The Devil in Disguise (Regency Rogues Series #1)

The Devil in Disguise (Regency Rogues Series #1)

3.7 53
by Stefanie Sloane

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BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Stefanie Sloane's The Saint Who Stole My Heart.

Filled with espionage and intrigue, Stefanie Sloane’s witty and sexy debut is a Regency historical—the first novel in a back-to-back Regency Rogues trilogy that features seductive spies and the ladies they must protect.

Lord William…  See more details below


BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Stefanie Sloane's The Saint Who Stole My Heart.

Filled with espionage and intrigue, Stefanie Sloane’s witty and sexy debut is a Regency historical—the first novel in a back-to-back Regency Rogues trilogy that features seductive spies and the ladies they must protect.

Lord William Randall, the Duke of Clairemont, is a rake with little regard for society—a most unlikely suitor for Lady Lucinda Grey. But his latest assignment for the Young Corinthians, an elite spy organization, involves protecting her from a kidnapping plot. To do this, the notorious “Iron Will” must use his devilish charm to seduce Lucinda and convince her he’s worthy of her attention. William never planned to become enthralled by the lovely Lady Grey—or to lose his own heart in the bargain.

Beautiful and fiercely intelligent, Lucinda has managed to gracefully sidestep even the most persistent suitors. Until the Duke of Clairemont, that is. She’s tempted by his sinfully sensuous mouth and piercing eyes, and finds it hard to resist the champion thoroughbred he offers her in exchange for the honor of courting her. Can she keep him at arm’s length when his touch begs her to let him so much closer?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Sloane's delightful debut Regency features a spirited heroine and a daring leading man. Lady Lucinda Grey is surprised when William Randall, duke of Clairemont and a notorious rogue and heartbreaker, begins courting her. Little does she know that "Iron Will" is actually a member of the Corinthians, a top-secret English spy agency, and assigned to protect her from a kidnap plot masterminded by notorious French assassin Antoine Garenne. Lucinda only agrees to suffer Will's company because he promises her a prize racing horse, but soon she comes to see the man beyond the rumors and he learns to admire her spirit. The danger and misunderstandings all come undone in an action-filled climactic scene. Though veteran romance readers will not find the characters and plot particularly original, they will nonetheless be charmed by the opulent details and happy ending. (June)
From the Publisher
“Smart, sensuous, and sparkling with wit . . . spectacular.”—Julia Quinn

“Captivating . . . With her fresh, original voice, Stefanie Sloane will charm her way into readers’ hearts.”—Susan Wiggs

Library Journal
Exceedingly rich, stunningly beautiful, and firmly "on the shelf" by choice at 26, Lady Lucinda Grey skillfully refuses myriad suitors while helping her three aunts build up their horse-breeding enterprise. All they need is one particular stallion. So when the horse's owner, the notorious Duke of Clairemont, comes into her life with a wager—three months of courting vs. the stallion—she can't refuse. Little does she know that the duke is on an undercover mission to protect her, and his presence has nothing to do with courtship. Attraction and love catch them both off guard, complicating things rather nicely. VERDICT Engaging, proactive protagonists, a delightful assortment of supporting characters (especially Lucinda's strong-willed aunts), and solid, often witty writing are pluses in this adventure that, despite a rather hasty conclusion, is a lively and entertaining read. This debut novel is the first in a back-to-back trilogy (The Angel in My Arms [Jul.] and The Sinner Who Seduced Me [Aug.]) featuring spies in the Young Corinthians group. Sloane lives in Seattle.

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Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Regency Rogues Series , #1
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Random House
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File size:
2 MB

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April 1811

Lady Lucinda Grey had not precisely decided what she would do if the overly eager Matthew Redding, Lord Cuthbert, compared her eyes to the Aegean Sea. Or the most brilliant of sapphires. It had all been said before and—Lucinda admitted with a stab of regret—in much more creative ways than poor Lord Cuthbert could ever dare dream.

“I shall faint, I believe,” she said succinctly, straightening the Alençon lace fichu neatly tucked into her jonquille gown.

Lord Cuthbert stopped ogling Lucinda’s bosom abruptly, a look of confusion clouding his round face. “I beg your pardon?”

Lucinda realized her earnest suitor clearly felt he’d reached the point in his seduction where she should have been dizzy with anticipation and too caught up in the moment to speak.

“Lord Cuthbert, I do apologize,” she offered, taking advantage of the moment to discreetly reclaim her hand from his damp gloved grasp. She slid to the end of the settee, putting two feet of gold damask cushion between them. “Pray continue.”

Lucinda felt compelled to see this thing through, despite the temptation to feign what would surely be a spectacular fainting spell. Lord Cuthbert’s fumbling attempt at romance was, she realized, not unlike happening upon a carriage accident; be it concern or distasteful fascination, one simply could not look away.

Nor faint away, she acknowledged with a frustrated sigh.

Over the last few weeks, Lucinda had acquired far more experience with this sort of thing than she could have ever imagined or wished to endure. The endless parade of suitors who had found themselves on her doorstep this season had been uninspiring, to say the least.

This was all her dear friend Amelia’s fault, of course, Lucinda reflected as Lord Cuthbert droned on. If Amelia hadn’t married the Earl of Northrop last year and if the couple had not displayed a love so wide and vast that those observing wondered if they might very well be lost forever . . . well, Lucinda would not be in this predicament.

A fellow ape leader for the last several seasons, Amelia had, until the altogether unexpected appearance of the earl, been a staunch supporter of a woman’s right to peace. And quiet. And sanity. In other terms, a woman’s right not to marry.

“If only Lord Northrop had not worn Amelia down,” Lucinda muttered under her breath, causing not even the slightest pause from the windbag before her.

Lord Cuthbert was completely absorbed in his rehearsed speech, which left her free to return to her contemplation of the events that had led to his presence in her parlor.

Discreetly counting the winged cherubs that inhabited the plaster ceiling in force, Lucinda begrudgingly admitted that Lord Northrup had not precisely worn Amelia down. Not exactly. That was to say, not at all. On the day the two met it was as if the heavens echoed with the cries of angels—and Cupid himself nearly collapsed from the joy of uniting such a pair.

Uncharitable and unkind, Lucinda mentally chided herself. She adored Amelia as though she were her own sister. To be unhappy over her newfound marital bliss would be inexcusable. And in all honesty, Lucinda was pleased for her friend. It was just that they had both been so convinced that love was a ruse, invented to keep the poets out of trouble. And now one had only to look upon Amelia and her new husband to know that they’d been utterly wrong.

But the real difficulty was that—London being London— Amelia’s blissful state meant that the entirety of polite society assumed Lucinda would follow suit and be felled by love as well.

Frankly, Lucinda found the whole thing somewhat alarming.

And Amelia was no help. Utterly smitten and convinced Lucinda should share her happiness, she had done nothing to defend her friend and dispel the ton’s false assumption. On the contrary, she’d worked feverishly to provide every opportunity for Lucinda to achieve an equally sublime level of bliss. And after count- less prospects, all of which had been met with what could be politely called mild disappointment on Lucinda’s part, Amelia had grown desperate.

Which was how Lucinda had arrived at this moment with Lord Cuthbert, forced by good manners to endure his declaration of undying affection.

Cuthbert’s patting of his mud brown hair into place pulled Lucinda from her thoughts. Clearing his throat with theatrical emphasis, he continued his attempts at poetic flattery. “Lady Lucinda, your eyes are, to be sure, the bluest of blues that I’ve ever encountered. Truly, without a doubt.”

She stared at him. She did not know what to say.

He blinked. “Quite blue. Really, truly very blue.”

And in that moment, Lucinda realized that there was only so much a lady of reasonable intelligence could be expected to endure.

“My lord,” she began, rising from the settee and smoothing the fine lawn skirt of her morning gown, “I fear our time together is at an end.”

Cuthbert practically jumped from his seat. He stepped clumsily toward Lucinda, stopping mere inches from her. “Lady Lucinda, are you well?”

It was just the cue she needed. She’d faced much worse from importunate suitors over the last three weeks and hadn’t a doubt her dramatic flair would serve her well in this instance. “I seem to . . . that is to say . . .” She hesitated, swaying ever so slightly while raising her hand to her temple. “I must retire. Immediately, if not sooner.”

Cuthbert seemed to take this latest development as an opportunity, moving to stand unbearably close. He placed his hand at the small of her back. “My dear lady, you must tell me what you need and I will fetch it at once.”

He was determinedly solicitous; Lucinda had to commend him for that. She was going to have to skip to the coup d’etat.

“Lord Cuthbert,” she said, pausing to give what she hoped was a convulsive swallow. “I feel obligated to inform you that I fear I shall cast up my accounts at any moment. And I would so hate to ruin your extremely unique puce waistcoat.”

Cuthbert nearly shoved Lucinda to the settee in his eagerness to escape the baptism. He bounded across the room to reach a small armchair where Lucinda’s maid, Mary, was seated. “Attend to your mistress,” he barked. “At once.”

“My lady,” Mary said quickly, shaking herself from what clearly had been a pleasant daydream and standing.

Lucinda bit back a smile and focused her gaze on Cuthbert. “Thank you, my lord, you’re most kind.”

Clearly his fondness for the puce brocade far outweighed his affection for Lucinda. He backed quickly toward the doorway. “Of course, of course. I’ll call again at a more convenient time.”

Lucinda’s butler, Stanford, appeared with such alac- rity it was apparent he’d been waiting just outside in the hall.

“My lord,” the stony-faced butler intoned. His emotionless gaze focused on the gilded mirror just beyond Cuthbert’s large head.

Lord Cuthbert bowed before falling into step behind Stanford.

Mary closed the door quietly.

“He was the worst by far. What on earth could Amelia have been thinking?” Lucinda said, exasperation clear in her voice as she stood.

“That you’ve refused every eligible man in London under the age of seventy?” Mary answered, her years of service to Lucinda evident in her impertinent answer.

Lucinda laughed, Mary’s blunt observance easing the annoyance of the last half hour.

“I do believe Lord Mayborn is actually three-and-seventy.” Lucinda said. “And I highly doubt I’ve made the acquaintance of ‘every eligible man’ in the entire city. Surely there are at least one or two more for Amelia to proffer up in her quest for my everlasting happiness.”

“I’ve heard Lord Thorp’s son is available,” Mary answered, peering into the now silent hall before holding the door wide for Lucinda.

Amused, Lucinda arched an eyebrow at her maid’s too innocent expression. “I prefer my men properly attired, which does not include apron strings. And while I do like a good challenge,” she added dryly as she crossed the threshold, “I fear the twenty-year gap in our ages would prove to be an obstacle even I could not overcome.

“Hmph,” Mary said with unshakable calm as she followed her mistress out of the room. “You’ve no romance in you, Lady Lucinda. Not at all.”

“Well, when it comes to infants, I’d have to agree with you,” Lucinda answered over her shoulder as she walked toward the staircase.

Mary hmphed again. “Don’t play coy with me, miss.”

Lucinda stifled a grin at Mary’s curt tone. “Oh, Mary. It’s just not true and you know it.”

“Really, now?” the servant answered, the sarcasm somewhat lost in her rough Liverpool accent.

Lucinda mounted the carpeted stairs. “Really,” she confirmed. And it was the truth. She believed in romance as it pertained to the likes of Anthony and Cleopatra, Henry VIII and Ann Boleyn, Arthur and Guinevere, Amelia and John—though the tragic endings of all but her dear friend’s relationship were unsettling, to say the least.

I really must remember to mention this to Amelia, she mentally took note, reaching out to skim the smooth marble balustrade.

The point was, romance was all well and good for others. It simply was not for Lucinda. She did not need a man to make her life complete. Nor did she particularly want one, the emotional upheaval and mercurial behavior that seemed to accompany love something that she neither understood nor desired.

“I’ll have to take your word for it, I suppose,” Mary answered unconvincingly, then gestured for her lady to continue up the stairs, swatting at her derriere when she did so and eliciting a hoot of laughter from Lucinda.

From the Paperback edition.

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The Devil in Disguise (Regency Rogues Series #1) 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 53 reviews.
Phyllis_L More than 1 year ago
I really wanted to LOVE this book. I ended up liking it, with some reservations. I enjoyed the heroine, though was never clear on why she was so adamantly against marriage. I liked the hero, though he reminded me far too much of the Lord of Scoundrels by Chase. And then there's this band of spies with rather unclear parameters. And then the proofreading? OUCH. She's a dowager duchess, not a dower duchess. In the scene where the hero meets the heroine's three aunts, I couldn't tell if the author was misspelling dour, because the dowager was certainly dour. It made me crazy, though. Luckily, I'm one of those people who finishes 99% of the books I start, because the dowager wasn't in much of the book and the more reasonable aunt was. Unfortunately, I am also one of those people who has to read only one book at a time and if I put a book down and pick another up, it's usually the kiss of death. I had to take a break 3/4ths of the way through because it was getting too predictable. I did finish it after all, but wasn't all that impressed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You do not expect how this book turns out.
Book_Sniffers_Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It isn't your typical romance novel where there are a ton of steamy sex scenes. In fact the books has quite a bit of good story line to it. You see Will is a spy slash playboy who has been assigned to keep Lucinda safe since there is an assassin out to kill her. She is a highly sought after woman and has no shortage of admirers. Her friend has been setting her up with "dates" in hopes that Lucinda will settle down and marry, which she has no intention of doing. So Will takes this opportunity to court her as a way to be close to her and keep her safe. Now I should also mention that Will was abused as a child and therefor has hardened his heart to the world and doesn't believe in love. So you have two main characters that are skeptical on the concept of love and marriage.. hmm I wonder how this ends. My favorite part of the book is him adjusting to her world. He may be a Duke but he doesn't attend the fancy dinners or balls and he certainly isn't one to court a lady. So it was fun watching him struggle though being polite and acting proper at the dinner parties and gatherings. It is also interesting to see him begin to soften his heart and have feelings for Lucinda. Favorite Quote "Of course I want to bed her. A man would have to be dead and buried not to. No, I want to talk to her. I like talking to her. Dammit, the bedding part is natural. Wanting to spend time with her outside the bedchamber is not." - Will
kopsahl More than 1 year ago
Lady Lucinda Grey vows never to marry. She loves her freedom and since she was left with a very nice size fortune from her deceased father, she can enjoy that freedom and not conform to what her "duty" would be. Unbeknownst to her, she has been targeted by Garenne. Garenne is a psychopath and has been hired to kidnap Grey. Lord William Randall has built his reputation as a rake. This disguise lets him gather information for the Young Corinthians, a spy organization, without raising suspicions. Originally Garenne had been thought dead but now they know that he is loose and on the prowl. Will is charged with protecting Grey and to do that he must get close to her. Will knows that Grey would never consider him a suitor so he appeals to her intellectually side by bargaining something she wants. What starts as a purely business arrangement turns into two people unable to resist each other. With the mix of danger and romance rolled up, The Devil in Disguise is a fast-paced read. Thrown into the mix is a whole spy organization that gives The Devil in Disguise an air of mystery that will keep you reading. Of course you do have the typical nuances of a romance read with the main characters denying their love to each other and then coming together with fierce passion only to find one has betrayed the other. But it wouldn't be a historical romance otherwise, right?
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1811 the Ton believes Lord William Randall is a notorious rake. However, the Duke uses his roguish reputation to conceal the fact that he belongs to the top secret Corinthians; an espionage cell working for the Crown. Information from a reliable source claims that French assassin Antoine Garenne plans to kidnap England's wealthiest heiress Lady Lucinda Grey. The Corinthians assign "Iron Will" to keep Lucinda safe. Lucinda rejects his company until he offers her a deal; his racing horse King Solomon's Mines for a chance to court her. She accepts his terms. As she begins to see the brave caring man behind the façade and him her courage and élan, they begin a friendship that turns to love. However, an assault on her forces him to reveal his secret identity to protect her; this angers her as she no longer trusts what is in his heart. The first Corinthian Rogues Regency is an engaging romantic suspense that grips the audience from the moment the lead couple meets and never slows down until the final confrontation with the villain and with each other. The story line is fast-paced and though similar to many nineteenth century undercover espionage thrillers (see Joanne Bourne's Spymaster series), the refreshing protagonists make for a wonderful historical. Harriet Klausner
skelley55 More than 1 year ago
The book isn't great but it is intriguing. I enjoyed the characters and the plot line. Would have enjoyed more of the sensual "getting to know each other" but good for a first book.
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RtBBlog More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by: Jen Book provided by: Contest win Review originally posted at Romancing the Book Review: So this book is Stefanie Sloane’s debut and also the start of her Regency Rogues series featuring a bunch of English spies.  Since I’m a huge fan of Regency romance and series, this book should have been right up my alley.  But I think it fell a little short for me, but all in all a solid debut. Will and Lucinda aren’t your typical Regency leading players.  Will is more interested in his spy work than his role as a Duke in English society.  And Lucinda, a wealthy woman in her own right also doesn’t particularly care for society and really just wants to concentrate on her horse breeding program.  But when Lucinda’s life in threatened, Will is assigned to protect her… and what better way than to court her.  Of course, Lucinda doesn’t want to be courted so Will basically bribes her with his prized horse.  OK… I’m on board.  Seems like a pretty solid and interesting plot up to this point. But then we are introduced to the evil villain, Garenne (or is it Garrene or Gareene?  Unfortunately all these spellings were used in the book).  I didn’t care for him as the bad guy.  His motives and well, just him, were unbelievable.  Then when it came to wrapping up the story, it was too short and neat to be satisfying. And speaking of satisfying, the romance was on the light side.  Don’t get me wrong, we know Will and Lucinda are falling for each other, but really all you get is the tension and never the payoff which is expected in romance novels these days.  And when we do get to “the payoff”, the scenes don’t flow and left me unsatisfied.  I’d rather the action have stayed behind closed doors than to have it be lackluster. So, I liked the basic plot and most of the characters, but what really pushed my buttons was the errors in story.  The editing was horrible in places.  I mean, come on, how did “riding havit” or “Hrace” slip through spell check?  And as I pointed out earlier, the villain’s name was misspelled several times.  These aren’t things you’d expect to see from a major publishing house and the editor in me cringed each time I came across one. The book had potential, but ended up being just a middle of the road read for me.  I am curious enough about the series and Ms Sloane as an author to move on to the next book in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have as yet to figure out why they want Lucinda-other then a horse. I,m on page 135 and have been skimming over to see where it leads to and to get the ending. I very seldom do this. Will be happy to finish.
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