A Touch of Passion (The Disgraced Lords Series, Book #3) by Bronwen Evans
Independent and high-spirited, Lady Portia Flagstaff has never been afraid to take a risk, especially if it involves excitement and danger. But this time, being kidnapped and sold into an Arab harem is the outcome of one risk too many. Now, in order to regain her freedom, she has to rely on the deliciously packaged Grayson Devlin, Viscount Blackwood, a man who despises her reckless ways—and stirs in her a thirst for passion.
After losing his mother and two siblings in a carriage accident years ago, Grayson Devlin promised Portia’s dying brother that he’d always watch over his wayward sister. But having to travel to Egypt to rescue the foolhardy girl has made his blood boil. Grayson already has his hands full trying to clear his best friend Independent and high-spirited, Lady Portia Flagstaff has never been afraid to take a risk, especially if it involves excitement and danger. But this time, being kidnapped and sold into an Arab harem is the outcome of one risk too many. Now, in order to regain her freedom, she has to rely on the deliciously packaged Grayson Devlin, Viscount Blackwood, a man who despises her reckless ways—and stirs in her a thirst for passion.
This story features the traditional story of man-can’t-commit-his-heart-and-almost-loses-woman; however it isn’t boring or conventional. Grayson is a great character who struggles with deep feelings of loss and grief.
I really love stories where the setting is constantly changing. This story takes place all over England and in Egypt. Of course that means a trip over water. I was positively gleeful as the characters struggled with their barely restrained passion while on board a ship. I recently wrote about how much I love the pirate trope as being stuck together on a ship creates great moments of tension and conflict. There is nowhere to run and you see the characters’ base emotions.
The story centres on the connection between Greyson and Portia. They crave each other, but Greyson refuses to engage his heart in any relationship. He is not bendable in this belief. It is a one hundred percent certainty in his life. He finds Portia beautiful and he lusts for her, but he also is highly critical of her scandalous behaviour. This was an unattractive quality, along with his refusal to want a biddable miss in his marriage bed. Greyson has seen both types of marriages. His parents were a very typical ton marriage – no love and separate lives. He lived with the Flagstaffs after their death and saw a loving marriage. The fact that he would prefer the former is a huge character flaw. And that is what the premise of this book is about. Fighting that flaw and changing his mind.
If anyone can do it, it would be Portia. She is willful and brave. She runs her own cider business and donates the profits to an orphanage. She has chosen to be single instead of marrying without love. She believes in the polar opposite of Greyson, yet she wants him and him alone. She has wanted Greyson her whole life and has held onto hope against even his own words of denial. When she is kidnapped and taken to a harem, marriage is forced upon her. Although she is thrilled to have Greyson, she refuses to marry him without his heart. She says to him,
“I want what all of us want, to be happy. I do want to marry and have a family, but I don’t wish to be defined as simply a mother or a wife. I’m so much more. I have a mind and I intend to use it.” You have to love a woman who knows her worth and demands it.
And so begins the dance between the two. As the reader, you just wanted these two to get their act together. Greyson was being an ass and you couldn’t help but cheer Portia for standing up for what she wanted. Lust plays a powerful role in bringing these two together. Greyson is described as a god among lovers. Bed sport takes a new meaning with him. Portia is practically drooling to get him naked – one more thing to love about her, she is real and honest. She seduces him with her mind, heart and body. Greyson has a will of steel to be able to resist what has been offered to him. I wanted to see him lose himself to her. Sexually they are extremely compatible and the scenes were so vividly described it made the tension and lust leap off the page.
The struggle between what Greyson thinks he wants and needs and the reality is the crux of the story. As the reader, you are waiting for his big revelation and the necessary grovelling to get the woman he loves. This was a great book to read and characters from the previous novels in the series are a big part of the story. A definite book to add to your to-be-read list!