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The Madness of Lord Westfall
The Order of the M.U.S.E. Book two
By Mia Marlowe, Erin Molta
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2015 Diana Groe
All rights reserved.
It was said that an invitation to Lord Albemarle's salon was second only to presentation at court as a means of sealing one's reputation among the bon ton. His soirees were glittering assemblies of all the right people wearing all the right fashions, listening to all the right sopranos, or poets, or politicians. The music was always perfect, the food sublime, and everything was stamped with Lord Albemarle's unquestioned good taste.
But this evening was not one of Albemarle's salons.
Make no mistake. The music, décor, and refreshments were as exquisite as ever, though wine and spirits flowed more freely than usual. The main difference was the guest list. On this night, Albemarle's Mayfair town house was filled to the rafters with the demimonde — disgraced lords and their mistresses, actresses and courtesans, anarchists and freethinkers.
Such company made Lord Stanstead feel very much at home. He liked nothing better than thumbing his nose at the world in general and the ton in particular. However, nothing about this gathering made Pierce Langdon, Viscount Westfall, comfortable.
His sense of aloneness was rarely more intense than when he was in a crowd. He could not bring himself to count Stanstead his friend. Indeed, he had no friends. Their work together for the Order of the M.U.S.E. had made them colleagues of a sort, but they were very different men possessed of widely divergent abilities.
When the pair entered Albemarle's grand parlor, the myriad minds in the room pressed up against Westfall's consciousness. It was like a disturbed hive of bees seeking entrance through a hole in a beekeeper's protective suit. He could hear them clamoring to break through, a determined buzzing trying to overpower him. Westfall drew a deep breath and fortified the mental shield his mentor, the Duke of Camden, had taught him to erect.
Steady on. Or they'll find a way to send me back to Bedlam.
"Wipe that pained expression from your face," Stanstead said. "Otherwise someone will suspect you've mastered the feat of standing on your own testicles."
"Easy for you to say. No one is battering down your defenses."
If anything, the reverse was true. Stanstead possessed the psychic gift of being able to broadcast his thoughts to others and in such a subtle way, the recipient usually couldn't tell that the thought wasn't his own. Like a cuckoo's egg in a warbler's nest, Stanstead's idea pushed aside the ones that had every right to be there. As a result, his psychic target often behaved in other than expected ways.
The ton was still nattering on about Lady Waldgren's impromptu soliloquy from Macbeth at the theater last Season. Since the old gossip was generally disliked and universally feared, when she had mounted the stage and begun reciting "Out, damn'd spot!" — and rather badly, it must be admitted — the aberration in her deportment was met with unabashed glee. But when the poor lady's husband took an unexpected dip in a public fountain wearing naught but his birthday suit, Polite Society shook its collective heads and tut-tutted under its breath.
Living with such a wife as Lady Waldgren, his lordship was bound to break eventually. What else might one expect?
More unusual behavior, if Stanstead had his mischievous way with the couple who'd landed in his metaphysical sights.
In contrast, Westfall was Stanstead's psychic opposite. Instead of projecting his thoughts to others, he was the unhappy receiver of whatever was tumbling about in the minds of those around him. Being in the company of others left Lord Westfall drained and more than a little cynical. After all, he knew what people were really thinking behind their false smiles.
"How's your shield holding?" Stanstead asked, nodding a greeting to those he knew as they moved around the room.
"Better than expected," Westfall said. It had taken several months of mental discipline to learn how to create the shield. The first time he had managed it, his relief when the voices finally stilled was like having a weight lifted from his chest.
Then, to his surprise, if he maintained the shield too long, he began to miss the voices. The world around him seemed flat and two-dimensional. It was as if he moved through chalk drawings, peopled with pale imitations of humans, instead of living, breathing ones. Still, that was better than being bombarded by their random thoughts. He had to protect himself from the disjointed scramble of ideas that careened toward him from all sides.
"Want to try a filter?" Stanstead asked.
"Perhaps later." Westfall had experimented with lowering his shield enough to target a single mind for him to listen in on, but he hadn't perfected the process yet. He also couldn't admit to Stanstead that keeping up his shield was straining his last ounce of psychic energy.
"I'd fancy knowing what that tasty bit of muslin is thinking." Stanstead nodded toward their left.
Westfall didn't follow the direction of Stanstead's gaze to see the example of feminine beauty who had captured the earl's attention. He despised a lie of any stripe and breaking a wedding vow counted as two in his estimation — once to one's spouse and another to the third party involved. "In case you've forgotten, you are a married man."
"Make that a happily married man," Stanstead corrected. "However, that does not make me dead. I'm blessed with a wife who knows what men are. Cassandra doesn't care where I get my appetite so long as I eat at home. She knows I'd never stray. Besides the fact that I adore her too much to hurt her, she'd immolate me if I were to put so much as a toe out of line."
It was no idle threat. Lord Stanstead's wife was a fire mage, an elemental who also served alongside the gentlemen in the Order of the M.U.S.E. Westfall had no doubt the countess would singe more than her husband's eyebrows if his eyes wandered and the rest of him followed.
A full-blown thought crashed through Westfall's mental shield. The idea carried far more power than the others trying to gain entrance. It shredded his defenses and plastered itself at the forefront of his consciousness.
Here's what you're missing, you sanctimonious prig.
Stanstead had Sent him one of his directed thoughts, devil take the man. A mental image accompanied Stanstead's Sending.
It was of a young woman.
No, that didn't begin to be adequate. She was a goddess.
Languid eyes, black as the Stygian depths, invited him to plunge into her. The woman's abundant dark hair was drawn up to bare her nape and tease her delicate neck with loose curls. Westfall ached to kiss the tender skin just there, beneath her jaw. Full and plum-colored, her lips beckoned. The apples of her cheeks were dusted with just enough pink to appear virginal, but the seductive hollow beneath them suggested a smoldering sensuality that was anything but chaste.
If Westfall could assemble perfection, taking the best feature from each woman present — graceful arms here, a high, full bosom there, a willowy waist and long legs from another — the result would have been this paragon.
He prided himself on his extreme degree of self-control, but this woman had him rock hard and aching merely from the mental sight of her. He couldn't stop himself from turning toward the real woman.
"You're welcome." Stanstead chuckled. "But you'd best close your mouth, friend. You're in danger of being mistaken for a codfish."
Westfall clamped his jaw shut, chagrined at having been caught gaping but, in all honesty, this woman's beauty stopped him cold. Like the night sky in splendor, her very existence was evidence of a creative God. She was why lovesick poets wrote bad verse.
She tempted him to lower his shield.
"Well, what are you waiting for? Go talk to her."
"I can't," Westfall said, grateful not to have stammered. "We haven't been properly introduced."
"Regular rules of etiquette don't signify at these sorts of events. Start by giving her your name, if you must. Then find a way to give her a compliment. By Jove, it shouldn't be hard." Stanstead clapped a hand on his shoulder. "I'll even Send her a suggestion that she finds your ugly mug fine to look upon."
"No. No Sending." He didn't need Stanstead's help. Besides, he'd been told that he was not without a certain rugged appeal, if a woman fancied a man who had unfashionably large hands and feet to match his breadth of shoulder. Westfall's facial features were considered raw-boned rather than refined, but he didn't care. If someone didn't like his looks, they were welcome to look the other way. "If you Sent that she should like me, I'd never know for sure if she did. It would be cheating."
"What a bore you are sometimes."
"What a bounder you are, all the time."
"Look," Stanstead said, suddenly all business, "we can swap insults or we can do what we came here to do. The Duke of Camden has sensed the presence of a psychic relic somewhere in this town house. It may be in Lord Albemarle's possession. It may belong to one of his guests. All we know for certain is that the intention behind it is not conducive to the welfare of our future king."
That steadied him. Becoming part of the Duke of Camden's Order of the M.U.S.E. had given Westfall new purpose and new hope that his debility — he couldn't think of his psychic powers as a gift quite yet — might be put to good use. M.U.S.E. stood for Metaphysical Union of Sensory Extraordinaires. That seemed a little grandiose to Westfall, and he felt nothing like an "Extraordinaire," but the Order had proved its worth a dozen times over.
With France's military defeat, England's enemies had turned to more subtle means to harm the British royal family. Someone with resources and intelligence was intent on infiltrating the Crown's collection of art and oddities with psychically debilitating relics. The Duke of Camden was convinced that at least one object of malicious intent had slipped through his gauntlet and was responsible for the king's periodic descents into madness.
But Camden and his Order had stopped plenty of other items from reaching the royals. Often, they worked with only the sketchiest of information about the relics — a rumor, a string of unusual events or, as in this case, because the duke had experienced one of his visions about an object of power.
So now, Westfall and Stanstead were dispatched to Lord Albemarle's rout to try to ferret out the elusive item, discover who held it, and what its special properties might be. Then the Order could decide how to deal with the threat.
"So are we going to work?" Stanstead asked. "Or are you going to stand there like you've got a broom handle shoved up your arse?"
"Elegant as always, Stanstead."
"One does one's best."
"One could hardly do worse," Westfall said sourly. "Very well, I'll take the left side of the room. You circulate on the right. We'll compare notes when we reach the other side."
"Good. I'm highly gratified to learn you aren't dead. You chose the side she is on." Stanstead waggled his eyebrows meaningfully. "Bon chance, old chap."
Westfall was tempted to clout Stanstead a good one over the head. He moved away from his colleague before he could act on the impulse. He located the beautiful woman again in a blink. She was standing behind a gentleman at the whist table. Then she leaned over and whispered something into his ear. The man laughed, caught up her hand, and kissed it.
Palm up. A lover's kiss.
Westfall's insides did a slow boil. He didn't have any right to those unsettling feelings. Didn't want them.
But there they were.
As he drew closer to the whist table, he lowered his shield by the smallest of degrees, enough to target the woman's mind only.
It was always a risk.
Very few minds were tidy, well organized, and ready for his inspection. Usually, when he opened himself to another, the mind in question flooded into his own like the Deluge, until he was swamped by their loves and hates and secret shames. To his surprise, very little trickled in from the woman.
She was a closed book.
Westfall frowned. He'd only encountered that level of resistance when he tried to peer into the minds of those who regularly trod the boards on Drury Lane. Because actors so embraced their roles, so became the characters they portrayed, nothing of their own lives, their own thoughts, broke through. It was deceit at the most elemental level, and Westfall recoiled from it in abhorrence.
Whoever she really was, this beauty was clearly trying to be someone else.CHAPTER 2
Nora knew she turned masculine heads everywhere she went. It wasn't conceit. She was merely being honest. And she certainly wouldn't claim credit for it. Nature had simply made her this way. It had uniquely fashioned her to be an object of desire. Nora was chagrined to admit that a few duels had been fought over her, though she had done nothing to encourage that sort of barbarous behavior and had never rewarded the victor with her favors. She was simply used to men fawning over her.
She was not accustomed to having one scowl at her.
With the exception of his snowy linen shirt, the striking fellow was dressed all in black, the stark suit a perfect foil for his sandy blond hair. His ensemble was Brummellesque in its simplicity, but he'd never be considered the fashionable sort.
For one thing, he was too big, too broad of shoulder, and far too tall, towering over most of the other gentlemen in the room. The way he moved was all wrong. Men in Lord Albemarle's circles comported themselves with easy masculine grace. Walking slowly, ignoring the other guests, almost as if he were trying to escape anyone's notice, this fellow was clearly uncomfortable in his own skin. Though the fit of his jacket and trousers was beyond reproach, he seemed rather like a dockworker in fancy dress.
Even more surprising, despite his frown, the big man was coming toward her.
Probably a fire-breathing evangelist or some other crusader for public morals. Though if that were the case, what he was doing at Lord Albemarle's party was a mystery. She'd held her own against plenty of those "holier than thou" types. Never one to back down from a fight — and she certainly sensed one brewing — Nora decided to leave her place near Albemarle's whist table and meet the gentleman halfway across the room. As soon as he was close enough, she dipped in the shallowest of curtsies.
"Good evening, Reverend." Only a man of the cloth would greet her with so disapproving an expression.
His frown deepened. "You have mistaken me for someone else," he said, his voice a low rumble. "I'm no clergyman."
"Pity. They often make the best lovers — all that guilt and angst seething beneath the surface desperately seeking release," she said, her tone as sultry as she could make it and soft enough for his ears alone. If he was going to censure her with his severe expression, she was determined to give him cause. "Have you never heard the saying, 'Repressed sex is the best sex'?"
The man actually blushed to the tips of his ears. She was going to have fun with this one.
"Do not have a conniption, I pray you, sir," she said with a flip of her fan. "I'm not in the market for a lover. Not at present in any case."
"You're ... I ... I'm not having a conniption."
She flashed her brightest smile at him, the one known for bringing a man to his knees. "Then why are you frowning at me as if I were the town trollop?"
He blinked hard. His eyes were the pale gray of the sky just before dawn. Nora should know. She'd seen enough sunrises, albeit through bleary eyes, after her all night carouses.
"I'm not frowning at you." He was still staring at her with complete absorption. "I'm ... I was thinking of something else."
"Thinking extraordinarily hard about it, then. While Lord Albemarle encourages thoughtful discourse at his salons, this is not at all that sort of party." She occasionally ran across a fellow whose attraction to her rendered him incoherent, but since this man's scowl was still in place, she began to consider that perhaps the big fellow wasn't destined to become another one of her conquests. "Have I offended you in some way, sir?"
If not, it wasn't for lack of trying. Something about him made her uncomfortable. She'd be just as happy if this man left Albemarle's party. He wasn't the jovial sort Benedick Albemarle usually cultivated at his routs.
"No, you've given me no cause for offense. Though I suspect the world has offended you more than once," he said. "I am sorry for it. You deserve a full measure of respect."
Excerpted from The Madness of Lord Westfall by Mia Marlowe, Erin Molta. Copyright © 2015 Diana Groe. 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.
This series rocks! I need more!
I really liked Pierce Langdon, Lord Westfall, in the first book in Mia Marlowe’s Order of the M.U.S.E. series, The Curse of Lord Stanstead. So much so that I really looked forward to reading his story before book three for a review blog. His quiet honor, kindheartedness, and his past treatment at the hands of cruel and scheming relatives made him stand out. Marlowe writes a tender story, one that she also impressively connects among its likeable characters. It’s smooth, readable, and very enjoyable. She touches on many complex themes including the horrifying treatment of the insane, the inner and past lives of courtesans, and homosexuality. Lady Nora Claremont is the mistress to Lord Albemarle, an influential and powerful man, but things are not quite what they seem; their relationship conveys a trusted friendship. The daughter of an earl, Nora became a courtesan, but only after a series of early adulthood decisions cut her off from her family. She carries great pain in her heart. Even though Lady Nora was often seen out and about on the town and presided as hostess over Lord Albemarle’s numerous fetes, she actually seemed to lead a very lonely life. Pierce is a handsome viscount who, after a childhood accident, is plagued by the voices of everyone around him, rendering him mad in the eyes of high society but valuable to the Duke of Camden. He has absolutely no experience with women since he has been pretty much either cosseted by family and/or ostracized by society. Marlowe writes of his painful awkwardness with humility and charm. These two lost souls find love and each other as they work with the Duke of Camden in waylaying nefarious psychical plots against the Prince Regent. Both Pierce and Nora have very painful pasts that make them think they are unloveable. Indeed, both have pretty much accepted their fates and lives despite the pain when they find each other. I really like how Marlowe offers little enticements into the lives of the secondary characters, the other members of the Order of the M.U.S.E. This is a group of people with special psychical talents, organized by the Duke of Camden, to thwart conspiracy plots against the Prince Regent. For example, in this, the second book, we learn more about Meg Anthony, the Finder for the group. A former purse snatcher, Meg comes from meager and criminal origins and is learning how to be a proper lady with help from Camden’s sister, Lady Easton. She has secrets that are revealed a bit here and I look forward to reading her happy ending in book three. We also get more about the colorful and vivacious Vesta LaMotte, a fire mage and courtesan (and, brava, an older woman in her forties), and her ambiguous relationship with the Duke of Camden. Camden is a widow who won’t let memories of his first wife and child go. It’s clear that Vesta and Camden desire each other, but Vesta wisely waits for Camden to come to her. A heartwarming and entertaining book, I recommend you read this series in order for both character development and story progression.
This is book 2 in the Order of the Muse series. Pierce Langdon, Viscount Westfall, spent many years in Bedlam until he was rescued by the Duke of Camden and joined the Order of the Muse. He soon learned that the knock on the head that he received during his childhood didn't actually make him mad, he truly could hear the voices of the people around him. He soon learns how to put a wall up to ignore the voices and how to take it down when necessary. Part of his job as a member of the Order is to help take down individuals trying to hurt the government or its leaders. One such job leads him to Lady Nora Claremont. Once a respectable lady, Nora has become a lord's mistress in order to survive. She is use to men coming on to her, but the viscount seems different. She soon learns just how different he really is. Even though she has a protector, she can't help but be attracted to Pierce and is soon tangled in his case. Has Nora finally met the man that will give her the life that she was meant to live, one with a family and respectability? Before you pick this up, make sure you know that it is a paranormal historical romance. It's not my normal cup of tea, but I have really enjoyed this series. I was intrigued by Lord Westfall while reading book 1 in the series, The Curse of Lord Stanstead. So much so, that I had to immediately started reading this one after finishing it. I was intrigued by the fact that he could read minds and that he had a very reserved personality. I couldn't wait to meet the woman that he would open up to. I really liked Nora. She did what she had to do to survive. She was left on her own and woman of that time didn't have many options for survival. She was leary of Pierce when they first met and who can blame her after what she had gone through. After she finally opened herself up to Pierce, she knew she had found the man for her. Without giving away too much, Pierce did something huge to get Nora her freedom from her protector. major swoon!! I can't wait to see what happens in the next book in the series! Thanks go out to Entangled Publishing for a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.
Liked the storyline and plausible references to the notorious insane asylum known as Bedlam. Great read.
Really liked this read. The Madness of Lord Westfall was a solid book 2, and the author has me intrigued to read the rest of the series. Nora and Pierce were such great characters, both wounded and vulnerable, yet strong and fierce. The chemistry between them was wonderful and I truly enjoyed their journey to falling in love. The paranormal element were light, and blended well with the overall story and plot. I would recommend.
Lord Westfall has an amazing ability. He is able to read other peoples minds. The thing he can't do is turn it off. It tends to drive him a little bit mad at times. His devious Uncle had him locked up in Bedlam because of it. he meets up with the order of the MUSE and is slowly learning to build a wall to the voices. Then he meets Lady Nora. Lady Nora ran away and married her husband who was beneath her and followed the drum. Her husband was killed and she fated to the life of a courtesan. Lady Nora and Lord Westfall join up together to try to find a traitor to the crown and end up finding each other. I have read a few others in this series so I was a bit familiar with Lord Westfall prior to reading this book. I was definitely interested in the story that was his to tell. I wasn't disappointed.
The Madness of Lord Westfall is the second book in Mia Marlowe’s The Order of the M.U.S.E. series. I never read the first novel, The Curse of Lord Stanstead, but I didn’t need to. Mia Marlowe does a fantastic job of retelling the events of the first book in such a way as to keep readers from feeling lost. This allows The Madness of Lord Westfall to be read as a standalone novel. In the novel Pierce Langdon, the Viscount Westfall, is working for the Order of the M.U.S.E. to stop a treasonous act against the British Crown. Langdon’s talent is the ability to hear the thoughts of other people, and he uses it to glean clues from other members of society. Langdon is just one of many people with extraordinary talent within the Order who use their skills to protect the monarchy whenever it’s threatened by outside sources, and sometimes from those within. The various characters within the group seem like an interesting bunch, and I’m looking forward to learning more about each of them in further novels. Langdon’s love interest in this novel is Lady Nora Claremont, who is a courtesan. Langdon has spent a large part of his life in seclusion thanks to his family believing him mad, and even did a stint in Bedlam. Now that he’s out, Society is abuzz with gossip over the mad Viscount. I thoroughly enjoyed the romance between the Viscount and Lady Nora. It was great to see opposites attract, and how such a union would take place during this time period. However, most of their tryst operated within the confines of the Order of the M.U.S.E., so I never got the opportunity to see how the rest of the nobles would have viewed this pairing. Maybe in the third novel. The supposed main plot of the novel was that the Viscount was investigating a treasonous plot against the King, and while that story was resolved, I still felt like it wasn’t as well-developed as it could have been. Maybe this league of villains will continue to plague The Order in future novels like S.P.E.C.T.R.E in the James Bond series, or maybe the big reveal got lost somewhere along the way. I’m honestly not sure. Which is surprising as I kept rereading parts at the end over again, because so much was happening in the story. Luckily, the third novel, The Lost Soul of Lord Badewyn, will be released this November. Maybe I’ll find out their identities then. I would recommend this novel to people who love reading historical fiction, and don’t mind a bit of the paranormal thrown in. The romance was as captivating as any other romance novel I’ve read, yet the characters were still confined to the era in which they live. Lady Nora is a strong, independent female character, and I really appreciated that fact. Many times, women during the 1800’s are written as being meek and subservient, or damsels in distress. Nora’s fiercely independent nature aided to the story as a whole, and also points out that the meek nature of women during this time was often only seen in public. Behind the doors, the women of this time seemed to wield more power with their husbands than they let on. I can’t wait to see how the Viscount and Nora’s relationship flourishes throughout the rest of the series. I received this book for free from Entangled Publishing in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I loved the first Order of the M.U.S.E. book and was looking forward to this one. Pierce Westfall is an intriguing character - tormented by the voices he can't control. Nora is an aristocrat who fell from the graces of her family when she married for love. Together these two are central to a plot to use Truth Powder on the Prince and restart a war. This is a smoothly written, well-rounded historical romance with paranormal aspects. I love all the characters and thoroughly enjoyed the banter between Stanstead and Westfall. I also enjoyed catching up with Lady Cassandra, as she continues her life with Stanstead. This is such a brilliant set of characters, I would be hard pressed to say which one is my favourite. The descriptions of Bedlam were horrible, but I'm sure no where near as bad as they could have been. Well done to Mia for capturing the essence of Bedlam, without it overpowering the storyline. A brilliant addition to the M.U.S.E. series - highly recommended. * I received this book from Entangled Publishing / NetGalley in return for a fair and honest review. * Merissa Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!
I am so very glad I gave this novel a try. I tend to find paranormal romance cheesy (thank you, Twilight), but the back cover sounded interesting, so I wanted to give it a shot. Great decision! This novel is well-written and managed the very difficult task of pairing historical romance and paranormal romance in a seamless and engrossing fashion. At first, the large cast of characters were problematic to grasp – which is the hero? What is his/her talent? How are those two connected again? But after laying the necessary groundwork for the series, this novel re-focuses on the hero and heroine, Pierce and Nora. Pierce has the ability to hear the thoughts of everyone around him. His talent earned him a place in Bedlam, but he was rescued by a fellow peer who recognized his abilities for what they were and not the “madness” his title-envying relatives believed. Pierce struggles to erect mental shields from the constant bombardment of voices and as a result is quiet, contemplative, and incredibly intuitive (even without using his gift). Nora has no physic gifts, but rather uses her natural charisma and intelligence to make her way through life. Cut off by her aristocratic family, Nora has transformed into the alluring and coveted “La Nora,” a courtesan of immense talent and beauty. Pierce and Nora fulfill the gaping emotional hole left in their souls by the abandonment and rejection of their families. With Nora, Pierce is able to see past his “faults,” concentrating instead on his love for Nora and achieving mental and emotional stability. As a result, he is able to become far better at managing and utilizing his physic gifts. Likewise, Nora is offered a new chance at love with Pierce, a man who accepts her for who she is regardless of her past and prior position. Together, they create a loving bond and forge a life for themselves with their new family, the Order of the M.U.S.E. Although this novel was the second in a series, it reads as a standalone with just a little necessary backstory provided in the beginning. I thoroughly enjoyed THE MADNESS OF LORD WESTFALL and eagerly await the next installment. Originally posted at Plot Twist Reviews [dot] Com I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Pierce Langdon is Lord Westfall and everyone thinks he is mad. He first went mad as a child when he fell out of a tree and knocked himself unconscious. When he awoke, he heard voices. Later, he discovered the voices were actually the thoughts of those around him. When he told his family this, they quickly committed him to Bedlam. Later, he was rescued by a benefactor and his talent was used by the Order of the MUSE. The Madness of Lord Westfall was wonderful. The writing was strong, the characters exceptionally well developed, and the plot was multi-layered. This was one of those rare books that burrows into your mind and pops up at odd times. While Mia Marlowe was writing about mystery and daring, and even a bit of romance, she was also talking about family and how sometimes those who birth you are not the best to rear you. Marlowe’s style is beautifully structured, with tight prose and characters that soon seem like old friends. While I had not read the first book in this series, it did not matter. The book was written as a standalone with recurring characters. Marlowe did an outstanding job of making this work welcoming to first-time readers of the series and returning readers. I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. All opinions stated in this review are my own.
The 2nd in The Order of the MUSE series, this is Pierce Langdon's (Lord Westfall) story. This series is Mia Marlowe's take on "X-Men in Regency England" - you have a group of individuals with various powers & their leader who molds them into agents to serve their country. As a result of a fall when a child, Lord Westfall hears - or more like, is inundated by - other's thoughts. His family had him committed to bedlam as being crazy where he is later saved by the Duke of Camden, the leader & founder of the order of the MUSE who takes him in & teaches him to shield and protect himself. When Camden comes to know of yet another plot to endanger the Prince Regent, it is Westfall whose talents discover that what they are looking for is a mysterious "trust powder" that is in the possession of Lord Albemarle. Westfall discovers this reading the thoughts of a beautiful woman whom he is instantly smitten by whom he later discovers is Albemarle's mistress, Lady Nora. This story is slightly different from the 1st book. The focus is primarily on Westfall's (Pierce) romance with Nora & mostly from the male's perspective. The MUSE's activities a minor backdrop. All the MUSE characters from the previous books are here with the addition of a new character, a Mr Legrand. Westfall is a virgin hero to Nora's experienced, courtesan heroine. I didn't like her at their initial meeting where she was crass, insinuating & acting the sensual, provocative woman but luckily it got better as the story progressed.They have sex on their THIRD meeting when she invites him over with exactly that intention “invited him to see her orchids”. Indeed. He declares he is falling in love with her then. Oh please *rolls eyes*. Basically they have wild sex 1st, (declare they) fall in love & only thereafter start to get to know each other. But it does get better after the initial chapters, when they start to learn & like each other. I liked both their vulnerabilities & Westfall has a charming naivete for a hero. Copy gifted in exchange for an honest review.
This story captivated me from the very beginning. Lord Westfall, fell out of a tree when he was a born and injured his head. When he awoke he could hear other people's thoughts. His Uncle had him committed to Bedlam after his parents died but the Duke of Camden had him freed and made him a part of The Order Of the M.U.S.E. A secret group of people with special "gifts" that can help Westfall learn to control his gift and use it for good. Lady Honora "Nora" is the second daughter of an Earl who disowned by her family because she wouldn't marry the man they wanted her to and instead married the man she loved. When her husband died she is left alone and poor. She does the only thing she can and becomes a courtesan. Her current protector is Lord Albemarle. Westfall is sent out on a mission to find the person who could potential harm the Prince Regent when he comes across Nora. He is attracted to her in a way that he never thought possible. He also finds out she has information of the person he is looking for. To stop the plot against the Prince, Westfall and the team work to get close to Albemarle and Nora. During this time, Westfall learns Nora secrets and set out on a mission of his own to free her protector from blackmail and in turn free her for himself. Will he be able to succeed or will he fail and end up back in the asylum? Will Nora be able to accept Westfall with his gift or will she too think he is a madman? Is there a happily ever after for Westfall or is he destined to spend his life alone with only the voices in his head? The secondary characters are just as intestine as Westfall and Nora. The Duke of Camden has his secrets that he needs answer to. Meg is a sweet young woman with the gift to Find, who just want to be loved and do her best to please the Duke. Vesta is another courtesan who is a fire mage and she is a feisty loveable older woman with needs that need to be filled. Lord Stanstead has the ability to Send thoughts to other people and make them believe that they are their own. He's funny and determined to draw Westfall out of his seclusion. The story is full of intrigue, mystery, blackmail, special "gifts" history and romace. Mia Marlowe does an excellent job in writing Westfall and all he's been through. She writes so the reader can feel his and Nora's pain and it really draws you in. I definitely recommend this either as a stand alone or as the second book in the series. It's an excellent historical romance.
After his family has him committed to a mental institution for his hearing voices, hence deemed "mad", Pierce Langdon, Viscount Westfall has been placed into the custody of the Duke of Camden. Edward St. James, the Duke of Camden is the founder of the Order of the M.U.S.E. an organization which protects and mentors people with extraordinary gifts, and Pierce Langdon is definitely extraordinary with his ability to hear the thoughts of those around him. The duke is attempting to teach Pierce to filter those thoughts so he will be able to g out into public and feel normal. Lady Nora Claremont has had her share of hard knocks in her young life. Married and widowed, the disinherited Nora now lives her life as a renowned courtesan, but she is not all she seems. When Nora meets the baffling Pierce, she is not only confounded by his demeanor, but she is more than curious about who he is. Nora has consigned herself to a life which includes freedom, but also one of loneliness. Her attraction to Pierce is not only a distraction, but one which could lead to more heartache if she isn't careful. Nora is a conundrum that Pierce would like to solve, but he also has secrets that if are revealed, could have him back at Bedlam. THE MADNESS OF LORD WESTFALL by Mia Marlowe is the second in The Order Of The M.U.S.E. series and sadly I did not red the first before I began this one. I did however go back and grab the first one because THE MADNESS OF LORD WESTFALL was an intriguing and well written book. I had no idea when I began this that it was a paranormal Regency, but I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed the story thoroughly. The characters are interesting and engaging. The story, fast paced and fascinating. I am looking forward to the next installment and now have Ms. Marlowe on my auto-buy list.
Suspense with a touch of paranormal! I received an eARC of The Madness of Lord Westfall, from the publisher and NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. So when I read the description of this book, written by Mia Marlowe, I really wanted to read it, to discover, it has a touch of paranormal romance. This is the second story in a new series Order of the MUSE! I tells the story of Pierre Langdon, a mad Viscount! When he was young, he fell from a tree and woke to hear strange voices. When the voices grow stronger as he grows older, his family commits him. But he soon discovers that his special ability is to hear the thoughts of those around him. That's when enters the M.U.S.E. Metaphysical Union of Sensory Extraordinaires, a group of people with psychic gifts. Enters in his life also, the charming Lady Nora Claremont! Will he know her every thoughts? Beautiful chemistry between Pierre and Nora! This story is fast paced, intriguing with intrigue, mystery, passion and a touch of paranormal!