Disgrace and Desire

Author: Sarah Mallory

Publisher: Harlequin Mills & Boon

Release Date: October 2010

Blue Ribbon Rating: 5

Format: PRINT

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Lady Eloise Allyngham is covetously hailed as the “Glorious Allyngham” by the men of the ton, and the “Wanton Widow” by the ton’s jealous women.  Her reputation as a stunning beauty and shameless flirt fuels numerous rumors, but as the widow of a hero of Waterloo, her reputation remains as yet respectable.  Still, the gossip continues to soar, the most popular tittle-tattle revolving around a romantic liaison with her husband’s best friend, Alex Mortimer.  Of course, nothing could be further from the truth, for if anyone truly suspected the crux of her relationship with Alex, they would both be banished from London society and the Allyngham name tarnished for all time. 

Suave and steadfast Major Jack Clifton is bound by duty to call upon his fallen comrade’s widow.  But when his heart’s greatest desire binds him to Lady Eloise after just one encounter, he finds himself reeling into oblivion, both figuratively and literally.  Her behavior is scandalous, to be sure, but to battle-hardened eyes as keen as Jack’s, there’s a reckless fear that is unmistakable.  Without question, he wants to help her.  He must help her.  If only she would trust him…  

Trust, however, does not come easy for Eloise.  So when she's caught between a blackmailer who would make her wicked secrets known and loyalty to her family and friends, there is no choice.  She must protect her family and friends.  But at what cost?

Beautifully tortured heroes and heroines that go against the grain, fast-moving drama that is both intriguing and riveting, and chemistry between our lovers that either has you screaming in exasperation or breathlessly sitting in awe – DISGRACE AND DESIRE has it all.  Yet another amazing story from the fantastically talented Sarah Mallory.

Eloise, affectionately shortened to “Elle”, is a thoroughly charming atypical character.  Despite finding herself in scrape after scrape, her actions are fueled entirely by her loyalty to her late husband and best friend.  In fact, Alex sums it up perfectly – she’s “loyal to a fault.”  And with such good intentions, it’s difficult to lay the blame for her transgressions at her door.  An especially endearing quality is when she flaunts her actions in direct defiance to the socially rigid, often times inane, customs of the ton.  As a member of the ton, she keeps herself surprisingly apart from it.  Maintaining her worldly mystique while keeping herself grounded enough so as to seem somewhat tangible is no simple feat.  And yes, Elle exerts an enormous amount of energy to keep the façade going, but she does it with style… that is, of course, until the pretense becomes too large to handle.  Enter Jack.

Jack is the ultimate historical romance hero – larger than life with an honor code only the strongest of men dare abide, raven-colored locks, chiseled features that accentuate his roguish swagger, and the inimitable determination to endear himself to Eloise.  If Elle is “loyal to a fault”, Jack has the fortitude of a champion.  And thank goodness for it because none could pair off as perfectly with Elle as Jack does.  He’s undeniably charming, especially when he lets his emotional guard down, but his jealous insecurity of Elle and Alex’s friendship is what puts him over the traditional hero.  Over and over, Jack proves how sincere his motives are for wanting to save Elle, and over and over again his efforts are rebuffed.  An ordinary man would have cut his losses and left well enough alone.  But Jack is anything but typical, and proves that easily enough – woe is the man that tries to get between an impassioned Jack and Elle.  

Beautifully enchanting, DISGRACE AND DESIRE is an exceptionally lovely read.

By Romance Junkies Reviewer: Chris

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