Isabel and The Rogue

Isabel and The Rogue

by Liana De la Rosa
Isabel and The Rogue

Isabel and The Rogue

by Liana De la Rosa


    Qualifies for Free Shipping
    Check Availability at Nearby Stores

Related collections and offers


When a Mexican heiress defies Victorian society to protect her country a British war hero makes it his new mission to protect her…

Isabel Luna Valdés has long since resigned herself to being the “forgotten” Luna sister. But thanks to familial connections to the Mexican ambassador in London, wallflower Isabel is poised to unearth any British intelligence hidden by the ton that might aid Mexico during the French Occupation. Though she slips easily from crowded ballrooms into libraries and private studies, Isabel’s search is hampered by trysting couples and prowling rogues—including the rakish Captain Sirius Dawson.

As a covert agent for the British Home Office, Sirius makes a game of earning the aristocracy’s confidence. He spends his days befriending foolish politicians and seducing well-born ladies in order to learn their secrets. But after he spies a certain sharp-tongued Luna sister lurking in the shadows where no proper debutante should venture, it’s clear Sirius is outmatched, outwitted, and soon to be outmaneuvered by the one woman he can’t resist.

Their mutual attraction is undeniable, but when Isabel discovers private correspondence that could turn the tide of political turmoil in Mexico, she’s willing to do whatever it takes to protect her country—even if this means ignoring her heart and courting danger...

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780593440902
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/04/2024
Series: The Luna Sisters , #2
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 18,374
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Liana De la Rosa is a USA Today bestselling historical romance author who writes diverse characters in the Regency and Victorian periods. Liana is a graduate of the University of Arizona, and when she’s not writing, Liana is listening to true crime podcasts while she wrangles her spirited brood of children with her patient husband in Arizona.

Read an Excerpt


London, late May 1865

For the entirety of her life, Isabel Luna felt invisible. Overlooked. Uninteresting and uninspiring. Every time a pair of eyes skipped over her to focus instead on her charming and beautiful sisters, she experienced a sharp jab to the heart.

But now she considered that invisibility an asset to be exploited.

Isabel pondered this change in perspective as she stood at the perimeter of the ballroom, watching as her younger sister was swept onto the dance floor for a minuet. Gabriela-or Gabby as she was known to family and friends-had a serene smile on her face, looking to all in attendance as if she couldn't be happier to partner with Lord Jeremy Townsend, the second son of a marquess. But Gabby's smile was tight and more than a little brittle. Her younger sister rarely suffered fools, but her good manners often dictated that Gabby do just that.

Not for the first time, Isabel wondered if the attention, the adulation, her sister received was worth being treated as a commodity by all who admired her pretty face. Oh, Isabel knew Gabby would say no-accompanied by a curse word-and she couldn't blame her. Still, perhaps it would be nice to be admired, to have her company sought after . . . but then being the center of attention had always made Isabel uncomfortable. She had experienced that overwhelming feeling only one time since she had arrived in London, when a mean-spirited young woman had attempted to embarrass her at a poetry reading, but thankfully Gabby had rescued her. Isabel hoped, rather earnestly, that the ton would never have cause to look upon her again.

For however would she accomplish her covert task if they did?

Noting Lady Yardley, her guardian, stood chatting with a group of ladies and was not looking in her direction, Isabel placed her glass on the tray of a passing footman and blended into the milling crowd. Several people dipped their heads in greeting to her, but no one interrupted her walk. Once it would have disappointed her that no one wished to converse with her, but now her palms tingled and her heart raced. She didn't possess the time or interest to engage in mundane talk about uninteresting topics simply for the sake of being polite. Not when there was so much more to do . . .

Swallowing her nerves, Isabel stepped into the corridor that led to the ladies' retiring room. She encountered no one on her short walk, which allowed her to linger outside a door at the end of the hall. After ensuring she was alone, Isabel laid her cheek against the cool wood, closing her eyes as if it would somehow aid her hearing. Any sort of scene could be waiting for her in dark spaces-gentlemen conducting covert business, amorous assignations. During one such memorable encounter, Isabel had been searching a desk when the door suddenly burst open, revealing a man and a woman locked in a passionate-

No. Isabel refused to think about that particular memory. Refused to think of him. For if she did, her face would flush and her mind would go down avenues better saved for dark nights alone in her chamber.

Hearing only silence in the closed room, Isabel pulled down on the handle, finding it locked. Huffing a breath, Isabel studied the lock. Perhaps Lord Meadows had locked his study door to prevent attendees from using it as a retreat from the festivities. More likely to dissuade frolicking couples from treating his desk like a bed. Or . . . maybe the earl possessed personal records or information he'd prefer the public not be privy to. A fair request, honestly, but then Isabel and Mexico no longer had the luxury of fairness.

Isabel plucked a hairpin from her coiffure and bent it with her teeth into just the right shape. Confirming the hallway was still empty, she inserted the pin into the lock, wiggled it about, and grinned when the tumbler rolled free. Yes, only a wallflower would be at liberty to perform such a task, she thought as she pushed the door open and slipped inside. Once again, Isabel was thankful she had insisted on having the skirts of her gowns designed with a simple A-line silhouette instead of the fashionable bell style that made movement cumbersome. Lady Yardley had complained bitterly over the request, but Isabel knew such skirts would make it impossible for her to squeeze into and out of tight spaces, and fashion was never her priority.

Closing the door with barely a snap, she leaned her back against it as she surveyed the dark room. Bookshelves ran along both sides of the space, although she noted some of the shelves were bare. A large oak desk sat on one side of the room, the top devoid of papers or anything personal aside from a lone paperweight in the shape of a round disk. Isabel paced to the shelves and gave them a cursory glance, not finding much of interest. It was clear someone needed to assist the earl in building up the contents of his library, because his current collection-or lack thereof-was an embarrassment.

With her eyes narrowed, she changed course to the desk. Lord Meadows was a long-standing member of Parliament and served as a chairman on the Foreign Affairs Committee. Surely if anyone had information worth stealing, it was the earl.

But after a fifteen-minute search, picking through every drawer, examining every corner, nook, and cranny of the desk, Isabel had found nothing. Nothing of worth, and nothing she could send back to Padre Ignacio to assist their fight against the French.

A lump burned in her throat, and Isabel fought the urge to plop into an armchair and cry out her frustrations. Instead, she patted down her skirts and filled her lungs until her corset bit into her flesh. Releasing the breath in a long sigh, Isabel glanced around the room one last time, ignoring the disappointment that singed the backs of her eyes.

A quick peek into the hall revealed her escape route was clear, so Isabel rearranged her expression to one she hoped reflected eagerness to rejoin the festivities. Not that anyone would notice her absence. Isabel was as invisible as the wallpaper-

A hand shot out and grabbed her wrist the moment she set foot inside the ballroom. Panic clawed up her spine, and out of instinct, Isabel brought her hand up to ram it into the perpetrator's nose, when a familiar scent wove about her. A stupidly alluring scent she'd know anywhere, for the man it belonged to was also stupidly alluring.

"Snooping again, I suppose." Captain Sirius Dawson slid his arm around Isabel's waist while his left hand grasped her right. "After everything, it seems you've yet to learn your lesson."

Isabel bristled . . . because of his accusation or his proximity she didn't know, for Captain Dawson had an annoying talent of leaving her decidedly off-kilter.

She almost despised him for it.

As he effortlessly spun her into the swirl of dancers, part of Isabel realized that the captain had never danced with her before, thus she'd never been this close to him. Her skin tingled with awareness at every spot he touched. Isabel hated that she was apathetic to most men but that every part of her body seemed to stand at attention whenever this man-with his golden beauty and perceptive azul eyes-appeared.

Willing her muscles to relax, Isabel allowed him to move them to the strains of a Chopin waltz. Feeling gazes pressing upon her-whether Lady Yardley's or Gabby's, or possibly one of the scores of Captain Dawson's admirers-Isabel raised her chin. She'd danced a waltz with any number of gentlemen in the time she'd been in England, but never with him. For all that he was her brother-in-law's friend, or that Isabel had spent more than a fortnight at Captain Dawson's country estate, he had seemed to go out of his way to ignore her presence. Being shunned by such a man should not bother her half as much as it did, but her chest went tight whenever she saw him.

The amused look on Captain Dawson's face now reminded Isabel that he had said . . . something. She was sure it was a scold, because when he did speak to her, he liked to point out her bad behavior. Isabel replayed his words in her mind.

"I don't know what you mean. I was merely returning from the retiring room when you waylaid me into this waltz." She arched a brow. "If you wanted to dance with me, you could have asked politely, like everyone else."

Isabel managed not to cringe through her bluff. Everyone else? Hardly. While her dance card was never empty, for rumors of her fortune had encouraged many a cash-strapped second son to seek out her hand, her reserved nature was not particularly inviting. She'd learned quickly that if she spoke of a novel she'd read or a new scientific discovery she'd heard about, eyes would glaze over and attentions would wander. More often than not, Isabel held her silence during such dances, answering the gentlemen's questions politely but volunteering nothing else, for truly, what was the point?

But something about the captain always made her speak without thinking. It was a very vexing thing. The captain was very vexing.

His blue eyes bored into her now, his lips a confusing slash between displeasure and amusement. Surely Isabel was reading him wrong and she fought not to squirm. She had always believed her father possessed the most intimidating stare, but she'd been wrong, for nothing made her want to share all her secrets-or confess all her sins-like Captain Dawson's steely gaze. It was a fortuitous thing, then, that Isabel's stubbornness was more than up for the challenge.

"I don't see why you should care about me or what I do when you and I are not friends," she said archly.

"We aren't?" The captain's brows rose. "Whatever gave you that impression?"

Her own brows dipped low over her narrowed eyes. "You did, sir. In all the months since we departed Dancourt Abbey, you've not spoken with me once. Nor my sister or Lady Yardley, that I am aware of."

"Well, that's not true," he murmured. "I chatted with Lady Yardley in the park just the other day."

"How nice for you." Isabel pinned her gaze on a perfect blond curl near the nape of his neck. "Yet the fact remains that we have never been friendly, Captain Dawson, even while my sisters and I were at Dancourt Abbey that summer. You have never taken any interest in me-" Isabel clamped down on her tongue so hard she tasted copper. She had no intention of hinting at her hurt feelings over his disregard. She never wanted any man to think he could maim her pride. Especially this man.

His chest rose and fell with a sigh, and Captain Dawson shifted his gaze from her face to a spot over her shoulder. "That's not true. I assured Fox I would keep an eye on you and Miss Gabriela-"

"And I assure you, Capitán, that my sister and I do not need anything from you."

Isabel did not raise her voice, nor did her tone hint at the anger his indifference had sparked within her. But Captain Dawson seemed to know anyway, for the angular planes of his face softened. Just a tad.

She refused to soften in return. The captain may be her brother-in-law's close friend, and he may have sheltered her and her sisters from Mexico's enemies after Ana María and Gideon were wed. But Captain Dawson had shown her time and time again that she was not worth his notice.

Being a wallflower had its benefits, but Isabel was so very tired of being overlooked.

"I'm well aware that you and your sister are capable of taking care of yourselves. You've proven it more than once." His jaw worked on a pause. "But I fear there may be others among the ton who would wish you harm, and I find the idea of that happening quite . . . unpalatable."

Damn it, what was it about this shrinking violet that made him share all his thoughts as if he’d just stepped into a confessional box?

Sirius had not given Miss Isabel Luna much thought when he'd first seen her. He'd heard she was the shy, wallflower Luna sister, often boring her dance partners with talk of books and discussions of obscure topics. From Sirius's experience, most gentlemen could not be bothered to think about much aside from gossip, horseflesh, and women, so of course an awkward debutante would be of little interest.

But it wasn't until he encountered her in the darkened interior of Lord Ratliff's study that Sirius had been reminded it was always the quiet ones that needed to be watched.

It had been almost two years prior. Sirius had been at some gathering or another-the myriad of events he was required to attend often blended together-where he had finally managed to catch Lady Attwell alone, without the hovering presence of her husband. The Home Office had been certain that if Sirius were able to get the countess alone, she would reveal what she knew about Lord Attwell's French financial holdings that had alarmed officials. Charming the countess had proven easy. The second wife of an old earl, whose heir and spare from his first wife were already at university, the young and comely Lady Attwell had been bored and looking for excitement . . . something Sirius had been more than happy to exploit.

And it was with Lady Attwell pressing hungry kisses to his neck, hands fumbling with the placket of his trousers, that Sirius had seen her. She had been crouched under the desk, only the barest glimpse of her crinoline underskirt peeking into view. With careful maneuvering, Sirius was able to crane his head to the side until a pair of large doe eyes blinked up at him, light sparkling in their dark depths. This anonymous woman appeared neither abashed nor frightened to have been discovered, and instead stared back at him as if he and Lady Attwell had interrupted her.

Sirius wasn't sure how he'd managed to end the encounter with Lady Attwell. She had not been happy, but in that moment his interest had swung wildly from her to this unknown variable.

After the countess had angrily quit the room, Sirius propped his hip against the desk, crossed his arms over his chest, and patiently waited for his quarry to come out of her hole. It seemed she was in no rush, however, for he waited five minutes before her head appeared over the desktop. She didn't gasp or seem the least bit surprised to find him still there. Instead, she climbed to her feet, brushed out the fall of her skirts, and met his gaze directly.

From the B&N Reads Blog

Customer Reviews