emotion from Avendale, Rose and Henry is so intense that I found myself crying numerous times - make sure you have a box of tissues handy! This is my favorite of the series, so far.

ARC via Edleweiss

LORRAINE HEATH always dreamed of being a writer. After graduating from the University of Texas, she wrote training manuals and computer code, but something was always missing. After reading a romance novel, she not only became hooked on the genre, but quickly realized what her writing lacked: rebels, scoundrels, and rogues. She’s been writing about them ever since. Her work has been recognized with numerous industry awards, including RWA’s RITA® and a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award. Her novels have appeared on the USA Today and New York Times best-seller lists.

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