Named one of the Best Romances of November by the Washington Post!
Together they may create a scandal worthy of the stage, but can their love last after the final curtain falls…?
Successful playwright Maggie Delamere has no interest in the flirtations of noblemen like Cameron, Viscount Marwood. She once paid dearly for a moment of weakness…and vows to rebuff the wildly persistent—and irritatingly handsome—scoundrel at every turn. But when pressure to deliver a new play hampers her creativity, an invitation to use his country estate as a writer’s retreat is too tempting to resist....
For years, Cam has admired Maggie’s brilliant work and he can’t pass up the opportunity to discover if the beautiful, mysterious playwright is as passionate and clever as the words that flow from her quill. He’s never offered a lady his bed without being in it, but if it means loosening Maggie’s pen—and her inhibitions—he’ll do exactly that.
But soon Cam’s plans for seduction become a fight for Maggie’s heart. He’s more than the scandalous, carefree rake society believes him to be…and she’s the only woman who has ever noticed.
Leigh's buoyant and artistic second Wicked Quills of London historical (after Forever Your Earl) is set in 1816 London. The only thing Cameron Chalton, Viscount of Marwood, loves more than the feel of a woman is the theater. He knows talent when he sees it, and it's that talent, among other things, that draws him toward elusive playwright Margaret Delamere. Maggie can't deny her attraction to the well-known rake, but she refuses to become another one of his playthings. Giving him her body would ultimately include her heart, and after being impregnated and abandoned by an aristocrat, she has no intention of traveling down that road again. When an extended case of writer's block threatens her future and that of her troupe, she turns to Cameron for help. He gladly gives it, allowing Maggie to see a side of him that leaves her vulnerable to his charms. This lighthearted romp is full of rambunctious characters, witty repartee, and believable emotional development.
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readers will find the hard-won battles over personal fears for both is well worth the time!
The second book in Leigh’s Wicked Quills of London focuses on two secondary characters from Forever Your Earl, Cameron Chalton, Viscount Marwood and Maggie Delamere, a playwright and Eleanor’s best friend. And these two were SO guarded and fearful, so jaded, that getting to know them and connect to them was supremely difficult.
Cam has spent his entire life railing against convention: he has money and a title, and no interest in forgoing any pleasure available to him. His nights on the town have been increasingly frenetic and outrageous since Daniel’s involvement with Eleanor, highlighted with his frequent appearances in the Hawk’s Eye. What he is finding, however, is less patience and interest in the pursuits that intrigued him and those who participated. He’s bored, and searching for something to fill the holes in his life.
Maggie Delamere is a playwright, wholly independent and driven, she is unfailingly determined to forge her own life’s path, alone. While she genuinely is happy for Eleanor’s marriage to Daniel, she firmly believes that aristos, on the whole, are untrustworthy, deceptive and a dead end for anyone not of their class. She’s parlayed this deep seated anger into an archetype character familiar in all of her works: evil, callous, snobbish and perfidious men, used to dismissing and using people for their own purposes. Cam’s interest in her, and the lust he engenders are huge warnings to her, ones she runs from determined to ignore.
Because both characters in this story are so very guarded, getting to know them takes a bit of time: they don’t share easily with themselves or others. While it appeared, at first, that Cam’s interest was simply fueled by Maggie’s avoidance of him, he shares little pieces of his real admiration for her, and refuses to take no for an answer. While gifts and trinkets hold no interest for Maggie, he continues to find ways to show his esteem: his country house, his patronage of the theatre, his constant presence in the pit during rehearsals. Neither one sees that the attraction between them is more than simple lust: Maggie so consumed with the class differences and scandal, Cam so afraid that a marriage, a truly happy loving marriage like his parents, is unreachable. And how wrong they both are.
A wonderful follow-up to Forever Your Earl, with two characters that really can be frustrating and bullheaded, giving readers a chance to truly understand their concerns and fears as the layers peel slowly away. Beautifully developed, these two blossom before our eyes: the relationship is a delicate dance moving forward and back, almost without warning. While neither character is easy to know, by the end of the book you understand them, their fears and see just how truly in need of love they both are. A slower pacing allows each character time to share themselves, in as much as they understand their own motivations, and gives readers several moments of “get it together already”. Invested in a happy ending for these two, readers will find the hard-won battles over personal fears for both Cam and Maggie feel plausible and possible, and are all the more worthwhile in the winning.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.