A PROPOSAL FROM A SCOUNDREL
Daphne Swift has not laid eyes on her devilishly charming husband, Captain Rafferty Cavendish, in quite some time. As a matter of fact, she wants the rogue to annul their brief marriage so that she can marry the reliable and estimable Lord Fitzwell. But the breathtakingly handsome Rafe is not interested in letting Daphne go-at least not without paying his scandalous price...
THE SEDUCTION OF HIS WIFE
Rafe prefers to face the dangers of spying alone, but this time he needs his innocent, fiery wife to uncover the information he seeks. He has even agreed to release her from their marriage if she submits completely to his plan. However, Daphne's alluring combination of courage and curves makes her a dangerous distraction, and it is not long before Rafe is trading subterfuge for seduction in order to prove that Daphne is meant to be his and his alone...
Valerie Bowman's Playful Brides novels are:
"Smart and sensual...readers will be captivated."-RT Book Reviews
"Sexy, satisfying romance."-KirkusReviews
"Merry, intelligent, and wholly satisfying."-USA Today
About the Author
Valerie Bowman grew up in Illinois with six sisters (she's number seven) and a huge supply of historical romance novels. After a cold and snowy stint earning a degree in English with a minor in history at Smith College, she moved to Florida the first chance she got.
Valerie now lives in Jacksonville with her family including her rascally dog, Roo. When she's not writing, she keeps busy reading, traveling, or vacillating between watching crazy reality TV and PBS.
Read an Excerpt
The Irresistible Rogue
By Valerie Bowman
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2015 June Third Enterprises LLC
All rights reserved.
London, June 1816 The Earl of Swifdon's town house, Hanover Square
Daphne Swift eyed the mysterious present that rested atop her writing desk. It was wrapped in soft pink paper and tied with a wide white ribbon. Someone obviously knew her favorite color. But the gift did little to stop the dread that had been steadily rising in her throat all morning.
"I think it's an engagement gift," her young cousin Delilah said. "For your party tomorrow." Moments ago, Delilah had flounced into the room carrying the wrapped box in both hands, an impish smile on her face. "I simply cannot wait until I'm old enough to receive an engagement present." Drama dripped from Delilah's voice, and she clasped her hands together near her hip. She blinked rapidly. "J'adore presents."
"Delilah, you're barely twelve." Daphne nudged the gift with her fingertip. "And this is not an engagement gift. I am not engaged."
Delilah lifted both dark brows. "Not yet. But your mama says you're sure to receive an offer from Lord Fitzwell after the ball tomorrow night. He's been courting you for weeks." Delilah sighed again. "I cannot wait until I am old enough to receive marriage offers. I should like enough to have a choice. But not so many as to be vulgar."
Daphne shook her head. "Don't be so quick to want to grow up. Believe me, maturity includes far more trouble than you realize."
"What sort of trouble, Cousin Daphne?" Delilah's voice was filled with her ubiquitous curiosity.
"Like ..." Daphne snapped shut her mouth. Trouble? A handsome face filled her mind. Laughing sky-blue eyes, a firm chin with an intriguing dimple, sun-streaked short blond hair, and the most devastatingly charming smile that ever graced the lips of a man. And oh, what a man he was, if infuriating. "Like ... trouble."
"I don't care. J'adore les cadeaux. Who sent that one?" Delilah pointed at the box and twirled a long, dark curl around the tip of her finger. She hopped from the bed and skipped over to the desk where she plucked the calling card from the top of the box.
She held the card in front of her elfish face. Her dark eyes grew as big as if she'd seen the vicar sneaking gin. "Captain Rafferty Cavendish?"
Daphne's heart tripped in her chest. And the blue eyes reappeared in her mind. Rafe? That rogue. That liar. She swallowed hard and concentrated on keeping the anger from her face and the dread from suffocating her. She tugged on the finger that would have worn a ring, twisting her right fist round and round. She took a deep breath. She must open the present or give Delilah a sufficient reason why she wouldn't. She might as well get it over with. It was only a gift.
So why was her stomach pulling into knots?
Perhaps it was because of the note she'd received three days ago. The note she'd read and hidden in the back of her wardrobe. The note in which Rafe had insisted they meet immediately.
The note she had decidedly ignored.
"Does the card say anything else?" Daphne ventured, wincing.
Delilah flipped it over. "Upon the occasion of your imminent engagement. Many happy returns," she read. "Oh, I was right. It is an engagement present, Cousin Daphne."
Daphne snatched the card from Delilah's hand. She scoured the vellum but there was nothing else. Nothing save Rafe's bold, scrawling handwriting and the implied sarcasm that suffused those words. Sarcasm only Daphne could decipher.
"What did he send you?" Delilah nodded toward the gift.
"I've no idea. You open it," Daphne replied, swallowing hard.
Delilah didn't need to be asked twice. She promptly seized the package and ripped off the ribbon and the pretty pink paper to reveal a small white box.
The cousins exchanged a curious glance.
Delilah snatched off the lid and stared into the box. Her face crumpled into a scowl that looked as if she'd just drunk curdled milk.
"What? What is it?" Daphne's hands turned clammy. She clenched and unclenched her fists to keep the feeling in her fingers, which were quickly going numb with worry.
"It's a ... little wooden ship," Delilah replied. "I cannot say j'adore it."
"Well, that would be a first," Daphne replied with a laugh. "But a ship?" She took the box from Delilah and stared down into it. There, nestled in white tissue paper, was a replica of a ship the size of Daphne's palm.
She carefully lifted it out of the box. There was something familiar ...
Delilah waggled her brows. "Why would the dashing, handsome Captain Cavendish send you an engagement present, Cousin Daphne? Besides, I thought he was a captain in the army, not a captain of a ship."
"He is." Daphne turned the replica around in her hand. She caught her breath. The name was painted in bold black letters across the stern ... just the way they were on the real vessel.
The True Love.
Daphne pressed her palm to the desktop, her knees buckling beneath her. She tried to drag air in and out of her lungs. She did not need this reminder, today of all days.
Delilah peered at her sideways. "What is it, Cousin Daphne?"
Daphne quickly dropped the small ship back into the tissue paper, ensuring that Delilah didn't see its name.
Knock. Knock. Knock.
Someone at the door had saved her. Thank heavens. Daphne quickly turned toward the sound. "Who is it?"
"It's Mama, dear."
"Just a moment, Mama." Daphne waved a hand at Delilah. She gave the girl a stern stare. "Not a word about this," she whispered fiercely. "You may borrow my diamond ear bobs for a fortnight."
Delilah gave her a conspiratorial wink and a firm nod. "I promise."
"Thank you," Daphne whispered, moving over to the window. Her cousin could always be counted upon to be bribed. "Now help me with this chair. I must hide this thing." She lifted the box.
"Why?" Delilah asked, springing into motion to assist Daphne with pushing the tufted chair near the window over to the wardrobe.
Daphne whispered while she pushed. "There's no time to explain now."
The chair scraped across the wooden floor.
"What's that noise, dear?" Mama called from the corridor.
"Nothing. I'm coming." Daphne mashed the lid back on the box, climbed up on the seat of the chair, and quickly shoved the gift onto the highest shelf of the wardrobe. She hopped down and smoothed her hands over her coiffure and skirts before hastily making her way to the door. She swung it open and stood facing her mother.
Her mother brushed past her into the room. "Delilah, there you are." Mama's gaze swept the room. "Why is the chair near the wardrobe?"
Daphne concentrated on keeping her face blank. "Because I was ... looking for something."
Her mother's confused gaze met hers.
"A ... fichu. The one Aunt Willie gave me last Christmas." She took a deep breath. At least that much was true. She had been searching her room for the little lace collar all morning. "Don't you remember it, Mama? It was a hideous thing. I think I put it in the top of the wardrobe and I'm too short to find it without the chair." She gave Delilah a pleading look.
"Yes, and I've been helping her," Delilah added in an overly loud voice.
Daphne let out a loud, long sigh. "It's ever so inconvenient being the opposite of tall."
"The opposite of tall, Cousin Daphne?" Delilah asked.
"I don't care much for the word 'short'," Daphne replied with another sigh.
Mama's brow wrinkled. "If the fichu is so hideous, why are you searching for it?"
Daphne made her way over to her dressing table. She sat and began rubbing cream onto her hands. "Because Aunt Willie would be disappointed if she arrives this weekend and doesn't see me wearing it at least once. I'd rather see a smile on her face and suffer through a few hours of wearing a hideous fichu."
Her mother's face was wreathed with a smile. "You're kind to your auntie, dear." Aunt Willie was her mother's and Delilah's mother's sister. The three women had grown up together, the daughters of the sixth Earl of Galverston.
Delilah absently patted the bow on the top of her head. "I agree. That's quite nice of you, Cousin Daphne. I will endeavor to do the same when you are elderly and present me with a hideous fichu."
Daphne let out a short bark of laughter. "Thank you, Delilah. I appreciate that, even though I am only seven years older than you. Not to mention I don't care for hideous fichus. Though I suppose, in my old age, I may endeavor to create a few of them, as Aunt Willie has done."
"You may be only seven years older than me, Cousin Daphne. But they are seven crucial years. You are about to become engaged and I am not even close to my come out. Alas." Delilah put the back of her hand to her forehead and let out an overly dramatic sigh.
"What's this, dear?" Mama asked, her eyes trained on Daphne's writing desk.
Daphne's mother stood near the desk looking beautiful with her honey-blond hair now laced with white and her gray eyes that Daphne had inherited.
"What?" Daphne asked.
"This book." Mama slid a volume from the top of the desk.
"Oh, that." Daphne nearly sighed in relief. "It's just my copy of The Adventures of Miss Calliope Cauldwell. I found it in the back of my desk drawer earlier while I was looking for the fichu."
"I remember it now. This used to be your favorite book, dear," her mother murmured.
Daphne made her way over to stand next to her mother and stared down at the old, worn cover. She swallowed the lump in her throat. Mama was right. It had been her favorite book. Back when she dreamed of things like adventures and spying and —
Fiddle. None of that mattered now. She'd been on an adventure — thank you very much — and it had been positively dreadful. She opened her desk drawer and slid the book inside. Then she shook her head. "I know it's been exceedingly busy downstairs today, what with preparing for the party," Daphne said. "Why, I must have heard the knocker at least a half-dozen times. I promise to come down right away to assist you."
"That's not necessary, dear. Pengree and I have been seeing to all the callers, except —"
"I know, Mama, but I insist upon helping."
Her mother's smile was cheerful. "Nothing to worry about, my dear. I'm in my element. Notes are coming from all corners of London and the countryside. The party tomorrow night is sure to be a smashing success. All of our relatives, friends, and acquaintances are eager to wish you well on your potential engagement to Lord Fitzwell."
Daphne swallowed. Why did it still sound so foreign to her ears? Engagement to Lord Fitzwell. This is what she'd been planning for weeks. She'd been spending time with Lord Fitzwell, allowing him to escort her to events about town, riding with him in the park. It was time. It was past time. She was soon to begin her third Season out. But now, now that it was finally about to happen, the knots in her belly were forming an army. "The engagement has not been announced formally, Mama."
"Of course not, dear. Not yet, but everyone knows that the ball may very well turn into your engagement ball."
Daphne put the back of her hand to her forehead. "Is it hot in here?"
"Oh, dear. I do hope you're not coming down with something."
Daphne shook her head. "Oh, no, no, no. I'll be fine. I can count on one hand the number of times I've taken to bed ill. Besides, I have a myriad of duties I should be attending to, like helping you with the party preparations, Mama." Daphne bit her lip. The lovely, thoughtful, expensive party that would no doubt be difficult to call off. Not that she wanted to call it off. No, she did not. She was going to have this party and accept Lord Fitzwell's suit, if he proposed, of course, and nothing was going to stop it. Nothing save — There went the dread rising in her throat again. She gulped.
"The reason I came up is because you have a visitor, dear," Mama said quietly.
"Mama, you needn't have troubled yourself. You should have sent Pengree or one of the footmen."
Her mother pressed her lips together. "I wasn't certain you'd want to see this particular visitor."
Daphne whipped her head around, her brow wrinkled. "Who?"
"Who?" Delilah echoed.
Mama's kind eyes searched Daphne's face. "It's Captain Cavendish, dear."
Delilah's eyes rounded and her mouth formed a wide O. Daphne sucked in her breath but quickly shook her head and concentrated on keeping her face still. She mustn't allow her mother to see how greatly the name affected her. But she'd just named the one person who stood to ruin the entire party, indeed, the entire engagement. And her mother didn't even know why.
Captain Rafferty Cavendish.
Daphne's husband.CHAPTER 2
Daphne turned to Delilah who still sat on the bed, now with a catlike smile pinned to her gamine little face. "Why didn't you tell your mother that Captain Cavendish sent you that gift?" Delilah asked as soon as Mama had left the room. "Why did you hide it?"
"It's quite a long story and one I don't have time to explain, now —"
"Oh, pleeease tell me, Cousin Daphne. I do so j'adore a good mystery."
"If you enjoy a mystery, then my telling you will rob you of the pleasure of solving it. And I hate to mention it, but I don't think you're using j'adore correctly in all instances."
Delilah tapped her cheek. "I am still learning French, cousin. And you are right about the mystery. Very well. I shall settle for a hint. A good one, if you please."
Daphne couldn't help but shake her head and smile. "No, Delilah, not now. It's something complicated that only adults should discuss."
"I cannot wait to be an adult. You get to hear all the best gossip."
Daphne stared at her reflection in the looking glass. "As I said, Delilah, don't be too quick to want to grow up."
"But I want to grow up. I want to have adventures like Calliope Cauldwell. I want to have handsome gentlemen send me gifts even if they are odd ones like tiny wooden ships. Though I am certain I would prefer jewelry." Delilah fell back onto the bed with her hand on her forehead again. "Oh, I wish something would happen. Nothing ever possibly in the least ever happens around here."
Daphne turned to her cousin and put both fists to her hips. "Don't be so dramatic, Delilah. Adventures can be quite dangerous. In more ways than one. And as for something happening around here, you don't find an engagement party to be exciting?"
Delilah sat back up and braced both hands behind her on the quilt. "I suppose an engagement party is a start, but I'd like there to be something truly exciting."
"Like a plot, or a mésalliance, or a scandal!"
"Fiddle. Think what you're saying. We don't live in the middle of The Adventures of Miss Calliope Cauldwell. True life is much less exciting, I assure you. I am going to marry Lord Fitzwell and that is far from a mésalliance."
Another sigh from Delilah. "More's the pity."
"Delilah Montbank, think about yourself."
"I shall endeavor to, Cousin Daphne. But I don't hold out much hope for reforming myself. I believe I'm quite a lost cause." The gamine smile popped back to Delilah's lips. "Now, are you going to go downstairs and see Captain Cavendish? Thank him for his gift?" The girl's dark eyebrows waggled.
Daphne twisted her finger and pointedly ignored the eyebrow waggling. "I suppose I must."
"I suggest you take your time making your way down to the green drawing room," Delilah said.
"Why?" Daphne furrowed her brow.
"You should keep a man waiting. They positively j'adore it. Though they'd never admit it."
"Delilah Montbank! Who told you that nonsense?"
Delilah fluttered a small hand in the air with practiced nonchalance. "Oh, Cousin Daphne, everyone knows you should keep a man waiting."
"Everyone, you say?" Daphne eyed the girl warily. Just how much did her scamp of a cousin know about Daphne's love life?
Delilah cleared her throat. "Next, you should peer into the looking glass and ensure you have color in your cheeks."
Daphne narrowed her eyes on her cousin. "I don't even want to know how you know about such things."
"Do it," Delilah ordered, pointing toward the looking glass.
Daphne reluctantly turned toward the glass and did as she was told. Her cheeks pinkened immediately.
Excerpted from The Irresistible Rogue by Valerie Bowman. Copyright © 2015 June Third Enterprises LLC. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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 love this author but this is the fourth book I have read in the series and they all seem to be just about the same. Half way through this book I actually thought I read it already. She tends to repeat the same phrases a few times each book. Maybe it wouldn't bother me had I not read the others so recently. It was a very cute book with a flowing story line. I will probably end up getting the next book as well, I'll just wait a while to read it.
This was a very sweet and charming read. The chemistry between Daphne and Rafe was palpable, and drew me into the story with each page read. The plot itself was wonderful and fresh, and kept me entertained. I did feel I needed to read the other book in the series to have a better connection with the secondary characters. I would recommend to lovers of historical romance.
Daphne Swift (younger sister to Julian, hero of book two of the Playful Brides series, The Accidental Countess) and Captain Rafe Cavendish might be married, but it's a marriage of convenience only - one that was necessary for Daphne to follow in her older brothers' footsteps as spies for the Crown so that she might pose as Rafe's cabin boy on their last mission. Sadly her eldest brother Donald was killed during that mission, a fact that Rafe bitterly regrets and seeks to avenge. Since then Daphne has returned home and the hunt for a 'real' husband is in full swing, her mother being unaware that Daphne is in fact already married, and her brother Julian having promised to help her get an annulment. But when Daphne hears that Rafe plans to seek Donald's killers, her excitement at helping him trumps her marriage problems and she finds herself once again in disguise and en route to seek her revenge too. When they were together the first time, Rafe was unaware that Daphne had lived with a crush on him for several years and nothing untoward happened. But this time, Rafe is seeing Daphne in an entirely new light. Can Rafe convince Daphne that he should remain top choice on her list of suitable husbands? I really enjoyed this story! Daphne is a fun, precocious young woman, full of vigor and adventurous spirit. Though she knows that she should be looking for a suitable husband, one with a title, wealthy, and staid (aka boring), she can't help but wish she could have another adventure like the one she had with Rafe before, her knowledge of Russian having been the impetus for him bringing her along the first time to catch the Russian spies working for the French. She thoroughly enjoyed her stint as his cabin boy, feeling like she was finally contributing to her country and following in the footsteps of her older brothers. Her one amorous advance on Rafe was rejected however and she's put it behind her, determined now that she'll do the right thing in society and marry well. Rafe showing up at her 'almost engagement' ball puts a kink in her plans, as he makes it quite plain that her choice of husband is a poor one (in particular because she's already married to him!) , and sets out to show her that she should reconsider. Rafe comes across as a loyal friend, a dependable man, one who has taken his marriage vow to Daphne seriously even if it was meant to be in name only. He's come to realize that Daphne has grown into a beautiful young woman, and his feelings for her are much more complicated than they used to be. When Daphne accompanies him on his latest mission, to catch the men responsible for Donald's death, their close quarters become much closer as they finally succumb to the deep attraction between them, one that Rafe is finally acknowledging. They share some steamy scenes together, consummating their marriage and in a nutshell, making it much more difficult for Daphne to consider another man for a husband. Rafe feels some guilt over this, in part because he knows that as a captain in the military he doesn't have the wealth or social standing that Daphne deserves. But it's not enough to stop him from showing her what they've been missing out on as husband and wife. Besides the romance blooming finally between Rafe and Daphne, there are some exciting action scenes as they seek out Donald's killers. I really liked how the plot came together, picking up in pace in keeping with the action. 4 stars for this delightful read!
This is book 4 in the Playful Brides series. A year ago, Lady Daphne Swift married Captain Rafferty Cavendish. It was not a love match, but one that was done with practicality in mind. Daphne was helping Rafe with a mission for the crown and she was needed to translate. If they were found out, their marriage would save Daphne's reputation. Knowing that their marriage would never be a real one, Daphne is set on finding another to marry. But first she must get an annulment. Rafe can't grant Daphne her annulment because he needs her for another mission. One that will hopefully find the person that murdered her brother. Rafe agrees to give Daphne the annulment after she helps him with the mission. But what she doesn't know, is that Rafe has no plans to end their marriage. Can Rafe convenience Daphne to honor their vows and make it a marriage in truth? Once again Bowman hits it out of the park! This series has been one of my favorites and continues to be with this story. Always top on my list is the bantering between the H/H. There was plenty of that between Daphne and Rafe. Most of the story took place aboard a ship. I always like that because it forces the characters to interact more frequently with each other. In the case of Rafe and Daphne, they were sharing a cabin. They couldn't get away from the awareness they had of the other and that definitely added so much more to the story. I can't wait for the next book in the series, The Untamed Earl, to come out in May 2016!! Thanks go out to St. Martin's Press via NetGalley for a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.
The Irresistible Rogue by Valerie Bowman is a fantastic read. Ms Bowman has delivered a well written book full of drama, action and sizzle. Daphne and Rafe's story has an amazing array of phenomenal characters. I love the touch of humor through the story. The Irresistible Rogue is book 4 of the Playful Brides series, but can be read as a standalone. This is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger. I enjoyed The Irresistible Rogue and look forward to reading more from Valerie Bowman in the future. I received a copy of this book from NetGalley for review purposes.
Valerie Bowman's The Irresistible Rogue Great read!! This is the first Valerie Bowman book I have read. It is the fourth in The Playful Brides Series. It can be read as a stand alone with no difficulty. This story makes historical romance reading a very unique experience with all the adventurous twists and turns involved. Description is deftly woven into the story making the reader feel as if they were present with the characters. The characters are very well defined. Each adding their own flavor to the story. The story showed how class was defined in that era. The chemistry between the main characters was undeniable. Their shenanigans added humor to a story filled with deceit, trickery, mystery, drama, suspense, loyalty, regret and unpredictable events. Come join Daphne Swift as her life is in turmoil. Thank you to the author and Net Gallery for this eBook. My opinion is my own.
Each page brought a new twist to this story, reading perfectly without having to know the earlier titles, you can jump right into this story and be transported. Daphne has a new suitor, and he’s asked her to marry him. The new beau is dashing, handsome and utterly suitable. Unfortunately, Daphne is already married, and she has to obtain an annulment from her secret husband to move on with her life. Rafferty (Rafe) Cavendish is in the employ of the Crown, working with Daphne’s brother Donald, which is how he came to marry Daphne. Now, with Donald gone, Rafe wants answers about his death. With Daphne reappearing in his life, he won’t relent and provide the annulment until she helps him ferret out the mystery of Donald’s death. Their marriage was in name only, even though Daphne has had feelings for him forever, he never would dishonor his best friend’s sister, or jeopardize their relationship. But, things are different now, they are both doing their best to ignore the obvious attraction, and Daphne does prove helpful in his investigation. Twists and turns that thrilled or dismayed were plentiful, with seriously clever dialogue and solidly built characters. Rafe’s honor and determination to solve the mystery surrounding Donald while keeping Daphne safe is evident, and his playful nature and good humor keep him from being too stuffy. Daphne is wonderful, she doesn’t always hold her tongue, and her confidence really took a hit when her ‘marriage’ turned out to be a business proposition. She’s still stinging in many ways from that perceived rejection, although EVERYONE (including she and Rafe) ultimately see they are perfect for one another. Developed and complex characters with dialogue and backstory that completely fits the story that is reminiscent of The Philadelphia Story set in Regency England. A fun, engaging and clever story that fits nicely with the earlier titles in the series, and will encourage readers trying this series for the first time to get ALL the books. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
I was sitting here thinking about which book to read when I remembered I had this book to read. It was exactly the book I needed. It was funny, extremely well written, the characters dragged you into their world and before you realized it you are hooked. I sat down just to read a chapter or so and relax a little. Before I realized it I had read the whole book. This book is a keeper. I think it is my favorite so far of the playful bride series. If you love a great story with a fabulous plot, playful and funny characters, and a story that will quickly become a favorite then this is exactly the book for you.
This is book four in the "Playful Brides" series. I have been jumping in and out of the series so for me this was a stand alone book.. But I will say that the heroine (Lady Daphne Swift) and the hero (Captain Rafferty Cavendish) story start somewhat in another book. But for me, they went on about their story enough where it was not that big of an issue. Lady Daphne is setting to get engaged to a man she has been seeing for a few weeks. But near to the party date of the possible engagement her "husband" Captain Rafferty appears at her door asking for her help again. Lady Daphne tries to tell him she will no longer help him but he used their Marriage against her. She thought he had annulled it, but he said he hadn't. So she has to help him to get her freedom and also it will help solve her brothers death she thinks. I really loved the secondary characters too. It was a fun, hard to put down book. I hope that you will like it too!
A secret marriage, spies, dangerous missions, a headstrong heroine, and a sexy rogue make for an irresistible page turner! Daphne Swift is a Lady of the ton that is determined to marry a well to do titled man worthy of her list of qualifying attributes. She has her eye on Lord Fitzwell, or Lord Fitzdud, as his demeanor more accurately describes him. Daphne has her engagement ball all planned, but one little minor detail still needs to be taken care of, her annulment to Captain Rafferty Cavendish. Unbeknownst to her family, Daphne married Rafe on a secret spy mission to protect her virtue on the pretense it would be annulled after the mission with her innocence still intact. Instead of granting the annulment as promised, Rafe needs Daphne's help on one last mission to avenge her brother's death. Unable to resist her loyalty to the Crown, her brother, and secret desire for Rafe, she agrees to help on one last mission. The witty humor, underlying sexual tension, and suspense made this a true 5 star book! Even though this is part of a series, it can be read as a stand alone. Daphne's character is refreshing and unique! I loved her bravery and sense of adventure. You could feel her determination and spirit in so many of the scenes. Rafe, leaves you breathless and cheering for him to win over Daphne's heart instead of Lord Fitzwell. And we can not forget Cousin Delilah, she let me in tears at her cuteness and cleverness!
The fourth book in Valerie Bowman’s Playful Brides series features a nice little twist in its opening chapter: the hero and heroine are already married. This is a book of second chances, a trope I love, with a bit of adventure tossed in. Captain Rafferty (Rafe) Cavendish is an astute and dedicated spy in service to the Crown, working for the War Office. He is a plain old mister who has distinguished himself but he still feels he is far below Lady Daphne Swift’s station. But Daphne is no typical aristocrat and pampered miss. Both her brothers served as spies–in fact, the heir, Donald, gave up his life–and she is fluent in Russian, a valuable skill to Rafe’s current mission. She helped him once before and, to protect her reputation should anything happen, they secretly married, though the marriage was unconsummated. Rafe is now out to revenge his torturers and Donald’s murderers. But he needs Daphne’s help once again, despite their mutual attraction. During their first devastating mission, Daphne and Rafe fell for each other though they kept it close to their own hearts. Until Daphne tried without success to seduce Rafe. Now she’s determined to keep him at arm’s length while they fulfill their current mission. After it’s over, he has promised to annul the marriage, something she has mixed feelings about, so that she can marry another peer. Of course, it’s only a matter of time before these two get together and, along the way, Bowman’s trademark playfulness and light-hearted humor make for an enjoyable and sweet read. Sometimes her love scenes can be awkward and uncomfortable–I wouldn’t describe them as sexy at all, except maybe the kissing–but her pacing is strong and her humor makes me smile. Characters from the first three books make reappearances here so it’s best to read the series in order. And Daphne reveals erotic talents learned from the infamous pamphlet, the title of Bowman’s fun debut. There is a new secondary character, Delilah, Daphne’s twelve-year old cousin, who is both precocious and adorable without being cloying, thank goodness. But there is one scene which strains credulity as I don’t think men discuss true love among themselves at all. This book is written by a woman, of course, and that’s what we women wish would happen. If you like light romances and can suspend historical belief, this book will make you smile.
Lady Daphne Swift, age 19, is starting her third season and is expecting a proposal from the pompous Lord Fitzwell. However, there is a small problem here because she is already married to Captain Rafferty (Rafe) Cavendish. Rafe has worked for the war office on secret missions. As it happens, Rafe and Daphne had worked together on a mission the previous year in an attempt to rescue her brother, Donald, who was being held prisoner in France. Daphne accompanied Rafe dressed as a young boy. But to protect her reputation, Rafe insisted they be married first and that they could have the married annulled later since it was not consummated. In the meantime, Daphne is waiting for Rafe to hold up his end of the bargain and get the marriage annulled. Ah, but Rafe has other ideas. Sadly, Donald was killed and Rafe has vowed revenge. Therefore, he again needs Daphne’s help because the murderers are Russian and Daphne is fluent in Russian. Daphne and Rafe seem to be arguing with one another quite often during some social events. Rafe sees what a pompous fool Lord Fitzwell is and he has no intention of making it easy for them to marry. Trying to get Daphne to see the man for what he is results in many disagreements between the two of them. We follow as Daphne and Rafe head out to find these murderers and bring them to justice. Daphne wants to accompany him on the voyage to France, but Rafe only needs her help eavesdropping on some conversations before they depart and does not want her to go on the dangerous mission. Ah, but Daphne has other ideas. This is another great story by Valerie Bowman filled with her signature humor that had me laughing out loud. The adventure parts of the story had me on the edge of my seat as well. Great descriptions, Ms. Bowman! Now, I eagerly await (and hope) for a story about Daphne’s younger Cousin, Delilah, because j’adore Delilah! Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Great historical romance by Valerie Bowman! This story is full of romance, fashion, history and suspense. All which make for a perfect historical romance! Daphne Swift has always loved Rafe, but that no longer mattered she needed a man to marry that was well off financially, accepted by society and not such a rogue. Love no longer mattered! She was ready to choose the man at the top of her list before Rafe showed up unannounced at her engagement party. Captain Rafe Cavendish showed up at the party and spoiled everything. He needed Daphne's help finding the men that he had been hunting for years and the only one that could help him was Daphne. As far as Daphne's engagement party well that was a whole other issue considering they were already married and he didn't intend to let her go. Now he just had to prove to Daphne that all he wanted was her! I was given an ARC for an honest review. All conclusions are mine and mine alone.
What's not to love about an irreverent sexy hero and a smart and sassy heroine!? Valerie Bowman's fourth book in her Playful Bride series, The Irresistible Rogue, was a witty battle of wills and hearts. Never a dull moment in this appealing and intelligent Regency romp, it was a great escape to a world of ballrooms and espionage with the ultimate discovery of true love. A smile inducing and heartwarming story The Irresistible Rogue should be on every historical romance readers to read list! *I received this ARC via Netgalley.* *While part of a series this book can be read as a stand alone.*
Wickedly sexy, entertaining tale of love, scheming and mystery. Valerie Bowman filled The Irresistible Rogue with brilliant characters that are impetuous intriguing. The reader is being seduced by the story of the characters weaving their spell on each other. I received an ARC of the Irresistible Rogue by Valerie Bowman from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I was a captive audience until the last page was turned.
THE IRRESISBLE ROGUE is such of wonderful book, I might run out of superlatives! On the eve of her probable engagement to Lord Fitzwell, Lady Daphne Swift receives a box containing a small wooden boat. It is from Captain Rafferty “Rafe” Cavendish, whom she had worked with on a secret mission a year before. Rafe is a spy for the Crown. Rafe has asked Daphne to marry him in order to protect her if something went wrong with their mission; the marriage was supposed to be annulled as soon as their mission was completed, as it had not been consummated. But Rafe hasn’t done anything about it, they’re still married; Daphne is livid. And Rafe has the nerver to ask her to accompany him on another mission; he needs her presence because she speaks Russian. Daphne is adamant she won’t do it, but Rafe makes her an offer she cannot refuse: he will find who killed her brother Donald. Valerie Bowman has crafted an absolutely irresistible book! The prose is luminous and elegant, light and crisp; the dialogues are dazzlingly brilliant and clever, and all this while the author never strays from correct Regency language usage, right down to the proper honorifics, and nicknames, where warranted. The characters are uniformly well-drawn and they all feel genuine. I fell in love with the absolutely delightful Delilah Montbank, Daphne’s 12 year-old cousin, who has French pretensions; she’s not sugary-sweet-cute, but she sounds like a real precocious child. Ms. Bowman’s attention to detail is exceptional, and a feeling of authenticity permeates everything in the book, and the adventure part is just as wonderful. THE IRRESISTIBLE ROGUE is so much fun, so pleasant and enjoyable; it is like a beautiful, sunny spring day. I loved everything from the very first sentences. This is the kind of book I will treasure, and I feel privileged to have read it. THE IRRESISTIBLE ROGUE is absolutely smashing! I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This a regency Romance Book 4 in the Series . Valerie knows how to get a reading going from the first page . In this story we have Daphaine hoping she will get a wedding proposal from Lord Fitswell . Little does everyone know that she is already married . She wants an annulment to move on. On the day of her party she gets a gift from Her husband Captain Rafe Cavadish . He works for the Home Office as a spy . The gift was a model ship that was named and she only knows what the name means . Their Is a marriage in name only and she was hurt that he only saw her as a sister . She has loved him for years . That day of the ball Raphe decides to enlist Daphaine help to catch some French and Russion Spies . There are 2 reasons why he needs to go after the spies . And he needs Daphaines help. Her brother the Earl tells captain Rafe he will Allow Daphaine to go help with the mission on 2 conditions . Raphe has a surprise himself at the end of the story . This was a fast pace excellent read that has you waiting for the next one in the series
I loved this book about Rafe and Daphne. The story starts with Daphne maybe getting engaged to a the very boring Lord Fitzwell - that is if she can get an annulment to her marriage of convenience to Captain Rafe Cavendish (who she has loved for awhile), they got married so Daphne (who craves adventure) could accompany him on a mission for the war office - as his cabin boy, if she got found out as being a woman then her reputation would not be destroyed as she is already married to him. After the mission Rafe left and Daphne has not seen him since. This is where the fun begins because Rafe knows that Daphne is wanting to get engaged and he does not like her choice of gentleman so Rafe says he will only grant Daphne an annulment if she accompanies him on another mission to find out who killed her brother. Daphne agrees to assist him one more time and leaves to go on his ship. This story keeps you entertained the whole way through, I loved Daphne's cousin Delilah and Aunt Willie, these two characters together cause a lot of mischief and I loved it along with the attraction between Daphne and Rafe and both of them fighting it. This is one of my MUST READS if you like historical romances. I will be putting Valerie Bowman on my authors not to be missed list.