Rose Warren and Simon Trumbull may have been betrothed since birth, but that doesn't mean they have to like each other. Rose is sure the notorious playboy Simon will never willingly settle down, and Simon, well...he agrees. Never one to be forced into anything, he'd rather drink and gamble with his mates than spend time with the bookish, bespectacled Rose.
When the two are thrown together to investigate a potential poisoning mystery, neither expects the sparks that fly. Simon discovers that Rose is, in fact, a brilliant sleuth and - even better - hides a delectable body beneath her flowing skirts. Suddenly, falling into bed may be the best idea either has heard, but can Simon convince Rose his romancing is forever?
Each book in the Lady Lancaster Garden Society series is STANDALONE:
* Taming Her Forbidden Earl
* Romancing His English Rose
* Tempting Her Reluctant Viscount
* Enticing Her Unexpected Bridegroom
* A Rogue For Emily
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Nothing has the power to broaden the mind more than simply observing one's surroundings.
— The Duke of Lancaster
Rose Warren entered the Sunderland ballroom eager to find someone — anyone — from the Garden Society with whom to talk.
The Dowager Duchess of Lancaster was the hostess of the Young Ladies' Garden Society, of which Rose was a member. The duchess was an impressive, imposing, and impossible to ignore leader of the ton. Typically she would be addressed as "Her Grace," as befitting her title, but as the address brought to mind her predecessor (the mother of her late husband), the dowager had made it known early on that she would be addressed as "lady" and nothing else. An anomalous request to be sure, but no one dared argue. The Duke and Duchess of Lancaster were considered to be both wildly intelligent and unusually odd, but always above reproach.
The Garden Society met once a week and behind the façade of well-bred young ladies getting together for tea, Lady Lancaster's girls (as she called them) were actually helping the less fortunate and those in need of special assistance. While certainly this meant donating food and time to the homeless, orphaned, and impoverished, it also went a little further than that.
Rose and her friends helped solve mysteries, intrigues, and villainous plots throughout London as reported to Lady Lancaster by a variety of sources.
Hope and Sarah were members of the Society and two of Rose's closest friends. Her other friends, Hannah and Emily, made up the rest of the group and rounded out her small circle of confidantes. However, with Hannah on a mission and Emily being the Diamond of the season, Rose rather thought she would have a better chance locating Hope or Sarah.
Rose looked around the ballroom. It was modestly sized by most ton standards, though beautifully adorned with flowing swags of crimson material hung on the walls and covering the tables and chairs placed carefully in little niches built into the room expressly for that purpose.
Even with many people enjoying the fresh night air on the balconies, the ballroom remained quite crowded, making the search for any one person a positively massive undertaking. However, somewhere in the mad crush of people, Rose hoped to find a familiar and friendly face.
Just then Rose spotted Hope standing with Lord Pembroke and Lord Lichfield.
Interesting, Rose thought. Michael Ashmore, the Viscount Lichfield, was the man for whom Hope had set her cap ... not that the Viscount was aware of that fact yet. But Rose rather thought Hope would be changing her subtle tactics to something a bit more drastic if the man didn't begin to get the message soon.
Still, Hope didn't look to be talking much and what she was saying seemed to be directed to Lord Pembroke rather than Lord Lichfield, so Rose decided her friend wouldn't be too upset if she were to draw her attention.
Mind made up, Rose began to frantically wave her arms in an effort to catch Hope's notice. She was relieved when she saw her friend look her way and acknowledge her. Rose really did want to tell someone about her discovery.
She had spent the earlier part of the day in her family library busily sorting and cataloging the various tomes her father had ordered. Rose's father, the Viscount Holderness, was a somewhat silly man with an even sillier wife. Lord Holderness was not a big reader and, in fact, rarely entered the library except when searching out his daughter for some reason or another. However, he believed a gentleman always kept a well-stocked library, if for no other reason than for appearances. And to the Viscount and Viscountess, appearances were everything.
Keeping up appearances was a fairly easy task for Lady Holderness, Rose's mother, as she enjoyed nothing better than shopping — primarily for clothing, but almost anything would do — and therefore was almost always aware of the latest in fashion.
Rose loved her parents, for all of their silly, ridiculous ways. And she was happy to say that they loved her in return, even if they did not quite understand how such a child could have been born of them.
Rose was neither foolish nor impractical. She was intelligent and observant, and believed she was even quite pretty if one truly looked at her. However, she was painfully shy and quiet around those she was not familiar with and that, paired with a rather unfashionable need to wear spectacles, meant that Rose found herself somewhat dismissed by much of the ton.
However, despite this, she was quite often helpful to the Garden Society. She was a voracious reader and had the ability to remember everything she read — or saw, or heard. And a book she'd found today — a treatise on poisons called the Traité des poisons published some time last year — promised to be extremely interesting to the group. Its contents were listed as a vast mine of experimental observations on the symptoms of poisoning of all kinds, on the effect poisons have in the body, on their physiological action, and the means of detecting them.
Rose couldn't wait to tell someone about it.
"What on earth was that all about?" Hope demanded, after she had reached Rose's side.
"Nothing in particular," Rose hedged. "I just wanted to enjoy a bit of your company."
Hope rolled her eyes. "Why didn't you just come over and politely ask me to join you?"
"You know very well why," Rose hissed through a wide smile. It wouldn't do to appear any more unladylike than she already had, now that she had achieved her goal of attracting Hope's attention.
Sighing, Hope replied, "We really must do something about your shyness, Rose, otherwise you may resort to waving your arms around like a lunatic every time you want an audience with someone in a crowded ballroom."
Shrugging, Rose said sagely, "Better to be a lunatic from afar than a bumbling idiot up close."
"You are not an idiot, bumbling or otherwise," Hope assured her with apparent sincerity.
Waving off Hope's reassurances, Rose changed the subject to one infinitely more interesting — at least in her estimation. "You won't believe what I was reading today."
Like most of Rose's close acquaintances, Hope's eyes seemed to gloss over whenever Rose began to talk of the books she had read and new discoveries she had made from those readings. But unfortunately for Hope, Rose was really intent on telling someone what she found today. Therefore, the moment Hope appeared resigned to listen, Rose began to talk. And as she spoke, her voice became louder and louder with excitement. Soon Rose had gathered quite a crowd, including her mentor, Lady Lancaster.
Simon Trumbull was wandering through the Sunderland ballroom looking for something of interest to distract him. Normally he would be involved in a card game with the other gentlemen at the party, but for some reason he couldn't seem to concentrate.
The truth was, he was anxious.
The last couple of days, he had been working rather closely with his cousin Caleb on a little project. Generally Simon tried to avoid Caleb — he may have been his relative, but that didn't mean he had to like the man — but somehow Caleb had become aware of a smuggling scheme he and some friends were involved in and now he was coercing Simon into selling him the smuggled goods.
Simon supposed that Caleb could be helping him with this sticky situation out of the kindness of his heart but, as far as he was aware, Caleb didn't have a heart, kind or otherwise. And while Simon had not been made privy to why Caleb wanted the smuggled brandy, he was quite sure it was for nothing good.
As children, Caleb was famous for breaking, stealing, or hiding a person's prized belongings and then accusing someone else of the deed ... usually Simon. As he grew older, Simon learned to avoid his cousin, because as certainly as Simon grew up and onto bigger things than children's toys and games, surely Caleb's tricks had grown to have more adult consequences as well.
And, really, who needs that in one's life? Simon thought matter-of-factly.
Therefore, realizing that he may be unknowingly participating in some nefarious Caleb plot, Simon couldn't seem to relax. It seemed that any day now he would find out what evil thing Caleb was up to and whatever it was would undoubtedly condemn Simon to hell, too.
Simon was not necessarily known for such deep, dark thoughts. Society saw him for what he portrayed himself to be: a happy-go-lucky, extremely charming, good for a good time but not much else kind of man. And that was the way Simon liked it.
It all started the year he turned ten. When he learned the truth.
It was there, in the most God-awful room Simon could ever remember seeing then and now (purple and yellow were the colors of that season and Lady Holderness apparently thought much of the combination), that Simon was told of his contractual marriage to the then five-year-old Rose Warren.
Now Simon knew well enough that Rose would not remain a five-year-old forever, but she might as well have as far as he was concerned, for even as they grew older, she was always to him the burden he must carry — the burden he must marry — and he did not want to marry her.
Therefore, from the age of ten, Simon ceased being the amenable, intelligent, well-mannered boy he had once been. Instead he became unruly, irreverent, disrespectful, and generally a disappointment to his parents in every way.
He made it through Eton (barely) only because he realized during the last term that all of his friends were going on to university and if he expected to join them, he would have to complete his lower educational requirements first. As a credit to his intelligence, Simon went from failing every course to passing every course within the space of four months.
However, once in university, all his efforts once again waned. It was only his association with David Rochester and Alexander Bredon that prompted him to give his studies some attention. His two friends were a year behind him but in the same classes, and their ribbing and teasing as to his intellectual capabilities goaded him into proving them wrong.
It was during this time that Simon determined his new role in life — a charming, drinking, gambling womanizer without a care in the world. And it was also then that he discovered his ability to make a lady swoon with just one of his endearingly crooked smiles. He had a reputation for always having a good time, never being cross, and never ever being serious.
His parents despaired of him ever amounting to anything, ever living up to his responsibilities, or ever settling down and providing them with a much-desired grandchild — in particular, a grandson.
Simon snorted at the thought ... his parents and the Warrens may have come up with this ridiculous scheme, but that did not mean he had to follow through with it ... at least not right away.
Simon turned to go back the way he had come, when he heard someone call his name. "Mr. Trumbull ... oh Mr. Trumbull, sir."
Damn! Looking surreptitiously behind him, Simon could see Lady Lancaster looking at him expectantly, standing with none other than Rose Warren. Insufferable woman, Simon thought churlishly. Almost any other person in that ballroom could be ignored and be apologized to later, but no one dared slight Lady Lancaster if it could be avoided.
Simon wasn't quite sure what it was about the woman that struck fear into the hearts of even the highest of society, but fear was struck and therefore respect was to be given, even by — or perhaps especially by — one such as Mister Simon Trumbull.
With a beleaguered sigh, Simon turned back around and continued on his original path through the crowd, toward Rose and the indomitable Lady Lancaster. And what a crowd there was. But that suited Simon's purpose just fine. He was in no hurry to reach the pair. Well, maybe he wouldn't mind chatting with Rose, but Lady Lancaster? He would just as soon avoid her indefinitely.
Frankly, he should feel more reluctant to greet his betrothed than he did. Certainly he had gone out of his way to avoid her lately. But now that he had no choice, he was surprised to find himself curious as to how she was.
Deep down he knew he would eventually marry Rose. As much as he may act as if he didn't care, he would never dishonor his parents so much as to break a legally binding contract. And though he would never admit it aloud, there was actually something about Rose that intrigued him.
He had heard from friends who had tried to talk with her (there was something to be said for trying out a line or two on a girl everyone knew was spoken for — and therefore "safe") that she was a shy, timid, blundering thing. Simon had never seen that side of Rose, however. He wasn't sure if it was because they had grown up together, or the fact that they were engaged already, but Rose always seemed very eloquent with him. Shy, yes; tendency to blush and avoid direct eye contact, yes; but unable to speak coherently, no.
This fact made Simon feel a bit special, actually, and honestly, so very little in his life did these days. But he wasn't ready to marry yet and he doubted very much that he would be ready any time soon.
He supposed that was why it was getting harder and harder to spend time with Rose. While she had never actually said so, he assumed she was getting a little anxious about his lack of commitment thus far.
He was going to have to talk with her about it before long, though. They needed to set up some ground rules. They may have to get married, but he truly hoped she wouldn't expect their marriage to be a traditional one.
They would do what they had to do to provide their parents with an heir, but then he fully expected them to go their own ways. The last thing he wanted to be was tied down by some girl ... some obligation ... that wasn't even of his choosing.
This was not a love match, and the sooner they both recognized that, the better off they would be.
By the time she heard Lady Lancaster summon Simon, Rose had lost most of her voice and much of her audience. Not surprisingly, Hope had fled as soon as Lady Lancaster had arrived. Clearly she had not grasped the significance of what Rose was saying the way the others had.
Grabbing a glass of lemonade off of a tray being carried past her, Lady Lancaster remarked, "Well, my dear. You certainly are popular tonight."
Clearing her throat in an entirely useless attempt to relieve her hoarseness, Rose said, "Yes, I had no idea everyone would be so fascinated."
"Didn't you, now?" Lady Lancaster asked dryly, as she handed the glass of pale yellow liquid to Rose.
Rose blushed slightly. "Fine, I suppose I wasn't completely surprised by the interest. This breakthrough could ... er, impact ... any number of families. I just never imagined that everyone would be so bold in their interest. Isn't it a little obvious of them?" She gave Lady Lancaster a grateful look as she took a much needed swallow of the drink.
"The ton is nothing if not obvious ... in a variety of matters," Lady Lancaster stated.
Rose had to admit Lady Lancaster had a point. Looking around the room, Rose could see a number of prime examples of such.
Across the room, Almira Muckley was surrounded by a puppy-like group of men eager to do her bidding, but it was clear the man she really wanted was Rupert Wentworth, the Duke of Sussex. It was equally apparent that the duke didn't even know the young debutante existed; the duke was far more interested in the wife of the Earl of Lindsey, who seemed to return the sentiment, if her sidelong glances were any indication.
In yet another corner, a group of young ladies was teasing a late bloomer whose eager mother pushed her to debut a season or two too early. If one didn't look too closely, one may almost think the girls were laughing with her, rather than at her, but Rose knew this was not the case. She knew from her own experience interacting with the "popular" crowd — sadly from the point of view of the ostracized girl — and also from the fact that her friend Emily was already on her way over to help the poor thing out.
Rose had to shake her head at all the things happening in that ballroom that most people saw but pretended they didn't. She supposed the same would be true of the gathering she had attracted earlier. Everyone may have seen who the most interested parties were, but no one would dare acknowledge it publicly.
Excerpted from "Romancing His English Rose"
Copyright © 2013 Catherine Hemmerling.
Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I am not a huge fan of mystery / romance books because they often are heavy on mystery and light on the romance, but I am vet happy to say that Romancing His English Rose has a wonderful blend of romance with a sprinkle of mystery. Rose has a almost photographic memory, which aids her as she and her fiancé investigate the murder of Simon's cousin. She reminds of a 18th century version of the female characters from the Big Bang theory. Simon is a typical rake, who realizes the gift he has been given in his betrothed while researching poisons. Overall, I generally like my books a little steamier, I would recommend this for book to members of my own family.m
This was a Regency mystery full of love and self aware/discovery. I have to say, it wasn't my cup of tea, I don't normally like mystery books for starter, and I also prefer a strong Alpha male. And this one the heroine was the lead with the hero as the secondary. But with this story it worked. Lots of growth between both main people to keep the story going while they figured out the mystery. Cute phrases/lines throughout the book that had you smiling and laughing all the way through. If you are regency romance reader and like mystery books then you would like this one.
This was such an enjoyable read I begrudged setting it down to feed my family! I really enjoyed reading the "forensic aspect" of Lady Lancaster's Garden Society and the inclusion of Dr. Orfila and his specific knowledge and help (CSI eat your heart out!)in recognizing the poisons used and his total acceptance of Rose's opinion just made the story that much better! Simon and Rose were such wonderful characters and Ms. Hemmerling's dialogue was so spot on I felt so satisfied with their "Happy Ever After" that I can't wait to read more of her books.
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Wonderful! 4.5 *Book source ~ Many thanks to Entangled for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review. Ever since Rose Warren could talk she called Simon ‘Mine.’ At age 10 Simon thinks five-year-old Rose is an irritant, but when he finds out she’s actually correct in her statement that he is hers because of a marriage contract signed by their parents he changes from an intelligent biddable boy to someone else entirely. He doesn’t want to be forced to marry Rose and when Simon makes her cry she decides he is no longer worthy of her. Years later, when Simon and Rose are thrown together to solve a case involving his cousin and a poisoning they come to the conclusion that their parents may have been correct in pairing them up for marriage because the sparks are definitely flying. Can they explore this new relationship and still solve the case? While this story is definitely well-written, entertaining and even smokin’ hot without being explicit I had a problem with it being book 2 in the series. Since I didn’t read book 1 I felt I was missing a big chunk of the story involving William and Hannah and Simon’s cousin. And I hate missing out. It drives me insane. Reading this story without reading book 1 will probably not bother a majority of the population. However, if you’re like me, then I suggest picking up book 1, Taming Her Forbidden Earl, first before immersing yourself in Rose and Simon’s story. So that’s why I give it a 4.5 instead of a 5. All-in-all a wonderful historical romance with a mystery to solve added in for extra spice.
An intriguing romance with a great mix of heart and suspense, Romancing His English Rose is a fun choice for those who are looking for a little edge to their love story. - Full review available at BookTrib's website or RomanticReadsandSuch on wordpress.
Early today I finished reading Romancing His English Rose by Catherine Hemmerling. Of course, I would start with book two of a series. Heaven forbid I would actually start with book one. In my defense, I didn't realize that this was a book two of a series. However, I manage to make it through the story without too many complications. I think most readers will survive if they hadn't read the first book. I plan to go back and read book one, because there are characters in this book I would like to know how they came about to be a couple. Of course book one answers those questions. Anyway, Romancing His English Rose focuses on Rose Warren and Simon Trumbull. At the beginning the story, we see a young Rose and Simon. Rose was always calling Simon "Mine", because she was told that she would one day marry Simon. When Simon found out he was aghast and from that day on he did everything in his power to avoid being a decent young boy. Fast forward some years later, Simon is trying to obliterate that memory of that fateful day when he decided to change. However, he's still "technically" betrothed to Rose. However, circumstances forces these two to work together. As they slowly get reacquainted, they realize there's an attraction. Yet, Rose doesn't want to get too attach to Simon for fear she would never recover, and Simon doesn't want to get attach cause what happen when they were younger. I really enjoyed the Romancing His English Bride, because you have a romance and a mystery going on. Honestly, the style for this book kind of reminded me of Robyn DeHart's Ladies' Amateur Sleuth Society. If any of you read those book, would actually enjoy Catherine Hemmerling's books. I did like the attraction between Simon and Rose. Plus, they work well together. Romancing His English Bride kept me entertain while they try to solve a mystery, and the bonus is the budding romance. So, if you are looking for a little mystery with your romance, you might want to give Romancing His English Bride a try. I personally can't wait for the next story. Copy provided by the publisher
A great addition to a wonderful series, Romancing His English Rose was a lovely historical romance. With thrilling mystery and steamy romance, this book was definitely a great read. Loved it! Rose was a wonderful heroine. She was so thoroughly likable. She was just a genuinely kind, clever, strong character that it's impossible not to like her. I appreciated that she wasn't one of the heroines in romance that was prone to dramatics. She was eminently sensible and that was another point in her favor. I thought she was lovely and I really liked her. Simon was also great. He was strong, clever, and oh-so-attractive, with a little-boy mischievousness that made him very endearing. In a word, I would call him a rascal, and I mean that in the best way possible. He was sweet and adorable and I really liked him. The romance was okay. It was definitely sweet and the chemistry between these two was on fire. I thought they were great together. But, I wish there had been a little more to it. I say that because, at the start of the book, Rose and Simon don't like each other, even though both of them have every intention of getting married someday. I wanted to see more of why there as an animosity (though it was touched on briefly, it didn't feel like a full explanation) and more of how the changed. Because, with the way it went in the book, it was more a Simon finally seeing the light and realizing his fiance is actually pretty and kind. And Rose just accepting that. I wanted more depth. But, for the most part, I liked the romance. My only other complaint about this book is that it sometimes slipped into modern slang that was jarring in the historical context. It wasn't just a word or two that I could have ignored. It was quite a few words that most definitely didn't fit. But, that might just be me being a history nerd, so it might not bother anyone else. The plot was fast paced and I was hooked the entire way through. The mystery was definitely thrilling and had me on the edge of my seat. I really enjoyed the story and the ending was lovely. Romancing His English Rose was a wonderful historical romance. The mystery, the romance. It was all fantastic! I really enjoyed reading this book. Lovers of romance, this is a book you'll want to read. *I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Romancing His English Rose by Catherine Hemmerling is the second book in the Lady Lancaster Garden Society series. While it can stand alone and the romance in it is not dependent on the first book, it is better to have read the first in the series as quite a number of allusions to it are made. The Garden Society has nothing to do with gardening, but is a secret society of young women who investigate crimes of interest to Lady Lancaster. Rose is a strong character, both for her time, and within the context of the story. It makes Simon look weaker than he may otherwise have appeared. The romance, in that sense, revolves around Simon growing into manhood whereas Rose was always a lady and highly mature. It made for an interesting change in the roles in historical romance and was quite refreshing if a little frustrating at times. Simon often comes off as quite small and petty up against Rose. The mystery is one that is quite personal to the characters and the villain has clearly been introduced in the first book. The way the mystery is solved is pulled from historical records and the beginnings of forensics, which was fun to read about. It wasn’t so much a “whodunit” mystery as a “How can we prove he did it?” mystery, which read in places more like a thriller than a suspense. It was a fun read, and I got a little history too. It’s definitely one to read, just read Book 1 in the series (Taming Her Forbidden Earl) first. RATING: 4 Heat Rating: Mild REVIEWED BY: Monique Neaves Courtesy of My Book Addiction and More
I was given a copy of this book from the publisher and author in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated in any way. If you’re something of an amateur sleuth you may be impressed with Rose’s skills. You will be surprised at how quickly the pages go by as you read. You will forget about everything else and then you’ll realize the story is done. I have to think as I read the interactions between Simon and Rose that he’s finally met his match. But who will come out on top? My page-turner is finding out if they ever bring the villain to justice. The romancing is nice but it’s the mystery that’s doing it for me – the suspense is driving me nuts. I can’t believe I’m saying this but when Simon finally tutors Rose on everything a couple does behind closed doors, I just wanted to yell at them to hurry it up and start solving things. Their love for each other is just icing on the cake. The only disappointment I had is that this is the first book in the series that I’ve read. I look forward to reading more of Catherine’s work. It’s a fast read that you can get done in one or two days – depending on how much time you have during your day. By the end, you will be smiling as you read the HEA ending. If historical romantic mysteries are your cup of tea then make sure to add this book to your shelf.