Title: Dearest Rogue
Series: Maiden Lane #8
Author: Elizabeth Hoyt
Format: Paperback & eBook, 347 pages
Published: May 26, 2015 by Vision
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Wine Glasses
HE CAN GUARD HER
Lady Phoebe Batten is pretty, vivacious, and yearning for a social life befitting the sister of a powerful duke. But because she is almost completely blind, her overprotective brother insists that she have an armed bodyguard by her side at all times-the very irritating Captain Trevillion.
FROM EVERY DANGER
Captain James Trevillion is proud, brooding, and cursed with a leg injury from his service in the King's dragoons. Yet he can still shoot and ride like the devil, so watching over the distracting Lady Phoebe should be no problem at all-until she's targeted by kidnappers.
BUT PASSION ITSELF
Caught in a deadly web of deceit, James must risk life and limb to save his charge from the lowest of cads-one who would force Lady Phoebe into a loveless marriage. But while they're confined to close quarters for her safekeeping, Phoebe begins to see the tender man beneath the soldier's hard exterior . . . and the possibility of a life-and love-she never imagined possible.
Lady Phoebe has been steadily going blind for the last couple years and as the sister to a powerful and rich duke, her brother hires a bodyguard to keep her safe. Captain James Trevillion used to ride the streets of St. Giles chasing down gin makers until an accident left him lame in one leg but still highly capable he becomes Phoebe's bodyguard. The aristocrat and the commoner find themselves at crossed swords quite often but as they get to know one another, they find themselves slowly lowering all their defenses.
Sometimes Phoebe wondered what Captain Trevillion would do if she reached up and slapped his face. Or kissed him.
If you have read the previous books in the series (focusing on the lead's romance in this book you would be fine without prior knowledge but there will be secondary characters and side storylines that will pass you by) you would have gotten a little taste of Trevillion and Phoebe's somewhat tense relationship. This story is what many have excitedly anticipated, the progression of all that tension. The interaction between Trevillion and Phoebe was what definitely worked the best for me while the kidnapping plot didn't seem the best put together. It worked to put our couple together but the over and over resurgence of it felt much dragged on.
I'm no longer a fit guard, he thought, I can't keep my objectivity around her anymore. God help me. God help her.
The fear of not being able to see, having her brother stifle her nearly to madness out of love, and exuberance of youth made Phoebe a very likeable and believable character. It was unfortunately, also her youth and sheltered life, at times I felt like the character felt even younger than the age stated and that lost me. There was a lot of "I want, I want" from Phoebe that manifested itself in a very child like manner that wasn't a lot of fun for me to read. On the other hand, the feeling of her desperation to feel alive was so heartbreaking. Trevillion's restraining looks, wanting, and feelings toward Phoebe were what sold me towards his character. Unfortunately, again, what made up a good chunk of his character, stoic and contained, that made him gruff and vulnerable also made him too inscrutable. I couldn't quite feel connected to him as an individual. The first half moved pretty slowly for me, it was when Trevillion kidnaps Phoebe to keep her safe from being kidnapped and they start spending a lot of time alone that I began to really feel this couple.
She was an aristocrat---a world apart from his yeoman upbringing. But here, in this quiet paddock, the only sound the soft thump of the horses' hooves on grass, they were just a man and a woman. That simple.
And that complex.
In this second half and particularly in the 60-80% area, this couple will entrench themselves in your heart. The way Trevillion sees Phoebe, past her blindness, will have your eyes watering and the way the air crackles when they are close together will heat your blood. There is a scene involving stockings that will definitely be a nominee for my best scene of 2015; scorching hot. With everything stripped away, the kidnapping plot and mechanism's of secondary characters, Phoebe and Trevillion radiated brightly and emotionally. Their time together, Phoebe's growth from Trevillion's strength and ability to see her as more than her blindness and willingness to let her fall was beautifully romantic. The last 20% or so with what seemed like a lot of forced sex scenes smashed into it and one too many kidnaps had me wishing for the quieter moments of our couple's time spent hidden away.
Overall, there are some truly beautiful moments in this story and if you are a fan of the series you definitely don't want to miss out on this couple's happily ever after. This series and book has a great many fans and there is definitely a reason for it. If looking to escape the regency ballrooms to the 1700s, this would be a great series to pick up.