Series: The Disgraced Lords, #7
Release Date: August 29, 2017
I LOVED this book, if you have been following the Disgraced Lords series then you already know Philip and Rose and you have probably been wondering why they haven’t married. If you haven’t read the series, you will still enjoy this book as Philip and Rose have primarily been secondary characters and Ms. Evans give more than enough back story to make this a stand alone title.
The book opens with Philip Flagstaff, the new Earl of Cumberland standing at the grave of his older brother Robert, the previous Earl. Philip is overwhelmed with grief and guilt, he blames himself for his brother’s death as Robert sacrificed his own life to save Philip at Waterloo. At that moment, Philip makes a vow, he will never marry or have children, so the earldom he feels he stole from his older brother will go to Thomas, his younger brother. He believes the only way he can honor his brother is by sacrificing his own happiness. As he is standing there he is approached by Rose Deverill, Duchess of Roxborough. Rose has long admired Philip and had secret hopes to one day marry him, but her father sold her into marriage at 18 to a man old enough to be her grandfather. She endured marriage to him and was rewarded with the birth of her son and widowhood on the same day. She has no desire to remarry and has spent the last few years as a “wicked widow”, taking lovers and refusing all offers of marriage.
Fast forward two years, Rose and Philip have been exclusive lovers since that day at the graveside, but now Rose wants more. She loves Philip and wants to marry him, her young son adores him and she would love more children, but she is afraid to broach the topic with Philip. For his part, Philip loves Rose and can’t imagine a life without her and if not for his vow, he would marry her. So when the topic comes up, Rose is crushed to learn that Philip does not want to marry. She believes that he will marry, but not her. When a misunderstanding at a ball occurs, these two are forced to have the conversation they have both been dreading. Philip again says he will not marry and Rose tells him that she can no longer be his lover, she will remarry for the sake of her son, but if Philip cannot be her husband, she must be free of him so she can move on. Heartbroken, they spend one last night together and part ways.
Over the next few weeks, they dance around each other and each are subjected to jealousy when they are seen with other people. The tension between them is white hot and again Philip asks Rose to reconsider and again she refuses. When her son’s guardian learns of their split, he tells Rose it is time for her to remarry and expects her to find a suitable groom by the time her son goes off to school. Rose is still holding out hope that Philip will change his mind and asks Lord Kirkwood to invite him to his house party. He agrees but tells her if Philip does not propose, she must move on and find someone else. Rose knows there will never be anyone else and has a secret that could force Philip to marry her – but that is not what she wants, she wants him to let go of his guilt and choose her.
At the house party Rose decides that she must tell Philip her secret, but when an attempt is made on her son’s life and threats are made to her, she doesn’t know who she can turn to. She decides that she must leave and returns to London without telling Philip anything. Philip knows that someone is trying to hurt Drake and enlists the Libertine Scholars to help him. He knows he loves Rose and will do anything to protect her – even if that means they must marry. When he learns she left the house party without telling him, he is furious.
He returns to London to confront Rose and tells her they will marry. Rose refuses, she tells him that she loves him, but if he can’t choose her over his guilt, they would both be unhappy. Philip does not take this news well and is determined to change her mind. But before he can the villain strikes again. And Philip must decide if being a martyr is worth losing the only woman he has ever and will ever love.
OMG! This book was amazing, it is well written, flows perfectly, has super hot love scenes, a lot of action, a bit of angst, moments when you want to smack the hero, a couple of misunderstandings, cameos by the former Disgraced Lords and their ladies and finally a hard won HEA.
I highly recommend this book, even if you haven’t been following the series, this book is not to be missed!!
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to my by NetGalley and the publisher.*