Read with: iBooks for iPad
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Maiden Lane, #8
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Captain James Trevillion
Heroine: Lady Phoebe Batten
Date of Publication: March 26, 2015
Started On: July 07, 2016
Finished On: July 07, 2016
Dearest Rogue brings to fans of the series like myself the much awaited story of Lady Phoebe Batten, younger sister of the Duke of Wakefield and Captain James Trevillion, the man who is charged with being her bodyguard, a man who should know better than to want after a woman who he never should.
It is impossible to read the Maiden Lane series without falling, and falling hard for Phoebe. From the book Notorious Pleasures onward, Phoebe has featured prominently as a secondary character, fact that she was slowly going blind and would be completely so in a couple of years the reason behind the Duke, her brother, keeping her under such tight lock and control.
It is the sort of control that stifles the 21 year old Phoebe, who has given up her dreams of leading a life of the kind that ladies of her age and ilk take for granted. In that regard, James coming into her life is just one more notch that tightens the noose around her neck, and 6 months of having him tail after her every time she is to go out and about has meant that Phoebe has gotten more or less resigned to having him around.
James is a man whose life of servitude to the King in his occupation as a soldier is all the life that he knows how to live. Keeping his past under lock and key is how he deals with the memories that he tries to leave undisturbed, and if in innocent Phoebe he finds a respite from it all, that is all on him. In James once again, readers find a character they have come across multiple times in the series, especially when it comes to his pursuit of the Ghost of St. Giles. James is a character who has more than proven his mettle as one who is honest, honorable and someone who takes his duty very, very seriously.
James keeps his burgeoning feelings towards Phoebe close to his heart, and projects an image of stoic indifference because he knows that there is no future to be had with a woman like her when it comes to someone of his ilk and status. But when danger comes calling and Phoebe’s life is thrown into peril, James has to deal with his past as well as confront his feelings when it comes to Phoebe, who turns his heart inside out with want and love.
Dearest Rogue totes one of the prettiest covers in the series for me. I spent quite a while gazing at the beauty of the cover because it demanded to be looked and even caressed a time or two. James being the kind of character who does the silent and reluctant hero to boot was one whose story I had been anticipating for quite sometime, especially when in Darling Beast, his and Phoebe’s role as secondary characters were quite prominent.
Dearest Rogue also brings to the forefront, THE most emotional scene in all the books I have read in the series. There was this moment that takes place in the gardens that Phoebe looks after, where she comes to the realization of the fact that she has gone entirely blind, her valiant efforts at keeping a strong face in spite of everything crumbling at that very moment. My throat locked down and I felt like I couldn’t breathe, and tears sprang into my eyes during that moment. For someone who rarely gets choked up with emotion like that, it is a moment that I would remember for a long time. James turned out to be the perfect shoulder to cry on at that moment and I wouldn’t have had the scene play out any other way!
Phoebe’s discovery of James as a man whom she could be attracted to and fall in love with was an aspect that I adored. Being sheltered in her upbringing, not to mention the fact that her brother had practically caged her since her blindness had started affecting her daily life and moving about, Phoebe had never been exposed to the kind of life that other ladies of the society get to live and lead. In James, Phoebe finds for the first time, a man who stirs her senses in a way that entices her into giving in, and the heady desire that a woman finds in the arms of a strong and virile man who would see to her needs.
Though James fights himself to not give in where Phoebe is concerned, it is a losing battle that he fights with his emotions, needs and desires, and the moment they leave London behind in an attempt to throw off those in pursuit of Phoebe, the feelings that James has been keeping at bay comes to the forefront, refusing to be denied. Phoebe herself makes the denying it all that much more difficult, and I reveled and loved every single minute of it. The facet that I loved most about James was how he let Phoebe be free of the shackles that bound and confined her to her home, making her die a slow death by being denied all that she wanted to do and experience in life. For James to understand that and step aside, even when it means going against his basic instincts of protectiveness, especially when it comes to Phoebe was something I admired in him.
It is a testament to Elizabeth Hoyt’s incredible talent and ability that she has managed to pen stories that continues to woo and move readers, even when it comes to the 8th book in a series. James and Phoebe’s story made for a delightful addition and I recommend it wholeheartedly!
Final Verdict: Delightfully wicked and wanton!
“Did you kill that one?” Lady Phoebe shouted as they swerved around a cart. Her hat had fallen off. Light-brown locks blew across his lips.
He had her. He had her safe and that was all that mattered.
“Yes, my lady,” he murmured into her ear. Flat, almost uncaring, for it would never do to let her hear the emotion that holding her in his arms provoked.
He leaned forward, inhaling the sweet scent of roses in her hair—innocent and forbidden—and kicked the horse into a full gallop through the heart of London.
And as he did so, Lady Phoebe threw back her head and laughed into the wind.
“I’m a dozen years older than you, my lady,” he said, sounding ponderous even to himself. “The same age as your brother, in fact.”
The thought made him unaccountably grim.
“And yet you seem much older.” She wrinkled her nose. “Maximus is very stern, but at least he laughs. Well, now and again. Once or twice a year, anyway. Now you, Captain, you never laugh and I doubt very much that you smile. I thought you at least fifty—”
He scowled. “My lady—”
“—or even five and fifty—”
He stopped, shocked by his use of her given name.
She’d made him lose control.
She smiled very slowly, a little cat licking the cream from her chin, and he felt himself tighten.
“You intend to put it on me now?”
Her lips twitched. She would’ve sworn that was alarm she heard in Captain James Trevillion’s voice—and she’d never heard it there before. Not even when armed men had come after her.
“Yes,” she said, placing her fingertips at the bottle’s opening and tipping it so that the perfume wet her skin. She reached up, sandalwood and roses filling her senses, and touched him.
Touched the bare skin of his face.
Her breath stuttered.
Her fingertips met his cravat, a maddening barrier, and she stroked along it, dipping her fingertip just a little beneath the cloth.
She realized suddenly that she’d quite passed the bounds of propriety.
Shaking, she drew her hand away and stoppered the little bottle. “Well. That’s done.”
He didn’t reply and she wished very much that he would.
She held out the bottle, waiting for a long second for him to take it.
His warm, big hand closed around hers and she felt it suddenly, his moist breath across her lips. He was close, so very close, and she could smell bergamot and sandalwood and roses and wine, everything mingling together to make a heady elixir.
She froze, waiting, wanting.
She lunged forward, her nose hitting his cravat, pulling her hands desperately out of his hold, grabbing his coat, his ear, anything that was him. She knew how clumsy and awkward and blind she must be, but she didn’t care right now. Somehow her mouth found his jaw and she inhaled sandalwood.
She smashed her mouth to his, cutting off her name. It wasn’t a sweet kiss by any means—she’d never kissed a man. But it was strange and wonderful anyway. She felt a bloom within her chest, a wild, pounding well of hope and joy, feeling his lips against hers. Breathing in sandalwood and bergamot, gunpowder and James.
James. James. James.
“Spread your legs,” he whispered into her mouth and it sounded unbearably erotic.
She gasped even as she did as he instructed, unable to catch her breath.
He settled there on her, his… his penis hard and on her mound, quite clear even through his breeches and her chemise. She tried to arch up against him, but his weight prevented her and she whimpered as she slumped back on the bed.
“Sh-sh,” he whispered. “Don’t fret. I’ll make it better.”
He touched her chin, tilting her face up. He kissed her again, slowly, his mouth wide over hers, and he was right. It was better.
So much better.
“I can see your nipples, did you know that?” he asked, and his voice sounded almost angry.
She knew what he felt wasn’t anger.
“Yes,” she said, bold as any Covent Garden soiled dove. “I know.”
He grunted what might’ve been a laugh. “They’re a deep pink, so sweet, so round, and every time I saw them, they were pointed, as if they wanted my attention. Wanted my mouth. As they are now.”
She swallowed a moan.
He slowly cupped her breast, his palm cradling her without touching her nipple. “Is that what you want? My mouth on your nipple, Phoebe, sucking until you scream?”
“Y-yes,” she said, and though the word came out more a squeak than anything else, she simply couldn’t care because he did just that.
“Please,” she said, sounding less ladylike and more demanding. “James!”
“Yes, my lady?” he asked, innocent, nearly disinterested. “What would you like?”
He trailed teasing fingers around the sides of her breasts, not quite touching her nipples. “This?”
“N-no,” she stuttered. “My…”
“Yes?” he whispered in her ear, his hot breath making her shiver. “Tell me, Phoebe. Tell me what you want me to do to you.”
“Oh, please,” she moaned. “Oh, please touch me.”
“How?” The one word was stern. Commanding.
“With your mouth,” she whispered. “Suck my nipple.”
“Use me,” he repeated. “Ride me until you come.”
Well, when put so bluntly… she lifted her bottom, feeling him slide a little out, then sat back down. She shifted a little, finding her balance, feeling him move within her, tightened her thighs…
And began galloping.
Oh, it was a wonderful feeling! His hard flesh in her, thrusting back and forth as she rode him. His panting breath—though he did no work—the sensation of being in control, of being able to make this man shatter beneath her.
She felt whole. She felt invincible.
He stroked through her open folds to circle her entrance. “You’re wet.”
His hands left her and she waited, breathless, open and wanting, the night air cooling her flesh.
There was a rustle of clothing and then he was over her, around her.
Thrusting into her.
She gasped at the sudden intrusion. He thrust once, twice, seating himself fully in her.
And then he stopped.
“I thought about this all day in that damned carriage,” he whispered in her ear.
She was still gasping, still trembling and shaking, when he rose and mounted her, driving his flesh into her softness, grasping her legs and urging her to wrap them high over his waist.
“Phoebe,” he growled into her ear as he thrust hard. “Phoebe. You haunt me. You drive me. You possess me. I cannot—”
He arched, his penis deep within her, his big body shuddering on hers.
She gripped his shoulders, pulling him down to her, opening her mouth and swallowing his moan as he spilled inside her, pumping and thrusting against her.