Read Desired by Nicola Cornick Online


Her wicked ways were the talk of the tonTeresa, Dowager Marchioness of Darent, is rumored to have exhausted her four deceased husbands with her insatiable needs. So it's no surprise that every rake in the ton wants to bed her. If they only knew…through clever marriages to men who would ask nothing of her physical self, Tessa has remained rather innocent in the ways of theHer wicked ways were the talk of the tonTeresa, Dowager Marchioness of Darent, is rumored to have exhausted her four deceased husbands with her insatiable needs. So it's no surprise that every rake in the ton wants to bed her. If they only knew…through clever marriages to men who would ask nothing of her physical self, Tessa has remained rather innocent in the ways of the bedroom. But now she's on the verge of losing everything and wants to take care of the stepson she's grown to adore.Enter Captain Owen Purchase. The handsome American adventurer has come into the title of Viscount Rothbury. And the rumors surrounding his injuries at sea suggest that he could fit Tessa's requirements. But little does Tessa realize that the gossipmongers are wrong. She just might lose her heart, and her desires, to the most unlikely of men…....

Title : Desired
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780373775903
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 384 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Desired Reviews

  • Juliana Philippa
    2019-03-14 15:17

    This was my first Nicola Cornick romance, and I’ll admit that after reading the summary of Desired I was somewhat apprehensive. The heroine, Tess, is not my favorite type for historical romances, but I have been trying to read outside of my romance “comfort zone.” I’m happy to say that with this book, my taking a chance most definitely paid off. While I had some problems with the book overall, the writing was very good and the main characters drew me in right from the beginning.The Romantic Relationship. Owen and Tess were wonderfully written; I found them interesting, likable, and well-developed. There is an immediate spark between them and their exchanges are so much fun to read. They are antagonistic towards one another, but not to the point you sometimes find in romances when the leading characters cross over into being immature, annoying, and petty.One of the things I loved most about Owen and Tess’s relationship was that they were both so mature and honest. Yes, they start off with secrets between them that are only revealed as the story goes on, but when it comes to most of their emotions or thoughts, they do not resort to the romance-standard of pouting or giving the cold shoulder, which always results in only more hurt feelings and misunderstandings. So often they take a chance and trust one another, and I greatly appreciated the resulting lack of angst.“Why do you call me Teresa?” she asked.There was a smile at the back of his eyes. “Because everyone else calls you Tess,” he said.“But not you.”“I'm different.”Tess's stomach gave a little flip. She turned her face away. He was different. She was only now beginning to realise quite how much, and quite how dangerous it was to her.Our Heroine and Hero. Tess is considered a scandalous woman who has been married (and widowed) three times. She has a horrible reputation: she is known to have a large sexual appetite and is seen as a featherbrain, a purely ornamental and self-centered woman. We are quickly shown, however, that none of that is the real Tess, and I was surprised by how much affection I felt for her right from the start. She’s a strong and admirable woman, while at the same time there is a great sense of vulnerability and softness to her. We have a strong sense of Tess’s passion for her art and her political cartoons, but I was a little disappointed by how little the political aspect was woven into her character, with no scenes where we actually see her engage in reform activities. There is one scene that I found incredibly touching, in which we see Tess finally break down from one comment too many. I’m not very emotional when it comes to romances; I’ll have positive feelings, but I can count on one hand the number that have made my eyes even start to water—this is now one of them. Tess’s reaction is so heartbreaking, her torment and loneliness so vivid; she is desperately tired of her reputation and all she has had to withstand and bear because of it. Owen is a nice-guy hero and the way he calms and cares for her after is so sweet. He seems to be the prize she’s won for surviving so much unhappiness; he’s honest, direct, trustworthy, and loving.Owen put his arms about her to steady her. She looked like a fairy princess in the golden cloak and gown with the snow settling on her hood and swirling around her. A very woebegone princess, he thought, paint-spattered and disheveled. A wave of emotion swept through him, tender and protective. On impulse, he leaned forwards and kissed her gently. Her lips were cold.“Come inside,” he said softly. “Come to bed. Let me hold you. I’ll make everything better, I swear.”Criticisms. I think several of my Goodreads friends will be surprised when they see my next comment, because I clearly enjoyed myself as I was reading the book, but Desired ended up being one of those reads that starts to lose a little of its glow as more time passes. I loved Tess and Owen so much that I was easily able to overlook other flaws in the book as I was reading it, but they became increasingly apparent once I had finished, as I thought more about the story and prepared to write this review.The one thing that really bothered me, even as I was reading, was the relationship between Owen and Tess in the last quarter of the book. Tess’s fear of intimacy and her wariness of trusting anyone were so well-done up until that point, while her slow-building connection to Owen had also felt authentic. But then it was as if Cornick realized she had reached 300 pages and needed to speed things along, because they rush into their physical relationship and seem to reach the point of complete trust and love for one another almost overnight.Most of my criticisms have to do with the last quarter of the book, when many other things felt just as rushed. There are a few different subplots, none of them very well integrated or fleshed out, and in this last section they are all picked up again and (for the most part) those that hadn’t already been already conveniently tied off were concluded. For some reason, Cornick decides to throw in a few Misunderstandings that are not Big because they are cleared up a few pages later (so why bother?).We are not given enough of an overall picture of their history and of the secondary characters. Tess and Owen have been in each other’s lives for several years (I think?—the timing is not very clear), but their interactions read more as two people who only knew of one another socially, with no familiarity beyond that. I felt a little lost not knowing the background on Tess’s sisters and their husbands; they have their own books earlier on in the series, but Cornick says on her website that these are all standalones. I also didn’t like that Tess’s stepchildren are in the story, but always off-page.Bottom Line. It may not seem like it after reading all the above criticisms, but I did truly enjoy this book and it is one that I recommend. The background details and subplots could have used some more work, but Owen and Tess are able to carry the story and make it one worth reading. Their interactions are so engaging and I loved the back-and-forth between them. I will be seeking out Cornick’s other work and I’m looking forward to the sixth and final book in this series, especially if the two main characters are who I think they are.Two of My Favorite Quotes:“Why does anyone visit a brothel, Lord Rothbury?” she said lightly. “If you have an imagination, now would be the time to use it.”Her wide-eyed pretense would fool nine out of ten men into believing her to be every inch as superficial as she appeared. It was a pity for her that he was the tenth and did not believe a word.This review is of a galley provided by HQN Books through NetGalley. Written October 14, 2011.Fun book excerpt.He stopped when he was no more than a couple of feet away from Tess. Her violet-blue eyes met his very directly. There was now no nervousness in them. Owen wondered if he had imagined the tension he thought he had sensed in her. But no. He felt it again, and saw the way in which she stepped back, almost imperceptibly, to put more distance between them. She was withdrawing from him. Evidently she was not comfortable with physical proximity. Which was very odd indeed if the rumours about her were true.“I doubt most men would see marriage to you as a prize if they are not permitted to sleep with you,” Owen said drily. “Forgive my plain speaking,” he added, seeing the flash of anger in her eyes. “I always find it best to be quite frank in discussions of an intimate nature.”“I have never thought of marriage as an intimate matter,” Tess snapped. The pink colour had come into her face now. “I fear you have a sadly colonial view of the institution, Lord Rothbury. Marriage in the ton is for profit alone. You profit from my beauty and connections and I gain the protection of your name.”“Forgive me again,” Owen said, “but is that an equal bargain?”“No,” Tess said, “the bargain favours you by far. I would be the one compromising by marrying a mere viscount.”“One does not need to possess a thoroughbred horse to admire its beauty,” Owen said.Tess raised a haughty brow. “I beg your pardon? Is one of us an animal in your analogy?”“And as for connections in the ton,” Owen continued, “I do not value them.”“That is short-sighted of you,” Tess said. “So short-sighted I doubt you have the vision to appreciate your thoroughbred.”Owen smiled. Oh, he appreciated her. She was beautiful enough to turn any man’s head. And at the very least, he thought, if he married her he would never be bored. Conversation with Tess Darent had the astringency of a dose of salts. Though no doubt she would say that a fashionable husband and wife spoke to one another as little as possible and preferably only via the servants.“And your reputation?” he said. “Many men might balk at taking a wife with the sort of reputation for sin one would normally hope for in a mistress.”Once again he had been brutally frank and he awaited her response with interest. Her defences were so perfectly in place, however, that he could discern not one flicker of emotion in her: no shock, no anger, nothing. She looked him over with that detached blue gaze he was starting to know.“You,” she said, after a moment, “have a reputation as a pirate and a mercenary soldier. Most women would prefer such a man as a lover rather than a husband.”Touché.Owen inclined his head. “I was not a pirate, though I suppose you could say I was a mercenary soldier,” he admitted.“Whereas I have never been a whore,” Tess said. The coolness of her response made him smile. She certainly had nerve. “And were we to wed,” she continued, “I would behave with the utmost propriety. I am marrying to try to rescue my reputation, so there would be no point in my sinking it further.”“I feel I must point out,” Owen said, “that I found you climbing out of a brothel window last night.”Her pansy eyes lit with mockery. “We were not betrothed last night, Lord Rothbury.”He had to give her credit. She played the coolest hand of anyone he knew. Which was perfectly in keeping with a woman who might lead a secret life as a radical sympathiser, who carried a pistol in her reticule and who might well have been in Mrs. Tong’s brothel for purposes other than a night of debauchery.He was intrigued. Owen admitted it to himself. He had a low threshold of boredom, the product of a lifetime of constantly moving onward and seeking new challenges. He had gone to sea when he was in his teens and had spent his life exploring, fighting and carving out a future. He liked unpredictability and risk. It was what made him feel alive.Tess Darent was enough of a challenge for one man for an entire lifetime.Read this Tempting Teaser on Fiction Vixen Book Reviews.

  • Fani *loves angst*
    2019-02-20 11:18

    4.5 starsI feel that I've found a new favorite author in Nicola Cornick. I've only read two books from her but in both, she manages to write emotional, heartfelt tales and heroes who I deeply care for. In this one, we meet Lady Tess as she escapes from a brothel during a raid. Teresa (or Tess) is a most scandalous woman by the ton's standards: married and widowed three times, she has managed to amass a large fortune from her dead husbands which she spends in gambling, clothes, jewels and her various lovers. Or so, everyone thinks. In fact, Tess is a reformist, spending money to charities and trying to help the reformists' cause in any way she can. Which is the real reason she was in that brothel and where she meets our hero, Owen, who's sent to find the reformists' cartoonist, who has been leading the crowd towards violence and revolution. Owen is currently the very proper Viscount Rothbury. However, before that, he was an American Navy Officer who fought first with the British and later against them, before he turned -as is rumored- to a pirate and adventurer. Now though he tries to stand by the law and become a very proper British gentleman by helping the Home Office. Owen doesn't take too long to figure out that Tess is not the silly, vapid female she pretends to be, and is very likely the very person he's trying to capture. He also finds himself attracted to her but he's not sure if he can trust her. Which is why, when Lady Tess approaches him with the offer to become her fourth husband, he accepts but with reservations. It soon becomes obvious that Tess is as attracted to him as he is to her, but there are many secrets she's hiding besides her secret identity and he has to find them, before there can be any hope of a future for them both.As I initially mentioned, I love the way Cornick makes me feel about her heroes. They are persons I can like and deeply care for, not just skim through their fates but really agonize about their Happy Ever After. I loved reading about Tess and her intimacy problems, her insecurities behind the confident image she presented to the ton. I loved Owen, steady and strong, trying to help her in any way he could, even when it went against his mission and even before he felt in love with her. He was tender, considerate, gentle and patient; exactly the man that Tess needed in her life. I also hated Tess for stupidly betraying Owen's trust not once but twice and I hated Owen for not telling her the truth about his first love when she asked him. But that's actually a good thing: I wouldn't hate them and wanted to smack them in the head if I was indifferent to them. What this book needed was an epilogue (and more Tom Bradshaw who's turning into one of my favorite heroes!) and then it would be a solid 5 stars from me. Still, this is classes better than most fluffy, supercilious romances I've been reading lately. I'll definitely be checking out Ms Cornick's backlist, even though, I'm not sure I want to read about Joanna (and Alex) whom I really disliked in this one. For anyone who's read and loved Julia London's books, this is highly recommended.ARC provided by NetGalley

  • Tarsis
    2019-03-08 09:18

    #BookLove2017: Owen PurchaseElla es una consumada libertina a los ojos de la sociedad, con tres maridos en la lista, Tess Darent es el vivo ejemplo de lo que una dama no debe ser: tonta, bebedora, jugadora e indecorosa. Pero bajo esa cortina se esconde una mujer compleja con una historia a cuesta que la hace sufrir. Cosa que fue completamente transparente a los ojos de Owen, cuando ella se planta en su casa a pedirle matrimonio y él decide aceptar, en parte empujado por el deseo que siente por la mujer, la curiosidad de saber porqué se esconde tras esa fachada y el reto que supondría doblegarla a su voluntad, algo que un aventurero como él no puede evitar. Pero pese a lo que Tess espera de él, FIELMENTE convencida de su "impotencia", Owen comienza a cortejarla lentamente, derribando esa barrera que ella se esfuerza en poner, haciendo que confíe en él, tratando de arrancarle cada uno de sus secretos. Y es que Owen está muy lejos del molde de esposo acostumbrado de Tess, es joven, activo, demandante y viril. Nada que ver con los viejos y amigos que ella eligió en el pasado.ES SIMPLEMENTE IMPOSIBLE NO AMAR A OWEN. PUNTO. Pero sin duda mi escena favorita es cuando ella le dice que esperaba que el fuese impotente y Owen: ¿Perdón? Jajajaja me reí como media hora por la indignación de Owen durante todo el día con eso. También me gustó el detalle de lo que plantean. La gente ve lo que quiere ver y prefieren creer las cosas malas y escandalosas que las buenas aunque le peguen de lleno en la cara.Altamente recomendable :D

  • Jane Stewart
    2019-03-01 12:27

    Heroine stupidity. Unsupported illogical events. I did not like the narrator’s interpretations.The first half was pretty good. But the second half had me wishing it were over. I wanted to skim but I couldn’t because it was an audiobook. Too much heroine stupidity. Too many stupid events were not well supported. For example, parents are mad at daughter D and don’t want son to visit D. Son could have visited D by saying he was going to a club or elsewhere. Instead Tess pretends to be having an affair with son, and this is done openly in public, so people would think son was going out with Tess, when really he was going to visit D. Tess continued doing this after she was engaged to Owen? Making Owen look like a fool? Is this heroine stupidity or just stupid plotting? I don’t know what to call it. A number of things similar to this occurred which made me dislike the book.Too many things were told, not shown - a lot of past events, but some current as well. We are missing dialogue from those. The plot and events are interesting but since they are told, we don’t feel it. Examples are Tessa’s past and Tom Bradshaw’s past.I wanted more development of Tom’s actions at the end. It felt like a convenient thrown-in ending.I’m willing to accept weak characters and characters with problems, but I didn’t like Tessa’s actions. For the first half of the book she lies to Owen which was ok. It’s supposed to be a cat and mouse game. He’s trying to catch a criminal who happens to be Tess. But later as they fall in love, she continues to lie and do stupid things. One of these: Tess specifically promised something to Owen. Then she broke her promise which caused the worst crisis in the book. Her reason was stupid. I was mad at her. I didn’t like her. I liked Owen. He was such a nice guy - caring, patient, understanding. I wished Owen loved someone else.Tess fears intimacy due to sexual abuse in the past. When she eventually has sex with Owen it’s not believable. There had been some touching but no sex. All of a sudden she decides she wants to seduce him. It didn’t feel right.NARRATOR:I was unhappy with the narrator Polly Lee. Several times a voice should have sounded demanding, fearful, or wailing, but the narrator used a calm quiet voice. Her voices for some of the men sounded weird - a pinched high nasal voice, or a hold-your-breath voice for the butler. She didn’t show the right emotion for Owen. His sentences should have been stronger. Instead he sounded like a calm, soft, female, with a how-do-you-feel concern. It didn’t sound like a man.DATA:Narrative mode: 3rd person. Unabridged audiobook reading time: 10 hrs and 20 mins. Swearing language: none that I recall. Sexual language: mild. Number of sex scenes: two that I recall. Setting: early 1800s England. Book copyright: 2011. Genre: historical romance.

  • D.G.
    2019-03-14 12:23

    Desired was one of those books that would have been way better if it hadn't been chock full of unnecessary side plots. Both main characters needed at least 80 years to live everything that supposedly happened to them.Owen is an American who had been in the Navy, fought against the British in some war, became a privateer, then an explorer, then fought FOR the British in the Napoleonic Wars once he inherited an impoverished Viscountcy. While all this was going on, he also found time to defend the heroine's sister against an evil husband.(!)Tess is a "scandalous" widow, thrice married, who also fights for political causes with her pen. She has proposed to all her husbands (no explanation as to why) and her past involves drug abuse and gambling. She's also being blackmailed by a guy in one end and suspected of radicalism in the other while an exhibit of her naked paintings are the talk of town. She also has problems with intimacy. (!)In addition to all this unnecessary non-sense, there were explanations as to what happened in previous books in the series (which I haven't read.) No wonder this book was so convoluted.With that series name, I was expecting a raunchy read but nothing of the sort. Encounters between Owen and Tess were on the sweet side and her problem with intimacy was resolved overnight. I really liked that that they got to know each other while they were courting so you could believe they had fallen in love. But I really disliked how Tess behaved so stupidly at times, with absolutely no thought for the consequences.The narration was very well done and probably the reason why I finished the book. Not sure I recommend it though.

  • Wicked ♥(Wickedly Bookish Reviews) aka Bat-Jess
    2019-03-10 11:03

    This was just ok for me. Nothing really special honestly. It just seems to be another drop in the historical romance bucket that has been dumped over my head this year. I enjoy historical romance very much, but so many of these books are the same. The plotlines, concepts, and scandals seem to meld together in one big gooey historical romance fondue pot, giving me the constant feeling I'm pretty sure I've dipped my bread in this cheese before.

  • Carol *Young at Heart Oldie*
    2019-03-10 13:13

    DESIRED is the fifth book in Nicola Cornick's excellent Scandalous Women of the Ton series and it is definitely my favourite so far. Bringing together two secondary characters from previous books, Tess, the Dowager Lady Darent and Owen Purchase, former sea captain, now Viscount Rothbury, Ms Cornick has created a deeply emotional love story which captured my interest from the very first page.Tess Darent has a reputation for being mercenary, amoral and extravagant which suits her purposes perfectly. No one would ever suspect her of being Jupiter, the witty and dangerous caricaturist and leader of a movement pressing for political reform. However, the Home Secretary, Lord Sidmouth, fearing revolution, is determined to track down the leaders of the reform group and see them hang. Following a meeting of the group, Tess finds herself closely pursued and, whilst escaping, falls literally into the hands of Owen Purchase, Viscount Rothbury, Sidmouth's man. A friend of her brothers-in-law, Alex and Garrick, Rothbury recognises her but Tess manages to talk her way out of the situation but Rothbury is suspicious.Tess receives a visit from the odious Lord Corwen who is determined to marry her fifteen-year-old stepdaughter, Lady Sybil Darent. When Tess refuses to consider such a betrothal, Corwen blackmails her by threatening to besmirch Lady Sybil's reputation and to foreclose on a private loan he advanced to her late husband, forcing her stepson to sell off all unentailed parts of the estate. Tess is determined to protect her stepchildren and resolves to marry a man with sufficient power and authority to thwart Corwen's plans. Haunted by terrible memories of her second marriage to Lord Brokeby, Tess seeks a marriage in name only and Lord Rothbury would seem to be the perfect choice because she mistakenly believes him to be impotent! He is also powerful enough to protect her and her stepchildren from Corwen and marrying him will remove the threat Lord Sidmouth poses. Plucking up the courage, Tess approaches Owen with her proposal of marriage and trusts him enough to tell him of Corwen's threats. Having secretly desired Tess for some time, Owen agrees to the marriage but his instinct tells him that Tess is not all she seems and he is determined to discover the real woman behind the facade. Can Tess overcome the fears that haunt her and find true happiness with Owen? Will Owen be able to protect her from Sidmouth?I was really fascinated by the different facets of Tess's character. On the one hand, her involvement with the reform movement shows an independent and courageous woman, one with a deep loyalty to those she cares about such as her step-children. On the other hand, the traumatic events of her second marriage have left her vulnerable and insecure with a deep-seated fear of intimacy. My heart really went out to her because she yearns for something she believes she can never have:She wanted to be cherished, she ached to be loved in every sense, but the chasm of fear that was Brokeby's legacy to her seemed to yawn at her feet, taunting her that she would never be whole again. The scene in the artist's studio where Tess finally comes to terms with her past is so heart-rending that I could feel the pain and anguish Tess was experiencing. For me her actions represent a symbolic purging of all those terrible memories and I think Ms Cornick perfectly captures Tess's feelings of joy in this single line:Her heart expanded with all the love she had thought never to find. Tess gave herself up to it and stepped into the light. Owen is just the perfect man for Tess. He sees beyond the painted smile and the tempting body and glimpses the real woman beneath – complex, loyal and loving - and I love the way he treats her with such patience and tenderness. He is not without flaws, having once disgraced his family and ever since he has tried to atone for this one transgression which makes him all the more lovable. He is also a man of honor and when he discovers that Lord Sidmouth's methods are less than honourable, he resigns his position.Ms Cornick does an excellent job of building the chemistry between Tess and Owen. I love the initial banter between them such as this excerpt from the scene where Owen catches Tess escaping from the brothel:"Thank you," she (Tess) said, forcing the tiny slippers onto her feet where they pinched like malicious crabs. "Just like Prince Charming.""I missed the bit of the fairy tale where Cinderella visited the brothel," Rothbury said. When Owen takes Tess on the various outings (from a visit to the British Museum to eating mutton pie and drinking warm ale in the Fountain Tavern), it is easy to believe that this time spent together would build the sense of intimacy and trust between them. I have to congratulate Ms Cornick on a really beautiful love scene which is a perfect blend of the sensual:His fingers moved gently, persuasively, touching the very core of her. Tess arched again, cried out in shock and astonishment, cascades of sensation shimmering through her body. He touched her again and, again, such subtle strokes and Tess thought she would come apart. and the emotional:It was not as she remembered it. It was nothing like she had ever experienced. This was smooth and tight and hot and delicious. It was gloriously intimate and so honest that she felt her heart contract with astonishment. Ms Cornick evokes a real sense of the period by using real-life events as the background to the story. There is plenty of action but it never overshadows the love story but rather adds to the tension between Tess and Owen. Several of the characters from the previous books make an appearance, including Joanna, Alex, Garrick and villain Tom Bradshaw. I must admit that I never thought that I would have any sympathy for Tom Bradshaw but he obviously loves Emma and is desperate to atone for his past sins.DESIRED is a powerful and sensual love story with a hero you are sure to fall in love with and a heroine who will tug at your heartstrings. I am now eagerly awaiting the issue of the final book in this series next year. review was originally written for The Romance Reviews (TRR)

  • Desi
    2019-02-16 13:13

    leído en Julio 2014**4.5 estrellitasMe encantó este libro fue una delicia!!

  • Jess the Romanceaholic
    2019-03-14 17:10

    This is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The RomanceaholicExpected Release Date: November 29, 2011 (Available Now!)Publisher: HarlequinImprint: HQNBooksAuthor’s Website: Source for This Book: NetgalleyPart of a Series: Yes, Book 5, Scandalous Women of the TonSeries Best Read In Order: Works well as a standalone but benefits from being read in order.Steam Level: SteamyTess Darent, the Much Married Marchioness has wed and buried three husbands, and has earned the reputation of a very wicked widow. Said to have exhausted her previous husbands to death with her demands in the bedroom, she appears to enjoy a life of frivolity and of courting scandal.There is, however, much more to Tess than anyone in the ton knows — she’s a staunch supporter of the radical cause that seeks reform in government, and contributes to the cause by sketching inflammatory political cartoons of those in power.Now her hidden life is threatening to catch up with her, and her beloved stepchildren from her last marriage are in danger. Needing the protection of a respectable marriage, Tess searches out a very specific type of husband — one incapable of actually consummating their union.When Owen Purchase, Viscount Rothbury, joined the government investigation to seek out Jupiter, the infamous cartoonist whose drawings are beginning to incite the masses, he never imagined that his search might lead him directly to the parson’s mousetrap. Suspecting Lady Darent of sedition is one thing, but proving it is a much trickier endeavor. When the lady herself actually proposes marriage, Owen can’t help but be fascinated with the idea of marrying the beautiful and enigmatic woman, especially after he discovers that her carefully cultivated facade of a featherbrain is hiding a very intelligent and cunning mind.In a marriage of convenience, Tess hopes to find the protection of her husband’s name will extend to her stepchildren, and she soon realizes that she and Owen could actually be friends. But when it becomes obvious that a case of mistaken identity is responsible for her belief that he poses no sensual danger to her, can Tess overcome a traumatic past and allow herself to trust the potent and sensual man whose name she now carries?I’d previously “met” Tess in earlier books in the series, and at the time, I honestly didn’t like her. A total spendthrift with a reputation for fast living, gambling, and carousing with all sorts of unsavory sorts, she’d been married several times and widowed soon after. A completely featherbrain with only a head for fashion and partying, Tess wasn’t someone I ever thought I could fall in love with as a heroine.Oh how wrong I was.Tess was an absolutely incredible heroine. Having suffered through a horrible marriage, her only experience with passion and the physical side of marriage was a traumatic one, and as such she has focused not only on bringing justice to society through her support of a rebel cause, but hides her own wit and intelligence behind a facade of scandal and stupidity so that no one will ever guess at her real depths.Enter the delicious Owen Purchase. An American sea captain and almost-pirate, he let his temper and sense of righteousness get the better of his logic, and practically ruined his life. Now determined to keep his passions checked, Owen values his own personal control. Unfortunately, the beautiful and intriguing Tess challenges him at every turn, and he simply cannot resist her charms.The courtship between the two was absolutely beautiful. Tess was so damaged from a previous relationship that had Owen been even an iota less patient with her, their relationship wouldn’t have felt believable. As it was, however, the progression of not only their affections but of their physical relationship was paced perfectly, and the resulting love between them was incredibly satisfying.Overall, this was an incredible tale of a damaged woman learning to trust not only her husband but also herself, and of a hardened man realizing that sometimes it’s not only acceptable, but marvelous to allow yourself to lose control.Recommended for fans of damaged heroines learning to give in to passion, of honorable and patient heroes, and of finally allowing yourself to let go. A very solid 4.5/5 Stars

  • Katrina
    2019-03-04 11:10

    Tess Darent is depicted as the scandalously notorious widow. She has had many husbands and is on the hunt for number 4… After a bad run of events, Tess swore she would only marry a man who was impotent and for name use only. Someone to hide behind her drawings as the notorious ( Jupiter ) and save her stepdaughters name. On a hunt through the brothels looking for Jupiter , Owen meets and catches Tess Darent unaware. The connection is instant... Owen wanders why this beauty is hanging out the Brothels window waiting to be rescued none the less. Owen is intrigued by Tess Darent... Owen Purchase - Inherited the Title Viscount Rotherbuy has returned to England to help his Aunt and also run his tittles for the accounts and lands. Upon meeting Tess Darent he has come to a few conclusions of his own… After a turn of events Tess Decides that Owen will be husband number four and proposes marriage to him, in name only, thinking that Viscount Rotherbury is impotent and her heart and bed is safe. Owen doesn’t back down, and to Tess’s shock realizes that her new husband is definitely not as impotent and she first thought. (( snickers )) He makes his lust for her evident, but is not forceful in doing so... As he well knows something is not right – she is hesitant and scared for some unknown reason for physical contact... Owen decides he will take his time, and show Tess what love can be like. ……Desired is fuelled with danger, betrayal, lots of loving, lusting, lies and unforetold happenings. I really enjoyed this historical fiction that Nicola has put forth. Not really knowing much myself about this era, I read this in almost one sitting –enjoying it much so. Enjoying also the many shades Of Tess we also encounter and the characters were put forth.I lusted myself for the handsome gentleman Mr Rothbury lol. – he was good looking, funny and every thing Tess could benefit from a marriage. (( His patience and manner and witty ways were even quiet amusing at times.)) Tess was a headstrong woman, with brains despite what he fellow town folk thought, I liked that she didn’t bother with what people thought... It was to protect the ones she loved she did so. She was certainly her own person. I liked that Nicola put forth Tess has her own woman, her own thoughts, and feelings. She was certainly not afraid to back down.. The love that blossomed between Owen and Tess was gradual along with the storyline. I liked that it wasn’t a wham bam thank you mam romance .I love a man that will woo a woman loll. And Mr Rothbury certainly did that, but at the sametime, tantalized and teased Tess in his own ways.Overall, a sensual historical romance with a little heat to warm the pages, an intriguing storyline to go with and characters Im sure you will enjoy..I will be certainly reading more from Nicola... ** I havent read the previous books in this story and feel it can be read as a stand alone ** I didnt feel I had missed much out.. Maybe Just with the past and Tom.. but that was filled in with small detail ** This book was supplied to me by the publisher for an honest review.

  • Amarilli Settantatre
    2019-03-04 16:07

    Questo è senza dubbio il romanzo che più mi è piaciuto e più mi ha fatto arrabbiare.Intensi, profondi e ben delineati i due protagonisti, con molto passato da rivelare, perdonare e far vendicare. Sia Tess che Owen ti prendono e palpiti insieme a loro.Però aspettavo da tempo la ricomparsa di Tom, sempre inserito come eroe negativo,ma anche a parer mio bastonato dagli eventi. Ero convinta di ritrovarlo in un libro tutto suo, o almeno di dargli la possibilità del riscatto. Quindi qui l'autrice è stata semplicemente odiosa, per come lo liquida, nonostante il suo gesto sia molto più nobile di tutti i damerini che trionfano.4 stelle (e mezza per Tom)

  • Lisarenee
    2019-03-05 10:14

    "What were you doing there, Lady Darent?" His tone was still as courteous as before but that courtesy cloaked an edge of steel...."Why does anyone visit a brothel, Lord Rothbury?" She said lightly. "If you have an imagination, now would be the time to use it." She arched an ironic brow. Teresa, Dowager Marchioness of Darent, has a reputation. She's been widowed three times and is thought to marry those with money and ailing health. She's said to have "the face of an angel and the reputation of a sinner." She's thought to be shallow, a mercenary, feather brained and amoral--none of which is true. That doesn't keep her from taking advantage of that reputation when it suites her, and tonight it definitely suites her. She's associated with the reform party and draws politically charged caricatures. The Home Secretary sees reformers as dangerous criminals who post a threat to public order. Being caught with her latest caricature cartoon could gain her a noose around her pretty little neck. Luckily, she's the last person anyone would suspect of being involved in anything which would require some actual thinking. So when she's found to be escaping from a brothel in clothes that are obviously not her own, no one questions what she was doing. The problem is Lord Rothbury may just be the man who could figure it all out....I found this an enchanting lighthearted story that engaged me from the very beginning. A very original tale that had a strong and smart female heroine, Teresa. I thought the fact that Teresa was caught up in the reform party as a caricaturist who trounces on political figures was original and fun. I liked the fact she wasn't your typical romance heroine in that she wasn't perfect and had a past she was fighting to come to terms with. I guess you would call her a tortured heroine. I loved that Owen did not try to control her and allowed her to deal with things on her own terms until it looked like her very life might be threatened. That in itself was swoon worthy. Owen was a fun character. While his past may not have been as dark as Teresa's, he was also haunted by something. They say events can sometime help to shape our personalities, and that seems to be true in Owen's case. He has a bit of a hero complex--he likes to save damsels in distress. I think the fact that his attraction to Teresa began before he knew she was in trouble, was a good thing. It made it so his feelings were above reproach and, although, Teresa did initially question them, it was obvious to me that wasn't what the relationship was based on. The attraction between Owen (Lord Rothbury) and Teresa is instantaneous on Owen's part, which could be due to Teresa's reputation. Teresa a bit more hesitant, but feels the pull toward Owen as well. I liked how Owen handled things with Teresa and took things at a pace she could handle. When the background stories of the two are revealed, each gains a better understanding of the other. When the romance truly takes off it sizzles. Example of the steaminess and one of my favorite lines: "I would like to worship every curve and every hollow you possess," Owen whispered, "with the touch of my hands and my lips..." This time his mouth brushed her throat and Tess felt the echo of that touch in the pit of her stomach. I would have liked to see more of the relationship between Tom and Emma. We got enough information to have a clue what went on between the couple, but I would have liked to have seen more. I'm unsure if their story started in one of the earlier books of the series, but if not, it might have the makings of a good short story. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one gets a Steam rating - too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed. Overall, I gave this one 5 out of 5 roses. Order of series:1) Whisper of Scandal2) One Wicked Sin3) Mistress by Midnight4) Notorious5) DesiredIf you would like to read more of my reviews, please visit my blog at

  • Eva
    2019-03-03 16:08

    In the early morning hours today I finished “Desired” by Nicola Cornick the 5th book in the “Scandalous Women of the Ton” series, to hand it down to my mom. I rarely read books in the correct order. So I have read #3, #4 and #5 – maybe I should really start to read the first two books soon and they are already waiting to be read on my TBR shelf. “Desired” was different from the other two books in this series. Tess’, Lady Darent’s, expectations in a husband are easy: old, impotent and rich. Two of her three husbands fulfilled those goals, only number one was kind of a love match, she hadn’t been in love with him but she loved him because she knew him from her teenage years. She isn’t as shallow as everybody thinks her to be. She’s active in a revolutionary, political radical group and a quite famous cartoonist, “Jupiter”, but mostly nobody knows that she’s the one and authorities already want “Jupiter” imprisoned. One night she flees from a bawdyhouse through a window and lands in Owen Purchase, Viscount Rothbury’s arms. Because of her reputation – three marriages, paintings showing her naked body, the ton thinking her notorious – doesn’t make her life easier. When Corwen asks for payment of a loan she had given to Tess’ late husband, she gets into a precarious situation because he doesn’t want her money – 48.000 pounds – but the hand of her 15 year old stepdaughter. She refuses and he dares her to destroy the girl’s reputation because of Tess’ influence. Nevertheless she hasn’t seen the girl in ages to save her. There is only one way to save Sybil and her chance to have a season is to get married again. A marriage of convenience because Tess refuses intimacy. That’s how Owen gets a role in the play. He told her that he doesn’t want to get married at all and society thinks that he was hurt badly in a battle and think him impotent. So he seems to be the perfect husband number 4. After he agrees to marry her, she doesn’t need to talk him into it, only to tell him that she is a rich widow, looking for a marriage in name only to save her stepdaughter’s reputation. The only problem is that he starts to like Tess, sees behind the façade she wants people to see and he knows that she’s Jupiter. In the beginning he thinks that she only wants to marry him because a husband cannot give testimony at court against his wife but sooner than later he finds out that she really tries her best to not be a radical anymore, she even gave up drawing. Like he had given up his freedom at sea when he – a born American, soldier and pirate by the ton – inherited the Rothbury title. The only problem is that he doesn’t want a marriage of convenience but he has to see that as soon as he touches Tess she freezes. She’s afraid of intimacy. Even when he kisses her. He even tells her that he wants a son and to bed her. She even offers divorce, annulment because she cannot give that to him … Of course, it’s a Cornick novel, things change. Both start to fall in love bit by bit and start to trust each other. The reader acknowledge Tess’s attempts to be a better woman. To be different for him. But she has a past and that makes Tess so special. She loved her 1st husband but the 2nd one betrayed her in a very bad way but at least he died soon – but her reputation was gone. The 3rd one wasn’t as bad as the 2nd but he was no gentleman but at least impotent. Her two late husbands were addicted to different drugs – laudanum, alcohol, gambling – but pulled her into this mess. Her 2nd husband betrayed her trust badly by showing her naked, by the offer to a painter to portray her naked in front of others and he was the reason why she refused intimacy, darkness and closed rooms. The part with a female drawing political sketches, cartoons, reminded me of the fairly new book by Joanna Shupe “The Harlot Countess”, there are similarities to the storyline even if some don’t want to see that. The stories are unique but the cartoonist aspect quite similar at least in my opinion. Owen is a special kind of hero. He steps in for Tess when she is to be arrested for high treason. He helps her from the very beginning and keeps her secrets. He even believes in her honesty and that she can change, that he can break her fears. Tess on the contrary is very different from Cornick’s females –that’s what I love about this series, every female is unique. Tess presents a special picture to society, the one the ton wants to see. That she’s notorious. But the truth is that she never had a lover and intimacy is nothing she wants in a relationship – no touching, no kissing, nothing. A wonderful storyline with great characters. Rating: 4****

  • Antica
    2019-03-12 11:24

    This is the first "book" .. I listened to the audio book actually that is the author and I was unaware that it was apart of a series .. I must go back and see the pervious stories ASAP Summary: I just fell heads over heels in love with this book! Everything about it just got me so excited and giddy! I fell in love with the plot and the characters! ****Plot**** Teresa is a woman who is just the center of the London Ton's gossip groups after securing four husbands who are now deceased. She has also engaged in behavior that add to the list of scandals under her belt. Not only does she continuing doing so and is in the market for a new husband. She seems like she is okay, even uncaring about the reputation she has gotten attached to.Her eyes are now set on marrying Captain Owen; an American captain who has earned himself an English title through inheritance. Both of them have their own reasons to marry and it's all based on deception .. and desire from Owen's side. What Tes doesn't know is that Owen does indeed desire her, despite being under the impression that their marriage will be a marriage of convenience and that Owen is ... Impudent. ****Characters****It's been a long time since I've seen two characters who I adored so much and so equally that they have easily risen to become one of my favorite couple in a long time! Tes: She is not a saint by any means but she is such an angel when it comes to the people she loves and will do anything to protect them. She is so kind, loyal and so caring yet she makes mistakes which leaves her out of the Mary sue category. She is a woman who is in pain but does not allow anything to see the hurt that she has experienced or felt in the past. Yet she is also strong and does not wallow in her self pity or seeks a savior. She saves herself and that is a heroine I appreciate and enjoy! (view spoiler)[ There is a reason why she gambled, drank and did all the scandalous things she did. The things she went through are horrifying! Hell I wanted to kill her 2nd husband myself!(hide spoiler)] On the surface is a person who many people misjudged but as soon as you start to peel her layers and defenses; you can see that there is more to her than meets the eye. (view spoiler)[Oh what she did to those paintings; I was cheering her on the whole time! (hide spoiler)]Owen: While I am no way a fan of American characters in English settings! Owen had me melting in a puddle of mush. He is kind, devoted and loyal but he also has his flaws and his baggage. You can tell he respects Tes completely for her mind and her spirit! He has his own baggage but is determined not to let it overrule him. (view spoiler)[He is so thoughtful to Tes after he finds out her past and will do everything to protect her; including give his own life for her without her even asking for it.(hide spoiler)]These two characters have such an amazing dynamic; they argue and get at each others throats; they deceived each other and yet they are also very tender, loving and loyal to one another. Each of them will do whatever they have to for one another. Like I said; it's such a lovely relationship and they are my favorite couple of 2015There was one thing... just one tiny thing that made this book away from being perfect. (view spoiler)[Tom and Emma not having any closure I was literally screaming at the top of my lungs when I realized that the audiobook is coming to an end without any closure about these two! I wanted Emma's reaction to Tom's fate! I wanted her to know about the things he did to protect her while being in the shadows and how he is redeeming himself. I just wanted one more paragraph at the end about that so that left me extremely extremely disappointed. There wasn't any mention about Tes' stepchildren either! Also there wasn't any justice about what Justin Brook did to either Tes or Tom! I wanted him to suffer or at least have .... some unfortunate incident that happened to him! He shouldn't have gotten away with what he did to both of them! Also on a side note: by god I wanted to slap Johanna!Okay so maybe there are more than one thing but Tom and Emma was the major thing that I wanted more from this book(hide spoiler)]4.5/5 Stars

  • Head in the clouds
    2019-03-15 13:13

    Oh god I can't get over the bitch of a sister - I wanted to slap her six ways to Sunday and were doing so well until you just forgot to mention you were in love with your wife's sister for the past few years then (view spoiler)[got angry at Tessa for being angry at you holding back - because she had to find out the truth from her SMUG SPITEFUL BITCH OF A SISTER? then proceed to have rough sex with the poor woman who you knew had been violently sexually abused? (hide spoiler)]I am tolerant to an extent but some things I can't just ignore or gloss over - it makes me extremely angry and now I have to go and cool off.

  • Cathryn
    2019-03-06 13:29

    I think I need to take a break from HR books. The last few I've read by authors I usually really enjoy have only been meh. This one was no different. It wasn't bad. It was so meh I don't even feel like writing a review for it.The MCs were OK. The one issue I did have is that the heroine seemed to get over her trauma really fast like almost as soon as she revealed what happened to the hero. I'd also like to read a HR where the heroine owns her sexuality and deserves her scandalous reputation as opposed to it just being a front. That would be more interesting.

  • Titinha Scaeiro
    2019-03-06 16:07

    Gostei... Adorei os protagonistas... ^_^

  • Lady Wesley
    2019-02-28 10:12

    I really enjoyed reading about a mature non-virgin (view spoiler)[(technically) (hide spoiler)] heroine and a truly heroic hero. I'll definitely check out more books by Nicola Cornick.

  • Tracy
    2019-02-25 17:02

    A Victim of Bad TimingDowager Marchioness Teresa Darent leads an absolutely scandalous life. Married three times, each at her own request, she's buried three husbands, amassed a rather large fortune, and spends her time drawing all manner of gossip from the ton. She finds it works quite nicely to keep her real actions and intentions out of public eye and off public lips.After all, who would believe that a shallow, salacious woman such as she appears to be could be the same woman who spends a good portion of her fortune on philanthropic causes and pens the highly seditious caricatures stirring up such political unrest? Those caricatures calling for social reform were frowned upon by the Home Secretary. He doesn't know who she is, of course, but he's ruthless in his efforts to find the artist known as Jupiter and put him to death for his crimes.A cause of action that Tess, rather obviously, has every intention of avoiding.Crawling out the window of a local brothel she's using to hide from the men who'd broken up her most recent political meeting isn't the most calming manner of escape, especially when it isn't as successful an action as she'd hoped. Caught in an incriminating position by the handsome American who recently became Viscount Rothbury, fast talking and faster thinking just barely saves her soul. Still, she's quite the actress, if she does say so herself, and breathes a sigh of relief as she evades the man hired to discover her identity and turn her over to the Home Secretary for her crimes.That would be catastrophic. Too much rides on her slender shoulders. But when an evil viper slithers his way into her house, spouting disgusting plans to sully her stepdaughter's reputation unless Tess agrees to allow the fourteen-year-old to marry him, Tess realizes her scandalous ways have wider repercussions than she'd realized. And there is only one thing for her to do to keep her stepdaughter safe. She's going to need a husband number four.Owen Rothbury is rather captivated by the Marchioness. He has a few suspicions about her, and he doesn't buy her act when he catches her slipping from the bawdy house. She's not nearly the flawless actress she thinks she is. At least not to him. Letting her believe he is completely swayed by her titillating assurances, however, serves his purposes at the moment. And really, he can't argue that matching wits with the woman who, quite obviously, isn't at all the brainless female she plays at is more stimulating than he'd ever imagined. And he wants more.He wasn't anticipating just how much more he would get when the feisty woman shows up at his home shortly after that auspicious evening and, against all propriety and several licks of good sense, proposes to him the offer of becoming her fourth husband in a marriage of convenience! Owen knows she's hiding something, something more than what lies behind the sudden desire to become a sterling member of society above all reproach.He's got a few good ideas what her secret is. He'd never anticipated how much fun he'd have sussing it all out...sussing the lovely Tess out. Finding out everything there is to know about her. Frankly, if he has to make her his to do so, be it. And has every intention of being the most inconvenient of convenient husbands. Because first and foremost, he wants Tess with a passion that defies description. Regardless of what she's involved in.~*~I've long accepted that jumping into an existing series without reading the previous books is risky. Sometimes it's fine, sometimes it's not, but most times it's somewhere in the middle. Desired is one of the most times.The primary plot was easy enough to follow, but secondary/ancillary plotlines that carried over from previous books lacked sufficient exposition to draw me into some of the events as they unfolded. That disconnect was most notable in relation to Tom's backstory and his story threads in this book, but not limited to it. Secondary characters also lacked all but the most cursory definition. Had I read the books in which they were featured, that would not likely be a problem, but I haven't. It was.I thoroughly enjoyed Owen, though. As far as his character and story went, he was both an appealing romantic lead and just a generally honorable male. Smart, savvy, and self-aware, he was my favorite character in the book and his presence as the male lead was a big positive. I was especially fond of how he treated Tess and how he comported himself in her name.Tess herself was more of a problem. I loved her seditious little heart and felt for her causes. I admired her intelligence and dedication. I was amused at how crafty she was in dealing with the ton and her male admirers. In fact, she was eminently sympathetic and entertaining. Unfortunately, her character's backstory and its long term effects on Tess were so similar to that of Lady Kate Seaton, lead female character in Always a Temptress by Eileen Dreyer that they could - quite literally - be interchangeable. And there was more than a passing similarity to some of the story elements relating to them both. All the way down to the nude artwork.Had there been a significant break between my reading Always a Temptress and reading Desired, maybe the issue wouldn't be as large a stumbling block, but there was just over a week between each book, with no others in the historical romance genre between them to act as buffer. Compounding that issue is the fact that I felt Kate's evolution following her horrendous past was far more natural, organic to the story and characters, and realistic in the big picture than Tess' was in this book.Unfortunately, not even my enjoyment of Owen and my appreciation for Tess' intelligence and revolutionary ideologies were enough to hold up against that, and the storyline didn't offer enough to distract me from the similarities to lessen the impact. The overall focus of the story was on the romance, which drew attention to them instead. Other plot elements, from the fallout of Tess' philanthropy and reformation activities to her troubles with the guardianship of her stepchildren, took a back burner or were limited in development.And not for nothing, but I really wish there had been some sort of confrontation or resolution concerning Tess' sister's behavior. I didn't like her hissy fit after Owen and Tess' announcement was made (it was realistic and believable, sure - doesn't mean I liked it), and her "confession" to Tess had a bit too much satisfied spite in it to forgive her for it without it being addressed. The lack of anything in that area bothered me.Desired isn't a bad book. It felt historically authentic, there were some particularly nice touches in story and character definition, I enjoyed Owen very much, and Tess as much as I could. It focuses on the romance, so secondary story elements didn't get a lot of page time or resolution, but if it hadn't been for the massive similarities between Tess and Kate from the Dreyer book, I probably would have liked this book more than I did, even without reading the previous books in the series. Given the bad timing, though, this was just an okay read for me.Disclosure: An ARC of this book was provided to me by HQN Books publisher Harlequin via NetGalley. This rating, review, and all included thoughts and comments are my own.~*~*~*~ Reviewed for One Good Book Deserves Another.

  • Elisa Vangelisti
    2019-03-14 17:27

    Ci ho provato, l’argomento mi interessava, ma Nicola scrive con una lentezza esasperante! Una facciata sì e una no sottolinea quanto lei non ami il matrimonio (mentre sta progettando il quarto) e quanto il secondo marito l’abbia fatta soffrire. Lui invece è molto simpatico, ma non si capisce proprio quale sfida intraveda nel tentativo di far emergere la vera natura di questa donna onestamente insopportabile. Letto al 40% il mio tentativo è più che sufficiente.

  • Emily Carse
    2019-03-11 11:25

    Much better than your standard romance novel! The characters are enjoyable- the main female character has an actual personality and doesn't play a mere damsel in distress, the story line is interesting and the historical aspect is well done. Definitely recommend Nicola Cornick for an easy read!

  • Marlene
    2019-03-02 09:29

    Desired by Nicola Cornick contains two stories that are almost too big and too opposite to be contained in this single romantic tale. Either the very big and very important story of political reform and spousal abuse are too weighty to be, not just contained but even semi-resolved in what might otherwise be a typical historical romance, or the romance convention is too frothy to hold this rather serious story. At the same time, I really got caught up in the story, and I wanted to see the hero and heroine have their happy ending, and evil get its just desserts.Owen Purchase, Viscount Roxbury meets Lady Tess Darent when she lowers herself into his waiting arms. As romantic as this introduction sounds, it couldn't be less so. Tess is escaping from a raid on Mrs. Tong's house of ill-repute, wearing the borrowed dress of one of the ladies in residence, and she's climbing down a makeshift rope of silk sheets.Tess is the Dowager Lady Darent. She has no husband, well, no living husband, anyway. She's buried three. It's something of a habit, if a rather scandalous one. Her parents are dead. Being found in a brothel would be another scandal to add to a very long list, if it weren't for the reason for the raid. Tess is escaping from a political meeting. Even worse, Tess is one of the ringleaders of that meeting. She is the infamous cartoonist known as 'Jupiter', and she has some of her drawings in her possession. Leaving via the window is her best bet, even in a bawd's gown and ill-fitting shoes.But Roxbury is the government's man, sent as a special investigator to ferret out the leaders of the Reform movement. He knows they all ran into Mrs. Tong's. At first, the escaping Tess seems like a woman caught up in something well beyond her capability, except...something doesn't add up for Owen. For one thing, her shoes don't fit. And she plays the flibbertigibbet a little too well, as though it's rehearsed. But after he's seen her into a carriage and searches the room she escaped from, he finds two things that convince him Tess is more than she seems. The room contains a set of male clothing imbued with Tess' scent and only Tess', and a sheaf of Jupiter's drawings. Owen starts to believe that Tess is part of the Reform movement, but has no way to prove it.Owen and Tess begin a game of cat and mouse, except there are more cats in this game than either of them are aware of. And the cheese is not the one either of them thought they were pursuing when they began.Owen may be Viscount Roxbury, but his estates have very little money attached. His aunts have money, but will not provide any unless he marries and gets about the business of securing an heir. While this seems slightly cold-blooded, it makes sense from the aunts' perspective. Owen is American, he had to be searched for up and down the collateral branches of the family tree. The aunts don't want that to happen again.Tess needs another protector, another husband. Not just because her identity as "Jupiter" may come to light, but because her scandalous behavior is being used to threaten her step-daughter's future. And Tess will not let her step-daughter be abused the way that she was. So Tess needs to find a husband who will marry her in name only, just as the late Lord Darent did. Tess suffers from the mistaken belief that Owen will agree to such a marriage, and Tess is filthy rich.By the time Owen discovers why Tess wanted a marriage in name only, and Tess discovers that he wants a real marriage, it is too late for either of them to change their minds. They are married, and Owen refuses to give Tess up. She does need his protection. The government is closing in. Tess and her Reformer friends have been betrayed, and not by Owen.Escape Rating B+:There were parts of this story that I really, really liked. Tess' involvement with the Reform movement was a very interesting route to take. I wanted to know more about Tess' involvement and whether a couple of people get properly punished. Maybe in the final book in this series (The Scandalous Women of the Ton, Book 6, Forbidden, Summer 2012) those niggling loose ends will get wrapped up.Where my suspension of disbelief frayed a little was in Tess' quick recovery from the abuse she suffered at the hands of her second husband. (If he wasn't dead, I'd want to kill him again too.) Tess has been afraid of being touched by any man for years after her traumatic experiences, and understandably so. Owen's patience and understanding should eventually win her over, at least in the world of romance, or we wouldn't have a story. I just thought it was a little too easy. Your mileage may vary.The element from Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities near the end was extremely well done. The character who is a totally bad apple from the beginning of this series until almost the very end of his life redeems himself with his death.

  • Rose May
    2019-03-14 11:00

    Note: This review, and all my reviews, comes from my blog - Romantic Rose's Bookshelf ( Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC review copy!Book 5 in The Scandalous Women of the Ton seriesThis book was great – and very disappointing. The book was well on its way to being an A+ book, and the first 90% deserves that A+ rating. The last 10%... not so much. The absolute disappointment made me want to give this book a superbly low rating, but Cornick really does write a fabulous book and I can’t justify giving this book anything less than a B.Teresa, Dowager Marchioness of Darent, has been married three times already – and isn’t looking for a forth. Scandalous and secretive, Teresa is an enigma to the ton who both slander and slight her. However Viscount Rothbury, better known as American foreigner and Captain Owen Purchase, sees just enough behind the supposed ‘featherbrain’s mask to be intrigued as to Teresa’s real personality. Only problem? Owen is hunting the mysterious reformer, Jupiter, who creates slanderous cartoons of government figures and he has a hunch that Jupiter and Teresa might be one and the same. But when Teresa comes to him with a surprisingly desperate marriage proposal, how can he refuse? Teresa and Owen embark on a journey together through deception and secrets, fear, scandal, and discovery – can they possibly be headed towards a happy ever after?So lets start with that first 90% and all that was awesome. The heroine, Teresa (Tess) is done to perfection. I loved her duality – she was complex, believable, and both pitiably weak and strong. I loved how hard she tried to be Wonder Woman and how she almost succeeded. She was a lovely heroine, struggling to keep control when the world kept stripping it away and struggling to keep her dignity when the world is so quick to condemn. Tess was heartbreaking and lovely. Then there’s Owen, our hero, who is possibly the kindest, cleverest, sweetest, most trusting and patient hero I’ve ever had the complete pleasure to read about. I was in love with him as soon as I saw him. He had wicked bad boy charm but he also knew how to be sensitive and caring, and that gave him the perfect blend of dark coffee and cream. Their relationship, and the romance, was adorable and so touching I almost found myself crying during some of the scenes. There were a lot of unique settings in this book, as well, and the plot was fast-paced and never boring.I loved the banter between Owen and Tess – they were both very clever and cute. I loved their honesty (although it did take a while to get to the honesty). I also loved that Cornick didn’t tell me the story – she showed it to me in one of the best examples of show-not-tell I’ve seen in years. I was incredibly involved in the characters and the story. The secondary characters I actually didn’t like that much, but they didn’t show up very often so my unease with Joanna, Justin, and Emma was like white-noise in the background. The first 340 pages of this book had me ecstatically happy.And then. Oh, but then dear reader. This book had pretty much maxed out its drama-meter before the last 40 pages. There was a lot of drama, a lot of emotion, but the book had been winding to a very satisfying, enjoyable close that would’ve been a little anticlimactic but very peaceful. But no, Cornick could not resist the last, final drama that didn’t even truly conclude the novel and instead opened up another who can of worms and question. I won’t tell you what this massively annoying and completely unnecessary drama was, because it would be a spoiler. But suffice it to say that I was annoyed with this drama, it ruined the end of the book for me, and I found myself ready to throw my Kindle across the room because I was simply so upset that this absolutely wonderful book had just been ruined. Although I loved this book, the last forty pages of Desired will forever leave a desperately bitter taste in my mouth. On the whole, I would recommend Desired - but I would stop reading around page 340.“Sexy”ness rating: *fans self*Overall Rating: B to B+Bottom Line: This book was so, so good and I thought it unique, fun, and very well-written. Except for those last thirty or forty pages this book deserves an A+ rating and I would definitely recommend it on the hero alone. The perfect mix of bad boy seduction and sensitive, sweet gentleman. Oh, Owen. *sighs*

  • Rebecca
    2019-03-16 11:26

    You can also read this review at Reflections on Reading Romance Desired is the first Nicola Cornick book I’ve read, but it will not be the last! This was a delightful historical romance that I’ll be re-reading many times, and I can’t wait to catch up on her backlist. There’s plenty of angst to go around, but it’s leavened with a good dose of humor as well, and the mature hero and heroine are a breath of fresh air. Even though Desired is the fifth book in the Scandalous Women of the Ton series, you can read it without having read any of the other books, as this book definitely stands on its own.Tess Darent, the Dowager Marchioness of Darent, is one of the more scandalous ladies of the ton, but what few realize is that she’s an ardent philanthropist and reformer. Unfortunately, in 1816 there are vicious government crack downs on reformers, who are seen as threatening the established order (and therefore the government). Tess is a gifted artist who has been publishing political cartoons anonymously while she’s leading a reform organization, but if caught she could be imprisoned for her actions. As the novel begins, former American privateer Owen Purchase, now Viscount Rothbury, is aiding the government in its crackdown on the reformers. When he catches Tess at a brothel, he realizes that she’s involved in the movement, but only a few days after their meeting he’s shocked when she proposes marriage as an attempt to escape prosecution. After all, a husband cannot testify about a wife’s incriminating behavior, and Tess needs a husband’s protection to safeguard her reputation. Rothbury’s intrigued by this woman hiding her true nature behind a scandalous façade, but he’ll have to work hard to convince her to make theirs a true marriage rather than the marriage of convenience she proposes. Although it took me a couple of chapters to get into the book, once I was about 15% in I was hooked. Owen is determined to court Tess, even though she’s equally determined to keep theirs a marriage in name only, and the courtship between the two is fun, sexy, and tender. We gradually learn along with Owen that Tess’ troubled second marriage left painful scars, but it’s really admirable how Tess has found ways to cope. Owen is a bit rough because of his American upbringing, but he and Tess deal together remarkably well, probably because of their plain-speaking.I really liked Tess’ character, because despite her obvious pain over the events in her past and society’s determination to view her as scandalous, she finds ways to live a full and meaningful life. Her past is very painful, but I liked how Ms. Cornick dealt with it. Instead of Tess allowing herself to become a victim, she takes charge of her life in the best way she can and extends her aid to others in similar situations.Unfortunately, the last part of the book felt extremely rushed, especially after Tess and Owen’s wedding. Owen learns that Tess’ second husband sexually and verbally abused her and decides that they should delay the wedding night until Tess can be comfortable with intimacy. So far, so good, but less than a day later Tess decides she’s ready, and they consummate the marriage. It felt a bit bizarre, to be honest. I found it a bit disturbing that she was so quick to jump into bed with Owen after having such visceral reactions to being touched at all by a man only a few hours earlier. The conclusion also was a bit of a let-down, because it occurred so quickly. The resolution to Tess and Owen’s difficulties with the government in regards to her reformer activities felt a bit too deus ex machina. This is the only time in the novel when I wondered if I would have a different reaction if I’d read the other books in the series, because it seemed to come out of the blue, and the character who intervenes seems to have changed abruptly. I did wonder if perhaps his character was explored more in depth in prior books, and that’s why the ending felt so rushed. Despite the rushed ending, this was an absolutely charming and delightful read. I’ll definitely be adding Ms. Cornick to my list of favorite historical romance authors, and I look forward to reading more of her books.I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher through NetGalley.

  • Marcela (BookaholicCat)
    2019-02-21 13:02

    Desired is the fifth book in The Scandalous Women of the Ton series by Nicola Cornick and my second book by this author. Teresa, Dowager Marchioness of Darent has a reputation on the ton as a woman of excesses, men, clothes, gambling and alcohol are her passion or at least is what she has let others think of her, but in reality Teresa is more innocent than many, she has serious issues with intimacy and she uses the gossip to hide her real self. The only accusation they could make of her is being the cartoonist supporting the reformist movement. But now her false reputation is affecting her, she is being blackmailed by a man who wants to marry her teenager stepdaughter. If that wasn’t enough she is in high risk to be discover as the infamous reformist cartoonist, if this happens she could be hanged for treason. She needs protection, she needs to find a new husband.Here comes Owen Purchase, Viscount Rothbury, the only American man in the ton. Before receiving his title from a long distance relative he was a Navy Captain and now as a peer instead of living in excesses like many men of the ton, Owen is trying to make a difference in society. He is the Work Secretary’s man who is investigating the Reformist movement. What better man for a husband than the man that is investigating her. If Tess marries Owen he won’t be able to prosecute her, as husbands cannot testify against wives. Also he could protect her and her step-kids from infamous people. The best part in Tess’ mind is that he won’t be expecting anything physical and intimate from her, if rumors are true he was seriously injured during the war and is not able to “perform” anymore. Owen is surprised by Tess’ marriage proposal, he knows there is something more to it but he is very intrigue with this woman of ill reputation. He is sure there is more to her than what people talk and he wants to discover what is behind her façade. And even though she wants a marriage just in name, he wants a marriage in all the sense of the word. Now that they are spending time together they are taking the risk of falling in love. From the first moment I liked Tess, her combination of strong and damaged heroine made of her a very likable character, I liked that she fought for what she wanted and was willing to do anything to protect those she love, even to sacrifice herself. Almost at the end she lost some points with me when she broke her promises to Owen, Twice!! I really wanted to scream at her for doing it (I may have mentally done it). Owen is sweet and caring. I loved that he saw behind Tessa’s façade and knew there was more to her than what she wanted other people to see. I also loved how steady and patience he was with her and knew to give her what she needed it when she needed it. The only think I didn’t like about him was his unnecessary lie about his “first love”. I really like that they spend time together and started almost like friends who then fall in love and became more. What I didn’t like was the resolution to Tess’ intimacy issues. During the whole book we read countless times about her inability to be intimate with a man, she doesn’t even like to be touch by anybody and then in one night she gets over all her issues... Hmmm? sorry but I don’t believe that. There is also a little parallel story about Tom Bradshaw, a character we know from previous books. Even though is implied something big is happening with him we didn’t see the “results” to that event. I don’t know if we are going to learn more it in future books or Mrs. Cornick thought it was enough with just the allusion to the situation. I know I’m being vague but I don’t want to give much away about this. Desired was a fun and entertaining read. This book was perfectly pace and was getting a rating of 4 ½ paws until the last quarter of it when events started to rush and the resolution to issues felt forced and unrealistic. I know this is fiction but I think if these events had been better paced, they would have felt more real. Even though Desired is part of a series and characters from previous books made some appearances I can say this book can be read as a stand alone without a problem. If you are a lover of this genre you will like Desired and Mrs. Cornick books in general, she is one of those authors with a very beautiful and unique writing voice.

  • Kati
    2019-02-26 17:03

    ***original review posted at Romancing Rakes***Oh man! What a great book. I read the first three books of this series and somehow missed out on Notorious (which I will go back and read when I get a chance) but Desired is my favorite. That Owen Purchase, recently minted Viscount Rothbury, is something else.Tess Darent is the tons scandalously notorious widow. She's racking up husbands like a man collecting mistresses. Husband #1 was her best friend. Husband #2 was an old drunk. Husband #3 did a number on her psyche, verbally, mentally and physically abusing her. She's vowed to never again marry unless the man was impotent and old and very rich. Her outlet is drawing and her political cartoons have the government searching for "Jupiter". They even go to lengths sending in their best man into a brothel searching for this "Jupiter".Owen Purchase, American and inheriting the title of Viscount Rothbury, has come to England to take responsibility in running his title's accounts and lands. Tess Darent intrigues him and he can't help but wonder what the lovely widow is doing swinging from a bed sheet out the window of a brothel he and his men are searching through. She's fascinated him for some time and he doesn't quite believe that Tess is trying to avoid scandal by rappelling out a brothel window.With the threat of scandal over hanging her stepdaughter, Tess must find an upstanding Lord to marry. Someone who is old, impotent and loaded. She is willing to give up all her scandalous activities just to make sure a slimy, toady, lecherous old man doesn't get his hands on her fifteen year old stepdaughter. *shudder* And what better way than to look through a book of the tons most eligible bachelors.Owen talking with her brother-in-law puts an idea into Tess's head. Oh no! Oh, yes! Owen Purchase will be proposed to by one, Teresa Darent. She did propose to each of her past husbands, why not make it a fourth time? Tess proposing intrigues Owen. Neither will back out of the engagement even if it is in name only.Much to Tess's surprise, her new husband isn't impotent as some people have led her to believe. She must stay strong and not let his advances wear down her defenses. Owen knows that something happened to Tess in her last marriage but not what, which makes her uncomfortable with physical touching.Now, Owen must make Tess respectable in the eyes of the ton, keep her from getting discovered as "Jupiter" by making her promise not to draw anymore, find the traitor who is willing to betray Tess for a handsome sum of money and show her that touching is a pleasurable thing.FAVORITE QUOTE: "We need to find you a duke or a prince, old enough to die within a year or two so that his continued existence does not inconvenience you, sickly enough not to be interested in his marital rights and rich enough to increase your fortune! How very romantic!" (***quote subject to change in finished copy***)OVERALL: Danger, suspense, betrayal, lies, spies, desire, lust and sacrifice. Whoa! This book hooked me from the first mention of Tess escaping capture by rappelling out a brothel window to the happily ever after on the last page. It always makes my heart ache knowing that the heroine of the story has been abused by a previous husband. The mental barriers are sometimes so great that the hero must tread carefully as not to scare her away at the slightest touch. Owen has a way of making Tess feel safe and stirs something in her that scares her a little. Owen and Tess may have started off trying to push the other as far as the other would be willing to go but as the barriers are slowly taken down, their passion for one another explodes off the pages and not only love but respect blossoms.***requested off Netgalley***

  • rameau
    2019-03-13 12:00

    Nicola Cornick was well on her way onto my favourite authors list, and then the last forty pages of Desired happened. But let's go back and start with the good, shall we. Cornick introduces our heroine Lady Tess Darent, a dowager three times over, in the middle of an awkward escape. She's carrying the infamous Jupiter's cartoons and needs to leave the bawdy house undetected before the soldiers seize her. Hot on her heels is a reformed rebel Owen Purchase who despite having been an American pirate has somehow become the Viscount of Rothbury. Of course the Lord catches the Lady and they bluff and go their separate ways after having left an indelible marks on each other.If you manage to suspend disbelief this far, I promise you're in for an excellent ride, because Cornick writes witty, fast paced but somehow introspective enough prose that'll grab you and make you fall in love with her characters despite the incredulity of it all. Owen is a delightfully smart hero in the sense that it doesn't take him long to figure out Jupiter's true identity and how to use Tess to catch him. His smarts make repeat performances throughout the book when he slowly pieces together Tess' more sordid secrets. Unfortunately he's also easily blinded by passion, which contributes to the fiasco in the end of the book. Tess finds herself being blackmailed because of her tarnished reputation, and decides to remarry for the fourth time to regain some of her lost respectability in the eyes of the London society. Due to her past experiences she's looking for an old or an impotent husband, but ends up proposing a marriage of convenience to Owen instead.Here is where the really good bit starts. These characters actually take the time to get to know each other. Two weeks isn't that long but on the pages it seems longer because of the journey to trusting each other they take. I was briefly distracted by the use of the expression "Southern Charm", because our heroine is an English Lady in London in 1816. I doubt very much she would have known the difference between two people from the Colonies let alone this particular expression, but that didn't stop me from enjoying the rest of the courtship. One by one both Owen and Tess lower their defences and share their secrets until only the declaration of their mutual love remains. That's where things go truly awry.I found the confrontation between Tess and her sister Joanna unsatisfactory. I'm guessing their relationship was built in the previous installations of the series, but because I haven't read those books I didn't really understand why Tess would forgive Joanna so quickly. It also made Joanna's character appear more unsympathetic than she has any right to be. Based on this book I wouldn't want to read Joanna's story.Not only does Tess forgive and forget her sisters too easily–not that I as an only child would know–but she continues by confronting her then husband Lord Rothbury and promptly forgiving him in exchange for some rough sex. This is an issue, because the author made it an issue. Tess' characterisation and character development up until that point had been exceptionally handled. I felt like the author decided to discard her stellar characterisations and storyline for an unnecessary sex scene. That choice cost her a five star rating and my interest in the hasty conclusion. The death of a character was apparently supposed to be the pinnacle of the series' storylines so far, but all I could see was a rushed mesh tidied up too fast. Despite the botched ending and the unnecessary virginalisation–I don't care that it's not a real word–of the heroine, I did love most of the story and the writing. Thus, three stars.I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.

  • Funmbi
    2019-03-19 17:03

    I am totally, absolutely, 100% in love with Nicola Cornick, her scandalous women of the ton, and their delicious male counterparts! This is the fifth book I'm reading in the series, and with every story the drama gets hotter, the sexy times get jucier, and I'm left wanting more, more, MORE! Desired doesn't disappoint, and I'm happy to give it 4.5 stars.Right off the bat, we're immersed in action. We begin with Tess, Marchioness of Darent. Tess is hiding after participating in a anti-monarchy, political rally. As she's fleeing capture by the authorities, Tess literally falls into Captain Owen Purchase hands. Now the Viscount of Rothbury, Owen seeks atonement from his family, and has been commissioned by the Home Secretary to find the the political cartoonist Jupiter. While society views Tess as a frivolous, scandalous woman, she is actually a brilliant leader in the reform movement. She generally avoids men, feeling little patience or attraction, Owen stirs something in her:"tall, broad shouldered, durable, strong... Handsome in a rugged manner..."In any event, Tess is approached by a Lord Corwen, to whom her late husband owes a loan. In exchange for canceling the loan, Corwen demands to marry Lady Sybil, Tess' 15 year old step daughter. To protect her step-children, Tess seeks to remarry and reform herself...and she chooses none other than Owen to help her in this endeavor. Can Tess and Owen overcome past hurts and present secrets and find love with one another? I love Tess! It's clear from the very beginning that she is not what society thinks of her. Tess is incredibly intelligent, kind, generous, protective, with ga crazy amount of fortitude and gumption. It's also evident that she has been hurt in a very serious way by a past relationship. I love watching Tess overcome this, especially with Owen.I love how Owen is very clever. He sees through Tess' society mask and forces her to open up. Owen supports Tess and defends her agains those who would try to hurt her or her reputation.It's great to watch Tess and Owen become friends, and their tet-a-tet is incredible HOT!Some favorite moments:-O: "confident men are not afraid of blue stocking." *UNF*-"He wanted to discover the real Tess Darent, to tear away those layers of cold composure with which she disguised herself... " Awwww!-"The challenge she presented, the game between them, lit his blood."-"Brokeby's cruelty had damaged her past mending." :(-I LOVE LOVE LOVE seeing Joanna and Alex together!Alex: "Owen was supposed to be what? In love with you? Do you want to TELL Tess that he wanted to marry you first? That she is second best?" Joann: "I admire him. He did me a tremendous service in protecting me FROM David and for that I will always love him... But I'm not in love with Owen" This is a touch conversation, but I I'm so glad that they can get past this! For example: "I find I am bored already with your sister's nuptials. I want to discover my own wife all over again. Come to bed." YESSSSSS!-When Owen confronts Corwen and tells him to GTFO with his threats :)))))))-Tess and Owen touring London together :)))))-The wedding breakfast disaster :((((((-I love how Owen is soooooooo sweet with Tess!!!!!! And it's interesting how Owen's restraint is what attracts Tess... "Sweetheart" :))))))))OR"What a wonderful woman you are, Teresa Rothbury." :))))))OR"My worship of your body as well as my sincere admiration for your mind." UNF!-Owen confessing he is Jupiter to save Tess and the fallout :'''''''(This story has a lot of intrigue, secrets, and adventure. I totally enjoyed and recommend the entire series!

  • Haeja
    2019-03-09 13:22

    Originally posted at My Book Musings.I have been reading Nicola Cornick’s Scandalous Women of the Ton’s books 1 (Whisper of Scandal) and 3 (Mistress of Midnight) and I just finished the fifth book. I’ll be writing a review of the fifth book only because of the three books, it is the one I enjoyed the most.The Scandalous Women of the Ton focuses mostly around the sisters and friends of the Farren sisters who each became quite mired in scandal. Desired focuses on the story of Tess Darent, the second sister, who is considered to be the most notorious of the three and is described as “much married” because she had been married three times already.I actually thought that Tess was quite flighty as she was portrayed in the previous Scandalous books, but here readers get to know her better and realize that she is so much more than that. I like that she is so complex a character. For example, she is quite active in some political causes and she is what they call a ‘bluestocking’. However, she hides under a façade and mistaken assumptions about her that hides her tender heart and real innocence.I like that Desired disproves any negative notions about her because she does deserve to be quite lauded, actually. I think that despite everything, she seems to be a little lost. Of the three sisters, she is perhaps my favorite because she has several admirable qualities such as her loyalty and her strength. Plus, she is so full of love for her family that she is willing to sacrifice her own happiness. While this is also evident of Joanna (from book 1), this is much more portrayed and evidenced by Tess.I’m also glad that Captain Owen Purchase – Viscount Rothbury - had his own story. He seemed to be a nice sort of chap and I wouldn’t mind being saved by him, if he did exist! I like his characterization as a real gentleman and I liked the fact that unlike several other novels, his courtship of Tess did not involve complete seduction. He waited until marriage and even then, he reined himself in and adjusted his desires to accommodate Tess’ fears.Another thing I liked about this story is that the plot was something different. It involved two conflicts – Tess’ involvement with a radical cause and Tess’ inner demons, which were so painfully real. I appreciate the fact that Ms. Cornick provided both resolutions in the story to Tess demons instead of leaving them unsatisfactorily finished.The book also had some funny moments such as when Tess finally found out that contrary to popular belief, Rothbury was not impotent and when Rothbury asked Tess’ brothers-in-law why they let her believe that he was such. I found those scenes humurous but if you are looking for funny romantic books, these are not for you. Really funny historical romance books seem to be quite rare, actually. But the lack of any comedic lines in the story does not distract from the plot.I wanted to give a five out of five stars but I felt that the part about the twins should have been resolved, even with a few paragraphs. There could have been an epilogue about the twins being finally in Tess’ care, especially since they were the reason why she first married Rothbury.All in all, I still enjoyed the book and I could barely put it down! It has been quite a while since I’ve felt that hankering to finish a romance novel quickly. So yes, go get a copy now. :)Ciao!

  • Lauren K
    2019-03-11 16:29

    Desired is the fifth installment of Nicola Cornicks’ The Scandalous Women of the Ton series. Each book explores a new hero and heroine among the upper class “Ton” in London.The only other title in this series I have read is Notorious (#4) which I didn’t particularly love mostly in part due to the unlikeable characters. However, Desired I loved! The characters are fantastic, the conflict is well established and the romance is both sweet and sexy.Teresa “Tess” Darent is on the lookout for husband number four; widowed three times she has a reprehensible reputation as a seductress in London. But Tess is not the featherbrained promiscuous woman that she portrays; rather she is smart, wealthy, involved in the political movement and has not been in a sexual relationship for ten years. She is also loyal to the two step-children left in her guardianship by her late husband and is determined to ensure their safety and reputation by wedding a man who will provide her with this protection. Enter Owen Rothbury a former sea captain who inherited the title of Viscount and could benefit from Tess’ status and financial security. Owen is investigating the political movement and determined to uncover the identity of ‘Jupiter’ and underground assemblage whom he suspects Tess is associated with. Despite his suspicions he is both attracted and intrigued by her and believes there is much more than meets the eye to Tess. Especially so when she turns up on his doorstep and proposes a marriage of ‘convenience’ and in name only. Both Tess and Owen will gain from this arranged marriage and ultimately if their emotions are unguarded they have much to lose too.The characterisation in Desired is very well done. Tess is traumatised by her second marriage, one that was brief but depicted sexual violence. Tess was left feeling violated, humiliated in society and vowed never to be sexually intimate with a man again. When she hears on the grapevine that Owen is impotent she believes she has struck the jackpot! Owen on the other hand has other ideas and every intention of consummating his marriage not out of duty but because he genuinely wants an intimate and fulfilling relationship with Tess as his wife. Tess’s conflict is very believable, she is a woman victimised by sexual violence and haunted by it still ten years later. Her fears were realistic, vividly portrayed and the way these barriers to intimacy with Owen are broken down is unhurried and credible. Owen is a fantastic hero, he is flawed but very likeable and such a steady, dependable love interest for a woman who feels she is broken. I highly recommend this read for those who are fans of historical romance and like their characters multilayered with relationships that are established on a deep emotional level.