THE TRUTH COULD RUIN HER
In Manda Collins's Why Lords Lose Their Hearts, Perdita, the widowed Duchess of Ormonde, keeps a dangerous secret-the truth of how her brutish husband died. But a mysterious avenger seems to know it, too, and when anonymous threats turn into public attacks, there's only one friend she can turn to for help-her husband's former secretary, Lord Archer Lisle. The man who witnessed her every heartache. The kind of man whose love she can only dream of ...
WILL HIS LOVE SAVE HER?
The youngest of the Duke of Pemberton's five sons, Lord Archer Lisle is used to waiting his turn. For years, he could only stand by, seething, as Perdita suffered at the hands of her husband, but now she's under threat from another source-one who will stop at nothing to make her pay for the late duke's death. But the good-natured Archer can be dangerous when crossed-and he'll do anything to keep the woman he's adored for so long safe in his arms...
"Absolutely delightful...an emotion-packed, passionate historical romance"
-Romance Junkies, 5 stars (on How to Romance a Rake)
About the Author
Manda Collins spent her teen years wishing she'd been born a couple of centuries earlier, preferably in the English countryside. Time travel being what it is, she resigned herself to life with electricity and indoor plumbing, and read lots of books. When she's not writing, she's helping other people use books, as an academic librarian.
Read an Excerpt
“A pair of prime goers, Lord Archer. The best I’ve ever seen at Tattersall’s.”
Lord Archer Lisle nodded and tried to look somewhat interested as the overeager Earl of Wrotham waxed rhapsodic over his new pair of matched bays. He was as fond of horseflesh as the next man, but tonight his mind was on another sort of flesh altogether.
He’d accepted the invitation to Lady Sumrall’s annual ball knowing that Perdita, Duchess of Ormond, would also be in attendance. In fact, Perdita’s presence was the sole reason he’d chosen to come at all. Since both her sister, the former Lady Isabella Wharton and now Duchess of Ormond, and her friend the Countess of Coniston had had their lives threatened by an as yet unknown assailant earlier in the year, the widowed duchess had become the sole focus of their attacks. So far the threats had come in the form of anonymous notes taunting the widowed duchess with the knowledge that he—Archer assumed this person was a he—knew what she’d done last season, when her deceased husband, the brutish sixth Duke of Ormond, had been killed. Never mind that the dead nobleman had been killed while attempting to cut his wife’s throat. Whoever this mastermind was, he’d appointed himself judge and jury and had found all three women guilty of the crime of killing Ormond. Never mind that there had been no suspicions, as far as Archer knew, from the authorities.
Thus far, the threats against her had not persuaded the headstrong Perdita to curb any of her normal activities, a resistance for which she was inordinately proud. But Archer, who had been there for the aftermath of the attempts on the lives of both the Duchess of Ormond and Lady Coniston, was not so happy about her resistance to any kind of curtailment of her behavior. Yes, he wished to see the coward who threatened her thwarted, and Perdita going about as if nothing were amiss did so, but knowing that her defiance put her life in jeopardy frightened him and he wasn’t afraid to admit it. And since Perdita refused to listen to reason—especially when it came from the mouth of Lord Archer Lisle—he’d decided to see to it that she remained safe whether she chose to listen to him or not.
At present Perdita was waltzing with Lord Dunthorp, a viscount of middling years who had spent the last few weeks dancing attendance on her. Her luxuriant strawberry-blond hair was dressed in a simple chignon that put the fussier styles of the other ladies to shame. And her gown, a cerise-colored silk that was simply cut but hugged her slim figure in all the right places, also put the others to shame. He’d seen Dunthorp’s eyes wander from her pretty face down to her impressive décolletage more than once since they’d taken to the floor—a circumstance that made Archer long to gut the other man, though it would be dashed bad manners toward his hosts.
He’d been half in love with her ever since they’d met. And it hadn’t taken long for that half to expand into a whole.
It wasn’t just because she was beautiful—though she was. No, though he appreciated her fine-boned loveliness, it was her spirit that solidified his affection for her. Perdita wasn’t an angel. What woman was? But she had a way about her. A sweetness in the way she dealt with people—he’d heard the servants at Ormond House speak of it—that set them at ease. Even her bad moods—which were rare—were short-lived and often ended with a self-deprecating remark.
But the thing that most endeared her to Archer was something she likely didn’t even recall. It had been a moment some three years earlier when one of the housemaids had fallen pregnant. There were few secrets in a household as large as Ormond House, and Archer had a strong suspicion that it had been the duke or one of his cronies who forced himself upon the girl. But when the housekeeper had informed Perdita, she’d handled the matter with kindness and compassion, giving the maid enough money to return home to the country and with the offer of a reference should she need one in the future. Perdita hadn’t considered the matter in terms of its reflection on herself. She’d only considered the little maid’s feelings. And it had been that bit of selflessness that did him in. From that moment on he’d been a goner. And in spite of himself he’d fallen all the way in love with his employer’s wife.
From the corner of his eye, he could see her red gown as they made the circuit of the Sumrall ballroom. He wasn’t jealous. How could he be when his position as private secretary to the Duke of Ormond made her virtually his employer?
No, Perdita was not for the likes of him. No matter how he might, in his heart of hearts, wish to declare himself to her.
“I say, Lord Archer,” Wrotham interrupted his thoughts. “I think Mrs. Fitzroy is attempting to get your attention.”
Pulling himself together, Archer glanced across the room to see that indeed the comely widow was casting a speaking glance his way. And if he were any interpreter of glances, hers was saying something that was not appropriate in mixed company. The lady had been trying to lure him into her bed for weeks now, but though Archer could appreciate the joys of the bedchamber as much as the next man, he was too busy protecting Perdita from herself to succumb. Then there was the whole unrequited business.
He snagged a glass of champagne from a passing footman and took a drink before he spoke. “I believe you’re correct, Wrotham,” he said, nodding to the other man. “But I’m afraid I have other plans this evening. Lovely though Mrs. Fitzroy may be.”
The other man touched his index finger to the side of his nose. “Say no more, old fellow,” he said with a knowing look. “Just between us, I’ve heard Mrs. Fitzroy is a bit possessive, so it’s probably just as well that you not try to juggle her with another woman, if you catch my meaning.”
Since it was impossible not to catch Wrotham’s meaning, Archer just nodded.
“I hope you won’t mind if I have a bit of a try at her,” the other man continued, straightening his cuffs as he placed his own empty champagne glass on an obliging side table. “It’s just that I’m in search of a new mistress and I like the look of your Mrs. Fitzroy.”
Archer would have told the other man to be his guest, but that would have implied that he did indeed have some sort of connection with her, so he simply nodded again and the two men parted ways.
The waltz having just ended, Archer threaded his way toward the side of the ballroom where Dunthorp had just left Perdita—presumably in search of champagne for her. But before he’d made it halfway there, their hostess clapped her hands from a position near where the musicians were set up. “Lords and ladies,” she said once the chatter in the ballroom had descended to a low murmur, “if I could have your attention, please!”
Not wishing to do her the discourtesy of walking while she spoke, Archer paused.
“I am delighted to tell you that I’ve arranged a wonderful bit of theater for you this evening, thanks to the gracious proprietors of the Theater Royale,” Lady Sumrall said. “For your enjoyment, we have not just one, but three superb actresses: leading lady of the stage Mrs. Alicia Lloyd; her charming understudy, Mrs. Pfeiffer; and the soon-to-be-famous ingénue, Miss Desdemona Wright. And playing opposite all three is the incomparable Mr. Charles Keating. All starring in a pantomime that is sure to bring everyone to rapturous applause!” As she introduced each of the actors, they stepped forward. Archer could see more than one gentleman eyeing the actresses, and Lord Carston, who was rumored to be Mrs. Lloyd’s current paramour, beamed, despite the fact that his wife was also present in the room.
“Let the play entitled The Secret begin,” Lady Sumrall said, before stepping aside while the actors took their places before the musicians’ dais.
Intrigued despite himself, Archer folded his arms across his chest as the performance got under way.
Mrs. Pfeiffer and Miss Wright stood to one side while Mrs. Lloyd and Mr. Keating took center stage. As both of them remained silent, Mrs. Lloyd stood before an imaginary table arranging flowers, moving them this way and that as she assessed them. Behind her, Keating stormed forward, his face thunderous as he roughly touched her on the shoulder. As she turned in surprise, he brandished an invisible letter as if to admonish her with whatever was written there. Her eyes wide, Mrs. Lloyd clasped her hands before her, pleading with him as he glared at her, his grip on her arm tight and painful-looking. The actress exaggerated her actions, throwing her head and making as if to escape his grip. Then Keating grabbed her by the shoulders and shook her.
Though it was obvious that the two were acting, Archer shifted his weight from one foot to the other, the scene making him uncomfortable.
From stage left, Mrs. Pfeiffer entered, and stomped her foot. Keating and Lloyd turned, feigning shock. From stage right, Miss Wright entered and gasped loudly. Seeing the other woman, Keating pulled Mrs. Lloyd against him and placed an invisible knife to her throat. Archer watched in dawning horror as Mrs. Pfeiffer clasped an invisible pistol between her hands and pulled the trigger. At the same time, Mrs. Lloyd twisted out of his grasp. Then Miss Wright and Mrs. Pfeiffer rushed toward Keating as he fell senseless to the floor. All three women embraced and stilled, the performance over as the ballroom erupted in thunderous applause.
His mouth agape, Archer stood motionless as the three actors took their bows and Lady Sumrall’s guests continued to rain praise upon them. Then, he pushed his way through the crowd, desperate to get to where he’d last seen Perdita. Because he knew without doubt that she would have been as disturbed as he was by the performance.
Not because the subject matter was so shocking. One can and did see more melodrama at the theater every evening of the week.
No, she’d be shocked by this show for another reason altogether.
Because the actors from the Theater Royale hadn’t simply been performing a play written for the entertainment of Lady Sumrall’s guests. It had been written to instill fear in the heart of one person and one alone. Perdita.
The scene hadn’t depicted a scene from the imagination of the playwright. It had been the retelling of a scene that was all too familiar to the widowed duchess. Because she’d not only witnessed it, but lived it.
On the day her husband died.
* * *
Perdita, Duchess of Ormond, stood chatting with Lady Entwhistle on the side of the Sumrall ballroom, slightly out of breath from her waltz with Lord Dunthorp. He’d gone in search of champagne for them both, and if she were completely honest with herself, Perdita was slightly relieved to be out from beneath his watchful eye.
Dunthorp was a nice enough man, but his unrelenting pursuit of her had become a bit of a discomfort to her in the past few weeks. It wasn’t that she disliked him. If that were so she’d have sent the man packing when he’d first begun to show interest. No, it was just that Perdita, having only last year emerged from beneath her husband’s controlling thumb, was not quite ready to call someone else her lord and master. She liked being able to make her own decisions and come and go as she pleased. She enjoyed choosing her own gowns and not having to worry that the bruises Gervase had left on her the night before would show no matter how she tugged down the sleeves.
One would think that since her severed engagement to Lord Coniston, she’d have learned her lesson about attaching herself to single gentlemen before she was quite sure of her feelings for them. Fortunately for her, her friend Georgina had married Coniston shortly thereafter, so he was none the worse for wear. Not that he would have been at any rate, since theirs had been a betrothal of convenience more than anything else. But Dunthorp was not as indifferent as Coniston had been, and Perdita had no more friends waiting in the wings to sweep him off his feet. And if her intuition was right, he was working up to offer for her sometime in the next few weeks. An offer she had no intention of accepting. And rejection would put an end to their friendship.
“Are you aware that Lord Archer Lisle is staring at you as if he wished to carry you off and ravish you, darling?” Lady Entwhistle asked, jerking Perdita from her reverie. “If I had a man of his looks desperate for me,” she went on, “I’d not be wasting time here in Lady Sumrall’s crowded ballroom, darling, that’s certain.”
“Don’t be absurd, Letitia,” Perdita said with a laugh, “Lord Archer is simply playing the duenna. He has taken it upon himself to look after me and he’s worse than an old mother hen.” That she found Lord Archer, with his golden good looks and tall, impressively strong physique, to be devilishly handsome was neither here nor there. She and Archer were friends. That was all, and as she’d just been telling herself, she had no wish for another husband.
“If you say so, my dear duchess,” Lady Entwhistle, who was known for her affairs as much as she was for her impeccable taste, said with a shake of her head. “It’s a shame, though, if you don’t take advantage of all that deliciousness while you still can. Dunthorp is a nice enough man, but look at Lord Archer’s shoulders!”
Perdita was saved from replying by their hostess, who announced a particular entertainment had been arranged for them this evening. It had been thus since the beginning of the season. Each hostess of the ton had made it her business to outdo the ones preceding her. Thus, Lady Glenlivet had imported a real Venetian gondola to give rides in the pond behind her house in Hampstead, though that had come to grief when Lord Glenlivet had attempted to get a bit too close to his mistress in the boat and overturned it and them in the waist-high water. Then Lady Moulton had hired a pair of acrobats from Astley’s to perform in the garden of her Grosvenor Square town house, complete with flaming hoops through which they leaped most impressively … until one of the hoops caught a lemon tree aflame and the fire brigade had to be summoned. Now, it would seem, Lady Sumrall had found yet another means to entertain her guests. Though having mere actors perform in her ballroom was a bit of a letdown, if Perdita were to be honest with herself.
When the players had finished their little tableau, however, Perdita was gasping for breath and trying desperately to make her way through the crowded ballroom to one—any—of the doors leading into the rest of the house. She was on the point of shouting to make herself heard above the din of applause when she felt a strong arm guiding her.
“Easy,” she heard Archer say before she could wrest herself from his hold. “I’ll get you out of here,” he told her, the reverberation of his voice at her ear strangely reassuring.
Silently, they pushed their way past what for Perdita was a blur of colorful gowns, black coats, and white cravats toward the French doors at the back of the Sumrall ballroom. As soon as they stepped outside she was able to breathe again, and she gripped his arm tighter than was strictly necessary as he led her toward a picturesque little bower just out of range of the torchlight coming from the terrace.
“Sit,” he said brusquely, and she knew that if she were in a different mood she’d have chided him for talking to her as if she were one of his spaniels. But she was so relieved to be out of the ballroom, she lowered herself to the little bench beneath the rose arbor and hugged her arms. It was then that she realized her teeth were chattering, and with a curse, he sat down beside her and pulled her against him, warming her with the heat from his body.
“I’d give you my coat but I don’t think I can get the damned thing off without help,” he muttered, rubbing her bare arms with his gloved hands. To her astonishment, she began to cry, with gulping, hideous little sobs that even as she heard them mortified her. But she was unable to stop herself, and Archer, being Archer, seemed prepared for it, and pulled her against his chest and let her sob into his beautifully tied cravat before giving her his handkerchief and instructing her to blow her nose.
When she had recovered herself and dried her eyes, Perdita pulled away from the comfort of his arms and moved cautiously over a bit so that they were no longer plastered against one another like peas in a pod.
“I’m sorry for that,” she said stiffly. “I don’t know what came over me.”
He laughed bitterly. “I’d say you were overset by seeing the scene of Gervase’s death reenacted before a ballroom full of London society,” he said. “And I can’t say I blame you.”
She closed her eyes, the tableau blending with the actual scene in her mind as the horror of what had just happened revealed itself to her once more. Whoever it was that had been threatening her, had threatened Isabella and Georgina, was sending her a message. A very public and very terrifying message.
“He’s raising the stakes,” she said grimly. “He’s no longer content to threaten me in private. He’s willing to bring his threats out into the open. To risk my reputation by accusing me in a ballroom full of witnesses.”
“But he’s too much of a dam … dashed coward to reveal his own identity,” Archer agreed. “Do you think anyone noticed your reaction to the pantomime?” he asked, his jaw tight.
Perdita thought back to the scene around her as the players had acted out their drama. But all she could remember was her own response to the show. The sick feeling in her stomach, and the dawning horror as she realized just what it was they were performing. Aloud she said, “I don’t know. I was too intent upon my own reaction.”
He nodded, and Perdita watched his profile as he stared out at the garden beyond them. They were silent for a few minutes, both lost in their own thoughts. Perdita wondered what would happen if someone had noticed her fleeing the ballroom with Archer at her side. Belatedly she remembered Lord Dunthorp and suspected that she might not need to worry about rejecting him now. Though she didn’t want to marry him, she did feel bad for disappointing him. He was a nice man, and deserved better than that.
“You have to leave town,” Archer said, turning to her, his expression determined in the torchlight. “It’s the only way to keep this madman from ruining your reputation before the ton.”
She stiffened. She’d lived with the fear that this person’s threats had induced in her for months now. And though tonight’s had been his most public attack upon her to date, she wasn’t about to let him scare her from leaving the field altogether. “I disagree,” she said firmly. “We don’t even know if the others in the ballroom were even aware of the meaning of that little show. Why on earth should I allow him to make me leave town and let him think his threats are working?”
“They are working,” he said hotly. “You were shaking a few minutes ago, and weeping. Or don’t you remember that?”
She sat up straighter. “I don’t like your tone, Lord Archer,” Perdita said calmly.
“Well,” he said, standing up to loom over her, “I don’t like the way you’re ignoring the very real danger this person poses.” He ran a hand through his hair, leaving it sticking up on one side. “Perdita, he’s already sent proxies to make attempts on both Isabella’s and Georgina’s lives. Everything he’s done thus far has indicated that he means to make you pay the most for what happened to Gervase. Do you honestly wish to remain here while he escalates his campaign against you?”
“I am more than aware of what this person did, or tried to do to my sister and my friend,” she retorted. “But that doesn’t mean that I will simply walk away. Besides, how long should I remain in hiding? One year, two, ten? I’m not going to let someone with a vendetta against me dictate the terms of my life to me. If I do that he wins.”
“But you’d be safe,” he argued. “And Ormond and Coniston and I could find him while you’re away. When the coast is clear you could return.”
She shook her head. “You don’t understand. I spent years letting Gervase dictate my every move. I refuse to let someone I don’t even know do the same. I’m sorry, Archer, but I can’t do it. I won’t.”
He stared at her. She watched as it dawned on him that nothing he could say would change her mind. His lips tight, he said, “Then it would appear there’s nothing left to be said.” With a short bow, he left her.
He couldn’t have gone very far before she heard him say, “She’s there in the bower. I wish you joy of her.”
With an inward sigh, she watched as Lord Dunthorp came around the corner.
“Your Grace,” Dunthorp said, stopping before her. “I simply wished to assure myself that you were well.”
Clenching her fist, Perdita realized that she still had Archer’s handkerchief. Schooling her features into a smile, she greeted Dunthorp and tried to put Archer from her mind.
Copyright © 2014 by Manda Collins
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is book 3 in the Wicked Widows series. Someone is out to do harm to Perdita, the widowed Duchess of Ormond. The person blames her for the Duke's death. Having already been through threatening situations with her sister and best friend, Perdita is not surprised when the villain sets his eyes on her. But when the threats start happening in public, she realizes that she must turn to someone for help. The logical choice is Lord Archer Lisle. Archer was the personal secretary of the former Duke and has been in love with her for years. When Perdita refuses to leave London for her safety, Archer resorts to kidnapping her. Archer just wants to keep Perdita safe, but can she overlook his high handness to find an everlasting love? I would definitely read the other two books in the series before reading this one. Not that you have to. You will still enjoy this one but the story will be much more meaningful if you do. Throughout the other two books, we know that Archer and Perdita have feelings for each other but neither of them have ever said anything to the other. Part of what I liked about his book was all the needling that the secondary characters (H/H from other books) gave the two of them. Everyone knew how the two of them felt about each other, but they would just not tell each other. I was happy to see the villain finally caught and was very surprised to find out who it was. I'll definitely miss these three couples. There is a novella coming out to finish off the series, so I hope we get to see them again. Thanks go to St. Martin via NetGalley for a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.
Isabella, Perdita and Georgina were all in the room when Perdita's hubby, the cruel and evil Duke of Ormond, was shot and stabbed to death and, now over a year later, a evil unknown nemesis wants REVENGE for the Duke's untimely death! This the last book in the series and this GREAT MYSTERIOUS FOE will be UNMASKED! Perdita (she will always be Perdy to me) was in a marriage of violence from her husband, the Duke of Ormond, who thought love was about fists, totally control of every aspect of his wife's life and ever ending pain. Now, that he is dead all Perdy feels is relief overjoyed, at all the choices and experiences she can have with her newly found freedom. The one person who has always been the calm in the storm of her marriage was Lord Archer, her abuser's secretary. All she wants to do is take her time to find a hubby that will except her offer of a marriage of convenience only and avoid any man who will pose a risk to her battered and untrustworthy heart. But first, she must discover the unknown nemesis that unfairly blames her for husband's death. Lord Archer Lisle is only the 5th son of the Duke of Lisle and choose to become the secretary for the Duke of Ormond because the church and soldiering were not for him. He has always worshipped Perdy from afar, as she was marriage to the duke. She is, of course, beautiful with her strawberry golden hair and amazing body, but it was her overly kind, giving and humble heart, that sunk the permanent love arrow into his own heart. He didn't know of the abuse, until after the Duke's death and to late to kill the man himself, but he will never forgive himself for not seeing it sooner. Now, all can do is protect her from the unseen terrorist, who has judged Perdy guilty of the Duke's death and means for her to suffer and then die for it. Also having his heart crumble, while watching her surrounded by buffoonish and unworthy suitors. Now that her sister, Isabella, and good friend, Georgie, are safe from they own personal enemies, hired by the mastermind of her torment, all the evil and unsettling threats are directed at Perdy. She refuses to hide in Ormond House or not go about her life of hubby hunting, so she is watchful and totally trusts Archer to protect her. Archer is sick of all the soirée, picnics and balls that Perdy attends, while he protecting her, but the endless teas of courting lord, like ever present Lord Dunthrope, are the worst torture for him. He just want to jump up, grab her by the hand, flees, lock them in a room with or without a bed and never leave, until Perdy knows the he is the only man for her. The threats notes take a backseat as a play, that is scripted from the night of her husband death, is performed and printed in papers. Perdy accepts that Archer with be everywhere with her, like a companion, but he will NOT interrupted her hubby hunting. When a masked attacked in the park happens, she gets into a shouting match with him, Archer grabs her and gives her the most gently, treasured and perfect kiss of her life. The kiss leads to wandering hands and lips, but sadly they are interrupted. Before she leaves the room, Archer asks her what does she really want. Perdy shocks him, by saying she wants him as a LOVER, but she will still be on the outlook for her marriage of convenience, which will not be him. Archer doesn't like the hubby hunting, but he will take her anyway he can have her. They have only one night together, but it rocked both their worlds. More mysterious happenings are afoot and Archer kidnaps her, with sisterly help, for her own safety to his family's home. Now his is back in the FRIEND ZONE, it totally sucks and to make matters worse his 4 single and handsome brothers are home. Will Perdy ever trust her heart again? How will Archer show her that HIS love is gentle, forgiving and everlasting? Can the tormentor be unmasked before Perdy is dead? Will Archer need to kill a brother? Who is this evil nemesis that has run amuck all 3 books? This is sadly the end of the Wicked Widows series and I am tearing up because I love this world Ms. Collins created, that is full of gentle giants for heroes who love and also heal their ladies with the kisses, caresses and with ever beat of their hearts! She deals with the touchy subject of abuse, but has females, like Lady Russell and the Duchess of Lisle, to show her struggling heroines that there is a glowing light of love at the end of the tunnel of abuse. Perdy may be a Duchess, but she didn't have a Duchess "attitude" and treated everyone, even a lowliest maid, with respect and humbleness. She was a rare treat in this title snobby world of the the Haute Ton. Archer was loved as a boy, by another rare Duchess and he fell in love with a woman so like his mom. This couple story was so special to me because it was in the background of the first 2 books and I just wanted Archer to kidnap, which he did, and make love to her until she actually SAW him! Ms. Collins made this book the hottest of the series with aplenty "PULL THE FIRE ALARM" scenes. If any of the characters that needed some intense and sizzling love, it was Perdy and Archer! Ms. Collins didn't disappoint with the many surprise discoveries in the last book. She answers a lot questions, but reveals more surprises left and right. I don't know about y'all, but I love that author that makes your mouth hang up and say, "NO WAY!" Let's just say I swallowed a lot of flies, while I read this book. I recommend this book to readers who like a steamy mystery with unique cast of characters and surprises galore! Ms. Collins get my top score of 5 fingers up and 10 toes and a lot of swallowed flies! NetGalley ARC given for my honest review.
A wonderful finish to a trio of books! I love it when an exceptional author can create a series that keeps you as riveted!
Good conclusion to the Wicked Widows trilogy. It all started with the death of Perdita's abusive husband, as he held a knife to her throat. Only Perdita, her sister Isabella, and their friend Georgina know exactly what occurred - or so they thought. In the first book, someone starts tormenting and threatening the three women, claiming to know what happened and threatening to expose them. Isabella and Georgina are saved from their stalkers with the help of the men they love, but the person behind it is still unknown. The stalker has moved on to attacks on Perdita, and the only person she can go to for help is Lord Archer, her late husband's private secretary. Unknown to her, Archer has been in love with her for years, but had been unable to help her before. Now he is determined to keep her safe. I really liked Archer. As the youngest in the family he learned how to read people, keep calm in chaos, and wait patiently for his chance at what he wants. I loved the way that he has been watching out for her since the trouble began. Knowing some of what she's been through, I really liked the way that Archer was sensitive to the way that he made suggestions. I also thought that he was incredibly patient with her stubbornness in dealing with the threats against her, but when it was time to take action, he did it. I liked Perdita, too, but there were times I wanted to shake her. Because she had been in love with her husband before they married and he showed his abusive side, she now has no confidence in her ability to trust her judgement of whether someone is a good man. She is taking the time of being unmarried again to try to develop some confidence in herself again. She is considering the idea of marrying again, but refuses to allow herself to fall in love with any man, sure that it would impair her judgement once again. I enjoyed the development of their relationship. Archer finally made his interest in Perdita clear to her. Perdita finally admitted her attraction to him, but refuses to consider being anything other than lovers. Of course, Archer wants more, but has the sense and patience to try to bring her to his way of thinking. Their physical relationship was great, with plenty of heat, but also some fun. I did get frustrated with the way she would frequently push him away. Fortunately, she does start to believe that she can have it all, thanks to an unexpected conversation with Archer's mother. The suspense of the story, as it continued from the previous two books was really good. I could definitely feel the creep factor several incidents portraying her as a murderer occurred. When the attacks turned physical, the intensity increased, especially as Perdita resisted all suggestions for her safety. Even when Archer took her to the safest place he could think of, trouble still found them. As this book went on I had a couple of suspicions of who the bad guy was, but it wasn't obvious who it would really be. My initial suspicion turned out to be right, but the reason behind it was completely unexpected and definitely high up in the ick factor. There was an interesting twist at the end regarding Gervase's death. Full review at: http://susans2016readingblog.blogspot.com/2016/04/why-lords-lose-their-hearts-manda.html
This book was alright. I don't think this author is going to be one of my favorites. This is the third book I was lured with the synopsis only to be disappointed with the actual story. I did not like the heroine most of the book. At the end I still didn't care for her all that much. I did like the hero, but at times he came off too young and whinny. I just didn't feel any connection with the two of them. And the end (which I figured out half way through) was very anti-climatic. Although the "big reveal" was a bit of a surprise. But it felt like with each threat it was building more and more to a big showdown (for lack of a better word) for the heroine, and instead it was wrapped up rather neatly. It wasn't too bad, though I skipped over parts of the book, but I'm not sure I'm going to go back to this author for a while.
Lord Archer Lisle, is the youngest of five sons, and has to work for a living. But there is one reason he has stayed at the same position, even though it was a fun job to begin with, Perdita. Perdita is the widowed Duchess of Ormand, has suffered from an abusive marriage, but when it defending her life, her husband is killed, she knew that this secret must never get out, for there is only a few that know; her family and Archer. She has always felt a kinship toward Archer, and now that she is free from her husband, the last thing she needs is entering a marriage with her heart involved. She doesn’t believe that she can trust her own judgment, and when Archer starts to be a bit more progressive in relaying his true feelings for her, Perdita has no idea how to handle these feelings inside of her, but when a danger threatens her, and she is constantly having her life put at risk, Archer decides to take action and protect the woman he loves at all costs, even risking the anger and wrath of the Duchess herself. But will they be able to resolve matters of the heart before the danger closes around them and threatens to destroy everything… Why Lords Lose Their Hearts is the third and last installment of the series. And oh my have I had such a fun time with this author. Don’t you just love it when you discover an author and every book you read is better than the last? Well that is how I feel about Manda Collins, I just can’t get enough of her. Now this is the last installment of the Wicked Widows trilogy, but don’t look so sad guys….because I have great news; she has an upcoming series, the Lords of Anarchy which are closely related to this book. Which I am super excited for, since in this book, we see four other unattached brothers….oooh I just can’t wait. This family was a jolly good fun, and I just wanted to jump in the pages and join in the circus. Despite the fact that they are all grown men, they still act like five year old. The teasing and gestures, and oh boy, the parents sure had their hands full with these boys. The story is enchanting and oh I just love the writing style of Manda Collins. It’s the type of writing style that has you hooked from the beginning, and I am amazed that I just discovered this author last year…I should get grounded or something….LOL…but I have repented of my grave sins, and Collins is at the top of my reading list from now on. The story itself is at first seems to be predictable, but that is far from the case. This plot went different ways and led me on a merry chase, with a couple of adventures, sensual engagements, and a suspenseful element that added even more depth to the story. The character development were done pretty well, and I love the strength and passion of these two, they complimented each other so well, and you see what a spark they have from the beginning of the story. Overall a story that had me enthralled from the first page, a story to enchant, mystify and captivate!! A story with flair and beautifully drawn characters….a book you don’t want to miss! A SPARKLING GEM!!
Reviewed by JoAnne Book provided by NetGalley for review Review originally posted at Romancing the Book This was a fast paced historical romance with a longer than usual prologue setting the stage and the epilogue giving nice closure to the story. Not having read the first two books in the series I will definitely be reading them to fill in some of the blanks and there’s also a Christmas novella coming out which I also look forward to reading. Perdita, her sister and her close friend were stronger than most women in Regency England especially given what they lived through with their husbands. It was nice to see Perdita allow others to care for her especially Archer and the warring between them was fun to watch. Perdita definitely had trouble picking the right man to love especially when he was always there for her, protecting her and being her friend. Lord Dunthorp had his own agenda concerning his relationship with Perdita but she and everyone else except the dowager Duchess of Ormond, her grandmamma through marriage, could see what a disaster it would be. The descriptions of the meeting places, the homes, the sea and the manor made me feel like I was there. There was a lot of camaraderie, adventures and misadventures, family, servants, fear, nightmares, odd and painful encounters, reminisces, romance and love. It was nice to see the relationship that Archer and his brothers had with each other and their parents and how much their parents love each other. There was the happily ever after that I was rooting for which gave me the ahhhhhhh moment. I have not read books by this author before but will definitely be adding her to my TBR pile. I like her writing style and look forward to reading more of her books. Favorite Quote: Oh, she liked this possessive Archer. Despite her fear of marrying again, she could not deny that some part of her enjoyed the idea of being possessed by him. Perhaps because she knew that he would let her go if she wished.
~Reviewed by SUZANNE & posted at Under the Covers Book Blog The widowed Duchess of Ormond, Perdita has a secret reagrding her late husbands death. A secret that has threatened her friends life and now the danger to her own life is escalating, someone knows that her brutish husbands death was more complex than just an accident and they won’t their revenge on Perdita. However, Lord Archer Lisle is determined to keep Perdita safe and discover who the mastermind behind all the threats and plots against Perdita and her friends is.Archer has been in love with Perdita for years and will do anything to keep her safe and convince her he is the right husband for her, despite her disastrous and tragic first marriage. This is the last book in the Wicked Widows series where we can finally see who is behind the nefarious plots to kill Perdita and her friends and see Archer and Perdita, at last, admit their love for one another and have wild monkey sex, or at least a bit of a snog. I got all of my above wishes granted in Why Lords Lose Their Hearts, and one of my favourite things about the book, and the series, was that I didn’t guess who was behind everything, which meant I was intrigued right to the very moment of revelation. The romance, between Archer and Perdita was sweet, especially as you could see it grow through the previous books and I am pleased that they finally got the HEA they deserved, which although may not have involved wild monkey sex, it was still pretty steamy. I have enjoyed this series, although it will never be my favourite and I doubt I would ever reread it, I have enjoyed each one of them and each one has been a pleasant experience; however, Manda Collins is yet to really rock my world. But if you want something well written, enjoyable, but untaxing then I would give this series a go. *ARC provided by publisher
Another hit for Manda Collins. The hero, Archer and heroine Perdita were great. Would love to read about Archer's brothers next
I have found another new author. Manda has a nice book here. She came up with a very plausible story line. She has created some very special people in this series. I haven't read the first stories but it didn't upset this book. Perdita was in danger from her husband. Her sister and a friend tried to get her husband,a Duke, to take the knife away from her throat. It winds up with him dead. 2 years later she is being scared with attacks and news stories. Archer, 3rd son of a Duke, has loved her forever and becomes her protector. She refuses to hide. You have to read how Archer protects her and how they flush out the villain. Please read and enjoy this book.
A delightfully sweet, absolutely fantastic historical romance, Why Lords Lose Their Hearts was simply amazing. From the lovely romance, to the thrills of danger, and the unexpected twist, this book was wonderful. Perdita was a lovely heroine. After being stuck in a horrible marriage for years, she was determined to live her life on her own terms and make her own decisions. Unfortunately, that sometimes translated into being stubborn about really stupid things. But, beyond that, she was stronger than she gave herself credit for and an overall likable character. I thought she was great. Archer was absolutely adorable. This man was so sweet and wonderful and just amazing. He had loved Perdita for years and was determined to do everything he could to keep her safe. I loved how devoted he was to her and how, even while he was trying to convince her to marry him, he always honored her wishes. He was perfect and I adored him. The romance was lovely. I thought they were so sweet together, with how Archer had loved Perdita for so long and how Perdita, even though she was wary of men, knew she could trust Archer. And, they had some chemistry between them that turned the heat up. I thought they were a perfect couple. The plot was fast paced and I was hooked the entire way through. The constant danger of Perdita's stalker kept me on the edge of my seat and I never suspected who it turned out to be. It was quite a shocker, especially considering the full extent of this person's insanity. I really enjoyed the story and the ending was perfect. Why Lords Lose Their Hearts was a fantastic historical romance. I absolutely loved this brilliant book. It was simply wonderful, from start to finish. Romance lovers, this is a book worth reading. *I received a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Seriously? The dingbat's under attack & instead of going directly in a covered vehicle to the inn where important clues might be found, they take a leisurely stroll to the village via a romantic picnic on the beach. Then they're surpised when she gets shot at....Yeah, did anyone NOT see that coming? Oh & "Freddikins" is supposed to be 31yrs old but 12 yrs before, when he was 14, he was thwarted in love. Last time I checked, 12 + 14 = 26 not 31. If a book is going to be this bad, it should at least have some interesting sex scenes. Yawn. On second thought, maybe 0 stars