A Promise of More: The Disgraced Lords Series by Bronwen Evans
A group of aristocratic men, a mysterious threat, and the ladies that love them. A Promise of More has all of my favorite elements! Just read the back cover—who can resist?
When Beatrice Hennessey sets out to confront Lord Coldhurst, the notorious rogue who killed her brother in a duel, her intent is to save her family from destitution. She’s determined to blackmail the man into a loveless marriage. She’ll make the wealthy Lord Coldhurst pay for the rest of his life. But while greeting his ship, Beatrice takes a tumble into the Thames—only to be fished out by a pair of strong masculine arms that tempt her to stay locked in their heated embrace forever. That is, until she realizes those arms belong to Sebastian Hawkestone, Lord Coldhurst himself.
One of my favorite tropes is a marriage of convenience—a marriage for all the right reasons with “to love and to cherish” on the sidelines. Sebastian Hawkestone feels so guilty about killing Beatrice Hennessey’s wastrel brother that he agrees to her proposal of marriage. Sebastian loves the ladies, be they courtesans or comely widows. When first we meet him he’s being welcomed by courtesan Clarice Hudson “clad in nothing but silken skin, his favorite feminine attire.” The ladies don’t find Sebastian hard to take either. When Beatrice first meets him she sees a man who’s “arresting and arrogant” with a “ruthlessly handsome face.” Beatrice must marry, in order to save her family from destitution. Sebastian has “no intention of marrying until he absolutely had to, until he was old enough not to fall prey to that insipid disease called love.” In contrast, all her life Beatrice had “vehemently desired” love.
What is delicious about A Promise of More is how much warmth, sensuality, and respect flows between Sebastian and Beatrice, even though love is off the table. Beatrice welcomes Sebastian’s embraces, fully prepared to enjoy learning the sensual arts from one of London’s most experienced practitioners. And both want children, Sebastian an heir (or two) and Beatrice children to love. When first he kissed her she felt as if she were “drowning in feelings, drowning in emotions.” Sebastian assures her that she will find lovemaking with him to be “quite pleasurable.” Says Beatrice,
“Half the women in England would not have rushed to your bed if you were not expert at what you do, my lord.”
“Sebastian. And it has not been quite that many.” His faint smile held more than a hint of charm. “I shall do my utmost to justify your faith in me.”
And justify her faith in him he does. So much so that the idea of Sebastian “taking a mistress or a lover made her stomach cramp and cold waves of fury swamp her.” A wife who wants her husband to cleave only unto her—this story is definitely off to good start!
The other element of The Disgraced Lords Series that I enjoyed is the mysterious threat that all the men, friends from college days, are experiencing. Kidnappings, gunfire, womenfolk blackmailed and attacked—someone sure has it in for this group of gorgeous men. This storyline began in A Kiss of Lies (Book One of the Disgraced Lord series) and it will continue in the stories to come. It’s a bit like a puzzle, with only some of the pieces fitting into place in each book.
A fabulous new addition to the community of romance readers is Pamela/BadassRomance @badass_romance. Speaking of another book, she shared, “I too loved the way he treated our heroine with that rueful charm. Those kinds of comments are frequently clues to a future hero, especially when there’s a hint of “if you weren’t my best friend’s woman, I’d….” This is very much related to my love of the dude group and they way they show their bromance with each other in how they treat the womenfolk, while simultaneously making the heroines look and feel good, as the subject of friendly and appreciative male attention!” What Pamela said! With the Disgraced Lords, there’s more than a hint of Stephanie Lauren’s Cynster series, where all the men are terrific friends and brothers-in-arms and each and every one of them is there for that special woman who is beloved by our hero.
So get hooked on Bronwen’s new series, full of love, mystery and bromance!