Lady Derring Takes A Lover

“I suppose I was wondering…. why you want me?”
“Because you’ve a spark about you,” he said swiftly. “In a room full of people you seem like the one visible star in a night sky.”

Julie Anne Long is one of my favorite historical romance authors for three reasons:

Her build-them-from-the-first page characters that are always perfectly imperfect;

The dialogue is sharp and sweet, tart and lush;

The emotional development of the characters is the focus of the plot, and the evolution of their relationship always plays center stage.

This is the first book in her latest series- Palace of Rogues.

Delilah learned to never truly ask for what she wanted. She learned that a woman’s place is wherever her husband has relegated her- no matter how venal and desperate that corner is. She has learned that control over her own life is a luxury she can only dream of, and she will always be a victim of circumstance.

But Delilah’s husband is suddenly dead and the world is a vast sea of opportunities. And then she learns she’s penniless. She is certain there is one scrap of the estate to fortify her independence, and when the executor hands her the keys to a mystery building on the docks, she knows it is her one chance.

She finds an unlikely cohort in her husband’s former mistress, and they concoct an impetuous, wonderful plan to ensure they have bread on the table.

Tristan is the King’s man. He ferrets out smugglers and contraband at the behest of the Crown, and he has never failed to land his quarry. He is convinced that the building Delilah has inherited is the headquarters for an insidious smuggling ring. He makes her acquaintance on false pretenses, but she dominates the periphery of his world.

This inexorable, imminent descent to tangled sheets, slow-burn romance is a must read.

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