When the Rogue Returns
Pocket / January 21, 2014 / $7.99 print & digital
Victor Cale never imagined that his sweet, shy bride, Isabella, would use her talent for creating exquisite imitation jewels in a criminal way. But there’s no denying that Isa’s handiwork was used in the brazen heist of the Dutch royal family’s diamonds—after she disappeared into the night.
Ten years later, still reeling from her betrayal and enraged that her duplicitous side was so undetectable, Victor is sent to Edinburgh to investigate a wealthy baron’s mysterious brideto- be. Simple enough—until the “fiancée” proves to be Isa, masquerading as an alluring young widow.
No longer the meek and mild girl he once knew, the bold woman vehemently asserts that it was Victor who abandoned her after he helped steal the royal diamonds! Piecing together the truth of the past reawakens their volatile passion, which burns hotter than ever. But with a decade of secrets between them, Victor and Isa must trust each other in order to bring the real thieves to justice—without getting burned themselves.
In what may be one of Sabrina Jeffries’s strongest books, we are returned to the intriguing world of The Duke’s Men in the second book in the series. If you’re looking for something that is not your usual historical, and is sexy, fun, and complete with complex and likable characters, then go buy When the Rogue Returns. Now. Right now. Don’t worry, I’ll wait!
What sets this book apart from others is the fact that while the series is called “The Duke’s Men,” the cast of characters is filled with non-aristocrats, except for one lowly, poorly dressed baron. Our hero and heroine are two immigrants who work in trade. At the start of the novel, Victor, who becomes an unfortunate patsy, is a night guard at the jewelry store where his wife (our heroine) works. What saves this book from being another marriage of convenience-like book is that our H/H must wait TEN years and many obstacle in order for them to get together.
Isa was a talented daughter of a clock-maker until unfortunate circumstances separated her and her husband. The circumstances being that they each blamed the other for a crime neither committed. Talk about a Big Misunderstanding. But once the couple is reunited ten years later, all the memories of the blossoming of a beautiful relationship come bubbling back up—along with the passion.
Isa froze at the touch of his lips on hers. She ought to fight. She ought to shove him away. But years of wishing for this very moment kept her motionless. His mouth was exactly as she remembered, tender and needy, driver her blood into a fever. His hands moved to grip her head and she covered them with her own, fully intending to push them away.
Instead, she rose into his kiss, parted her lips for him, let him slide his tongue into her mouth to tantalize and tease her. It was the most exquisite madness. And she didn’t want it to end.
Suddenly they were young again, stealing kisses wherever they could, too hungry to wait for later, when they could be alone. He drank from her mouth with a slow knowing that roused her blood, and she let him, the way she’d always let him in the old days.
But with years between them—and the corresponding pain and resentment—Victor and Isa have many obstacles to overcome. Especially when trouble comes knocking, literally.
Jeffries tackles the Big Misunderstanding early on in the book and allows the characters, and readers, to deal with the fallout. Part of that fallout is learning to trust one another again, and accept that they are not the same people of ten years ago.
“Damnation, Isa, no one’s hauling you anywhere!” He came up to her and lowered his voice. “Surely you can’t think that after all we have shared, I would let you be arrested.”
“I don’t know what you would do anymore. You hid your purpose from me even after we shared everything. Tell me the truth, Victor. Did you come here for vengeance?”
A muscle flexed in his jaw as his gaze caught hers. He stared at her a long moment, then released a hard breath. “I did. But that’s in the past.”
“Is it?” she asked tremulously.
I loved the subtlety of Victor and Isa’s love, and the feeling of growth and history that was evident in every single one of their exchanges. Best of all, we truly get a sense of these characters—both the past, present, and the future they learn to build together.
Learn more or order a copy of When the Rogue Returns by Sabrina Jeffries, available on January 21, 2014:
Jennifer Proffitt is a Midwest transplant to New York City. She spends most of her time reading and writing about romance, but you can follow her other adventures on Twitter @JennProffitt. She works for Heroes and Heartbreakers and Criminal Element.