Next up among the Malloren clan is the super-controlling and usually patronizing Beowolf, Earl of Rothgar (I just love JoBev’s names). We’re told he’s handsome in a devilish sort of way (hence the title).

OK, this is probably more what the author had in mind…

Someone has been trying to kill Rothgar, setting him up to fight in duels, etc., and he thinks it has to do with his work for the king. George isn’t all that clear on the best strategic decisions with regard to the French, and Bey has been t

Next up among the Malloren clan is the super-controlling and usually patronizing Beowolf, Earl of Rothgar (I just love JoBev’s names). We’re told he’s handsome in a devilish sort of way (hence the title).

OK, this is probably more what the author had in mind…

Someone has been trying to kill Rothgar, setting him up to fight in duels, etc., and he thinks it has to do with his work for the king. George isn’t all that clear on the best strategic decisions with regard to the French, and Bey has been the one advisor who seems to get through to him. Add to this he has sources of intel that give him access to dispatches sent and received by D’Eon, an ambitious diplomat for King Louis and also covert operative.

So it’s a bit inconvenient when Bey has to hie himself up to Wenscote for his brother Brand’s wedding. The family is staying with Diana, Countess of Arradale (Rosa’s friend) in the last book, and frankly, his attraction for her is also a bit inconvenient. You see, Bey’s mummy went a little

…and killed his baby sister. He was there and tried to stop it, but he was only four. So now he has this obsessive need to A) protect everybody he ever meets, B) control everybody he ever meets, and C) never reproduce, lest his mama’s crazy genes are inherited.

Meanwhile, Diana has her own reasons for never wanting to marry. You see, she’s a countess in her own right—a rare thing in those days, and she likes having the power to control her own estate and her own destiny. If she marries, her husband will take over. So she spends her days learning to fence and shoot, and generally do all the things a man is good for (that she knows of).

Unfortunately, Diana’s reputation as

…finds its way to King George. Like most men with little minds, he worries that an INDEPENDENT WOMAN might have bigger balls than his, so he makes up his cute little mind to see her married. So he orders Rothgar to bring her back to London to “attend the queen”.

On the way back to London, the attraction between them becomes more difficult to resist. Diana goes all

But Rothgar, being a control freak, is determined to keep his distance. He’s kind of an

…for most of the trip.

To liven things up while he’s being a b-hole, the baddies somehow know where they’ll be, and there are more attempts on Rothgar’s life. Or virtue. Or something.

Maybe it’s all the excitement, but the two of them finally

But when the dawn comes, Rothgar has his defenses up again. He tells her that if it comes to the worst, he’ll marry her, but it will have to be a “white” marriage (where they don’t do the nasty—like that’s gonna happen).

When they get to court, the king and queen make it clear that if Diana won’t pick a hubby by the time the queen goes into confinement (about two weeks), they plan to pick one for her. Turns out they plan to pick Rothgar. So Diana has two ways to get married to the guy she wants, but she’d rather not marry him if he’s going to be frigid. So she has two weeks to convince him to love her.

Through it all, the Frenchie devils are hard at work trying to mess with Rothgar, and once they figure out that Diana’s important to him, her, too. Abductions, creepy rapey guys with goldfish for brains, and other intrigues keep the story moving along pretty well. I was a little impatient with all the angst and navel gazing over the romance—the obstacles were pretty silly after awhile. Even so, the characters are engaging and the drama is pretty good, so while I don’t think this is as good as the first two in the series, I’ll give it a 4.

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