Confessions of a Little Black Gown

( 49 )

Overview

She spied him in the shadows . . .

And in an instant, Thalia Langley knew the man before her was no saint. He might claim to be the Duke of Hollindrake's unassuming country cousin, but no man that handsome, that arresting, could be anything but . . . well, he simply must be an unrepentant rogue. His cat-like grace and power leave Tally shivering in her slippers at the notion of all the wicked, forbidden things he might be capable of doing . . ....

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Confessions of a Little Black Gown

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Overview

She spied him in the shadows . . .

And in an instant, Thalia Langley knew the man before her was no saint. He might claim to be the Duke of Hollindrake's unassuming country cousin, but no man that handsome, that arresting, could be anything but . . . well, he simply must be an unrepentant rogue. His cat-like grace and power leave Tally shivering in her slippers at the notion of all the wicked, forbidden things he might be capable of doing . . . to her.

Indeed, Lord Larken is no bumbling vicar, but a master spy there in his majesty's service to find—and murder—a notorious pirate freed in a daring prison escape. Devoted to the Crown, Larken's not about to let an interfering (and not entirely innocent) Mayfair miss disrupt his ruthless plans. Yet how can he be anything but tempted by this lady in a little black gown . . . a dress tantalizing enough to lead even Larken astray.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist
“All of Boyle’s signature elements—high wit, delightfully original characters, and a wildly creative plot spiced with deception and desire—blend together brilliantly.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061373237
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/31/2009
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 348,167
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Boyle has always loved romance and now lives it each and every day by writing adventurous and passionate stories that readers from all around the world have described as "page-turners." Since her first book was published, she's seen her romances become New York Times and USA Today bestsellers and won the RWA RITA® and the Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Awards. She resides in Seattle with her family, her garden, and always-growing collection of yarn.

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Read an Excerpt

Confessions of a Little Black Gown

Chapter One

Sometimes when a Season fails to secure the happiness of a young lady or two, say one's sister or cousin, then the next course of action is to organize the perfect house party.

A notation found on the back page of The Bachelor Chronicles

Tally, whatever are you doing there clutching your writing desk like someone is about to steal it?" Lady Philippa Knolles asked.

"Someone is, Pippin," her cousin, Miss Thalia Langley replied, nodding in the direction where Tally's sister, the former Miss Felicity Langley, now the Duchess of Hollindrake, stood in the posting inn yard, ordering the harried footman about with military precision.

"She's rearranging the luggage?" Pippin looked askance at the melee of boxes and trunks.

"Yet again," Tally sighed, sharing a commiserating glance with her dog, Brutus, who was ever at the hem of her gown. "She used to do this to Papa when we were traveling on the Continent. Order the trunks and bags rearranged over and over again. Don't you recall how she harried those poor fellows when we moved to London last winter?"

"Oh, yes," Pippin mused. "I had quite forgotten. Perhaps Hollindrake could suggest—"

"I've already advised him not to waste his breath. Papa and I learned never to argue with her over it, for she only fusses all the more until it is all put to her liking."

"Is there such an arrangement?" Pippin asked, her face a mask of innocence, but her eyes sparkling.

Tally laughed. "No, but she is determined to discover one."

There was barely room for the Duke's procession of carriages and wagons in the small yard, let alonethe luggage now stacked in every remaining bit of space. And worse yet, the untimely arrival of a crowded mail coach, as well as a post-chaise, had only added to the chaos as the passengers and postilions jostled for room. Add to that, the luggage from the mail coach was being divided, as some of the passengers departed and others waded through the confusion to gain their appointed seats.

"I'll not lose my sketchbook and jewelry case," Tally complained, clutching her writing box closer. "And one of us had best stand guard over our carriage, lest we find her over here ready to send our trunks to the wagons beneath a crate of dishes and insisting Aunt Minty be moved as well."

"She wouldn't!" Pippin declared, nonetheless taking a nervous glance at Felicity. "I do think she's far too busy to notice our poor possessions."

Tally's reply was an arched glance.

"Oh, dear, you're right." Pippin's brow furrowed. "Look she's sending some fellow over here now."

Muttering her favorite Russian curse under her breath, Tally planted herself firmly before the carriage she and Pippin were sharing with their aged chaperone, Aunt Minty.

The footman's pace slowed as he neared them and found himself facing the two young misses.

"And just what do you think you are doing?" Tally asked, handing her desk over to Pippin and scooping up Brutus.

The young man hung his head. "Well, miss, 'tis Her Grace's orders. I've come for the trunks and your aunt." He stretched out his hand toward the carriage door, and Tally sidestepped into his path.

"Bother Her Grace! You're not to open that door!"

Brutus aided her cause by letting out a menacing growl. Well, as menacing as one could be when you were a dog that could fit easily into a hatbox, and a very small hatbox at that.

Still, it was enough to get the footman to draw back his fingers, for Tally's little dog had gained a reputation amongst the duke's servants as being "a nasty bit of trouble."

Tally shot a heated glance toward her sister, who was right now arguing with the wagon driver over the proper balancing of trunks, before she turned her glare on the hapless servant. "Our Aunt Minty is sleeping. She is not to be disturbed."

Yet the footman persisted. "Miss, I can't go back there without something in hand." He lowered his voice and pleaded, "She'll have my hide."

Oh, dear. Poor man. He was right. Felicity would have his hide.

Tally heaved a sigh and wished her sister's fondest desire had been to marry a tailor or a butcher, rather than a duke. Quite frankly, her twin had become a regular tyrant since she'd married Hollindrake. Not that she wasn't still loveable, it was just that . . . well, now that Felicity actually was a duchess, she'd become utterly intractable, more so than when they'd been mere paupers living on Brook Street.

If such a thing were possible to believe.

"Please, miss," the fellow begged. "Isn't there something you can spare?"

Tally glanced around the back of the elegant barouche. "Take the larger one there—that ought to satisfy her, and it should help balance out that mess she's creating on the wagon."

The man doffed his cap and practically wept in relief to have some offering to take back to his difficult mistress.

As he happily lumbered away, struggling under the weight of Tally's belongings, Pippin leaned over and said, "You needn't have made quite that much of a sacrifice."

"What do you mean?" Tally asked, watching her sister's lips fan out in a smile of glee at the arrival of yet another trunk to move about.

"Giving up your clothes to keep Felicity at bay."

"Not really," Tally said, putting Brutus back down on the ground and retrieving her desk from Pippin.

"How so?"

"For if she loses it, then she'll owe me a new wardrobe."

Pippin laughed, her blue eyes crinkling in the corners. "And here I thought you had placed yourself on the altar for my sake." She tucked a stray strand of blonde hair back beneath her bonnet.

Confessions of a Little Black Gown. Copyright (c) by Elizabeth Boyle . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 49 )
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(19)

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(24)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 49 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 27, 2011

    Liked it better than the first!

    I loved this book! I enjoyed the back and forth between the characters and the humor weaved into a little mystery. I did not however enjoy the cliffhanger leading to book 3! Reading about it...well i wont say anymore as to spoil it for you ;-) this is a quick, enjoyable read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 19, 2011

    Book 4 Tally & Larken

    A good read and well worth the time but not quite the page turner like the first book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 24, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Confessions of a Little Black Gown

    I like this couple and their cat and mouse games and lively interplay. Larken and Tally's attraction is almost immediate, but it nonetheless feels natural and in fitting with the story. There is good chemistry between them. The comedy is a bit overdone for my taste, seeming almost slapstick at times, i.e., the yapping dog eating hems and boots; the busybody duchess; the hero and heroine tripping over their feet. It all seems at odds with the serious nature of Dash's predicament and Larkin's grim assignment - as well as several murders taking place. The story is involving, though, and kept me turning the pages to see how it all would play out. I think this series would have benefited from being released three months in a row, like the recent Balogh series. Confessions almost stood alone, but having read the previous book greatly enhanced my enjoyment of it. There are several elements that made it enjoyable on it's own - the primary one being Tally's sense of who Larken is on the inside, despite how he presents himself on the outside. It was enough to make me half wish that the external Larken would stay Larken - that Tally, who dreamed of a dashing adventurer, really would find herself enraptured by a clumsy vicar. Read it in one sitting.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 6, 2015

    There's a lot of spying going on at this little house party! Lor

    There's a lot of spying going on at this little house party! Lord Larken, master spy, is undercover to find an escaped traitor pirate who happens to be his friend. The women in the Langley/Knolles family are scheming to pull off a great escape. And a deadly assassin is trying to tie up loose ends and retrieve a certain sexy black gown. Meanwhile there is the serious business of matchmaking to attend to.

    Larken and Tally made a great couple. They were both very skilled at espionage and just plain sneakiness. However, learning to trust each other was their major hurdle.

    I did think Phillipa gave in way too easily at the end. I hope there's more to that story.

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  • Posted July 22, 2013

    I really did enjoy this book. I started reading one of Elizabet

    I really did enjoy this book. I started reading one of Elizabeth Boyle's books and I ended up buying one after the other. They are all very enjoyable reads - written well and entertaining. Luckily the Boyle books are all on my Nook because I kept going back to the other books to see where these characters fit in. He is supposed to be a bumbling vicar and she's supposed to be searching for her 'hero' so that's kind of annoying. I like trying to fit the pieces together from previous stories but you can read these alone.

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  • Posted June 19, 2013

    Funny

    Funny

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2013

    Just as exciting as twin Felicity story

    Loved this "match" between Tally and Larkin even if Larkin wasn't tall, dark and handsome

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  • Posted September 18, 2012

    more from this reviewer

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2012

    Good Book

    It was a great historical romance novel and loved the story between Tally and Lord Larken. However, I felt the story did drag on and the Duchess was annoying in this book. If you read Love Letters to a Duke about the duchess, she was different in her book. Though he annoyance was distracting I still enjoyed this book.

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  • Posted December 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A continuing blend of fun and adventure, but this follow up to Love Letters has lost its edge

    Newly married Felicity gives her first house party in the country filled with people who aren't who they seem to be. Felicity aims make her mark as a matchmaker, using her chronicles to pair off several of the guests, one of whom is Hollindrake's "cousin", a vicar, "Mr. Ryder", a bumbling, unkempt man whom Tally perceives very differently. He's actually a haunted secret agent, Lord Larken, sent by Temple and Pymm to do away with the newly-freed (by Pippin and Tally) from-prison Dash, who is hidden in the mansion as Aunt Minty and reunited with Pippin. Lurking is the last of a French order of killer women, Aurora, who also is after Dash. The little black gown is actually Aurora's, found in a trunk mix-up by Tally; Tally wears it to unmask the vicar and unleash the handsome rake hiding behind it. A big finale similar to the ballroom scene in Love Letters . . . This time Felicity's dead aim kills the bad gal and frees captives Dash and Larken. But Pippin has arranged Dash's freedom by marrying the very kind Lord Gossett who loves her (and her unborn child). Tally and Larken run off to marry in Gretna Green, but the hearts of Pippin and Dash are broken.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2009

    going for the same end by difrent means

    fitting for what you whant and getting it

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Confessions of A Little Black Gown

    Lord Larken has been chosen to find the pirate Dashwell and kill him. The only clue he has is that two Mayfair misses had broken Dashwell out of prison. Lord Larken has gone undercover as the Duke of Hollindrake's cousin, the vicar Milo Ryder. When Talia Langley first sees Milo Ryder, she doesn't see a vicar, but a rake. But Tally and her cousin Pippin don't have time for matchmaking, which is what Tally's sister, the Duchess of Hollindrake is trying to do.

    I loved this book, of course, I don't think I haven't disliked any of Elizabeth Boyle's books. It took me a while to realize that Confession's of a Little Black Gown was the second book in the Bachelor Chronicles which began with Love Letters From A Duke. I really liked that Ms. Boyles had several of the characters from her other books in this one. I can't wait to read Pippin's book.

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  • Posted May 30, 2009

    good but not great

    The book before this one, and the one after it are awesome. This one, not so much.

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  • Posted April 14, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Can't Wait for the Next One!

    I cannot wait for Pippin's story. Tally's was great but E.B. left you hanging about Pippin's future. I love all the mischief the girls get into. Only they could pull off the stunts that they do. I know it's not out yet, but I am recommending Memoir of a Scandalous Red Dress. It's going to be good I know it!

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  • Posted March 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    wild Regency romance

    In 1814 the Crown's master spy Lord Larken is assigned to assassinate Dashwell the American pirate who just escaped incarceration. Though he hates the assignment as he and Dashwell were friends before the second war with the colonies erupted; to accomplish his mission, Larken pretends to be a bumbling somewhat reticent vicar, Ryder, a cousin to a duke.

    The Langley sisters Thalia and Felicity (see LOVE LETTERS FROM A DUKE) helped Dashwell escape from prison. Thalia's luggage goes missing, but she receives someone else's trunk containing a little black gown that she puts on. When Thalia and the vicar meet, she rejects the notion this man is shy and clumsy; instead she believes he is hiding behind an image as she sees his gracefulness. He knows she abetted the pirate, but though he wants to arrest her he finds her arrestingly beautiful while she hides Dashwell from Ryder, a man who scares her because she is attracted to what he conceals.

    This is a wild Regency romance in which the War of 1812 has made friends and lovers into enemies. Larken seeks the woman who possesses the black gown because she will enable him to expose Napoleonic agents. However, he ends up with the wrong female due to the luggage mishandling. Filled with spins and twists, the latest Bachelor Chronicles is a terrific amusing historical filled with a warm romance and pot "boyled" intrigue.

    Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2009

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    Posted June 23, 2011

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    Posted March 31, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2010

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