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Monday, January 20, 2014

ARC Review: When the Rogue Returns by Sabrina Jeffries

Format: .mobi (provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review)
Release Date: January 21, 2014

Victor Cale never imagined his sweet, shy wife, Isabella, would use her talent for creating exquisite imitation jewels for criminal pursuits. But there’s no denying it was Isa’s handiwork that turned up 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, the sexy investigator heads to Edinburgh, where his cousin Maximilian has landed him a job tailing a wealthy baron’s bride-to-be. Simple enough—until the “fiancĂ©e” in question proves to be Isa, masquerading as an alluringly eligible young widow.

No longer the meek and mild girl he once knew, the bold woman vehemently asserts that it was Victor who abandoned her. Piecing together the past to prove Isa’s innocence reawakens a volatile passion, hotter than ever. With a decade of secrets between them, Victor and Isa must trust each other in order to bring the scheming thieves to justice–without getting burned themselves.

What does it say about a reader when she prefers a rough around the edges former soldier to a duke? Sorry Max, you may be a duke but this particular reader has developed a crush on the enigmatic Victor Cale! I’m also going to just mention how gorgeous the cover is too! It’s only fitting that my favorite book in the series (so far) is in my favorite color, blue.

Picking up where the first book in the series left off, When the Rogue Returns focuses on Victor Cale, the long lost cousin of Maximillian Cale, the Duke of Lyons (What the Duke Desires) and his quest to find his traitorous wife. Years ago, Victor’s wife, Isa and her family disappeared after stealing a very valuable piece of jewelry and left him to shoulder the blame. Now, as an investigator and the duke’s cousin, he has the means to track her down. When an investigation reveals the bride-to-be of a young baron to be none other than Isa, Victor is determined to get the answers he’s been waiting for.

From the moment he was introduced in What the Duke Desires, Victor was a serious man and seemed like he carried around a bigger burden than finding out he was the cousin to a duke. He is a bitter and resentful man that was angry about more than just his difficult childhood. You can never go wrong with a bitter, brooding hero with a mysterious past, and Victor definitely had all three. As stubborn as he is, he’s also fair and caring. So yes, I fell in love with him.

Isa is a resourceful character. Even though she started out as a meek little thing, she quickly realized that if she didn’t take a stand and look out for herself, no one else would. I loved that she had the courage to break free and make a life for herself as best as she was able and that she stood up to Victor whenever he tried to intimidate her into revealing information about what she was up to.

I loved that author Sabrina Jeffries decided to make Victor a married man and have him search for a wife he believes betrayed him. As much as I love when a hero and heroine don’t know each other, I don’t think Victor would have been good at staying in one place for too long while he “courted” an innocent, young miss. He’s too jaded and restless, unused to a life of leisure as the duke’s cousin. As for Isa, the young girl she was would probably have been terrified of society but the woman she became could and would have scandalized those who would look down on her for her humble beginnings.

After ten years of bitterness and misunderstandings, Victor and Isa had a lot to sort through and it creates a lot of tension. Of course, all the tension also leads up to some very passionate scenes between the reunited husband and wife. However, their personal problems don’t dominate the entire story, it isn’t long before logic and common sense takes over and they both start to question who is really at fault for the theft of the jewels and for the ten years they spent apart hardening their hearts against one another.

I’ve always believed that the hero (or heroine) is only as good as the villain is bad, and let me tell you, the villains were really bad! Nothing is more difficult to defeat than a sneaky, intelligent, cold hearted villain with no regard for life. Up until the end I began to doubt if Victor and Isa would ever find a way to get rid of their problems. That was part of the appeal of When the Rogue Returns, a seemingly unbeatable opponent that the characters have to outsmart. It’s easy to defeat a physically stronger villain but it takes real effort to beat an intelligent villain.

When the Rogue Returns is an engaging, passionate story that will not only delight Sabrina Jeffries fans, but keep them wanting more from The Duke’s Men series. I know I can’t wait for the next book, and if you haven’t picked up a Sabrina Jeffries book yet, what are you waiting for?!

Book Rating:

Heat Rating:

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  1. Nice review! I like Sabrina Jeffries too although I didn't pick up this series. But I like that there was a good twist in the end that helped them beat the odds :)

  2. I loved it too Adriana! And yeah it was definitely a great call for having them married already. I loved that. And gah the villains were vile!! I was so angry over them. Whew! Can't wait for the next one :)

  3. WOOT! I am hoping to get to this one sometime over the next 2 weeks :)

  4. I can't wait to hear what you think about it. Did you read book one yet?

  5. I thought the villains were just terrible but I think that's what made me love Victor and Isa more. Especially Isa because they were blood relatives yet she wasn't weak and using the "But they're family" excuse to do away with them.

  6. I finished it today! I haven't read the first one but I am going to go back and read it.


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