About the Book:
Delilah Swanpoole, Countess of Derring, learns the hard way that her husband, “Dear Dull Derring,” is a lot more interesting—and perfidious—dead than alive. It’s a devil of an inheritance, but in the grand ruins of the one building Derring left her, are the seeds of her liberation. And she vows never again to place herself at the mercy of a man.
But battle-hardened Captain Tristan Hardy is nothing if not merciless. When the charismatic naval hero tracks a notorious smuggler to a London boarding house known as the Rogue’s Palace, seducing the beautiful, blue-blooded proprietress to get his man seems like a small sacrifice.
They both believe love is a myth. But a desire beyond reason threatens to destroy the armor around their hearts. Now a shattering decision looms: Will Tristan betray his own code of honor…or choose a love that might be the truest thing he’s ever known?
Lady Derring Takes a Lover
by Julie Anne Long
The Palace of Rogues
February 26, 2019
Read an Excerpt:
She halted. Closed her eyes.
Took a shuddering breath for courage.
Turned back to him. From the relatively safe distance of three feet, she said, “Surely not. We’ve established you know everything.”
His smile was small and patient. “You seem to excel at so very much here at The Grand Palace on the Thames. Yet you can’t seem to disguise how much you want me.”
Delilah Swanpoole, the newly widowed Countess Derring, finds herself penniless, and soon to be homeless. Her late husband lived on credit, and now the creditors have come out of the woodwork to take everything they can, leaving Delilah with only the keys to a building located on the docks. The abandoned building appears to have once been a brothel or a gaming hall, but Delilah’s eyes can envision something else. With Angelique, a most unlikely business partner, (you’ll have to read it to believe it) Delilah sets about creating a genteel boardinghouse, The Grand Palace on the Thames.
Captain Tristan Hardy of the King’s Blockade has been extremely successful in destroying smuggling rings. He has one final assignment to complete before he retires from active duty and becomes the owner of his own ship, travelling the world to legally purchase goods for selling. The Blue Rock smuggling ring was responsible for destroying an innocent family, and it’s personal that Tristan bring them down. Evidence leads him to the docks, to Delilah’s building, and possibly to her, or her late husband’s involvement.
Delilah and Angelique sold everything they possibly could in order to refurbish the boardinghouse. They’ve also come up with an amusing set of rules, (including a “cuss” jar) and actually interview every potential guest before allowing them the privilege of staying at The Grand Palace on the Thames. Business is a little thin at first, only a pair of shy sisters, one of whom resembles and eats like a bear, and a flatulent but cheery salesman. Tristan decides to rent a room, planning to investigate the building, and subtly interrogate Lady Derring while he’s there.
Though greatly disillusioned by her late husband, Delilah is strong and resourceful, if a bit naïve and trusting. I love her spirit, her wit, and her determination to succeed without having to depend upon a man ever again. Tristan is her polar opposite, he’s taciturn, hard, distrustful, and skeptical about many things, such as love. His upbringing in St. Giles, his life on the sea, and his years of being a soldier have made him ruthless, relentless, and very good at what he does. He is also not averse to becoming Lady Derring’s lover, should she ever allow it.
Delilah’s marriage was not a love match, and her experience of passion left her unsatisfied. It’s surprising to her that she feels such an immediate bolt of desire for Tristan, who is not even a gentleman. I love her candor in speaking to him, and how Tristan slowly begins to share little pieces of himself and his past, something he’s never done before. Though he never forgets he’s on assignment, Tristan finds something rattling around in his chest that might just possibly be a heart. Their chemistry is scorching, and their most secret feelings are so poignant and emotional.
I am more thrilled than I can even say that Julie Anne Long is writing historicals again, and she is in top form. Few authors can write such flawed, yet wonderful characters, guaranteed to make you fall in love with them. The secondary characters are also memorable, and the book is full of witty conversations and situations that had me smiling, without being ridiculous. You just know that it’s going to hit the fan when Delilah finds out that Tristan has been covertly investigating her and The Grand Palace on the Thames, and Tristan’s method of winning her back is truly brilliant. LADY DERRING TAKES A LOVER is a pure delight to read, and worked for me on all levels. I loved the story, the flow, the romance, the passion, the gentle humor, and the wonderful cast of characters. ~Rose
About Julie Anne Long:
USA Today bestselling author JULIE ANNE LONG originally set out to be a rock star when she grew up (and she has the guitars and fringed clothing stuffed in the back of her closet to prove it), but writing was always her first love. Since hanging up her guitar for the computer keyboard, her books frequently top reader and critic polls and have been nominated for numerous awards, including the Rita, Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice, and The Quills, and reviewers have been known to use words like “dazzling,” “brilliant,” and “impossible to put down” when describing them. Julie lives in Northern California.