How to Tame a Wild Rogue
Grade : A-

Julie Anne Long is my favorite author so I was looking forward to starting this book. And what a start!  We meet our leads in the first chapter. Lorcan St. Leger, a man at home on London’s most dangerous streets is walking at night, headed for a famous brothel–readers of the series will know just where he is going–when he encounters Lady Daphne Worth escaping out a second story window with the help of a too short braided sheet. He offers to catch her–she’s eight or so feet short of her goal and, very very warily, Daphne jumps. Straight into his arms. I cannot tell you how delighted this beginning made me. And I am pleased to report that the rest of the latest entry into Long’s Palace of Rogues series is as excellent as its start.

After this very unusual introduction, Lorcan and Daphne make their way to The Grand Palace on the Thames  where, in true romance novel fashion, there is only one room–a suite–left in the inn. Even worse, Daphne is horrified to see that one of the proprietresses of the inn is none other than Lady Derring whom Daphne knows though the two have not seen each other in years. Thus, when Delilah asks, tentatively, if Daphne and the stranger (whom Dot, the housemaid, correctly assesses as a pirate) she’s with are married, the answer has to be yes, something Lorcan goes right along with.

I loved this book.

Daphne is exceedingly down on her luck. Daphne is one of three children of a viscount with a gambling habit. Their mother died when Daphne was eleven and Daphne took over the running of her home. Over the past twenty years, she’s sacrificed everything for the men in her family all of whom seem utterly unaware of what her life is like. Part of that is on Daphne–she’s worked to keep from her brothers, Charles and Montague, who are touring the continent, just how terribly things have become. First, Daphne was jilted by Henry, her fiancé, when he fell in love with his brother’s governess. Disaster struck again when she found out her father, a Viscount, gambled away their fortune along with her dowry. The two had to move into the caretaker’s cottage and rent out their home. Now almost thirty, with no way to pay their bills, Daphne had taken a job as a companion to the very unpleasant Mrs. Daggett, whose husband seemed to think part of Daphne’s job was servicing him. After fending him off, Daphne escaped out the window, somehow hoping to find her way back home to her feckless father and come up with some other plan to save their family.

Lorcan was indeed a pirate–a smuggler–but became a respectable privateer for the king as a reward for helping Christian Hawks, Lord Redvers, the spymaster from You Were Made To Be Mine. Now he is back in England to pay off his ship and restock it for his next trip. He is familiar with the other men at the hotel. He saved Lord Bolt from pirates off the coast of Spain (Angel in a Devil’s Arms) and he and Tristan Hardy (Delilah’s husband) know each other from when they grew up in St. Giles. Hardy went on to make a name for himself as a blockade commander, tracking down smugglers for the crown. Tristan knew Lorcan was a smuggler but could never catch him and still doesn’t trust him. Lorcan tells himself the only reason he’s helping Daphne is to get shelter on a rainy night. (It doesn’t hurt that she has a lovely bosom.)

But the rain doesn’t stop and the roads become flooded and impassable. Trapped in The Grand Palace on the Thames, Daphne and Lorcan work to become convincing as a married couple. Lorcan finds out Daphne loves oranges and finds her one. She says they are like the sun in the form of a fruit and Lorcan finds himself wanting to listen to whatever else she has to say. Lorcan appreciates the comforts of the hotel, the fresh sheets, soft bed, good food, companionship and of course, lovely Daphne. He, however, is just marking time until the rain ceases but Daphne, Daphne must make a plan for her future.

Thus, it should be a godsend when she receives a letter from the Earl of Athelboro with a wedding proposal. Yes, he is in his fifties, twice widowed with five children. She knows he’s just looking for a mother for his children but if she married him she would be a countess and would have the money she needs to save her family. And, had she not met Lorcan, she most likely would have said yes.

But, as she and Lorcan share their suite–not a bed, they stay in separate rooms–she finds herself unable to commit to the Earl. Lorcan is fascinating, sexy, and surprisingly kind. There’s a lovely scene where Lorcan braves danger to rescue a toddler who fell into the Thames. Lorcan, almost against his will, finds himself luring her into… something. He knows her virtue is necessary to her future as the bride of some toff, but oh how he wants her. I had to fan myself when the two played games of spillikins with very spicy wagers! Over the course of their week together, Lorcan falls hard for Daphne and she for him. And, as he listens to her story, he–like me–becomes enraged at how the men in her family have used her so poorly and made her think so little of herself. Lorcan sees her and he helps Daphne realize how precious she is. They are simply wonderful together.

Like other books in the series, we read lots about the inhabitants of the inn, many familiar and some new. We learn about Hardy and Bolt’s business venture which is currently imperiled by a missing ship and more about Dot and Pike’s continuing feud to see who should open the front door. While it’s fun to see favorite characters from earlier books, I felt like I was pulled away from the love story. It is so lovely and I wanted more time with Daphne and Lorcan.

Even with that caveat, How to Tame a Wild Rogue is a DIK. The ending of the book is so wonderful and uplifting and I finished the book with a great smile on my face. I’m happy to recommend this book as another entertaining addition to the Palace of Rogues series. I can’t wait to see who Long writes about next!

Reviewed by Kayne Spooner

Grade: A-

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : July 25, 2023

Publication Date: 07/2023

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Kayne Spooner

Kayne Spooner is a retired science teacher, dog owner, and proud grandma who lives in beautiful Colorado. While she's an avid reader of all genres, romances have always swept her off her feet. Kayne gravitates toward stories with humor, swoon-worthy love interests, and memorable furry sidekicks, although really, if there's a happy ever after, she's here for it! She loves sharing her passion for books with the romance community and connecting with fellow readers.
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