Title: Claimed by the Rogue
Series: Claimed, #1
Author: Hope Tarr
Published: March 4th 2014 by Samhain Publishing
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | ARe
He crossed an ocean to find her. His secret could prevent him from claiming her heart.
When Robert Bellamy signed on with the East India Company and set sail for Calcutta, Lady Phoebe Tremont took his promise to heart. Their separation would be but brief; in six months he would send for her.
Six years later, believing her love to be drowned at sea, Phoebe hides her tears behind a disguise at a masked ball to celebrate her engagement to a dashing French aristocrat. It is there she encounters a handsome guest costumed as a rogue of the sea—a pirate. When he drops his mask, she finds herself looking into a dead man’s eyes. A ghost’s eyes. Robert’s eyes.
Through hardship and degradation, Robert never lost his resolve to return home to England a rich man. Now a successful ship’s captain, there is one prize left to reclaim—Phoebe.
But the demure debutante he left behind has grown into a dazzling, decidedly self-determined woman. Nor is Robert the callow youth who set sail in search of adventure. Yet the one thing that could win her heart is the very dark truth his pride warns him never to reveal…
Warning: This book contains steamy sex, some violence—and a hero so swoon-worthy you’ll find yourself seduced into staying up into the wee hours turning pages.
CLAIMED BY THE ROGUE by Hope Tarr is an emotionally riveting tale of a second chance at true love seemingly doomed by fate, betrayals and secrets. Set in England's Victorian era, it's the first installment in Hope's new Claimed series and a very enjoyable read.
The characters are realistic and relatable. Because Robert Bellamy, our hero and a commoner, felt unworthy of our heroine, Lady Phoebe Tremont, he had left to seek his fortune. When he departed, he had promised to send for her in six months. Phoebe waited for her beloved to return for six long years. After hearing nothing and believing Robert to be dead, Phoebe has been mired in grief until recently when, faced with spinsterhood, she resolved to put aside her mourning and move on with her life. To that end, she has accepted the proposal of a nobleman. Imagine her shock when Robert make an appearance at her betrothal party. "Sir, you should have made your presence known."
One dark brow arched upward, "I believe I am doing just that.”
Phoebe was a young innocent when Robert left; She's now a mature woman unafraid to speak her mind and she finds that her prim and proper Victorian upbringing conflicts with the naughty passion that she struggles to ignore. Regardless, she must decide which of the men vying for her hand she wants. I wanted to shake Phoebe so many times as she hardened her heart against Robert, yet it was obvious Robert was the only one who heated her blood.
Robert Bellamy returned ready to reclaim what was his. Finding that Phoebe has moved on, Robert is willing to go to any length to win back the only woman he has ever loved. I fell in love with Robert and was pulling for him as he'd truly been dealt the short straw in his life to-date. Even scarred as he is, he's handsome and quite the gentleman. He's loyal to a fault and only wants the best for Phoebe. I felt that he was wrong in not being honest with Phoebe as to what had happened to him, but I could understand that he wanted her love, not her sympathy .
In addition to the romantic elements, there are mysterious forces working against reuniting the two lovers. Twists and turns abound along with evil villains that I never suspected.
Robert's henchman was a great character. I hope he merits his own book in the future. The children at the orphanage pulled at my heartstrings. One of my favorite scenes was a dangerous trip to a market to fulfill a promise Phoebe made to one of the orphans. Another was when Robert stole into her bedroom. Oh my! That was a scorching visit that I didn't want to end!
There was humor also. I laughed out loud when Robert met Phoebe's new betrothed. “So you are the brash young lover returned from the dead?" the Frenchman finally said.
"And you are the devoted fiancé returned from the card room," Robert shot back...”
Hope's writing is top-notch. Her word building and character development are first rate. CLAIMED BY THE ROGUE is a very promising start to Hope's new series. I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys a good steamy historical romance.