Sensual heat melts the ice in the new Disgraced Lords novel from USA Today bestselling author Bronwen Evans, as a marriage of convenience leads to delightful pleasure - and mortal danger.
Lady Marisa Hawkestone’s nightmare is just beginning when she wakes up naked, with no memory of the night before, lying next to Maitland Spencer, the Duke of Lyttleton—a man so aloof and rational he’s nicknamed “the Cold Duke.” A scandal ensues, in which Marisa’s beloved beau deserts her. As a compromised woman, Marisa agrees to marry Maitland. But on her wedding night, Marisa discovers the one place the duke shows emotion: in the bedroom, where the man positively scorches the sheets.
Taught from a young age to take duty seriously, Maitland cannot understand his new wife’s demands on his love and affection. Marisa’s hot-blooded spirit, however, does have its attractions—especially at night. In retrospect, it seems quite silly that he didn’t marry sooner. But being one of the Libertine Scholars requires constant vigilance, even more so when the enemy with a grudge against his closest friends targets Marisa. Now Maitland must save the woman who sets his heart aflame—or die trying.
Maitland Spencer, the Duke of Lyttleton, had always simply been her older brother’s somewhat handsome yet standoffish friend. He’d never shown an ounce of interest in her, or her in him. She looked him over. “Are you ill?”
Perfectly arched eyebrows lowered into a frown. “I’m very well, and you?”
“I’m stunned, actually. You’re flirting with me.”
“I wasn’t flirting. I was merely stating a fact.”
Of course he was. Literal was his middle name. “Then perhaps you can unhand me, sir,” she said, looking pointedly at his large hands still firmly holding her waist, “unless you do have intentions of flirting with me.”
To her dismay, he did not take his hands from her; instead, they tightened and pulled her close, and he gently moved her into an alcove, away from prying eyes.
“What if I decided I did want to flirt with you? Perhaps even declare my suit? Don’t look surprised—you are one of the most sought-after debutantes this season.”
“Has Sebastian put you up to this? There is no need for him to pester me. I know who I will marry; I’m simply waiting for him to ask.”
Maitland’s eyes roamed her face, stopping at her lips. “A beauty such as you should not have to wait. I would decline him on principle. What would you do if I got down on bended knee here and now?”
Heat flared over her skin. Flustered, she didn’t know how to reply. What had come over His Grace tonight?
“I suspect I would think you in your cups, Your Grace. In all the years I have known you, you’ve never looked at me twice.”
He pressed closer. “That’s not true, little one. It would have been inappropriate for me to notice you until I knew my mind. I find that tonight I know exactly what I want.”
His eyes flared with something she’d swear was heat. Perhaps their dance earlier had affected him as much as it had affected her.
“I’m not for the wanting, so you can stop this silly flirtation.”
“I have no need to flirt, little one. When I want a woman she is left in no doubt as to my intentions.” His mouth trailed up her neck until he reached her ear. He softly added, “And they rarely deny me.”
A Whisper of Desire is the fourth book in The Disgraced Lords series by Bronwen Evans, but it can be read as a stand alone. This is the first book I have read by Ms. Evans and I loved the story!
Lady Marisa Hawkstone is in love with Lord Rutherford. She thinks he is in love with her also and has been waiting for him to propose to her. Being the best friend of Sebastian Hawkstone, Marisa’s brother, Maitland has been asked to be an escort to Marisa during the ball and keep her safe.
While attending Lord Dunmire’s ball, Maitland Spencer, the Duke of Lyttleton steps outside for air and overhears a conversation that includes Rutherford. Maitland hears the truth of why Rutherford would want to marry Marisa. He knows that once Sebastian hears of this, he would never let Rutherford marry Marisa. Maitland had previously suggested he marry Marisa, but Sebastian didn’t take the offer seriously. Returning to the ball, Maitland decides he will tell Marisa that he is interested in marrying her.
The morning after the ball, Marisa and Maitland find that they have been drugged. They wake up naked in the same bed in strange room, with no knowledge of how they got there. Word of this would destroy Marisa's reputation and Maitland says they should be married right away.
Maitland, nicknamed the cold duke, has vowed to never fall in love and closes himself off to relationships. He keeps his true feelings inside and shows a cold demeanor to others. This is to protect himself due to an incident when he was young. He also vows not to ever become like his father.
Maitland is one of a group of men called The Libertine Scholars. The group, which includes Sebastian, is being targeted by an enemy. This madwoman wants revenge for an incident their fathers had done. The men set out to get more information to find out who this is.
Marisa and Maitland go undercover to get more information and Marisa is injured. While she is healing from her injuries, Maitland opens his heart and lets Marisa know why he has been the way he is. He also tells her that he loves her and no matter what happens he wants to be with her always.
I really enjoyed reading this story. There is so much emotion with each character. The suspense of what happens also is intriguing. I found myself not wanting to put the book down so I could see what happened next.
I plan to go back to read the previous stories in the series and I’m also am looking forward to reading the next book.
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