THE MAKING OF A LEGEND…
When Christian Forester, Viscount Berkeley, flees the stuffy ballrooms of London for his Scottish hunting lodge, the last thing he expects to find ensconced before his fire is an incredibly beautiful woman. But the plight of lovely young Sarah Highgate, who has run away from an unwanted betrothal, inspires an eminently practical exchange. He’ll safeguard her reputation with the ton while she advises him how to best attract a proper bride…
As the undisputed belle of the season, Sarah has enchanted plenty of suitors. Still, she isn’t interested in marriage, especially not to the pompous bore her father has chosen for her. But her hasty escape seems reckless now that she’s estranged from her family and has no one to count on besides Christian. Turning the luckless lord into such a catch has another unplanned consequence for Sarah: Has he run away with her heart?
The Legendary Lord is the sixth installment of Valerie Bowman's Regency-set Playful Brides series.
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 mini-schnauzer, Huckleberry. When she’s not writing, she keeps busy reading, traveling, or vacillating between watching crazy reality TV and PBS. She is the author of the Secret Brides series, starting with Secrets of a Wedding Night, Secrets of a Runaway Bride, and Secrets of a Scandalous Marriage.
Read an Excerpt
The Legendary Lord
By Valerie Bowman
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2016 June Third Enterprises, LLC.
All rights reserved.
Scotland, November 1816
Someone was inside his house. Christian Forester, Viscount Berkeley, stood outside the small hunting lodge and watched as a plume of smoke from the chimney billowed into the darkening sky. He made his way slowly toward the front door, pushed it open with his boot, and tightened his fist around the pistol he kept inside his coat pocket whenever he traveled. He'd spent the last sennight on the road. He was tired. He was dirty. He hadn't shaved. And he was in as foul a mood as he ever got. It was bitter cold. The wind was picking up. And from the looks of things, the sky was about to open up and dump an unholy amount of snow on this place. All Christian wanted was a warm fire and some food. Instead, it looked as though he would first be forced to dispatch a thief. He took a deep, calming breath and slowly pulled the pistol from his inside coat pocket.
He pushed farther with his boot and the front door creaked open, revealing the great room. The empty great room. Christian glanced around the space. There was a fire in the grate, a pleasant woven rug he didn't recognize set in front of the door on the wooden planks, and a boiling pot of what smelled suspiciously like stew bubbling over a fire in the kitchen. Christian stepped inside. Yes. It was obvious. Someone was here. Someone other than Mr. Fergus, the caretaker, and his little black Scottish dog with pointy ears who also happened to be named Fergus. The odd man once explained to Christian that if men could name their sons after themselves, then by God, he could do the same with his dog. Christian had always thought that sounded about right. But no, Fergus I and II (human and canine) weren't here now. In addition to the stew, the room smelled vaguely of flowers. Lilies, to be precise. There were no flowers in the Scottish Highlands at this time of year. He'd made it up here just ahead of the looming storm that was already blowing freezing gusts up the mountaintop behind him. The smell of lilies meant one thing: perfume. A woman was here. An uninvited, unknown, unwanted woman. And he'd left London to get away from women.
He shut the door behind him, stomped his boots on the rug, and cleared his throat. Perhaps she would show herself, introduce herself. Oh, and explain what the bloody hell she was doing here.
There was no movement. No sound. Nothing. He swung his heavy wool overcoat from his shoulders and placed it on the rough wooden coatrack he'd made himself out of a felled oak tree one summer here. He might be Viscount Berkeley in both London and Northumbria, but here in Scotland he was just Christian. Or Master Christian, according to Mr. Fergus. There was no pomp and circumstance at the hunting lodge, which was why Christian liked it so much. One of many reasons.
A small opening in the bottom of the door at the back of the house flapped to and fro for a moment and Fergus II, the canine variety, came rushing into the room like a black dart. He had the manners to stop and shake the snow from his back and paws as Fergus I had taught him when he'd created the little door for him. Fergus II came rushing up to Christian, wagging his tiny tail furiously and hopping about on all four paws. Christian put his hands on his hips and stared down at the handsome little pup. What in the —? Christian nearly rubbed his eyes. Was it his imagination or was Fergus II wearing a small red woolen coat?
"Well, what are you doing?" Was Christian mistaken? Was his caretaker here after all? Had Fergus I begun to do things like cook stew, place homey rugs near the door, and wear perfume? Or had he taken to entertaining a companion? A female companion? Perhaps she had made the stew. Yes, that surely made more sense than Fergus I wandering around smelling like lilies and dressing his dog in sweaters. But knowing the irascible man, Christian decided that scenario was equally implausible. No. More likely a vagrant had happened by the dwelling and, finding no one home, had decided to take up residence. It wasn't uncommon in these parts. But Christian wanted to get to the business of dispatching the drifter (male or female) posthaste.
After sliding his pistol back into his pocket, he leaned down and scooped up the little pooch. Fergus II licked him squarely upon the nose. "Thank you," Christian said, wiping off the slobber with the back of his gloved hand. "I don't suppose you'd be so kind as to tell me who's here?"
The dog blinked at him and cocked his stout head to the side.
"No?" Christian rubbed the back of his neck. "Very well, then. I'll follow you. Lead on."
He set the short, solid dog back down and motioned for him to precede him down the corridor. The entire lodge consisted of a great room with the kitchen instruments in one corner and a sofa and two aged leather chairs near the fireplace in the other corner. A plump cushion for Fergus II sat near the sofa. There was a wooden table and four matching chairs (also made by Christian one long-ago summer) near the kitchen area. A corridor led to two small bedchambers, each populated with a feather bed, a chair, some books, and a rug. If Mr. Fergus was here, he was either outside in the snowy forest or in one of the bedchambers. The man usually slept in the small room at the back of the barn, but Christian had just come from there after seeing to his horse. That room had been empty and Fergus's mount was gone.
"Go on, mate, show me," Christian said. He followed the dog's determined little trot down the corridor to Christian's own bedchamber door. Mr. Fergus wouldn't have any business in that room. Christian frowned. The dog placed his paw on the door and whined.
"Go on, then," Christian prodded, his chin in his hand. Fergus II glanced back at him as if confirming his permission, then he pushed open the door slightly with his paw and trotted inside the dark room. A few moments of near silence passed. The only sound was the dog's toenails clicking against the wooden floor. A moment later, a distinctly female voice floated out into the corridor. "Why, there you are. Are you here to wake me from my nap?"
Christian's eyes widened and his hand fell away from his chin. By God, there was a woman in his bed!CHAPTER 2
Someone was in the house with her. Sarah Highgate's pale hand froze on the dog's slightly rough fur. There was no mistaking it. She'd just heard a man clear his throat. At least she thought she'd heard it. The long shadow moving outside the bedchamber door confirmed it. Someone was there. And the odds of it being the dog's owner were low. Mr. Fergus would have called out, asked her how she was, given her news of Mrs. Goatsocks. No, it was certainly not Mr. Fergus.
Fear clutched at Sarah's heart. It was true that she was in a stranger's house. Well, not entirely a stranger. His name was Master Christian, and Mr. Fergus had assured her that she had nothing to fear from him. He was a gentleman. But the fact was that she didn't know it for certain and Mr. Fergus wasn't here now and neither was Mrs. Goatsocks — and, worse, the shadowy man outside the door could be a stranger, a Scottish ne'er-do-well, a killer. No. No. There went her imagination again. She mustn't overreact. She must keep calm and be reasonable. Perhaps the shadow simply belonged to someone who'd wandered off the beaten path and ended up in the wrong place ... just as she had. Fergus the dog wagged his tail. She envied his calmness. She was anything but calm. What exactly should a lone female with an overly friendly dog do in such circumstances? She could call out and ask the man if he was Master Christian. She quickly discarded that thought. "Of course I am" would no doubt be his answer, and fool that she was, she might just believe him, given that she'd never actually seen Master Christian. She'd already been idiot enough coming here. She needed to gather her wits about her to survive this misadventure and make it back home. Giving a potential murderer the name of someone he should pretend to be was the opposite of wise.
Her heart hammering in her chest, Sarah contemplated the rest of her options. She could call out and ask him to name himself. But if he was a murderer, she would be identifying herself as a female and letting him know she was there, ready to be murdered or raped, perhaps both. Though now that she thought on it, no doubt he'd already heard her speak to the dog. Bother. Bother. Bother.
She held her breath and pressed her shaking hand against her middle. Be calm. Be calm. Be calm. There was only one sane course of action. She must find a weapon. He, whoever he was, would make the first move, and she would not be cowering meekly on the bed when he did.
Resolved, she slid off the feather mattress as quietly as possible in search of a weapon. She tiptoed across the wooden planks, wincing whenever one of them creaked. She glanced around wildly. What looked like a medieval sword was propped against the far wall of the small room. She'd already decided that Master Christian must be an eccentric old man. The sword confirmed it.
Whoever was in the corridor, however, might be a young man. Young and spry and dangerous. Regardless, she would at least attempt to defend herself. For the thousandth time, she cursed her own stupidity over the circumstances that had brought her so far from her home and placed her in so much potential danger. Putting her finger to her lips to shush the dog (as if he knew what that meant), she finished her slow journey to the sword, grabbed it with both trembling hands, and took a deep breath. If only London Society could see her now. Lady Sarah Highgate, eighteen-year-old so-called belle of the Season, wearing maid's clothing, huddled in a Scottish hunting lodge, and arming herself with a broadsword. She blew out her breath from trembling lips. Life could be downright odd sometimes.
Sarah braced her feet apart, adjusted her grip on the sword's handle, and heaved upward just as the door to the bedchamber flew open.
* * *
In his thirty years of life, Christian had never seen a sight quite like the one that greeted him when he kicked open the bedchamber door. A beautiful woman stood there brandishing a sword at him. Well, brandishing might be a bit of an overstatement. She could barely lift it an inch from the floor, but she was obviously attempting to brandish it.
Normally, Christian was at a loss in front of a beautiful woman. Well, other than his friends, of course. And this woman was extremely beautiful. She had lush black silky hair that fell in fat curls past her shoulders. She'd obviously unpinned it for her nap. She had pale skin, red lips, an adorable upturned nose, and eyes of palest green, almost crystalline. They were tilted, like a cat's, and framed by long, sooty lashes. She was dressed as a servant. Had she run away from some estate? Only there wasn't an estate near here. She must have come far. Regardless, whoever she was, she was an incomparable beauty. And a stranger.
"Get out of here right now, or I'll cut you in half." The sword quavered in the woman's grip, but her eyes narrowed to slits. "I mean it. Leave now. You won't want to see me angry. I promise you. I'm quite good with a sword." Again, the sword quivered up another inch.
In other circumstances, Christian would have stuttered in the face of such beauty, wouldn't have known what to say, would have made an ass of himself. God knew such lack of debonair sophistication was a large part of the reason he'd failed to find a wife in London after all these years. But the audacity of this particular woman — or, more correctly, his anger at her audacity — mixed with his exhaustion, made his encounter with this beautiful woman quite different from all the others.
"What if I told you I have a pistol?" he asked dryly, studying her face to gauge her reaction.
She tossed her curls and lifted her chin higher, but her eyes flashed with a hint of fear. "I have a sword," she announced, her voice quavering slightly.
"I see that. But I'd like to think we would both agree that a pistol would trump a sword were this little confrontation to turn into actual combat." He stepped toward her, all the while assessing how carefully and quickly he might disarm her.
Her eyes flashed again. She took a step back. "I ... I don't believe you have a pistol. You'd have shown it by now. And I will slice you in half if you take another step closer."
He pressed his lips together to keep from smiling. "Well, you see," he said, squinting, "I don't usually point pistols at ladies. But I'm quickly beginning to consider making an exception in your case. Especially if you continue to threaten me and refuse to put down that sword."
She did exactly the opposite. She lifted the sword even higher, but the muscles in her upper arms quivered. It had to be a chore for her to keep the thing aloft.
"If you have a pistol, show it. I dare you to," she said, her jaw clenched.
"Oh, my dear Miss House Thief, don't tempt me. Now, I'm going to ask you one more time to put down that sword before I force you to put it down. It's entirely your decision."
"You'll have to kill me first. And I'm no house thief." Her quaking arms lifted the sword even higher, and she had the audacity to jab it toward him slightly.
That was it. Christian was through with this farce. He had to disarm her before she hurt herself or him or, God forbid, the dog, who'd sat in between them watching this peculiar exchange, his ears switching from side to side, no doubt in an effort to hear each of them more clearly.
Christian reached her in two long strides, wrenched the sword out of her hand, twisted her arm behind her back, and pulled her sharply against his chest. "You say you're not a house thief, but let me see if I have the right of it. You've broken into my home and you're trying to kill me? With my own sword?"
The woman struggled to pull her arm free, but Christian held her fast, her backside squirming against him. He wasn't about to allow her to scramble away from him. God only knew what she'd scoop up to fight him with next. The dog, perhaps?
"Your home? How do I know this is your home?" she asked in a tone that was both demanding yet edged with fear. And in an accent that was obviously not that of a maid, but of a lady. Unexpected.
Her breath came in panting gasps, and her breasts — which Christian had quite a good view of, actually, given that he was close to a foot taller than her — were heaving. She was frightened. Good. Thieves shouldn't get too comfortable.
"I damn well know it's not yours, Miss Thief."
"I told you. I am not a thief. Let go of me." She struggled harder to break free of his grasp.
He tightened his hold on her arm. "Is anyone else with you?"
"How long have you been here?"
"This is my third night."
"You have been in my home three nights?" Outraged, he glanced around the room, searching. "What have you taken?"
"Nothing. How many times do I have to say it? I'm no thief." She attempted to elbow him in the ribs. He stepped back just in time, mentally thanking his fencing days at Eton for his quick reflexes.
He secured her elbow so she couldn't do it again. "I don't want to hurt you," he said calmly, "but unless you can tell me in the next five seconds who you are and why the hell you're in my house, I'll be happy to toss you out in the snow, thief or not."
She stopped struggling and made a small gasping noise. That was more like it.
"You're Master Christian?" Her head snapped to the side, and he saw the outline of her patrician profile, though she still had her back to him.
Christian tightened his grip on her warm wrist. "I'm the one asking questions here, not you," he growled near her ear. The lily scent was definitely coming from her. Her ebony hair was giving off the essence. It smelled ... good.
"I'm trying to prove that I'm not a thief," she insisted. She'd stopped struggling for the moment. "How else would I know your name?"
"I'm certain it's written on some paperwork in here somewhere, and it appears you've made yourself at home. But you'll have to do better than toss about a name to convince me you haven't broken into my house."
She took a deep breath. "Mr. Fergus knows I'm here. He said I might stay." She tossed her head after that pronouncement, obviously proud of herself for getting another name right.
Excerpted from The Legendary Lord by Valerie Bowman. Copyright © 2016 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.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Sarah Highgate is all things desired in a regency-era daughter, but one: she has no interest in marrying the one man her father deems worthy. She’s always demurred to his wishes in her desire to please, but can’t stomach the thought of marrying this man. To that end, she runs away, intending to hide in her father’s hunting lodge until he agrees to her wishes. Christian, Viscount Berkley, has been unlucky in his determination to find a wife. Introverted and lacking in confidence, he’s not enjoyed his time in London, and wishes to retreat and regroup. Heading for his hunting lodge in the highlands, he’s certain he can reformulate a plan. But everything turns topsy turvy when he discovers his lodge has an occupant, one that has mistaken it for her father’s property. These two are so sweet! Sarah is possessed of the knowledge and charms that scare Christian so, and he wishes no harm to come to her. Unfortunately, while she is safe in his care, her reputation will be unalterably damaged if they are discovered. He cannot, however, return her safely home as a storm has broken, and they are locked in place. Sarah is everything that Christian needs: patient, kind, intelligent and generous. She’s not overawed by his title, nor dismissive of his reserve. He’s able to ask for her help, as his logic dictates, ignoring her obvious charms and beauty as ‘above him’, not to mention her betrothal (however undesired) to a Marquis. This is a slow and gradual courtship, one that opens Sarah’s eyes to the potential of a marriage with love, and Christian’s to the possibility that the right woman needs for him to stand and speak for her, no matter his own fears. Sweet, wonderfully developed and clever: the story mixes the gradual revelations of a relationship to the couple, while showing them both how to speak for, and stand for what they truly want. A wonderful installment in the series, sure to bring a smile. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Excellent book, as the rest in the Playful Brides series!
I purchased The Legendary Lord as a whim because it was suggested by Nook. The book was not expensive, $2.99, and the sample chapter was very cute. It reminded me of early romances that I read as a young adult, very innocent and almost sugary sweet. I reminisced to a time when I was excited just to be near someone I liked, maybe seeking a forbidden kiss. The Legendary Lord was a quick read. I enjoyed it so much that I almost stayed up the entire night just to finish it in one sitting. What held me off was a surprise that I did not see coming. I presumed the entire book was G-rated in terms of romance and intimacy. Near the end of the book, Sarah and Christian finally succumb to their passions. It almost felt unnatural because of the tone and innocence from the beginning. So, I took a break and got some much needed sleep that night. The next afternoon, I could not contain myself. I needed to know what happened. How did Sarah's and Christian's romance end? Needless to say, I got over my surprise about the more sensual sections. After all, I am very familiar with these scenes both in other romance titles and erotica novels. Valerie Bowman wrote these particular scenes very well, and it fit with the development of the characters. Sarah is a young English woman who grew up with the mindset that she needs to "do as you are told." She has a duty to marry well, and she will regardless of whether she will be miserable in her marriage. Meanwhile, Christian is an unpopular lord that wants nothing more than to get married and have children. Unfortunately, he finds himself unable to speak with beautiful women....until Sarah. They strike up a deal where Sarah will teach him everything she knows to prepare him to woo a bride next season. Suffice to say, they will quickly discover that the heart wants what the heart wants. Both characters are unconventional, and Christian even has a very dark secret from his past. I enjoyed all their witty banter as they got to know each other. It was obvious to everyone else that they were perfect for each other. The journey to that discovery is a few chapters too many, but I still enjoyed the ride. The plot of The Legendary Lord is standard enough -- unwanted engagements, inability to express true emotions or honesty, the hopelessness of the responsibilities of one's station in life, etc. Bowman created a new universe that houses friends who are searching for love. They make appearances in each other's books, and there are references to previous stories as well as future stories. Still, every novel can read as a standalone. The richness of Bowman's creation resides in unforgettable and endearing characters that we cannot help but fall in love with. In particular, Lucy seems like a feisty and spirited woman. She meddles in many of the romances, and I immediately wanted to read her book The Unexpected Duchess, which is the first book in the series. The setting alternates between Scotland and England. I admit to enjoying the scenes at Christian's private lodge in Scotland the most. The book started in this location, and the setting helped weave a magical quality to the entire book, especially with Sarah's fateful first greeting. It was romantic, a bit comical, and epic. Bowman uses the setting to really develop her characters and their attitudes about love, life, and society. The ending left me in a general state of happiness, and I was especially pleased at how the story came full circle to mimic the beginning
Christian, Viscount Berkeley, is everyone’s friend but has no luck with the ladies. He decides to visit his Scottish hunting lodge and finds Lady Sarah Highgate who has fled London as she doesn’t want to marry the man her parents selected. A snowstorm keeps them trapped as his manservant took her chaperone, who injured her ankle, to the doctor in town. They strike a bargain that he’ll keep this encounter from the ton and she’ll help him become more noticeable to the ladies. This works out well until Sarah is jealous of all the attention he’s receiving. Sarah feels obligated to marry the man her parents chose even when her friends advise not to. So, who does she marry? Read this very enjoyable book to find out. I highly recommend it.
This was a good historical read for me. I liked the characters as well as the story. Plenty of emotion and chemistry between the characters. Just a bit slow for me at times. Overall it is an entertaining historical read.
I really liked this story! The biggest reason was that the setting for most of the story was not at a traditional Ton event like a ball or night at the opera. Christian and Sarah got to know each other away from the prying eyes of the gossiping women that can, at times, interfere with a budding romance. Although they were each attracted to the other, they each had their reasons for thinking that the other would not suit. Because of this, they developed a friendship that then lead to their falling in love. I really enjoyed watching the the two of them falling in love! We also get to visit some old friends from the the books in the Playful Brides series and I always enjoy catching up with old friends! I can't wait for the next book in the series, Never Trust a Pirate, which stars Cade Cavendish.
Christian Forester, Viscount Berkeley, isn’t too fond of London Society, and even though he has been searching for a bride for years, he still hasn’t found anyone suitable. He is on his way once again to his refuge, his lodge in the Scottish wilds, however, upon arriving, it’s obvious there’s someone in his home, and it’s not his caretaker Mr. Fergus. It’s the beautiful Sarah Highgate, who is ready, willing, and almost able to defend herself against the intruder! Sarah has fled London and a betrothed imposed by her father; she acted impulsively and not she regrets it, but the inclement weather is not cooperating. The nice Mr. Fergus told her to stay, that the master of the house wouldn’t mind. Christian has spent his life tongue-tied around beautiful women, but it’s not the case around the very appealing Sarah… THE LEGENDARY LORD is absolutely delightful! Christian and Sarah become fast friends, as they can both help each other, and they do have a lot in common. There’s a touch of Pygmalion, as Sarah endeavours to rid Christian of his problem and find a wife; both are such very appealing characters, individually and together. The banter is very enjoyable, the tone is perfect, and the couple’s chemistry feels very genuine and is off the charts. I had a smile plastered on my face nearly throughout, and I read THE LEGENDARY LORD in one sitting. I often the find snowed-in trope – which is the case here – highly predictable, but Valerie Bowman makes it totally enchanting, not so predictable, and very much fun. The pace is lively, the writing is positively gorgeous, as expected, the story flows seamlessly, and the secondary characters are just as fabulous as Sarah and Christian; the scheming Lucy nearly steals the show. At times, Sarah and Christian are a tad clueless and adorable fools, I loved them both dearly; they’re just perfect! THE LEGENDARY LORD is a simple story made quite complex because of Sarah and Christian’s upbringings and Regency societal dictates. Once again, Ms. Bowman weaves a beautifully romantic story highlighted by delightfully witty banter, and characters that are both unforgettable and endearing. And on to the next book in this fabulous series! I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book.
The Legendary Lord by Valerie Bowman is my favorite book (so far) from this talented author. Ms Bowman has given us a well written book with amazing characters. Sarah is full of sass and humor and Christian is just plain lovable. The supporting characters round out a cast that makes this a fun read. There's plenty of drama, humor and sizzle in The Legendary Lord, be warned though, this story may keep you reading past your bedtime. I enjoyed reading The Legendary Lord and look forward to my next book by the talented Valerie Bowman. The Legendary Lord is book 6 in the Playful Brides Series but can be read as a standalone. This is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger. I received a copy of this book from NetGalley for review purposes.
Bowman did it again! Book after book she has kept me enthralled in the story of the Playful Brides! I love getting my hands on her books because I know the next couple of days is going to be thoroughly enjoyable. With this book, it didn’t even take me a full day to fly by it! The story and the characters kept me thoroughly engrossed and I didn’t even realize time passing by. After reading the previous books in the series I was looking forward to seeing who would end up with Lord Berkeley and Sarah is perfect for him! Their romance wasn’t a quick jolt of love but rather a slow burn that fully developed into a beautiful relationship. It felt very organic and I could really connect with it. I loved seeing characters from the other books pop into the story especially the infamous Mrs. Bunbury! I love that this story put a twist in the Pygmalion story and it was fun to find little references to the story here and there. I highly recommend The Legendary Lord to anyone who would like to be swept away into the world of romance! You don’t have to read the books in order but it is always fun to discover what the other characters are doing after their happily ever after. *I received an advance reader's copy from a giveaway for my honest review.*
'The Legendary Lord' by Valerie Bowman is book six in the "Playful Brides" series. This is the story of Christian Bancroft, Viscount Berkeley and Sarah Highgate. I have read the other book in this series but easily feel this is a standalone book. But I will say that I enjoyed catching up with the past main characters. Christian has been in the previous stories as a secondary character that ends up helping the couples get together..so it was nice to see his story play out in this book. Sarah parents has set her up to marry a popular and well connected man about town. But Sarah has tried to have feelings for him but he seems to only be able to talk about himself and nothing else. So Sarah gets the ideal to runaway and heads to her father's cabin but ends up at the wrong one. She ends up at Christian cabin. When he comes home from traveling and finds her there he thinks she is a thief at first but soon finds what actually is going on. Christian is not confident around the ladies and the ones he does become close to turn into his friends. So they strike a bargain that if Christian can get her back to London without a scandal Sarah will help him find a wife. Truly enjoyed this book..can't wait for more from Ms. Bowman! "My honest review is for a special copy I voluntarily read."
I adore stories set in the wilds of Scotland. Even more so when a reclusive and socially challenged lord takes on a forthright and personable belle of the season. This premise hooked me into The Legendary Lord by Valerie Bowman, and I had high expectations going into this book. Unfortunately, it left me feeling a little bittersweet. Lady Sarah Highgate escapes from London, having no desire to marry the man her parents chose for her. She seeks shelter in Master Christian’s hunting lodge, having no idea that the owner is Viscount Berkeley, nor that the man would find her in his bedchamber! As their truths unfold, a bargain is struck. Sarah will help Christian find a wife, and Christian will help Sarah get back to London and salvage her reputation. However, as Sarah teaches Christian the art of attracting a wife, she finds herself on the hook instead. Each must confront their fears as London society – and others’ expectations – threatens to tear them apart. This story starts with a bang. Christian believes Sarah is a thief, and Sarah believes Christian to be a murderer. Their reactions to finding each other in the secluded residence were hilarious! For Christian, it’s shock and disgruntlement. He had left London to hide from society women only to find that… “By God, there was a woman in his bed!” And Sarah? She brandishes a sword she can barely lift, threatening to “cut (him) in half.” Now, if the story had continued in such a vein, with quips and action and them brandishing swords – if not literal swords, than figurative ones – I would have loved this book. As it was, however, their interactions were lackluster. They find themselves alone, snowed in, and with lust-at-first sight. It is a prime opportunity to build the tension; however, there were missed opportunities. The first morning after, Sarah finds herself facing Christian with only her nightgown on. But Christian? He shows no reaction to finding her barely clothed. None. Not even later in his thoughts. I had to ask myself, so what is the purpose of this? Not only that, but the Sarah who brandishes a sword in the beginning disappears, and she spends much of the book running or simply kowtowing to her parents, and why? No reason presents itself. Deeper reason were hinted at, especially in Christian’s case, but never delved into or shared with the other. It leaves me unsatisfied. After the first third of the book, however, the plot picks up, and I loved seeing them both bit by the jealousy bug and confronting their feelings. What really propelled the plot for me were the secondary characters. I loved them! We are reintroduced to Lucy Hunt (For those of you not familiar with her, I strongly encourage you to read The Unexpected Duchess) and her merry band of scheme makers. It offers the witty repartee I’m used to seeing in this series, and seeing Christian interact with his rabblerousing friends gave him a little more depth. While I didn’t see the shy bachelor in Christian, by the end, I was okay with that. What were these society ladies thinking in overlooking Berkeley all this time? Well, their loss is Sarah’s gain! With him, Sarah’s backbone came out full force, and the intimate scenes were steamy enough to make up for the lack of tension earlier. The Legendary Lord is a fun, light romp that does the Playful Brides series justice. I just know the next book will offer the emotional-punch that Bowman can deliver.
another fantastic read by Bowman. Since I discovered her series, "The Playful brides" I am in love! the series is fantastic, her characters are fun and endearing. This story does not disappoint
When Sarah, the biddable daughter, ran away to Scotland, she found herself at the wrong home. Christian, a viscount in need of a wife but not thrilled with the London life, regularly spends time at his cabin in Scotland. When he arrives looking scruffy, Sarah is shocked. He never fesses up to his title, but he does admit to being in need of a wife. Sarah agrees to help him become more social in exchange for getting her back to London without compromising herself. As they spend time together, they are attracted, but Sarah can't allow herself to back out of the marriage, even if it means unhappiness. Christian's friends create a ruse to help Sarah, and she returns to London. Christian wants her, but only if she'll cry off. She's too obedient to get out of the marriage. Fortunately, they have friends who see how much these two belong together. At the last second, Sarah follows her heart, and Christian claims her forever. A wonderful addition to the series, but it's great as a standalone. I highly recommend it!
The Legendary Lord by Valerie Bowman captured my heart from the start on. Loved reading the playful love story of Christian and Sarah. This is the 6th book of the [Playful Brides] and my first read of the series. I feel this could be a standalone also. Christian flees London to his hunting lodge to find the lovely Sarah has occupied his lodge, which she believes belongs to her father. What now! But since bad weather has set in Sarah agrees to help the Viscount find a bride. But are they really finding out if they are meant for each other. The quality of the author's writing will keep you entertained and I recommend this book for a awesome jaunt into finding The Legendary Lord.
Scotland - 1816 Christian Forester, Viscount Berkeley, age 30, has just arrived at his hunting lodge in the dark of winter only to find it occupied by - a woman - precisely what he left London to avoid. Lady Sarah Highgate, age 18, is the daughter of the Earl of Highfield. She has run away from London with her chaperone, Mrs. Goatsocks, heading to her father’s hunting lodge, but mistakenly ended up at Christian’s lodge. It happens that Mrs. Goatsocks twisted her ankle requiring that Fergus, Christian’s caretaker, take the woman to a doctor. Once Sarah explains to Christian why she is in his home, he relaxes. She had made a stew and biscuits and Christian is amazed at her culinary skills. But with the snowy weather getting bad, it appears that Fergus and Mrs. Goatsocks won’t be returning soon. As Sarah and Christian get to know one another, she confides that she has been called the Belle of the Season but she does not care for that title. She has also found that the Bachelor of the Season, Lord Alistair Branford, Marquess of Branford, to be a dead bore. When her father informed her that was betrothed to the bore, she ran away. Now, she realizes that she has ruined her life and angered her parents. Christian confides that he has been looking for a wife for a few years but women don’t seem to be drawn to him mostly because they think of him as a friend and because he tends to stutter. Christian has a good idea. He asks Sarah if she can teach him what a young woman is looking for in a man and he can then adopt those traits and become an appealing bachelor. She agrees and promises to turn him into a legend. When it comes time for her to leave, Christian calls upon his women friends to intervene and provide a good alibi for where Sarah has been. When Christian and Sarah meet up at the next Season, their attraction is still as hot as it was before, but Sarah is betrothed. Is there any chance of a future for them or is it all for naught? I have always been a huge fan of Valerie Bowman’s books. The characters are real and the dialogue is peppered with lots of humor. While this novel is part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone. I like that! This is a great story and I enjoyed how Christian and Sarah were themselves and that there wasn’t that usual “jump the bones” that we often see by page two. Grab yourself a copy and enjoy a great read. Copy provided by the author and publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Christian Forester, Viscount Berkeley enters his Scottish hunting lodge to find an intruder. Who is it? Lady Sarah Highgate. What is she doing in his house? She ran away, got lost and ended up in his place instead of her father’s. Their time in the lodge was temperate and filled with talk and lessons on how to woo a woman – but not Lady Sarah. A plan is made for Sarah to retain her good name and return to London to carry on with her life and for Christian to become the bachelor of the spring season on the marriage market. The story is filled with simple every day events and the big decision is whether to marry for love or for duty. Figuring it out for the two of them takes quite some time and involves characters from previous books in the series and an introduction to the man who will have his story told next. This is a fun read for a day you want to escape. It is not very deep but it is entertaining. Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the ARC. This is my honest review.
Impractical, contagious, illicit but boy were Christian and Sarah heartstoppingly irresistible. Sarah leads with her heart. Acting before thinking has left her in a predicament. Estrangement, loneliness and worry have become her only friends until out of necessity she stumbles into Christian's life. With a little tutoring Christian can be the catch of the season, if he doesn't lose his heart along the way. The Legendary Lord is a rapturous saga that mixes classic romance with tempting pleasure.