Amidst murder and betrayal, destiny and hearts collide when scandal forces a nobleman and a gypsy to marry in this Regency Romance.
Half Romani, half English noblewoman, Evangeline Caruthers is the last woman in England Ian Hamilton, the Viscount Warrick, could ever love—an immoral wanton responsible for his brother’s and father’s deaths. She thinks he’s a foul-tempered blackguard, who after setting out to cause her downfall, finds himself forced to marry her—snared in the trap of his own making.
When Vangie learns the marriage ceremony itself may have been a ruse, she flees to her gypsy relatives, declaring herself divorced from Ian under Romani law. He pursues her to the gypsy encampment, and when the handsome gypsy king offers to take Ian’s place in Vangie’s bed, jealousy stirs hot and dangerous.
At last, under a balmy starlit sky, Ian and Vangie breech the chasm separating them. Peril lurks though. Ian’s the last in his line, and his stepmother intends to dispose of the newlyweds so her daughter can inherit his estate. Only by trusting each other can they overcome scandal and murderous betrayal.
They were alone on the dance floor. Ian deftly twirled Vangie around his aunt’s smallish ballroom, mindful of the interested eyes watching them.
Stealing a glance at the smiling and nodding onlookers, he suppressed a frown. He felt like a curiosity on display at Bullock’s Museum. He wished others would take to the floor, so he could dispense with the devoted bridegroom facade.
The twelve courses at dinner had been tortuous. His wife hadn’t taken more than a dozen bites nor said as many words. He’d tried to eat the succulent foods Aunt Edith had gone to such efforts to have prepared, but his anger made everything dry as chalk and every bit as tasteless.
“I’d not much appetite, my lord.”
He chuckled. “Don’t you think you might address me by my given name, wife?”
“Why?” she asked pertly. “I’ve known you but four days, certainly not long enough to be so familiar with you.”
He lowered his head, breathing in her ear, very aware every eye in the room was trained on them. He’d give them something to gossip about. “Because I want you to, wife, and you did promise to obey.”
He nipped her ear.
She jumped and a tiny yelp of surprise escaped before she clamped her lips together. Her eyes were shooting sparks again, only this time they were directed at him.
“What’s my name, wife?”
“Please, don’t call me that. I too have a name, as you well know.”
Drawing her closer, her breasts pressing against the breadth of his chest and cresting the edge of her bodice, he murmured, “Indeed, but Evangeline sounds . . . angelic, and we both know you’re no such thing.”
“Pardon?” She stiffened, trying to shove away from him. “I don’t under—”
His head descended again. “Say it, or I’ll trace your ear with my tongue.”
He grinned as her breath hissed from between clenched teeth. She stumbled, her fingers digging into his shoulder and hand. A very becoming flush swept across her face.
“Will you cease?” Her worried gaze careened around the room. “We’re being watched.”
Voice husky, he said, “Say my name, sweeting.” Giving her a gentle squeeze, he started to dip his head, caressing her elegant neck with his hot breath.
“Ian, your name is Ian,” she gasped breathlessly, twisting her head away.
Publisher and Release date: Soul Mate Publishing, 3 September 2013
Time and Setting: London, 1814
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating: 3.5 stars
Review by Lady Blue
Collette Cameron is a new author to me, and I was intrigued by a story which included a heroine who is half Roma, and has to endure the prejudice of the ton. Our story opens with Ian Hamilton resigning his commission as a soldier to assume his duties as a Viscount following his father’s death. Ian is told that his father died from the shock of his younger son’s death from injuries suffered in a duel, a duel over Miss Evangeline “Vangie” Caruthers. Vangie is portrayed to Ian as a Jezebel, carelessly using and discarding men. In his grief over the deaths of his father and brother, Ian heads to town to seek out Vangie and exact revenge.
In reality, Vangie is an orphan, who has mostly been forced to live with a great aunt and uncle who treat her shabbily and use her as unpaid labor. Vangie’s Uncle Gideon compensates the greedy great aunt and uncle in exchange for their letting her visit his household on occasion. Gideon would have her live with his family permanently, but her father’s will doesn’t permit that. It’s during one of these visits that Vangie encounters Ian at a ball. They are dancing, and Vangie begins to have one of her migraines, as well as becoming faint because of her stays. She collapses into his arms, and he carries her out, seeking help, which he can’t find. Predictably, they are caught in a compromising position. Despite his scorn for her, honor compels Ian to agree to marry her. (And despite himself, he is very attracted to her.)
Shortly after their marriage takes place, Ian realizes that Vangie is not at all the vamp he was led to believe she was. In turn, Vangie, accepts that she is now married, and plans to make the best of it and be the best wife she can be. Happy ever after, right? Not so fast. Enter a mad, wicked stepmother with an agenda, and the trouble continues.
I was very fond of Ian and Vangie, but I had to take to take issue with some things they did that were completely out of character. Aside from being honorable and willing to admit he was wrong, Ian is a former soldier, and portrayed as being very intelligent. Yet, after several “accidents” and “incidents” and the deaths of his father and brother, he can’t see that someone is trying to take his life. He also leaves his new wife with no protection in the household with his stepmother (whom he already suspects of being mad) and goes off on a supposed quest to rescue his sister. Vangie endures some very harsh treatment while Ian is gone, yet she chooses to believe lies told by Ian’s stepmother in a staged scene, never giving Ian a chance to even respond, before running away to her relatives in the nearby gypsy camp.
Ms. Cameron has a writing style I enjoyed very much. She’s created a story that was original and entertaining.
About the Author
A life-long Oregonian, Collette Cameron was born and raised in a small town along the northern Oregon coast. Today she makes her home in a rural community, 30 minutes west of Portland. Her Victorian farmhouse sits on a one-acre certified wildlife habit, interspersed with a plethora of gardens: English, rose, butterfly, rock, water, and of course, vegetable.
A voracious reader of romance since her teens, she even named her daughter after a heroine in her favorite romance novel. An enthusiast of times gone by, and anything related to romance, she writes Historical Romance, with a dash of inspiration, a pinch of humor, and a liberal portion of suspense.
Having dabbled in interior decorating in her youth, Collette returned to school, graduating summa cum laude from Oregon State University, and went on to obtain her Master’s Degree in Teaching. She is member of Romance Writers of America, Rose City Romance Writers, The Beau Monde, and Love Faith and Hope, Inc., and a whole slew of other author/writer groups.
Some of Collette’s favorite things include unique blends of coffees and teas, trivia, Cadbury Milk Chocolate, inspirational quotes, and scented candles. Her Christian faith, husband, three adult children, and five miniature dachshunds round out her life quite nicely! When she’s not teaching or writing, she enjoys amateur photography, bird watching, gardening, interior decorating, rock-hunting, boating or fishing on the Columbia River, and reading of course.
To connect with Collette, please visit www.collettecameron.com or http://blueroseromance.com/
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