Complete with the signature charm, “delectably witty dialogue…and scorching sexual chemistry” (Booklist) she is known for, New York Times bestselling author Sabrina Jeffries is back with the fourth romance in the Sinful Suitors series!
When Niall Lindsey, the Earl of Margrave, is forced to flee after killing a man in a duel, he expects his secret love, Brilliana Trevor, to go with him, or at the very least wait for him. To his shock, she does neither and sends him off with no promise for the future. Seven years and one pardon later, Niall returns to England disillusioned and cynical. And being blackmailed by the government into working with his former love to help catch a counterfeiter connected to her father doesn’t improve his mood any. But as his role as Brilliana’s fake fiancé brings his long-buried feelings to the surface once again, he wonders who is more dangerous—the counterfeiter or the woman rapidly stealing his heart.
Forced to marry another man after Niall was exiled, the now widowed Brilliana wants nothing to do with the reckless rogue who she believes abandoned her to a dreary, loveless life. So having to rely on him to save her father is the last thing she wants, much less trusts him with....But as their scheme strips away the lies and secrets of their shared past, can she let go of the old hurt and put her pride aside? Or will the pleasures of their renewed passion finally enable them both to rediscover love?
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The Pleasures of Passion
Impatiently, Niall paced the drawing room of the Margrave town house, waiting for his mother to be ready so they could go to dinner at Clarissa’s. This was his first time in town since his pardon and subsequent return to England a month ago, but some things never changed.
Mother still didn’t know the meaning of being on time. And she was worse than ever now that Father was dead and Clarissa had married one of his childhood friends—Edwin Barlow, the Earl of Blakeborough. There was no one around any longer to reel Mother in.
His newly hired valet entered the room. “Begging your pardon, my lord, but when I was unpacking the trunk you shipped from Portugal, I found this envelope at the bottom.” He held it out. “I wasn’t sure if it was important.”
As Niall took it and saw the script written in his father’s hand, he wondered why he would have kept an old letter with his other correspondence. Only after he opened it and a newspaper cutting fell into his hand did he remember.
A few months after his arrival in Spain, Father had sent him the article from La Belle Assemblée, a ladies’ magazine. It was the Provincial News section—a list of births, deaths, and marriages outside London.
And Niall remembered its contents word for word:
Married. At Chester, Mr. Reynold Trevor, son of Captain Mace Trevor, to Miss Brilliana Payne, of London, only daughter of Sir Oswald and Mariah Payne.
Father’s accompanying letter had only said, I thought you would wish to know.
Bree had married within scant months after Niall’s departure.
Niall felt the pain of the loss of her anew, the years having barely dulled it. Clearly Father had been right—Bree had merely been waiting for a better offer. Mr. Trevor might not have been heir to an earl, but he’d been wealthy enough to own an estate in good condition, and his father had some standing in society. Apparently those two things had sufficed to prompt Bree to throw Niall over.
If she’d ever even loved him at all.
Now, as then, Niall noted that Bree’s mother hadn’t been listed in the cutting as the late Mariah Payne. So Father had been right about that, too. All that nonsense about Bree not wanting to marry because of her sickly mother had been naught but an excuse.
With a start, he realized his valet was asking him something. “Sorry, I’m woolgathering. What is it?”
“Is the letter to be kept? Is it important?”
In a surge of temper, he crumpled the cutting in his fist and tossed it into the fire. “It’s naught but a bit of inconsequential old gossip.”
Inconsequential gossip that had destroyed him after he’d read it. But he was past all that now.
Granted, Bree had taken him by surprise a couple of weeks ago when she’d shown up at Stoke Towers, Edwin and Clarissa’s estate in the country, and then at the wedding of his cousin Warren to Delia Trevor. How could he have known that Bree’s husband was Delia’s brother? Or rather, had been Delia’s brother before the man’s tragic death a year ago.
Niall had practically fallen apart at his first sight of the widowed Bree—no, Mrs. Trevor now—looking lovelier than ever, with a lusher figure and a haunting sadness in her chocolate-brown eyes. She was even out of mourning, which meant she was available again.
He gritted his teeth. Not to him. She hadn’t sent him so much as a word in all these years. If not for Father, he wouldn’t even have learned that she’d married. If not for running into her at the wedding, he wouldn’t have known she was widowed and had a son. Clearly she didn’t give a damn about him anymore.
If she ever had.
Niall’s valet cleared his throat. “One more thing, sir. Shall I lay out different attire for when you return from dinner? Will you be attending St. George’s this evening?”
Niall had been made an honorary member of St. George’s Club by virtue of being Edwin’s brother-in-law. And by virtue of what he’d done to protect his sister, though no one knew about that except Edwin and Warren.
“I may, if Edwin wants to. But if I do go, I’ll just wear this.”
“Very good, sir.” With a nod, his valet left.
Niall glanced at the clock, then swore. Stalking out into the hall, he called up the stairs, “Mother! We were supposed to be at Clarissa’s half an hour ago!”
“I’m coming, I’m coming,” she grumbled as she appeared at the top of the stairs.
A lump caught in his throat. Mother might be flighty and prone to exaggeration, but he’d missed her. The separation from his family had been a particularly hard part of his exile in Spain and then Portugal. And he still couldn’t get used to how much older Mother looked now.
“I don’t know what you spent your time abroad doing,” she added as she made her slow way down the stairs, favoring her bad hip, “but I swear it has turned you into quite the grump.”
“Sorry, Mother.” He hurried up to offer her his arm. “It’s just that this isn’t one of your society balls, where you can show up whenever you wish. This is dinner with your daughter and her husband. Whose company we both happen to enjoy.”
Apparently madly in love, the pair were happily expecting their first child. And that made all the sacrifices of his last seven years worth it.
Even losing Bree.
He grimaced. He’d never really had her. He’d just thought he did.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Mother said. “Clarissa knows how I am. She won’t fret a bit over our being late. Besides, one always hears the best gossip late in the party, so there’s no point in showing up early.”
“Not early, Mother—on time. And is hearing gossip the only reason you go to dine with your daughter?”
“Of course not. I do enjoy a good meal, and Edwin’s cook is exceptional.”
God, he hoped so. One thing he missed about Spain and Portugal was the food there—excellent cheeses, well-spiced dishes, and exotic fruits. It had spoiled him for the usual British mutton stews; he’d give anything for a good dish of paella or pulpo. Hmm, perhaps he should look for a Spanish cook. . . .
“I also wish to hear how Clarissa is feeling these days,” Mother went on. She shot him a sly glance. “She is carrying my first grandchild, you know.”
That was Mother Code for When are you providing me with a grandchild?
Thankfully, she was easy to distract. “So, the best gossip comes later on, does it?”
A bright smile lit her face. “Oh yes! Why, we might even coax Lord Fulkham to tell us intimate details about the king’s death.” She leaned in with a conspiratorial air. “If anyone should know them, it’s the undersecretary of state for . . . for . . .” She waved her hand. “Important things of some sort.”
“For war and the colonies. But Fulkham isn’t the sort to gossip. And why would he be at this dinner?”
“How should I know? But he accepted the invitation.”
“There were invitations?” Niall had thought this was just an intimate family dinner. “Who else was invited?”
“Well, Lord Fulkham’s sister-in-law, Mrs. Vyse, for one.” She cast him a knowing glance. “A very pretty woman, you know. And quite an eligible widow.”
He groaned. That was Mother Code for When are you getting married? He hadn’t considered the possibility that Clarissa and Mother might use this dinner for matchmaking.
“Though sadly,” Mother continued, “she’s not rich. The widow you ought to consider is Mrs. Trevor—her aunt has provided her with a nice dowry, and frankly, you could use the funds for Margrave Manor.”
Niall grimaced. God, was she invited to this deuced dinner?
“I haven’t met her yet,” his mother rambled on, “so I don’t know if Mrs. Trevor is pretty enough for you—or young enough, for that matter. But—”
“Stop it, Mother. I don’t want any more nonsense about how I require a wife. I need time to settle in. Besides, I prefer to pick my own, not have one shoved at me by you or Clarissa. Not even a rich widow.”
“I’m only saying—”
“I know what you’re saying. I’m saying to leave it be. If I need your help with finding my countess, I’ll let you know.” And that was never going to happen. Mother would choose him a wife based on rank alone, which was the last thing he wanted.
She sniffed. “Good heavens, but you’re prickly these days.”
His eyes narrowed on her. “So, Fulkham and Mrs. Vyse will be there this evening. Anyone else I should know about? How many is Clarissa expecting?”
“Or perhaps fifteen.” She tapped her chin. “I’m not sure, actually. I confess I wasn’t paying much attention once she started rattling off names. Except for Fulkham and Mrs. Vyse, the others sounded dreadfully tedious. Sadly, it won’t be the usual fun people. The Keanes are at their new estate in Hertfordshire. And Warren and Delia are still on their honeymoon in Italy.”
He let out a breath. So none of Delia’s family would be there. Thank God. Surely that meant Bree wouldn’t be there, either.
Not that it mattered if she was. After the horrors he’d witnessed in Portugal during the ongoing bloody conflict between the British-backed liberals and the absolutists, he desired only one thing: peace. Not a two-faced female who wanted, as Father had said, “the advantages of being a countess.”
No, this time round he would find a woman who actually cared about him, who could help him put the images of his exile out of his mind. This time he wouldn’t fall into the trap Bree wove with her soft words and shy, entirely false smiles. Let the widowed Mrs. Trevor look elsewhere for a husband. He was out of the running.
Brilliana Trevor stood in the Blakeboroughs’ drawing room, listening with rapt attention as Lord Fulkham and Lord Blakeborough debated the merits of planting oats over barley. She wished she could take notes, but that just wasn’t done at a dinner party.
Clarissa frowned at her husband as she passed by. “Honestly, Edwin, can’t you talk about anything but estate matters? Poor Brilliana must be bored to tears.”
“No, indeed!” Brilliana said. “Now that I’m managing Camden Hall, I’m trying to learn everything I can about how to look after it.” Especially since she no longer had to worry about losing it to creditors.
“Very wise,” Lord Blakeborough said. “I wish more ladies would take an interest. Even Clarissa has a broader knowledge of such matters than the average wife.”
“Ah, but that’s because you include her in your estate affairs.” Bitterness edged into Brilliana’s voice. “Even when I tried to get my late husband to involve me, he wouldn’t. He always said not to worry my pretty head about it.”
“It is a very pretty head, to be sure,” Lord Fulkham said.
She stared him down. “Sadly, the prettiness of my head isn’t much help when it comes to knowing what to plant or how to manage tenants. Sir.”
A faint smile tipped up the corners of his lips. “Touché, Mrs. Trevor.”
What an odd response. Other men were offended when she wasn’t flattered by their empty compliments.
Unsurprisingly, Clarissa said, “Lord Fulkham, I do hope you’re not one of those gentlemen who think women are only good as ornaments.”
“Certainly not. Though I do believe Mrs. Trevor would be better off hiring an estate manager than trying to acquire such extensive knowledge in a matter of weeks.”
“I agree,” Brilliana said. “But, sadly, I can’t yet afford one. Besides, the more I learn, the more I can teach Silas when he’s older. Camden Hall will be his one day, after all.”
“Ah, yes,” Lord Fulkham said. “I forgot you have a son. How old is he now?”
“Sixteen months. I’m hopeful that by the time he’s old enough to assume responsibility for it, the estate will be self-sufficient.”
Clarissa’s husband, Lord Blakeborough, smiled broadly at Brilliana. “An admirable aim. I have some books I can loan you.”
“Thank you. I’d appreciate that.” How nice to have at least one man here who didn’t assess her just by her appearance.
“And I’m always happy to answer your questions, too,” he added. “Ask me whatever you wish.”
“Or better yet,” Lord Fulkham said with a veiled glance, “you should ask Margrave once he arrives. I daresay he knows plenty on the subject of estate management, since he’s spent most of the past month trying to get his own property in order.”
Brilliana’s heart dropped into her stomach. Niall was coming here. For dinner. Oh, Lord. The least Clarissa could have done was give her some warning.
Fixing her with a hard look, Brilliana said, “I assumed that your brother was still at Margrave Manor in the country.”
Clarissa’s smile was suspiciously bright. “Oh, didn’t I mention that he came to town yesterday? He and Mother are probably on their way now. Mother tends to be late to everything, you know.”
Aunt Agatha, Brilliana’s aunt by marriage, said, “I’m afraid I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting your mother.”
Lord Blakeborough chuckled. “It’s not so much a pleasure as an experience. The dowager is a cross between a whirlwind and a lunatic.”
Clarissa tapped his arm with her fan. “I can’t believe you’re calling my mother a lunatic!” She shot Aunt Agatha a furtive glance. “You’ll give Lady Pensworth the wrong impression, after I invited her expressly to meet Mama. I thought they’d enjoy each other’s company.”
“Why, because we’re both old widows?” Aunt Agatha asked tartly.
But Clarissa wasn’t flustered one bit. “Because you both have a wealth of knowledge about the inner workings of society. We younger ladies can benefit from your advice.”
That seemed to mollify Aunt Agatha. “Well then. I am always happy to counsel young ladies. Especially ones who appreciate the value of age and experience.”
Astonishing. No one else parried Aunt Agatha’s jabs so effectively. But then, Clarissa had a wonderfully deft hand for managing people. Which made Brilliana even more curious to meet her mother.
Niall’s mother. It dawned on Brilliana that she was about to meet the very woman he’d resisted introducing to her years ago.
Back then she’d resented that, but hadn’t entirely blamed him for his caution. Of course, that was before she’d heard why he had dueled—because of some woman rumored to be his paramour. He and Mr. Whiting, known to be a notorious seducer, had apparently fought over this other woman’s affections.
No wonder the wretch had refused to tell her the reason for the duel. He’d known she would then see him for the lying, cheating scoundrel he was. The whole time he’d been courting her secretly by day, he’d been bedding some light-skirt by night.
Not that anyone had told her about it directly, since young ladies weren’t supposed to know that such women existed. She was lucky she’d managed to hear the gossip about the duel itself, and had it confirmed as true.
She had Niall’s father to thank for that. The late Lord Margrave, whom she’d turned to briefly after Niall’s exile, had made it quite clear what sort of fellow his son was. She could only imagine what would have happened to her if she’d fled with Niall to Spain—a steady descent into ruin and degradation. At least she’d been spared that.
Just then the footman announced the arrival of Lord Margrave and the dowager Lady Margrave. Fortunately Brilliana was standing in the corner when they entered, giving her a chance to observe them without being seen.
This time she wouldn’t be taken by surprise, as she’d been two weeks ago, when she’d seen Niall for the first time in seven years and had behaved like a blithering idiot, blushing and stammering.
No, she would be cool and collected, as if there were naught between them but their family connections. And she would be the same with his mother.
But Lady Margrave, a bubbly older woman with bright eyes, wasn’t quite the dragon lady Brilliana had expected. And Niall . . .
He looked so delicious, making her fingers fairly itch for her sketchbook. His time abroad had cut away the boyishness from his features, leaving the strong cheekbones and firm jaw of a man in his prime. And Spain’s hot sun had streaked his cedar-brown hair a wonderful gold and bronze, complemented by his smart tailcoat of chocolate superfine with gilt buttons.
“Sorry we’re late,” Niall said to Clarissa. “You know Mother. The word punctual isn’t in her lexicon.”
“Oh, pish-posh.” His mother greeted her daughter with a kiss on the cheek. “Punctuality is for the dull. Just look at your sister; she’s never on time anywhere. And she’s always the liveliest one at every party.”
“True,” Lord Blakeborough said with obvious affection.
But Clarissa was glaring at her mother. “Mama, you’re insulting every one of my guests who was punctual.”
“Am I? I don’t see how.” The dowager blinked. “I haven’t even met half of them.”
Brilliana choked down a laugh. She was beginning to understand Lord Blakeborough’s unusual description of his mother-in-law.
Clarissa winced. “Yes, well, we must remedy that. Mama, this is Lady Pensworth, Delia’s aunt.”
Aunt Agatha nodded stiffly. “I am one of the dull, punctual guests.”
“Are you? Well, I’m sure you can’t help it. Not everyone can be as lively as Clarissa and I.”
“Mama!” Clarissa said. “I assure you that Lady Pensworth is quite lively.”
Aunt Agatha gave a thin smile. “I don’t believe anyone has ever classified me as—God forbid—lively. Don’t fret, Lady Blakeborough. I’m quite happy to be considered dull.” Pushing up her spectacles, she shot the dowager a pointed glance. “It’s better than being considered a lunatic.”
“Oh, I quite agree,” Clarissa’s mother said cheerily. “Lunatics are very difficult to manage. I used to know this one duke . . .”
As the dowager waxed on about the mad duke of something or other, Brilliana caught Niall scanning the room until he fixed on her like a hunter spotting his prey.
When a scowl knit his brow, she tipped up her chin. She had as much right to be here as he. She was Clarissa’s friend, albeit a very recent one. And if he didn’t like it, he could just leave.
“Mama,” Clarissa broke in, “there are others I need to introduce.” She turned to Brilliana. “This is Mrs. Trevor. She’s a friend to both me and Niall.”
As Niall stiffened, Brilliana groaned. Oh, she was going to give Clarissa a piece of her mind later!
Meanwhile, Lady Margrave swatted her son with her fan. “You sly-boots, I can’t believe you didn’t tell me you had already met Mrs. Trevor.” She turned to eye Brilliana with blatant curiosity. “How lovely to meet you. I heard from my daughter that you’re a widow?”
“I’m afraid so, ma’am. A rather recent one.”
The dowager beamed at her. “But not too recent, since you’re out of mourning.”
“Yes. My husband died over a year ago.”
Lady Margrave cast her son a covert glance. “How very . . . interesting.”
When Niall rolled his eyes, Brilliana wanted to laugh. She might have, too, if she hadn’t been so annoyed to see him.
His mother seemed oblivious to her son’s irritation as she looked Brilliana over. “You seem very young to be a widow.”
“So I’m told.” At least half a dozen times a week. “But I’m sure you hear that nearly as often as I.”
With a titter, the countess patted her gray-blond hair. “Well, people do tell me that I look young enough to be Clarissa’s sister.”
Lord Blakeborough gave a laugh that turned into a cough when Clarissa raised an eyebrow at him.
“There’s certainly a family resemblance,” Brilliana said diplomatically. In Niall as well as Clarissa, for he had his mother’s eyes of warm hazel. Those same eyes were now examining her with the ruthlessness of a soldier assessing an enemy.
Was she his enemy? Not exactly. He was simply one man in a long line of them who’d betrayed her trust, starting with her father and ending with her husband, who’d lied to her about why he’d gone to London to gamble away their money.
All of them had abandoned her in one fashion or another, leaving her heartbroken and destitute. Never again would she rely on one of them. Niall had been a mistake, and these days she was trying to learn from those.
When Clarissa went on to introduce the other guests, Brilliana released a breath. Well, she’d survived that. Though she did have to wonder how Niall’s father had ended up married to such a flibbertigibbet as Lady Margrave. He’d seemed a somber sort when she’d met with him.
Dinner was announced, and Brilliana couldn’t help noticing that Niall pointedly ignored her as they went in.
Fine by her. Especially since she was seated next to Lord Fulkham, who was a most entertaining companion and proceeded to regale her throughout the meal with tales of his trips abroad.
As the dessert was served, he shifted the conversation to her. “So, how much longer will you be in London?”
“I’m not sure. But at least until Delia and Lord Knightford return from their honeymoon. Silas will want to see his aunt before we head off into the country.”
“So the lad is here in London with you?”
“Yes, of course. My aunt was kind enough to hire a nursemaid for him.”
“That’s very generous for an aunt by marriage.”
“It is indeed. She’s been very good to me and Silas.”
He glanced across to where Aunt Agatha was talking animatedly with an older gentleman who looked as if he’d rather be anywhere else. “I understand that Lady Pensworth has even provided a dowry for you.”
Her breath caught in her throat. He was asking about her dowry? Surely Lord Fulkham wasn’t interested in her like that. She dearly hoped not. He might be good-looking, with crystalline blue eyes and wavy raven hair, but she had no desire to marry again. Between Reynold and Niall, it was clear she had bad luck when it came to men.
Besides, there was something very calculated in the way he’d asked the question. She couldn’t see him as a fortune hunter, but still, it was probably best to handle this delicately.
She smiled at him. “Don’t tell me that you’re playing matchmaker, too, sir. Bad enough that my aunt and Clarissa keep trying to find me a husband.”
That seemed to startle him, for he eyed her askance. “How do you know I’m not asking for my own information? I am a bachelor, you know.”
“Yes, but you’re much too important a fellow to consider me for a wife. No doubt you have your eye on someone who can advance your political interests. I certainly cannot.”
His gaze sharpened on her. “I see.”
She had a funny feeling he saw more than he let on. It made her distinctly uncomfortable.
“But actually, what I meant was,” he went on, “that your aunt has taken on a rather unusual task in providing you with a dowry. You have other family members who ought to be assuming that position.” He searched her face. “Your father, for example.”
The breath went out of her. Dropping her gaze to her custard, she murmured, “My father and I are not . . . close.”
She hadn’t seen him since Mama’s death over six years ago, and she hoped never to see him again, considering what he’d done to ruin her life.
So she was relieved when Clarissa rose and asked the ladies if they wished to retire to the drawing room. As she followed the other ladies out, she wondered why he was prying into her personal affairs. If he wasn’t interested in courting her, it made no sense.
Then Mrs. Vyse approached her on their way to the drawing room. “I wonder if you’d take a turn with me in the garden? I find it a bit stuffy in here. Don’t you?”
That put Brilliana on her guard. First Lord Fulkham, then his sister-in-law. What on earth was going on? Had the woman been sent to assess Brilliana’s interest in him?
Whatever the case, perhaps it was time to get to the bottom of it, so she would know how to act.
Brilliana smiled. “Why, certainly, Mrs. Vyse. That sounds wonderful.”
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I absolutely loved Niall and Bree's story!! Second chance romances are one of my favorite. Because of meddling relatives, Niall and Bree are separated after Niall had to flee the country. When they are reunited, they are thrown together to work a case for the government. Of course, they both have feeling for the other, but have been given information that makes them distrust the other. Can these two find their way back to each other? I've been waiting for this story and I was not disappointed!! This was a great addition to the Sinful Suitors series and I'm excited to see what Jeffries comes up with next!
Delightful is what I thought while I was reading this book. I really liked Brilliana's character because it showed a progression of her character from when she was young and somewhat naive to her as a widow, mother and a survivor of multiple betrayals. Her ability to roll with the punches in her life and create a life she loved was impactful. Niall is portrayed as a man of honor who gives up everything for his family and the enduring part of him is his faithfulness to his sister. The author's portrayal of his push and pull feeling towards the adult Brilliana is done in a manner that the reader will believe as a truth. Though I loved his character I would have liked him to be a little more cynical because of Brilliana's rejection. But his quick comprehension that maybe things weren't as they seemed redeemed him in my eyes. Brilliana's family contributes to a large part of this story and how the author winds the story around them will delight the reader. Her father and uncle are presented in a manner that causes the reader to instantly wonder who is bad and who is good. I give this book 4 stars for it fast-pace and entertainment value. Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
The Pleasures of Passion is a wonderfully written story about a young love that is broken because of family responsibilities, family interference and misunderstandings. I loved how the characters didn't automatically fall back in love but had to work at the relationship and clear up the issues that tore them apart in the first place. Along with the love story, there is a little intrigue and mystery to solve.
Received an ARC for my fair review for netgalley. I tend to really enjoy Ms. Jeffries books, for historical romance, she is on my list of who to go to. And, while I did enjoy the book, it was not my favorite, and honestly I had to make myself sit down and actually read it, I kept going back to other books, so it did not grab my interest as it normally does, not that it was a bad book, no just not my fav. So we have previously met Niall, who was Clarissa's brother, and Warren's cousin, I hope you read the other books in series, because you will be lost, you need to know the premise. Niall had to leave the country after a duel, in his sister's honor, leaving his love "Bree" behind, he could not tell her why he fought, or that could ruin his sisters reputation. So he asks Bree, to run away with him, because he loves her and does not want to leave her behind, but he had never introduced her to his family, nor mentioned her, since he is of rank, and she is not. Bree, loves Niall and was torn, but her mother was truly ill and she could not just leave her behind without making sure she was ok. Unfortunately, lies were told by people that they trusted, and they suffered misunderstandings thinking the worst of each other. They were apart seven years, and due to a family members marriage, bump into one another. The rest of the story, I can not tell you, it was the discombobulated story, that was to capture our interest, and to get them to work with each other, now did the truth come out, did they get their HEA? well my friends you have to read.
Niall Lindsey, Earl of Margrave has finally returned from exile after being away for years. Unfortunately, the one he loved before he left didn’t seem to share his feelings, refusing to leave with him and marrying someone else just a few months later. Brilliana Trevor’s heart was broken years before when she found that she had been in love with someone that was nothing more than a rake. Now he’s back and because of her worthless father, she’s being forced to work undercover with him. I’m not much into second chance romances, but since this was by one of my favorite authors, I couldn’t help but read it. She did not disappoint. This was a great story. I loved both of the characters as they unraveled what went wrong. I loved the different side characters and getting to see characters from previous books. I highly recommend for those that like this genre. **I voluntarily read and reviewed this book
5 stars Deliciously entertaining Victorian romance! Sabrina Jeffries delivers a wondrously entertaining swirl of drama, humor, mystery, spying, lust, and a second chance at love. I really loved it this enthralling romance set in early Victorian England. It is the third novel in the Sinful Suitors series. It is best if you read this series in order because some plot elements started in the previous books and because primary characters from previous books make important appearances as minor characters in this one. In 1823 in Bath, England, 17-year-old Brilliana (nicknamed Bree) and 23-year-old Niall clandestinely and chastely fell in love. She was the daughter of an sick mother and a knighted father in bad financial straits because of his gambling. Niall was a recently reformed rogue who was the heir to a wealthy earldom. Unfortunately for Niall and Bree, Niall killed a despicable man in a duel in order to protect his sister, and he had to flee the country so that he would not be executed for murder. Niall asked Bree to flee with him, but multiple complicated circumstances prevented her. They each thought that the other had abandoned him/her, but their hearts still longed for each other. Then seven years later, she is 23 and he is 30. Niall had just arrived back in London after his crime was pardoned. Now, the pair are thrown together by a government official who wants them to go undercover to investigate a counterfeit in ring involving Bree's estranged father. This pair has such interesting problems! I loved both characters, who are intelligent, tough, good people with senses of humor. I could relate to their foibles and vulnerabilities. It was great how Bree and Niall's forced reunion gradually caused the truth to come out about their separation seven years ago. As the truth was revealed and misunderstandings were fixed, they could mend their relationship. I also enjoyed the added mystery from the counterfeiting investigation. Trigger Warning: although rape doesn't occur in this book, the aftermath of Niall's sister's rape is briefly mentioned. The steaminess level is medium to high, with a few love scenes in unusual settings and a lovely level of intimacy. Bree and Niall's had tons of sexual chemistry. Niall was totally hot in bed! I highly recommend this series to all fans of spicy Regency or Victorian romance. Sabrina Jeffries has written another rich romance tapestry that I loved. I received a free advanced reading copy from the author via Netgalley, and I voluntarily wrote this honest review.
The books begins with Nial desperately asking his love Brilliana elope with him, not in England but abroad as he has to flee the country as quick as possible as he had killed a man in a duel. He could not explain why he did it, only that he had his reasons. She declined to go and looked after her mother instead. Years have past and Nial is now the Earl of Margrave and has returned, and Brilliana is a widow with a young son. They have no intention of picking up where they had left off, they can hardly bare to speak to each other, but they are forced together (by the Home Office) to determine if her father has been involved in some shady dealings, and a fake engagement would be an ideal way for them to get access to his home. Nial and Brilliana needed to talk, they had a lot to discuss, they just took a long time getting to it. They were great characters, when they finally stopped being angry and snapping at each other they made a great couple. But what was Brilliana's father up too? There's also danger and a mystery they have to solve. A marvellous read, plenty of passion with added suspense and intrigue. As always Ms. Sabrina Jeffries shows us she is a master of romance, I loved this story, I can't wait for more.
4.5* I love the second chance at love troupe and Sabrina Jeffries did a fabulous job with this book. Tragedy, secrets and mistrust kept them apart for seven years, now a possible criminal act has brought them together. Niall Lindsey, the Earl of Margrave left Brilliana "Bree" Trevor behind after a duel went bad. He wanted her to leave with him but she could not leave her sick mother behind. After lies and a forced marriage Bree had to move on with no hope of Niall returning. Blackmailed by the government to act as a betrothed couple to find a counterfeiter that could be Bree's father. Being forced together they have to deal with the past and present and their ever growing feelings that seem not to have ended with their years of separation. Doubts and mistruths of the past may keep them from trusting each other enough to see a possible future. I loved Niall's he was so sexy and Bree was witty and strong willed and feisty that they made a great believable couple. This is a great series and should be read in order. If you have not read Sabrina Jeffries and you love historical romance then you can not go wrong with her books.
I enjoyed the story of hearts healing after such unfortunate circumstances.
Book four in the Sinful Suitors brings us Niall and Brilliana "Bree"'s story, and it is a bit heartbreaking at first. They are already in love, young and in love, and Niall has just fought a duel and killed the man who raped his sister (who we met in The Study of Seduction). He asks Bree to run off with him to Spain but she can't because of her sickly mother. He is skeptical of her reasons, he doesn't understand why she won't leave with him if she loves him. She worries about his true intentions for he has yet to speak to her parents or introduce her to his, their courtship has been secret, as she worries whether he has any intentions of actually marrying her. Seven years later, Niall has received a pardon and has returned home, bitter and cynical for he believes Bree never truly loved him. Within a year of his departure, she marries another man, who is now dead. She believes that he fought the duel over a light-skirt and indeed didn't truly love her. They are both cautious to trust the other but when they are partnered up to catch a counterfeiter it is hard to keep their hands off the other, especially as the secrets they both have are revealed to show that they did, in fact, love the other and still do. It was an enjoyable story. I do think that Bree took a bit too long to trust Niall again because seven years is a long time to hold on to the possibility that he had a mistress when he was courting her. He goes out of his way (other than share the real reason for the duel) to prove to Bree that his love is real and that he stills wants her for a wife. I liked that they did, in the end, get their happy ending and the passion between the two of them was steamy. Her Aunt was a great character and I loved it whenever she was on the page giving Niall hell and in the end helping him protect Bree from the counterfeiter. In the end, this was another enjoyable story by Sabrina Jeffries.
Great story of trust lost and found again. Can't wait to read the next in the series titled, "The Secret of Flirting" in March of 2018.
This was a very entertaining story with young lovers separated by circumstances beyond their control. After years apart, they are given an unexpected opportunity to renew their relationship, but the mistrust that has grown between them threatens to ruin any chance of future happiness. Having both gone through their own troubles, Niall and Brilliana would rather never see each other again, but they are forced to work together to determine if her father is involved in a nefarious scheme. (Drat that pesky Foreign Office!) What better way to gain his trust and access to his house than to pretend to be engaged? Of course, the attraction between Niall and Bree is sizzling, but can they learn to trust each other with their secrets and their hearts? There is plenty of humor in the story, with Bree's shrewd and witty Aunt Agatha leading the way. Bree's young son is also adorable, and Niall's interactions with him are fun and heartwarming to see. The romance is satisfying, while the intrigue adds another layer of uncertainty to the relationship. I haven't read any of the other books in the series, but I was able to follow along with what had happened before. I would like to read book #2, which features the hero's sister and sets up what happens in this book. I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I really liked this historical read. The story is fast paced with lots of drama and suspense Niall and Brilliana were secretly in love when Niall is forced to leave the country. He is shocked when Brilliana offers him no promises and even more so when he learns that she has married. A widow now Niall is back to help catch a counterfeiter connected to her father. He discovers so much more. Entertaining read with great chemistry. I really liked it.
The Pleasures of Passion by Sabrina Jeffries My rating: 5 of 5 stars 'The Pleasures of Passion' by Sabrina Jeffries is book Four in the "Sinful Suitors" series. This is the story of Niall Lindsey, the Earl of Margrave and Brilliana Trevor. I have read the other books in this series but feel this can be a standalone book. Niall and Brilliana have been sneaking around meeting each other...they are young and in love. But Niall hasn't worked up the nerve to tell his father that he is in love with Brillian whose father is of a lower Title and has a gambling issue...so he hasn't yet asked her father for her hand. When she gets a note from Niall to meet him she quickly goes to the meeting. There he tells her that he killed a man in a dual and has to leave immediately. Niall ask that Brilliana comes with him and they can marry in Spain. But Brilliana doesn't want to leave her sick mother nor is she sure he will actually marry her because he isn't trusting her enough to tell her why he dueled. So at first she tells him no but then goes on to say that she will plan on getting things in order and meet him later once he settles. They are to communicate through his father. Now several years later there are angry feelings between the two because the other thinks that the other person let them down. But they are forced to work together so that they both can what each thinks they want. I have enjoyed this series and this book just added to the entertainment of this series. "My honest review is for a special copy I voluntarily read."
THE PLEASURES OF PASSION is the fourth installment in Sabrina Jeffries’ adult SINFUL SUITORS historical romance series- a spin off from Jeffries’ ‘The Duke’s Men’ series. This is Niall Lindsey, the Earl of Margrave, and Brilliana ‘Bree’ Trevor’s story line. THE PLEASURES OF PASSION can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from the previous story lines is revealed where necessary. Niall Lindsey is the brother of Clarissa Lindsey (The Study of Seduction #2) and cousin to Warren Corry (The Danger of Desire #3). Told from dual third person perspectives (Niall and Brilliana) THE PLEASURES OF PASSION is a second chance/fake fiancé story line that follows several paths beginning seven years earlier when a then twenty three year old Niall Lindsey finds himself on the run after killing a man in a duel to the death. His then seventeen year old ‘secret’ girlfriend Brilliana ‘Bree’ Trevor refuses to go, and seven years will pass before the two meet again. Fast forward to present day wherein Niall is being blackmailed by a government official to uncover the truth about an influx of counterfeit money, and Brilliana is forced to go along for the ride. What ensues is the rekindling romance between Niall and Brilliana as they hunt for the people responsible while pretending to love one another for the sake of the investigation. Brilliana and Niall were once in love but Niall’s quick exit out of the country found Brilliana lost when her father’s past came looking for revenge. Forced to marry someone she didn’t love, our heroine did what she had to do to protect her mother from certain harm. Niall’s exile to Spain came with a price-spy for the Crown that continued upon his return to home. Rekindling his relationship with Bree is a hard-fought battle as they both keep secret sins of the past. The distinct lack of communication, bitter memories, misinformation and presumptions, and broken promises does much to destroy their previous feelings for one another challenging the reader in more ways than one. The $ex scenes are intimate and seductive without the use of sexually graphic language and text. There is a large ensemble cast of secondary and supporting characters including Edwin and Clarissa (book 2), Warren and Delia (book 3), Niall’s mother Lady Margrave , Lord Fulkham, Bree’s Aunt Agatha, her father Sir Oswald Payne, and his brother Toby . There is also an assortment of ladies and gentlemen, housekeepers and butlers etc. that come in and out of the story line. The world building follows the hunt for a counterfeiter; someone who is discretely using family without their knowledge. The second chance romance struggles with a palpable sexual attraction that is unable to come to terms with secrets and lies from the past. THE PLEASURES OF PASSION is an energetic story line about two people who are given a second chance at love. The premise is engaging and moving; the characters are passionate and determined; the romance is energetic and fated. THE PLEASURES OF PASSION is a pleasing and worthwhile addition to Sabrina Jeffries’ SINFUL SUITORS historical romance series.
Sabrina Jeffries brings yet another great read in her Sinful Suitors series. The Pleasures of Passion is the story of the Niall Lindsey, the Earl of Margrave and Brilliana Trevor, both characters were introduced earlier in the series. But not to worry, Pleasures of Passion is an excellent standalone read. The storyline includes past betrayals and a bit of criminal activity… all layered with dashes of humor and some spicy intimacy. As Niall and Brilliana are ‘coerced’ into working together to search for a counterfeiter, they find much more than the culprit. The excellent character development leads to a fast paced tale and a love journey never to be forgotten.
Reading a Sabrina Jeffries' book is a pure joy. Not only does she write such poetic words, she creates such fun and interesting characters. In this book, we finally get Niall Lindsey's story. Ten years ago, Niall, who was in line to be the Earl of Margrave, was in love with 17 year old Brilliana "Bree" Payne. Since Brilliana hadn't officially come out yet, they had to keep things quiet. When an unfortunate act is brought upon Niall's sister, Clarissa, Niall ends up in a duel, killing a man and must quickly leave the country. Niall begs Bree to go with him. When Niall won't tell Bree of the reason for the duel, she refuses to go, plus she can't leave her sick mom. Niall promises that he will be waiting for her and that she should go to his dad if she would want to get in touch with him. When Niall hears from his dad that Bree married someone else shortly after he left, he is heartbroken, and has sworn off women. Fast forward 10 years. Niall has been pardoned and is able to return to London. He is also delighted to hear that Bree is now widowed with a young son. He may be heartbroken, but he still has strong feelings for Bree, which are proven when he sees her at Edwin and Clarissa's house. When Lord Fulkham tells Niall that he has one last job for him, Niall is hesitant but it may be just what he needs to be with Bree again. There is money counterfeiting going on and Bree's dad may be involved. Niall convinces Bree that they must "pretend" to be courting for Niall to get close to her dad to see if he is involved....and that is when the fun begins! Since these two have such a fun history, the sparks were flying when they were just in the same room. Once the two of them started talking....all bets were off! Bree isn't the little, timid female he left behind 10 years ago. She is truly a little firecracker. I just loved their sparring together....it really built up the sexual tension between these two. Of course, over time, as Bree and Niall spend more time together, their pretending quickly turns into something else. Both of them are hesitant because of things they misunderstood from the past, but they eventually work through things to get to their happy ending. These two were destined to be with each other, it just took 10 years to finally get there!
"'Perhaps I don't want to be reminded,' she said desperately." FINAL DECISION: A lovely second chance at love story between two people who were torn apart by circumstances, fears, misunderstandings and deception. Niall and Brilliana are good people who must work through the past while maintaining a deception. There was less angst than I thought but that was countered by a genuine desire to recover what they have lost. THE STORY: Seven years ago, Niall Lindsey, Earl of Margrave was forced to flee England when he killed a man in a duel. Niall was shocked when the woman he wanted to marry, Brilliana, refused to come with him. Niall comes to realize that Brilliana must never have loved him because she married another a mere year later. When a pardon allows Niall to return to England, he finds himself meeting Brilliana, who is now a widow with a young son, again. He intends to avoid the woman who broke his heart, but the man who orchestrated his pardon needs him and Brilliana to fake an engagement in order to ferret out a counterfeiter. Niall and Brilliana discover that the passion between them is still strong and there is much more to the story of the past than either alone knows. OPINION: This is a second chance at love story. These two were torn apart mostly by circumstances but also by inexperience and their own ability to talk. Yes, this book's central conflict is two people who haven't sat down and had a conversation that might clear up misconceptions that both have over what happened in the past. But, of course, in the real world misconceptions are common between people and we are not likely to just sit down and have chats with people that we believe have broken our trust and our hearts. Because while this story might seem to be one about lack of communication, it is really about lack of trust and a willingness to do anything for the one we love. And the truth is that seven years ago, Niall and Bree did not know how to love one another enough. This is shows deftly in this book as they unconsciously reverse all the things they did wrong the first time. Putting one another first. Believing in one another. Asking questions rather than accepting accusations. This is not so much the story of the two uncovering what facts kept them apart before, but rather a demonstration of the maturity and growth of two people who missed their chance before. Niall is a man of honor who fought a duel whose purpose he cannot tell Bree about. Readers of the series know that Niall killed the man who raped his sister. While exiled, he has been involved in political intrigued which has hurt his soul. His return to England has reunited him with his now happily married sister (THE STUDY OF SEDUCTION) but also brought him in contact with the woman he has never forgotten. Niall is now a more sober, more mature version of himself. Brilliana, who Niall nicknames Bree, is a woman who has managed to cope with the disappointments life has brought her. Nothing horrible happened to her, but life did not have the joy and pleasure that looked to be promised when she was seventeen. She has, however, managed to find compensation and joy in other things, especially her art and her young son. And while she has never loved anyone but Niall, she doesn't know if she can risk herself again. This book has wonderful characters and an intensity between these characters. Love or hate there is -- as the other characters in the book observe -- something hot an
I've received an eARC in exchange for an honest review. First time reading a Sabrina Jeffries’ book – and it was a good start, but it could have been better. The entire book revolves around two connected plots: the main couple’s history and a counterfeit scheme. Niall and Brilliana had met seven years before our story, and had had a secret relationship of love declarations and sweet gestures (nothing else). When Niall is forced to flee England and asks Bree to run away with him, she refuses because of her sick mother. Niall feels betrayed when Bree doesn’t send any news, and he only knows through his father that she married Mr. Trevor a few months after his departure. Bree knows he ran away because he killed a man in a duel, but she doesn’t know why, which made her vulnerable to speculation when confronted with a different idea about Niall’s true character. All of these misunderstandings make them hate the reasons that kept them apart and of course, hate what each thinks the other had done wrong. Trust needs to be rebuilt, at the same time as they must find out if Bree’s father is creating and distributing counterfeit bank notes. With a fake engagement, doubts and suspiciousness, the book ends up losing something by repeating several times the same ideas of why the trust was lost and how it’s so difficult to regain it – but for us readers, it’s not necessary to keep pushing the same button so much. It seemed like there were some plot holes: what really happened to Bree’s mother? Did she end up living with Bree and her husband or did she stay with her husband until her death? What was her condition? How long was she sick, did she pass away shortly after Niall’s departure or was it years later? Bree wrote to Niall – why didn’t he write to her? He knew where to find her and England knew exactly where he was so that’s no excuse. These questions, among others, were left unanswered. The most interesting part for me was the counterfeit scheme and how, even though they were forged to pretend to be engaged to discover the criminal (who I identified from the very moment he first showed up), every character just worked like a well-oiled clock. Without question, the best characters were (the eccentric) Aunt Agatha and the mysterious Lord Fulkham. It was a pleasant book, a quick read, read at ease, which kept me interested the entire time.
I have read and loved all the Sinful Suitors series, but this one might be my favorite. Niall Lindsey fought and killed a man in a duel for good reason. He must flee to Europe and wants his love, Brilliana, to come with him. She refuses to go with him as her mother is very ill. Seven years later he is pardoned, but the government insists he work for them on a case that involves Brilliana’s father, Sir Oswald Payne. Brilliana is now a widow with a young son. Attending her friend Clarissa’s dinner party, she discovers Clarissa “forgot” to tell her that Niall would also be attending. After Niall left England, she was told lies about him and is glad she did not accompany him. Between Niall, her father and her husband she has learned not to trust men. Niall’s friend and England’s spymaster, Lord Fulkham, has a “job” for the two of them involving her father and forged banknotes. She tries to tell them she is not close to her father, but if he arrests her father she and her son will have to deal with the scandal. Forced to accept Lord Fulkham’s “request” she and Niall are forced to spend time together and.... Yes, eventually there is a HEA, but I will not tell you how they get there. This is a wonderful story and I hope I’ve enticed you to try it. Thank you to the publisher for giving me an ARC. They did not ask or require me to write a favorable review. I loved this book!
This is the story of Mrs. Brilliana Trevor, widow, with her young son, Silas, and Niall, the Earl of Margrave. Niall has recently returned to England, after being in exile on the Continent, after killing a man in a duel seven years ago. He has now been pardoned for that crime and is looking forward to starting his life again and handling his estates. Niall and Brilliana (or Bree as he calls her) had quite a history together before he had to flee England and she thereafter married Reynold Trevor. Misconceptions were formed and now they pretty much hate each other since they believe the other one betrayed them. They would be perfectly happy to avoid each other, except... apparently Niall's cousin has married Bree's sister-in-law (Reynold's sister). And now they find themselves in the same circles, invited to the same dinners, and attendees at the same house parties. Which would have still been okay except... Baron Faulkham who got Niall pardoned in the first place has a very specific favor he wants Niall to perform, and that includes posing as Bree's fiancé. Seeing Niall and Bree work through their prior misconceptions and buried hurt was very nicely done and you really begin to hope for this couple. The only thing that stopped me from giving this story a raving review is how sorry I still feel for Reynold, Bree's late husband. I know what happened to him was no one's fault but his own but it still makes me sad to think how much in despair he must have felt. I received an advanced copy of this book for my honest review.
The Pleasures of Passion is a tale of misunderstanding, secrets and second chances. When Niall Lindsey, Earl of Margrave, and Brilliana Trevor were young they fell in love secretly. Suddenly Niall is in huge trouble after killing a man in a duel and he has to leave the country. He wants Brilliana to go with him, but family concerns and insecurity cause her to refuse. As time goes by with no word from Niall, Brilliana eventually marries and has a son. The real story begins, of course, when Niall returns to England after seven years (he is obligated to do some work in exchange for a pardon). Brilliana's husband has died so things are all set for them to reunite, right? Not so fast. Brilliana thinks he has deserted her and Niall is hurt that she married so soon. Both of their fathers have had a hand in damaging their relationship. There is a counterfeiting scheme afoot that may be directly connected to Brilliana's family. Niall and Brilliana are forced to concoct a fake engagement to solve the mystery, causing old feelings to revive. Sabrina Jeffries writes engaging stories and this is no exception. These two lovers were confronted with complications aplenty. The solution to the counterfeiting mystery was not revealed until nearly the end. Niall and Brilliana were so confused about their emotions and were locked into strong misconceptions about each other, but we never doubted that their young love was solid. All of this lead to a very satisfying ending. A solid, well-written Regency. Review provided after being given the privilege of reading an Advanced Reader Copy.
I really like this series. Niall loved Brilliana, but she was still only 17 and he has kept their love a secret. Niall has to flee the country and asks Brilliana to go with him. She refused. Brilliana refused because of her sick mother and she was uncertain what their life would be like. After he leaves, Brilliana marries another man and Niall is left broken hearted. Seven years later, Niall is back and they are faking an engagement to keep Brilliana's father from being hanged. They both have misunderstandings and secrets and neither of them are ready to give them up just yet. They need to bring it all out so they can trust once again and move forward.
This book was an absolute pleasure! It’s been a while since I’ve read a Sabrina Jeffries book and after reading this one I wondered why I had let it go so long. Niall has ardently courted Brilliana behind their families’ as well as society’s back. They are both in love and waiting for the day Bree makes her coming out so they will no longer have to hide their relationship. When Niall kills a man in a duel he is sent away. Before he leaves, he begs Brilliana to come away with him. Due to several warranted concerns, she remains behind with the understanding that she will contact him when she is free from her responsibilities. Niall never hears from her again. Seven years later he has been pardoned and has returned to London, his family and society. But not to Brilliana. This story had lots of plot devices that kept these two apart and considering the era, they were completely acceptable. It starts off fast and never slows down as they each work out their issues. Of course there were times that I just wanted to shake them for not speaking up regarding the reasons their plans had not worked out when they were younger. Brilliana is a heroine who has had her heart broken throughout life and in the process learned how to protect it. She is strong and independent and determined to make the best life possible for her and her son. Niall was hurt deeply by Bree’s apparent abandonment. However, it doesn’t take him long to realize that he still wants her and he sets out to use their situation in an attempt to win her back. This is a fast paced read with lots of great banter and plenty of steam. Definitely a read I would recommend to anyone who enjoys historical romances. ARC provided for an honest review Dual POV Safe No triggers