Review copy provided by publisher
Mira (Harlequin), June 2012
Synopsis- Her wicked ways were the talk of the ton. Teresa, Dowager Marchioness of Darent, is rumored to have exhausted her four deceased husbands with her insatiable needs. So it’s no surprise that every rake in the ton wants to bed her. If they only knew through clever marriages to men who would ask nothing of her physical self, Tessa has remained rather innocent in the ways of the bedroom. But now she’s on the verge of losing everything and wants to take care of the stepson she’s grown to adore.Enter Captain Owen Purchase. The handsome American adventurer has come into the title of Viscount Rothbury. And the rumors surrounding his injuries at sea suggest that he could fit Tessa’s requirements. But little does Tessa realize that the gossipmongers are wrong. She just might lose her heart, and her desires, to the most unlikely of men.
Review- Desired is the fifth installment of Nicola Cornicks’ The Scandalous Women of the Ton series. Each book explores a new hero and heroine among the upper class “Ton” in London.
The only other title in this series I have read is Notorious (#4) which I didn’t particularly love mostly in part due to the unlikeable characters. However, Desired I loved! The characters are fantastic, the conflict is well established and the romance is both sweet and sexy.
Teresa “Tess” Darent is on the lookout for husband number four; widowed three times she has a reprehensible reputation as a seductress in London. But Tess is not the featherbrained promiscuous woman that she portrays; rather she is smart, wealthy, involved in the political movement and has not been in a sexual relationship for ten years. She is also loyal to the two step-children left in her guardianship by her late husband and is determined to ensure their safety and reputation by wedding a man who will provide her with this protection.
Enter Owen Rothbury a former sea captain who inherited the title of Viscount and could benefit from Tess’ status and financial security. Owen is investigating the political movement and determined to uncover the identity of ‘Jupiter’ and underground assemblage whom he suspects Tess is associated with. Despite his suspicions he is both attracted and intrigued by her and believes there is much more than meets the eye to Tess. Especially so when she turns up on his doorstep and proposes a marriage of ‘convenience’ in name only. Both Tess and Owen will gain from this arranged marriage and ultimately if their emotions are unguarded they also have much to lose.
The characterisation in Desired is very well done. Tess is traumatised by her second marriage, one that was brief but depicted sexual violence. Tess was left feeling violated, humiliated in society and vowed never to be sexually intimate with a man again. When she hears on the grapevine that Owen is impotent she believes she has struck the jackpot! Owen on the other hand has other ideas and every intention of consummating his marriage not out of duty but because he genuinely wants an intimate and fulfilling relationship with Tess as his wife.
Tess’s conflict is very believable, she is a woman victimised by sexual violence and haunted by it still ten years later. Her fears were realistic, vividly portrayed and the way these barriers to intimacy with Owen are broken down is unhurried and credible. Owen is a fantastic hero, he is flawed but very likeable and such a steady, dependable love interest for a woman who feels she is broken.
I highly recommend this read for those who are fans of historical romance and like their characters multilayered with relationships that are established on a deep emotional level. I look forward to reading the sixth installment in this series, Forbidden which was released this month.
“I loved this book!”
Desired can be purchased from Fishpond and other leading book retailers