Title: The Scandalous Love of a Duke, book 3 of The Marlow Intrigues Series
Author: Jane Lark
Genre: Historical Romance
Published By: HarperImpulse (April 3, 2014)
Book three in Jane Lark’s Kindle best-selling Regency romance series!
Isolated by life and choice, John Harding, the Duke of Pembroke, sees an angel in a pale mauve dress across a room and is drawn closer as lust grips firm and hard in his stomach. The wheat-blonde hair escaping her dull dove-grey bonnet and caressing her neck lures his eyes to a spot he’d like to kiss. She speaks with animation her hands moving. Then as if she senses his gaze the stranger turns and looks at him.
A rush of pain and longing spilled from Katherine’s heart into her limbs. It was so long since she’d seen John but her reaction was the same as it had been more than half-a-dozen years before. She loved him, secretly, without hope, but a chasm of years and status stood
A glass of red wine balanced in one hand, the stem dangling between his fingers, he joined another group of guests, fulfilling his duty. He trusted no one here.
God, this was his life now, duty and falsehood. He missed Egypt, he missed adventure and peace and simplicity. He was already bored with people’s endless supplication. Everyone seemed to want something from him. They sought to attach themselves to either his wealth or his power.
His grandfather had warned of this.
John had had enough. He was seeking his family to escape it for a little while, and looking for Mary particularly. He knew his vibrant sister would bring him back from the cold darkness crowding in on him.
He’d passed his mother and Edward in the hall, they’d been speaking with Richard and Penny, they’d directed him in here.
His gaze swept about the room then stopped.
There was a young woman standing amidst his family, like a blonde beacon of light amongst his dark-haired black-clad cousins. She was an angel in a pale mauve dress.
Lust gripped had and firm in his stomach, an intense physical attraction. He’d never experienced anything so instant before. But it was a long time since he’d bedded a woman – far too long.
Her figure was a sublime balance of curves and narrow waist. Her spine had a beautiful arch as it curved into the point where her dress opened onto a full skirt.
Wheat-blonde hair escaped a dull dove-grey bonnet, caressing her neck and drawing his eyes to a place he’d like to kiss.
She was speaking with animation her hands moving.
He moved closer and as if she sensed his gaze the stranger turned and looked at him. In answer a lightning need struck his groin, a sharp sudden pain. She was an English Rose among orchids, the sort of woman he had seen nothing of abroad. Her skin was pale, with roses blooming in her cheeks, and her eyes were a vivid beautiful blue, like the bluebells which bloomed in spring, in the woods at Pembroke Place.
She was what he had longed for abroad and not even known he’d been lacking.
His attention wholly captured, desire slipped into his blood as his groin grew heavy with hunger.
This was what came from abstinence he supposed. He’d never had a fancy for fair, fay women before. He did now.
She did not look the sort for a fling though, certainly not the she-wolf type who stalked the foreign fields. His mind began rattling through his guest list, but no name fit her, and her dull grey bonnet and shawl did not speak of affluence. Who was she?
He smiled as he grew nearer, then realised he was staring and shifted his gaze to the others in the group. It was then he noticed Phillip as they turned to towards him. “My God.”
“Phillip.” Lord, John hoped Phillip had not come here with a motive. John did not wish to hear oily grovelling from an old friend. His heart thumped in cold anger, not gladness. Then he looked at the blonde and his breath caught as recognition whispered in his head. Kate.
My Thoughts: As a reviewer, I step away from the story and look at it in its entirety. I ask what makes a book an outstanding one, that is simply AMAZING, what makes it an excellent read, but doesn’t blow me away, what makes it likeable, or what makes a read just plain unappetizing. There are many elements and structure one has to consider when evaluating a book.
I go through this process after I finish each book noting what jumps out at me as well done or not. In every case in Jane Lark’s novels, I’m always left satiated.
This is the third book I’ve read and reviewed of Jane Lark’s. Her style of writing is unique and soul satisfying charming the reader with its eloquent turn of phrase and seemingly effortless skill into a world of intrigue, fear, anguish and love. As I read, I feel I’m sipping a full-bodied red wine even more intoxicating as the story thickens; there is nothing shallow in her portrayal of events. She is consistent in the intriguing way her stories unfold and captures the reader with eloquent turn of phrases and seemingly effortless ease of writing.
Her characters are riddled with flaws sometimes painfully so. Jane Lark creates very likeable heroes and heroines and truly villainous antagonists and we are not always aware who the true villain is or how truly wicked. In this story, trust and its counterpart play a vital role in the misunderstandings and hurt between Katherine and John. John had been taught not to show his emotion, but to bury it to protect himself from those who would destroy him or his reputation. And Katherine was light to his dark.
Katherine has a past that she must overcome as does John. I enjoy the way that Katherine is compassionate fortified with strength, having loved John since she was a girl. She provides the solace and love John craves– even in the face of John’s stoicism as he draws is ducal mask over his features. She is determined to free John from whatever bedevils him, but finding the real John is hard because he buried it long ago.
Yes, reader, this one was entirely worth the read. I also encourage you to begin with her other two books in the series, but they are not absolutely necessary to thoroughly enjoy this one.
About the Author: Jane is a writer of authentic, passionate and emotional Historical and New Adult romance and author of a No.1 bestselling Historical Novel,’The Illicit Love of a Courtesan, as well as a Kindle overall Top 25, bestselling author.
She began her first historical novel at sixteen, but a life full of adversity derailed her as she lives with the restrictions of Ankylosing Spondylitis.
When she finally completed a novel it was because she was determined not to reach forty still saying, I want to write.
Now Jane is writing a Regency series as well as contemporary, new adult, stories and she is thrilled to be giving her characters life in others’ imaginations at last.
You might think that Jane was inspired to write by Jane Austen, especially as she lives near Bath in the United Kingdom, but you would be wrong. Jane’s favourite author is Anya Seton, and the book which drew her into the bliss of falling into historical imagination was ‘Katherine’ a story crafted from reality.
Jane has drawn on this inspiration to discover other real-life love stories, reading memoirs and letters to capture elements of the past, and she uses these to create more realistic plots.
‘Basically I love history and I am sucker for a love story. I love the feeling of falling in love; it’s wonderful being able to do it time and time again in fiction.’