Jun 27 2012 4:00pm

First Look: Tina Gabrielle’s In the Barrister’s Bed (July 3, 2012)

In the Barrister’s Bed by Tina GabrielleTina Gabrielle
In the Barrister’s Bed
Zebra / July 3, 2012 / $6.99 print, $4.79 digital

A bastard by birth, James Devlin lives on his own terms—until a twist of fate reveals that he is the true Duke of Blackwood. Though the brooding bachelor swears to hold on to his freedom, he does intend to take back his childhood home. But once at Wyndmoor Manor, he discovers an arresting adversary in Bella Sinclair. Her hot-blooded claim to his home is amusing...and arousing. Which is why he isn’t leaving until he takes possession of everything—starting with the bewitching Bella.

Bella is furious when the Duke barges into her home, declaring it rightfully his! The wilful widow is not about to give up her haven without a fight, no matter how determined the Duke is—or how sensual the battlefield. But once she’s sharing a house with the beguiling barrister, she is in danger of losing everything—one deep, slow kiss at a time.

It’s nice to know that title fraud isn’t a new concept invented in our own struggling economy. In fact, it appears title fraud was alive and well in the early 1800s. In Tina Gabrielle’s latest novel, it seems that a quick thinking, down-on-his-luck crook has sold his house, not once, but twice. And not only is it a young widow who is swindled by this blackguard, but also an experienced barrister versed in the law.

After James Devlin inherited the title of Duke of Blackwood, the only thing he truly wanted from the inheritance was the small country estate where he had fond memories of his father spending time with him during the summers. But his father sold the property, and so James’s first order of business is to find that new owner and purchase it back. When James finally walks into his childhood home, he is almost brained by a crazed woman wielding a fireplace poker. She too claims to be the owner of the house, and the war (and the fun) have just begun.

It appears that James and the young widow, Bella Sinclair, have both been sold a deed to Wyndmoor Manor, and even James’s barrister friends are split in their determination of whose deed holds more weight. Things get interesting when both Bella and James declare to the shock of all that neither plans to relinquish possession of the property.

“I’m not leaving.”

They glared at each other across a sudden angry silence.

“Then you will have to reside with me until we locate Reeves and retrieve your money.” he said. “Do you truly wish to live with a bachelor? Your reputation will be shredded beyond repair.”

Since she never planned to marry again, she cared naught for society’s cruel and unjust opinions. She met his gaze without flinching. “As I said, you may have inherited a dukedom, but you are no gentleman.”

He stepped forward, appearing tall, broad and compellingly male. His eyes traveled her face, and he leaned close—so very close—yet he did not touch her. She raised her chin, her eyes flashing with outrage. Then he reached out to finger a wayward auburn curl resting on her cheek, twisting it leisurely between his fingers.

James believes that if he simply applies his charms he can woo the beautiful Bella and she will, of course, hand over her deed to the property. He does not expect her fiery spirit and quick mind or how determined she is to start her new life at Wyndmoor manor. It’s here she plans to be the writer she has always wanted to be, with no abusive husband to crush her desires. What is so compelling in this Regency story is that the women are so strongly written.

“I never thought the day would come. A woman James Devlin can’t seduce.”

“More than that,” Anthony said. “She has a splendid sense of humor and she stands up to him.”

“Evelyn is quite enamored of Bella,” Jack said. “My wife would represent her in court if she could,” he said dryly.

Jack turned his smile up a notch. “She’d probably be victorious too.”

While the debate of ownership goes on, the attraction between Bella and James grows and the confirmed bachelor starts to desire much more than the deed from his new housemate. But our wary widow has no intention of falling once again into the confining role of wife.

These incredible characters and their passionate debates will draw you quickly you into the story until you too will be debating the facts and choosing sides.


Lucy Dosch writes book reviews for her blog Her e-reader has turned her love of reading into an obsession. When she is not reading, she likes to spend time with her husband and two daughters.

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Glass Slipper
2. GlassSlipper
I was eyeing this on my Amazon "maybe" wishlist, so I'm glad to hear more about it. I love a good battle of wills romance, so I think I'll be getting this. I like heroines who are smart and stand up for themselves, but not so stubborn that they tread into TSTL territory.
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