A Whisper of Desire: A Disgraced Lords Novel

A Whisper of Desire: A Disgraced Lords Novel

by Bronwen Evans

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101883167
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/01/2015
Series: Disgraced Lords Series , #4
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 300
Sales rank: 11,437
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

USA Today bestselling author Bronwen Evans grew up loving books. She has always indulged her love of storytelling and is constantly gobbling up movies, books, and theater. Is it any wonder she’s a proud romance writer? Evans is a two-time winner of the RomCon Readers’ Crown and has been nominated for an RT Reviewers’ Choice Award. She lives in Wellington, New Zealand.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

“Come, my love, don’t play coy with me. You have teased me mercilessly all evening,” a youthful sounding tenor from the other side of the rosebushes spoke with undisguised eagerness.

Maitland Spencer, the fifth Duke of Lyttleton, sighed and stubbed his cheroot under his expertly polished shoes, counting out the twists—one, two, three—before staring into the dark night.

Was it too much to ask for a quiet moment away from the noise and heat of a crowded ballroom? Lord Dunmire did have an exceedingly beautiful garden. Instead, his peaceful moment was broken by what appeared to be an illicit liaison. He should know; he’d seen his fair share as a member of the Libertine Scholars.

The six lords known as the Libertine Scholars met at school and were renowned for their scholarly brilliance as well as their popularity with the ladies. Four of them were in attendance at the ball tonight.

The ball, held in the large Governor Square townhouse behind him, was enough to send a man mad. Mothers throwing their daughters in his path had driven him to hide in the garden. He was on guard duty tonight, helping his fellow Libertine Scholar Sebastian look out for his sister, Marisa.

An unknown madwoman, intent on destroying the six Libertine Scholars, was still at large. They knew very little about her—only that it looked as if the men were paying for the sins of their fathers.

Some heinous crime, orchestrated by the Libertine Scholars’ fathers, occurred ten years ago. Something terrible was done to this woman and now she was out for revenge. Since their fathers were now dead, the sons had become the targets.

She’d managed to almost destroy Christian, Grayson, Sebastian, and their wives. Sebastian was determined they would not hurt his two sisters, Helen and Marisa.

Sebastian had given Maitland a respite from guard duty, and he’d wanted a peaceful moment to clear his head from all the twittering nonsense and malicious gossip. The constant drivel meant he often had to bite his tongue to stop from issuing very rude and uncivilized responses. He never knew what to say in these social situations. The ton never wanted to discuss the truth of anything, and he couldn’t seem to muster the art of lying. For instance, this evening Lady Arielle had asked him if he liked her new brooch. It was a large gold figurine with a central emerald. Apparently he was supposed to say something, such as that the emerald matched her lovely eyes. His response of “No, it looks like a gargoyle with one eye” wasn’t the done thing, yet it was the truth.
Due to the liaison he’d now have to return to the overheated rooms or announce his presence. Perhaps he’d just go home, but he’d promised his friend Sebastian Hawkestone, the Marquis of Coldhurst, that he’d stand as an extra guard for Marisa.

A woman’s voice on the other side of the rosebushes brought him back to his predicament: Should he stay and hope they left soon, or creep away unnoticed?

“My Lord Rutherford, I’m not sure your intentions are honorable,” and then she giggled. “I’m a tad angry with you. The rumor is you’re going to propose to the Coldhurst chit.” Maitland halted. Rutherford was expected to make an offer for Marisa’s hand.

A rustle of silk followed as if she was pressing herself into his arms. “You’ll find I’m much more woman than that virginal miss will ever be.”

“Charlotte, my love, men do prefer virgins for wives,” Rutherford offered cruelly in response. “Besides, my father told me that one never marries one’s mistress.”

“I prefer the term ‘lover.’ Respectable widows with large estates make even better wives. They know what a man wants in the bedroom, while bringing riches that enhance their husband’s standing, and I know how you need riches.”

Maitland almost found himself nodding in agreement with her practical advice.

“I’m certainly standing to attention at the moment,” Rutherford answered. When no reply was offered from Charlotte, he continued. “The Coldhurst girl brings a very large dowry. The damnation of it all is I only need money until Father turns up his toes. It would appear marriage is the only way to get immediate funds.”

More kissing followed. When they next stopped to grab a breath, Rutherford continued.

“Never fear, even when I wed I intend to carry on my life as usual. The girl’s completely besotted with me, and I give her every reason to think I reciprocate those feelings. She’d never for one moment believe I have a mistress.

Her brother thinks I love and respect her.” Rutherford’s next words made Maitland’s temper, which was usually difficult to rouse, flare to life. “The only reason I’ve agreed to the marriage is to get my father to stop hounding me about producing a future heir, given I’m his only son, and to gain access to my funds. I receive ten thousand pounds upon my wedding day, plus any dowry my wife brings. Father thinks marriage will settle me down.”

“If Lord Coldhurst ever finds out you don’t . . . Aren’t you scared of a duel, especially with a man like the Marquis? He killed young Baron Larkwell in the last one.” She pressed closer. “Besides, I have more money than we’ll ever need. Why not marry me?”

He chuckled. “I do want an heir, my dear. You were married to Lord Marshall for almost seven years and you produced no issue. Plus, you are five years older than I.”

“Age is irrelevant when you’re lying down,” she replied seductively.

“But not when children are required. You don’t have another seven years.”

“You are such a bastard.”

His voice held a smile. “But that’s why you love me.”

Customer Reviews

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A Whisper of Desire: A Disgraced Lords Novel 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this continued series
DebDiem More than 1 year ago
A Whisper Of Desire by Bronwen Evans is a fantastic historical romance. Ms Evans has packed this book with lovable characters, drama, sizzle and humor. Marisa and Maitland's story is fast paced and the book is a well written, smooth read. I loved this book and can't wait for my next book by Bronwen Evans. A Whisper Of Desire is book 4 of The Disgraced Lords Series but can be read as a standalone. This is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very simplistic. Did not keep my attention at all.
Sam1219 More than 1 year ago
Lady Marisa Hawkestone and Maitland Spencer, Duke of Lyttleton, wake up in bed together, naked, with no memory of the night before or how the got there after presumably having been drugged by an enemy of the Duke's longtime circle of friends. Although nothing untoward occurred, the ensuing scandal forces the two to wed. Despite finding tremendous passion in each other's arms, Maitland holds back in the light of day and for several following nights, leaving Marisa bewildered, hurt and a little angry. What happened in Maitland's past that makes him feel he must keep himself so tightly controlled? Will Marisa be able to penetrate his defenses and make him open up to her before their marriage is damaged beyond repair? Will they learn who wishes to harm them in such a public way before the menace moves on to causing physical harm? Can Maitland keep Marisa safe from both the outside threat and from his own dark side? This novel features the typical Regency romance plot in which two people who don't know each other well are forced to marry and must overcome communication barriers to learn to love each other, usually not realizing the depth of their true feelings until one or the other is in grave danger. However, this book is unique in that it also touches on the dark underbelly of London in that era, including topics such as sexual abuse, venereal disease, and child prostitution. These harsh realities are jarring when juxtaposed against absurdity of some of the elements of the plot, such as the very idea that two people already alert against possible attack could be drugged and placed in a chamber with their clothes taken, without a single person (not even the woman's brother or a single servant) seeing a thing. In addition, after all the build up to the finale, the conclusion of the book was most unsatisfying. While I understand the goal is to promote sales of the next book, some kind of mini-resolution or intermediate step would have been more gratifying. Still, the fast pace of the action and the well-drawn, fully-developed main characters made this an enjoyable read.
Jasmyn9 More than 1 year ago
Marisa and Maitland have known each other for years - as the sister to a Libertine Scholar, Marisa has been around the stories and the men themselves for half her life. But, she never expects to find herself waking up in bed next to one of them - naked - and obviously compromised in the eyes of the ton even though nothing happened. But the villainess has struck again, and Maitland and Marisa find themselves wed to save her reputation.This is where I get just a tad tired of the whole style of "she wants love, but he's determined not to." I hope it gets change up a bit more in the future. Marisa and Maitland are far from an ideal pair. Marisa is determined to find love in marriage and Maitland is determined to avoid it at all costs - he considers passion to be a curse. It may look like the villianess has finally struck a blow to the Libertine Scholars. But Marisa is no coward. She will find a way to bring some passion and romance to her marriage - but when she finally does - well, things get pretty bad. I just about cried several times in this one. There is tragedy, secrets, and a great loss that Marisa and Maitland will have to overcome before they will ever be happy. This was the most "real" book of the series so far. Things didn't all miraculously become better and all the hurt doesn't just disappear. But because of this, the characters are going to stay with me for a long, long time. I can't wait to see them in future books in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed this story. Great characters and I would have liked the book to end with the conclusion to the mystery killer.
skelley55 More than 1 year ago
I have enjoyed every book in this Disgraced Lords series. This book is NO exception. There is more to both the hero and the heroine than the other books have revealed. I highly recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I went to Barnes and Noble to read this book for my hour, before I purchased , to see if it was really worth it and let me say, I can't wait to finish the book. I made it through the first 10 chapters, but I was very distracted because another customer kept talking to me....Ugh!! Lol
Historical_Romance_Lover More than 1 year ago
This is book 4 in the Disgraced Lords series. Lady Marisa Hawkstone wakes up naked and in bed with Maitland Spencer, the Duke of Lyttleton. Not remembering how they got there, they soon realize it was the work of the woman trying to harm the Libertine Scholars. With nothing left to do to save Marisa's reputation, they are soon married. While Marisa tries to make the most of their marriage, Maitland remains the aloof man that the ton has come to know, that is everywhere but the bedroom. Can Marisa get Maitland to see that their marriage is as important as his duty to the dukedom? LOVED this story!! While reading the other books in the series, I had a feeling that Evans would pair these two together and I was so happy to see that she did. I always thought that there was more to Maitland than what he shared with his fellow scholars and Marisa was the right woman to get him to show that other side of him. She is such an affectionate person that it was bound to rub off on Maitland sooner or later, LOL! This story brings us that much closer to learning the truth about our mysterious villain. As much as I want to find her, I don't want this series to end. I've loved all the books in the series! The next book, A Taste of Seduction, is Hadley's story and it comes out in July 2016. Thanks go out to Random House via NetGalley for a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not a light romance, this is the story of one of the Libertine Scholars, Maitland Spencer, the Duke of Lyttleton and Lady Marisa Hawkestone. A remote man, Maitland's nature has been formed by a bitter childhood. He keeps himself on a tight rein, from which his lady wife is determined to free him. Marisa, an emotional, loving lady, seeks intimacy and struggles to understand the man she is forced to marry after being compromised. Tragedy strikes when the two join forces to counter a dangerous foe. The powerful story gives readers that HEA, but when it comes it is not what one might expect. There's a lot of heartbreak and action in this one. The well-drawn characters are flawed but are loyal friends who back each other up when need be, and work together to find the mysterious lady who is a blight to their lives.There are several riveting, love scenes that sizzle! I did question one small thing and that was Maitland permitting Marisa to take part in a dangerous escapade. It's merely a quibble though, and did not spoil my enjoyment of the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can't wait for the next book.
Linda_RochesterNY More than 1 year ago
*ARC received from Random House Publishing in return for an honest review* A Whisper of Desire is the fourth book in the Disgraced Lords series but the first one I have read. Although it can be read as a standalone, I definitely wish I had read the other three books first because of the mystery that runs through each book of the series. I feel I would have a better understanding of the characters and why this enemy is targeting these friends known as the Libertine Scholars. This book focuses on Lady Marisa Hawkstone and Maitland Spencer, Duke of Lyttleton. When the unknown enemy places Marisa and Maitland in a compromising position, they choose to marry to save her reputation. He desires her but fearing he may have inherited his father's madness and sexual compulsions, Maitland holds himself to a strict regimen of how and when he can have sex. Marisa feels great passion for him but doesn't understand why he keeps her at arms length most of the time, but wow, when they are together, it is steamy! Hearts eventually become involved and when Marisa is taken, Maitland realizes just how much he cares for her. I loved the author's writing style. This is a great romance and I am dying to find out who the villain is.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cant wait for more
TammyS32 More than 1 year ago
A wonderful historical read! The characters really draw you in and make you care for them. This books is the perfect amount of suspense and romance. The chemistry between Marissa and Maitland is amazing and the sex is steamy. The story really grips you from beginning to end with so much drama, emotion and romance. If you are a fan of historical romance this is a must read.
greekgoddess422 More than 1 year ago
This is book 4 in the Disgraced Lord series . This is a historical Romance during the Regency Era Lady Marissa was at a ball expecting a marriage proposal from a certain Lord. Ahhh but he was elseware with another lady . Next thing you know she wakes up in Bed without a stitch on with Maitland . The Duke of Lytteson . Lytteson suggests that they were drugged . Before the Scandal is known to everyone that was at the party . They pretend that they are engaged soon to be man and wife . The Duke is part of the Libertine Scholars but his nickname is the Cold Duke . He doesn't want to be like his father . All his friends in the group are named "the Libertine Scholars " because of their sires . The Duke tells Lady Marissa that their is a madwoman going around trying to Ruin their life's . They get married and the Duke is trying to keep his distance everywhere but in the bedroom . He tells Marissa he needs a heir . A few things start to happen and Marissa and the Duke think it's because of the Madwoman . Up to this point you don't know who it is . Then Tragedy happens and Lady Marissa pays for it deeply . She gets Kidnapped and something devastating happens . Won't tell you what . You need to get it and find out This is a wonderful story that will have you guessing .
Anlenhart1 More than 1 year ago
Lady Marissa is a free spirit that expects a proposal from her suitor, Lord Ruthorford. Unfortunately, she learns from her brother's friend, Maitland, the Duke of Lyttleton that has been caught in a compromising position with another woman. Maitland has taken on the job of bodyguard for Marissa to protect her from a villainess who is bent on revenge on the Libertine Scholars. They end up married and both has a lot of baggage from their family histories. While Maitland has a reputation of the "Cold Duke", he and Marissa steam up the pages of this novel, that ends on a sad and somewhat unfinished arc. This was a well written book and is the only one in the series I have read. I enjoyed the book, but wished a little more history of the Libertine Scholars had been explained. I was given a free copy for an honest review by netgalley.com
Sissymae1 More than 1 year ago
This is the fourth book in "The Disgraced Lords" series. I have been jumping around in the series so I have not read all the books (which I am trying to fix as type) so for me this was a stand alone book. I have read others books not just this series.. by Bronwen Evans and I must say that I really like her writing. Is always a great read and the secondary characters are always good. This book is about Lady Marisa Hawkstone and how she finds herself in bed with our hero, Maitland Spencer, the Duke of Lyttleton. Maitland is a friend of Lady Marisa brother, who asked Maitland to keep and eye on her for him. Maitland, her brother and a few others are left with a threat of harm that involved their fathers. Now that their fathers are gone they are trying to solve this and protect their own. Maitland has feelings he has to overcome that would help him get closer to Lady Marisa.. he feels he has to keep himself uncontrolled of sorts in some areas...but they do seem to have great love scene! There story is funny, sad, sweet and somewhat rocky but I enjoyed having this story and hope that you will too.
TDB005 More than 1 year ago
I've been contemplating this review for a bit, because while I loved this book I did have some issues with the way it ended. Bronwen Evans writes amazing historical romance with so much mystery and intrigue you can't help but get sucked into the story. I simply love everything I've read, and each of these Disgraced Lords books has kept me hanging on for the next book to see what is going to happen next. So I bet you are wondering why I said that I had issues with the ending. Well, I'm not going to tell you simply because it would ruin the book for you, and I'm not about to do that to anyone. Let's just say that something happens that not only made my heart ache as if it had been beaten to a pulp, but I even ugly cried. I hate ugly crying!!! It probably had more to do with me on a personal front, but I just felt doing that to the characters wasn't necessary and it kind of ruined the book for me there at the end. BUT...and I say a big BUT because leading up to that this book was everything that I've come to love from Evans writing, and I do still highly suggest it. The romance between Marisa and Maitland was just a thing of beauty when they were together. He struggled in vain to keep her at a distance hurting Marisa emotionally, but once he gives in it is truly beautiful. I'm just dying to get my hands on the next book, because something major is about to go down! If you love historical romance, I promise you can't go wrong with Bronwen Evans so definitely give the Disgraced Lords series a read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good read when you have nothing else to do but a good start for the next book, I can't wait to see how Marisa will get her revenge.
grandmareads102 More than 1 year ago
Maitland Spencer, the Duke of Lyttleton, needs to control himself and his desires. He doesn't want to be like his father who was a brute always crazed by lust. Lady Marisa Hawkstone is the sister of one of his friends and must be protected from the evil stalking the Libertine Scholars and their family. Unknown to Maitland and Marisa they are drugged and place in a compromising situation. Now the gossips are destroying their reputation. The only answer is for them to marry. Can Marisa live without love? Let the battle begin. Marisa is a feisty, stubborn woman who won't let herself be forced to do what she is told. Maitland is a determined man who won't give in to his desires. The sparks fly as passion leads these two on a wild ride to a HEA. I was on the edge of my seat as I watched the Lords try and find the villainess who wants revenge. This story is well plotted and has surprising twists. The characters are amazing. I was pulled into their world. I wanted them to find the love and happiness that they deserved. It was nice to see familiar characters from previous books. They added to the drama. I loved this regency filled with passion and romance. I must know who is behind this diabolical plan and why she seeks to destroy the innocent. I am anxiously waiting for the next story in the Disgraced Lords series.
Silk-Serif More than 1 year ago
A Whisper of Desire is a continuation of The Disgraced Lords series and A Touch of Passion with focus on the latest member of The Libertine Scholars to garner attention. Lady Marisa Hawkstone and His Grace Maitland Spencer are caught in a compromising position orchestrated by the villainess in an attempt to ruin them both. The marriage of necessity quickly becomes a marriage of desire and lust, but can it become something more? Can Maitland over come his horrific past and dark fears in order to fall for the sweet and innocent Marisa? I struggled a bit with the first bit of this novel mainly because I was expecting something like Greyson and Portia's story with strong heroines and confident heroes. Maitland was interesting in his own way: socially awkward, horrific past and serious emotional baggage. I could empathize with Maitland and his narrative made me tear up more than once. I think that the search for the villainess and Maitland's story saved this novel for me because I really disliked Marisa. I felt like Marisa was often naive and rather dull witted. She often didn't make obvious connections and was rather superficial. She's also weak, allowing an ex-lover of her husband to invade their honeymoon phase and at times act as the Lady of the house while Marisa complains to her family instead of getting rid of Priscilla. I concede that my opinions are a bit biased since I prefer strong willed, independent female characters and Marisa was written with an entirely different kind of reader in mind. And it's fine because Marisa's character is well written and stable. Her behaviours were realistic and organic considering what kind of person she was portrayed to be. I do love how Bronwen can write realistic and consistent character that are so completely different like Marisa and Portia and appear to exert so little effort in doing so. The beginning of A Whisper of Desire reads more like a erotica novel than a historical romance which was a bit jarring after my previous experience with Bronwen's work. I was expecting a slow romance with some intrigue and danger related to the villainess' desire for revenge against The Libertine Scholars, yet what I got was a well written overabundance of sexual activity for a good 75% of the book. The main characters struggle with creating a healthy and satisfying marital relationship while dealing with their own insecurities and woes. In retrospect, this is an excellent novel for people who enjoy "married life" romance because it depicts a very realistic picture of marital issues and struggles, especially in this time period. I didn't really get pulled into the novel until the villainess came back into the story to unfold the second part of her grisly plans for Maitland. We get closer to understanding her motivations, plans and thought process while The Libertine Scholars come a step closer to capturing their foe. Actually, I'm really excited for the next book to see how her next plan works out and how The Scholars fair. I want to learn why the villainess wants revenge and more information on Fullerton because he's rather interesting. All in all, A Whisper of Desire was adequate and deserves three stars based on the writing, excellent developments concerning the villainess and Maitland's tortured rebuilding of himself and his history. The novel felt more like a romantic filler rather than a real addition to the story concerning The Libertine Scholars' fathers' sins, but still a decent read.
Cyd More than 1 year ago
If you want depression then this will be perfect
CArcidiacono More than 1 year ago
I wasn't sure this series would continue being so good but I am happy to say that it has. With a well written story line and characters that pull you right into the book.The story focuses on The Libertine Scholar named Maitland. He has known Marisa for a long time through her brother Sebastian, his best friend. He's had some brief feelings and thoughts for her in the past and they seemed to grow stronger at the ball. Little did they know that things would change so drastically for them after that night. I received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
And so the story continues! Although I wasnt too happy with how it ended, I loved it. And good to get more backstory on Maitland. Thd worst thing about this series? Waiting for the next one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought Maitland and Marisa have ever happily after but it's disappointing the villainess always won. Not recommended.