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Too Dangerous to Desire by Cara Elliott

Too Dangerous to Desire (Lords of Midnight, #3)


ORDER A COPY: Too Dangerous to Desire (Lords of Midnight)

Publisher: Forever
Publishing Date: November 20, 2012
Paperback: 384 pages

Rating: 4 stars


Long ago, Sophie Lawrance chose prudence over passion, rejecting a rebellious young rogue for the sake of her family-no matter the ache it left in her heart. But after a specter from her father’s past resurfaces, threatening to destroy all she holds dear, the desperate beauty knows there is only one man whose shadowy skills can save her.

Cameron Daggett is a man of many secrets…and many sins. He’s never forgotten the pain of losing Sophie. But now, with a chance to win her back, Cameron sets aside his anger and agrees to help Sophie save her father’s honor. Together they embark on a perilous masquerade, leading them to a remote country estate near the sea. There, they must battle a cunning adversary-and their own burning desires. Will they be consumed by the flames? Or can they prove that true love conquers all?


Cameron Daggett is the most secretive of the Hellhounds, even his fellow Hellhounds only know what little Cam has decided to share over the years. That’s because Cam has come a long way from Cameron Fanning, the young boy of his childhood, the bastard son of the Marques of Wolcott. Cam has left that life long ago and has remade himself into the man he is today. With a little help from his quick fingers and clever tongue, he has stolen or seduced his way to some of the best treasures to be found…and to be sold for the right price. In fact, the only thing Cam was not able to steal was the heart of the girl he loved.

Sophie Lawrence might be on her way to being a rather young spinster, but she knows she made the right choice for her family in refusing to elope with her childhood friend and sweetheart Cameron. Cameron was too wild, too carefree, and Sophie’s mother had just died leaving her family in desperate need of her. She couldn’t abandon her father and young sisters, even for love.

A chance meeting has brought Cam back into Sophie’s life. They are both a little older, and hopefully a little wiser, even if Cam is still a little wild. But maybe a little wild is just what Sophie needs in her life before she accepts the mantle of spinster.

As they work together to save Sophie’s family, will they take the second chance they have been given or walk away from the only person they have ever truly loved?

THOUGHTS:

I just loved Cameron and Sophie together. Cameron was always a question mark in this trilogy. You knew he “acquired” things that didn’t really belong to him, and although he was not Robin Hood (since he stole from the rich to give to Cameron), you never felt he was bad since he wasn’t swindling little old ladies out of their savings. Cam would steal art and jewelry from the rich and sell it to other rich people for a tidy sum. He was also very good at cards and was able to increase his funds that way. But we never really knew anything about him, since the other characters in the story only knew so much about him.

Spending time with Sophie brings out a side of Cameron that is not so jaded. He makes fun of the other Hellhounds for finding love and settling down, but you can tell that Sophie was that one great love for Cameron.

I love that she didn’t judge Cameron for what he has been doing with his life since he left her. She enjoys his stories and isn’t shocked or upset and she doesn’t shame Cam for being who he is.

It was just so sweet that they were both still in love with the other but we’re trying not to get their hopes up that things could be different this time.

It was a lovely end to this trilogy and I truly enjoyed this series.

Received an ARC from netgalley.com, courtesy of the publisher. Thank you.


Favorite Scene:

“Come along, Sophie,” he said a little roughly. “I need to get you out of here as quickly as possible.” Two swift strides and he was back at her side. “Where’s your cloak?”

She gave a vague wave at the bed. “I left it over there.”

Averting his eyes from the temptingly plump pillows, he took her hand. “Well. Let. Us. Find. It.” He said through gritted teeth.

“I know, I know.” With a sigh, Sophie slumped against his side. “I look absurd. Me, a Damsel of Desire?” Her lust-red lips pursed. “Ha—and pigs might fly.”

“You don’t look absurd,” growled Cameron. “If you must know it, you look ravishing.”

“I—I do?” Her lashes fluttered. “I rather like the way my eyes appear when they’re all smudgy.”

“Yes,” he agreed. “They are as…seductive as sin.” A loud commotion in the corridor outside the door drew his attention from the intriguingly dark, dappled shadings. Wrenching his head around, he listened for a moment before letting out a low oath. “Damn, we had better wait for a bit before trying to leave.”

Several distinctly off-key male voices were raised in a bawdy song, their efforts encouraged by the titter of female laughter and demands for another chorus. By the sound of it, the performance might go on for a while.

Sophie leaned back against the velvet-draped mattress and looked up at the gently swaying brass lanterns. “It’s really quite pleasant in here.”

“Yes, well, it’s meant to be.”

“And the bed is exceedingly comfortable.” She bounced her bum against its side. “Have you tried it?”

Coming from anyone else but Sophie, the comment would be a flagrant come-hither invitation. She, however, was blithely unaware of what she was saying.

Or was she?

Fanning a hand over the deep “V” of flesh exposed by her unbuttoned bodice, she gave a cat-like stretch. “Aren’t you warm in that coat? Why not take it off?”

“Because,” answered Cameron, trying not to watch the slide of patterned muslin pull taut over her breasts, “we are going to be leaving here in another moment.” He crossed the carpet and took hold of her arm.

“What’s the rush?” she asked, shaking off his grip. “I have been thinking it over, and appearing on my uncle’s doorstep at this late hour might provoke too many unwanted questions. Perhaps we should stay here for the night and then I will go on in the morning.”

God must be punishing me for my many misdeeds.

“Sophie, this isn’t an inn, it’s a bordello.”

Her hands set on his shoulders and slowly slid inward. “Yes, and if truth be told, I find that rather exciting.” A sigh tickled his neck. “I’ve so rarely done anything reckless, anything naughty.”

Cameron drew a ragged breath as she twined her slim fingers in his hair. His self-control was hanging on by a mere thread. “While I, on the other hand, have spent my life breaking most every rule in Creation.”

“So break another,” whispered Sophie.

Too Tempting to Resist by Cara Elliott

Too Tempting to Resist


ORDER A COPY: Too Tempting to Resist (Lords of Midnight)

Publisher: Forever
Publishing Date: April 24, 2012
Paperback: 368 pages

Rating: 5 stars


In the Wolf’s Lair . . .Determined to stop her wayward brother from squandering their dwindling fortune, Lady Eliza Brentford decides to follow him to his favorite den of depravity. There, among the candlelight and raucous revelry, she encounters her brother’s role model in debauchery, the notorious Marquess of Haddan, Gryffin Dwight. Staring into his smoldering green eyes, Eliza can’t help but find the rakehell nobleman seductively charming-and sinfully attractive.

In a Lover’s Paradise . . .When Gryffin appears on Eliza’s estate as a guest of her brother, a stolen kiss among the garden’s blooms leads to a night of unbridled passion. Suddenly the lovely widow feels herself opening up, like the petals of a rose. Could this master of seduction possibly feel true emotion for Eliza? Or is he leading her down the garden path to an Eden of delights no woman can resist-and a fall no woman can escape?


Gryffin Owain Dwight, the Marquees of Haddan, also known through certain circles as one of the notorious Hellhounds. Gryff has worked hard over the years to earn his reputation of gambling and debauchery. He would rather not let those of his acquaintance know that he is publishing a book on the language of flowers. He has kept his interest in botany and landscaping private. All he needs now is to find a talented illustrator for his book so that they can begin printing his novel of essays.

Lady Eliza Brentford is trying her best to keep her brother from gambling away the family fortune. She has survived one unfortunate marriage for the good the family, and she refuses to be sold to another future husband to refill her brother’s pockets. She has a plan to escape from her brother’s household and buy herself a little cottage in the Lake County. She just needs a little more time. As her brother refuses to stop his outrageous lifestyle, Eliza realizes she must use her painting talents to earn the monies necessary to make her dreams a reality.

A chance encounter with Gryff during a house party begins an affair which brings Eliza more joy and pleasure than she has known before. She wants to let go of convention and enjoy her Hellhound before she needs to face reality and leave before her brother starts making plans which will destroy her future.

Once again Cara Elliott creates a remarkable heroine who defies the standard convention of her time. Eliza is passionate and talented and self-assured enough to try and take control of her own future. It is quite enjoyable to watch Gryff seduce the young widow and in turn be seduced by her passions for life.

The antagonist in this story is Lord Brighton who is so creepy and sleazy that I want to take a shower after spending time with him in the story, and you just want to punch out Eliza’s brother for trying to force his sister to marry this vile man just to save his own hide.

This was another great novel from Cara Elliott and I am so enjoying her presentation of historical heroines who are above and beyond the usual boring ladies. Where Pride and Prejudice gave us Lizzy Bennet who was lively and defiant for her time, Cara Elliott takes her heroines just a little bit further. Lizzy Bennet wanted to marry someone who would take her for her small dowry. Cara Elliott’s heroines take control of their own future and defy convention of the time to try to earn their own income to take care of themselves.

I am looking forward to meeting the woman who will take down the last Hellhound, Cameron, in the last book of the trilogy.

Received ARC from netgalley.com, courtesy of the publisher. Thank you.

Check out my interview with Cara Elliott for more on her novels.


Favorite Scene:

Oh.” Her eyes fell on a handsome gold frame lying face upon the sideboard. “Oh, my goodness, that looks to be a watercolor by Redouté.”

Gryff backed up a step, allowing her to brush past him.

She smiled as she touched the gilded wood, and he felt the breath catch in his throat.

It was as if the sun had scudded out from behind a scrim of clouds.

Her eyes warmed with a luminous light, and as her lashes lowered, he saw they were not mouse brown, but tipped with gold highlights. A glow seemed to suffuse her skin as well, brightening its lightly bronzed hue and accentuating the sculpted cheekbones that slanted slightly upward. On seeing a faint dappling of freckles on her nose, Gryff decided that she must spend a good deal of time outdoors.

It was a memorable face—not precisely pretty, but striking. Unique. Unlike to many of the London beauties, who all looked as though they had been cut from the same piece of pasteboard.

“D-do you think Miss Hawkins would mind if I shifted the glass just a touch? I should dearly like to see the texture of the paper he uses, and the detail of his brushwork.”

“Go right ahead.” A lady who recognized Redouté’s work? “I am quite sure Sara won’t have any objections.”

Eliza began fumbling with the fastening of her gloves.

“Here, allow me.” Gryff took one of her hands and carefully worked the tiny buttons free. Turning back the hem, he peeled the soft kidskin from her fingers. They were slim and graceful, yet he sensed a certain strength to them.

“Now the other one,” he demanded, taking hold of it before she could demure. “These feminine items of dress can be cursedly complicated to remove. But as you see, I have some expertise in the matter.”

A deep blush colored her cheeks, turning her skin nearly as red as the painted rose.

This time, after folding back the leather, he stopped. Trouble–trouble in the form of a small peek of smooth bare flesh—was string him in the face. He inhaled, savoring the sweet, subtle scent of lavender and honeysuckle. The perfume tickled his nostrils, drawing him down, down, down…

“S-sir!” She pulled her wrist away from his lips, but not before he had tasted the beguiling softness of her skin.

Too Wicked to Wed by Cara Elliott

Too Wicked to Wed


ORDER A COPY:Too Wicked to Wed (Lords of Midnight)

Publisher: Forever
Publishing Date: November 1, 2011
Paperback: 349 Pages

Rating: 5 stars


Outspoken and independent, Lady Alexa Bingham enjoys the heady freedom of making all her own decisions, even though the challenges of overseeing her family’s country estate are daunting. But when a chance encounter with London’s most notorious rake awakens a secret longing for adventure, she accepts her aunt’s invitation for a Season in Town . . . only to find that breaking the rules of the ton has serious consequences.

The Earl of Killingworth uses his rakehell reputation to hide the fact that poverty has forced him to work for a living. As the owner of a gambling den and brothel, Connor has no time for glittering ballrooms or innocent young ladies. But after a reckless wager leaves him with a new business partner, he is forced to take a risky gamble . . . Will the cards fall in their favor? Alexa and Connor begin to play a dangerous game of intrigue and deception as they seek to outwit a cunning adversary who wants to put them permanently out of business. But if they are not careful, it is the flames of their own fiery attraction that may destroy them.


When Lady Alexa Hendrie needed help from Connor Linsley, the Earl of Killingworth,  to find her brother, she didn’t know the meeting would change her life.  Her attraction to Connor was dangerous for a young country girl.  Especially a girl like Alexa who always manages to ignore the stifling rules of society which shackle young woman to drawing rooms and husband hunting.  Alexa is too intelligent for that nonsense.  She has studied finances, farming and all other unsuitable studies for young ladies.  She has taken up the running of the family estate, and her good business sense has significantly increased the family holdings.

Connor, better known by the gentlemen of society as The Irish Wolfhound, is the owner of The Wolf’s Den, a gaming house and brothel.  Connor is a self-made man, earning his own fortunes, after his father gambled away everything but his title.  Connor is also a certified bachelor and rake.  But he is enough of a gentleman to know he needs to keep his distance from the frustrating but intriguing young Lady Alexa.

After a game of chance has Alexa winning half of The Wolf’s Den, Connor and Alexa need to come to an understanding on their partnership since someone is desperate to destroy their business. 

As they work together to find the villain trying to harm them, can a sweet country lass reform a rake so that they can begin a new type of partnership?

I love a strong heroine, and have been disappointed with most of the historical romances I have read lately.  It seemed that although most of the historical heroines don’t sit around anymore wringing their hands waiting to be rescued, most are too busy waiting in the ballroom for the right husband to come along and they are too worried about having the proper lace to be all that interesting. 

Alexa is more a modern heroine sent back to the past.  She doesn’t want to sit around learning how to sew pillows and play the harpsichord.  She learned how to manage the business of her family estate and to make it profitable.   She’s smart and wants to be useful.  Although she does have some issues with self-esteem (who doesn’t) due to the constant barrage of society and relatives telling her that her behavior as well as her sun-kissed looks are out of line with the current wants of the ladies of society.  She is used to being dismissed by men as just being a woman and by woman as not being lady like.   But she does not let that stop her from being herself.

Connor is a bit of a grumpy, lone wolf.  He is too used to taking care of himself and seems a bit uncomfortable when someone shows him concern or friendship.  Although he is quick to snap, he is still a likeable character and it is interesting to watch him soften up to Alexa.

There is the whole intrigue of who is trying to harm Connor’s business which kept the story moving, along, but to me the more interesting part of the story were these two characters. 

This was a very enjoyable story.  I had this cued in Netgalley for some time now and kept re-downloading it because it sounded so good.  I am glad that I finally moved it to the top of my reading list since it was a truly enjoyable story. 

I definitely will be reading Too Tempting to Resist which features one of Connor’s very charming friends. The next book comes out in April. 

Received copy from Netgalley.com, courtesy of the publisher.


Favorite Scene:

The Wolfhound gave a harsh laugh. “Nosy Little kitten, aren’t you? Seb ought to lock you in your room, before you stray into real trouble.”

Alexa fisted her hands and set them on her hips. “Ha! Let him try.”

“You have spirit, I’ll grant you that.” He paused for a moment. “Still interested in making a deal?”

“What is your price?”

“A kiss.”

Her face must have betrayed her surprise, for he flashed a rakish smile. “Haven’t you ever been kissed before?”

She sucked in a sharp breath. “O-of course I have.”

“Oh, I think not,” drawled the Wolfhound. “I’d be willing to wager a fortune that no man has ever slid his tongue deep into your mouth and made you moan with pleasure.”

“Why, you impudent whelp—”

Her words were cut off by the ruthless press of his mouth. He tasted of smoke and spirits—and a raw, randy need that singed her to her very core. She swayed and suddenly the Wolfhound swept her into his arms. With several swift strides, he crossed the carpet and pinned her up against the wall, setting off a wicked whisper of crushed silk and flame-kissed flesh.

Alexa meant to cry out, but as he urged her lips apart and delved inside her, outrage gave way to a strange, shivering heat. Her protest melted, turning to naught but a whispered sigh. As did her body. Against all reason, it yielded to his touch, molding to every contour of his muscled frame. Broad shoulders, lean waist, corded thighs—Alexa was acutely aware of his overpowering masculinity. The scent of brandy and bay rum filled her lungs, and the rasp of his stubbled jaw was like a lick of fire against her cheek.

She knew that she should push him away. Bite, scratch, scream for help.

And yet. And yet…

And yet, as his hands moved boldly over her bodice and cupped her breasts, she could not resist threading her fingers through his silky gray-threaded hair. Like the rest of him, the sensation was sinfully sensuous.

A moment later—or was it far, far longer?—the Wolfhound finally ceased his shameless embrace and leaned back.

“A man could do far worse on the Marriage Mart than to choose you,” he said softly. “For at least he will likely not be bored in bed. Indeed, I might even be tempted to swive you myself, if innocence as at all to my taste.”

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