"Sparkling with wit and wanton, wicked schemes!"
Reviewed by Audrey Lawrence
Posted April 3, 2011
Like a Siamese cat with its interest piqued, the utterly
rich, bored and wanton Duke of Castleford was determined to
find out more about this lovely creature he found living as
a tenant in one of four small properties that the Duke of
Becksbridge, a recently deceased distant relative, had
unexpectedly left him. Already perplexed by why he got the
inheritance at all, Tristan held to his theory that there
must have been some hanky panky going on and he was going
to find out if she was the old Duke's mistress.
Surprised by the independent beauty he found, as well as the
lovely flowers blooming in the lush gardens, Tristan
enjoyed flirting and toying with Daphne Joyes. Desperate
to cling to her home and her land, Daphne tried to be as
prim and puritan as she could to put a stop to his
attempted seduction and have him go on his merry way.
But, her rejection only inflamed his spark of interest and
his curiosity as to what secrets she was hiding as well as
what game his uncle had played in his will. Despite her
fears, Daphne had to follow his outrageous plan, but she
was going to set up some rules of her own. Could she
succeed in keeping him from learning about her past and the
secrets of the residents of the other three properties?
Regardless of the unrest in the north and the needs of her
business, Daphne had to devise her own scheme to get away
from Tristan while handling the unsettling attentions from
Latham, the new Duke of Becksbridge. Could she pull it off?
As the final book in Madeline Hunter's The Rarest Blooms
regency romance series, this one is a sparkling gem! While
linking in the characters from the previous books, the
storyline reads well on its own as the action and
attraction sizzles between these two strong characters as
they fence with each other. With strong undercurrents that
are both comic and dark, DANGEROUS IN DIAMONDS will keep
you dazzled with reading pleasure!
Outrageously wealthy, the Duke of Castleford has little
incentive to curb his profligate ways-gaming and whoring
with equal abandon and enjoying his hedonistic lifestyle
to the fullest. When a behest adds a small property to his
vast holdings, one that houses a modest flower business
known as The Rarest Blooms, Castleford sees little to
interest him...until he lays eyes on its owner. Daphne
Joyes is coolly mysterious, exquisitely beautiful, and
utterly scathing toward a man of Castleford's stamp-in
short, an object worthy of his most calculated seduction.
Daphne has no reason to entertain Castleford's outrageous
advances, and every reason to keep him as far away as
possible from her eclectic household. Not only has she
been sheltering young ladies who have been victims of
misfortune, but she has her own closely guarded secrets.
Then Daphne makes a discovery that changes everything. She
and Castleford have one thing in common: a profound hatred
for the Duke of Becksbridge, who just happens to be
Never before were two people less likely to form an
alliance-or to fall in love...
ExcerptHe rested his hips against a worktable and looked at her.
The lantern seemed far away suddenly. More moonlight veiled
him than the illumination from that one distant candle.
â€śYou speak as though that teacher is no longer here. Nor is
Lady Hawkeswell nor Lady Sebastian. I believe that Mrs.
Albrighton also once lived here.â€ť
â€śI am surprised that you absorbed such small details about
lives so removed from your own.â€ť
â€śI remember everything when I choose to.â€ť He cocked his
head and regarded her. â€śHow many have come and gone while
â€śA few more, before the ones you know about.â€ť The question
induced nostalgia and, deep inside her, a tiny, cringing,
recurrent fear that the day would come when there were no
longer any transient sisters seeking sanctuary in her home,
and she would be all alone.
â€śYou must envy them at times,â€ť he said. â€śEnvy their return
to the world and the families they are building.â€ť
His words pierced her heart, and she could not deny their
truth. Then, for the second time today, her temper spiked
How dare he be so rude. Fending off a seduction would be
preferable to these intrusive queries.
â€śI am happy for them.â€ť She heard her voice sound crisp with
her annoyance. â€śThey are my friends still, and as close to
my heart as sisters.â€ť
â€śI did not say you were not happy for them. I merely
â€śI know what you said. And what you implied. I am not some
sad little woman pining on a shelf, dreaming about parties
and morning calls, Lord Castleford. As for marriage, I am
mature enough to know that there are so few men worthy of
the effort that I am relieved such a future is out of the
He just looked at her for a long moment. Then she saw those
mischievous lights appear in the dark of his eyes. â€śI fear
that I have distressed you again.â€ť
â€śNot at all.â€ť
â€śYou appear in high color once more.â€ť
â€śOh, tosh. You canâ€™t even see my color in this vague
â€śI can hear it, however.â€ť Suddenly he pushed away from the
table and was standing right in front of her. To her shock
he placed his palm against her cheek. â€śAnd I can feel it.â€ť
He astonished her, stunned her not only with his boldness
but also with the sensation of that hand against her face.
Its skin felt as perfect as it had looked. Like warm
He moved closer, until his face hovered right above
hers. â€śPerhaps it is not distress at all but only more
extreme surprise. You are dazzling when in this state.
Strong emotion becomes you.â€ť
It did not become her. It confused her. It weakened her. It
left her gaping at a handsome man taking inexcusable
liberties, when she should better remain calm enough to put
him in his place.
She groped for her self-possession, but it kept sliding out
of grasp. He was deliberately mesmerizing her. Absorbing
A series of furious denials and insults filled her head but
refused to find her voice. You are no gentleman, sir.â€”I am
not one of your bawdy doves.â€”Unhand me, you scoundrel. She
could actually feel the heat of his body with him standing
this closely. His hand on her cheek lured scandalous
reactions out of her. Tingles and shivers and delicious,
sly excitements. You are too bold.â€” How dare you be so
familiar.â€”This insult is not to be borne. The man was a
devil, and she needed to collect herself andâ€”
â€śHow long has it been, Mrs. Joyes? Since a man kissed you
anywhere, even on the mouth?â€ť
His breath flowed softly over her lips, making her head
spin and her blood race. â€śA good number of years, I think.
What a sinful waste.â€ť His presence wrapped her, then his
arms did too.
A kiss, careful but confident. She resisted the impulse to
close her eyes and float away on the intimacy, but she was
tempted far more than she ever expected to be. Within her
shock she struggled to hold back the dreamy tide of
pleasure that threatened to inundate her and drown her very
sense of herself.
But, oh, it was too sweet, and so poignant that she wanted
to weep. The warmth wrenched her heart. A part of her long
denied, long buried and ignored, ached to break free and
sing. She was a girl again within that embrace, and
You are nothing but a plaything to him. You of all women
know that is true. The thought finally found its voice in
her mind, after trying too long. She saw what was happening
as if looking in through the nearby glass panes of the
She had responded to that kiss, and it had become two
kisses, then many, each more dominating and hot. She was
now pliant and accepting in his embrace, and he held her
tighter against his body. His hands moved, tempting her
with scandalous caresses that smoothed firmly over her hips
and side, her back, and now, dear heavens, her thighs.
She heard her own sighs and gasps as tantalizing sensations
cascaded through her, each more powerful. She noted how his
caresses rose higher now, close to her breasts, and how her
nipples tingled, waiting for the touch that would
obliterate the last of her reserve.
She saw herself falling fast, like the pathetic, lonely
widow he thought her to be.
You must end this at once, or he will ignore your attempts
to do so later. The warning screamed in her head, an ugly
truth and an unwelcome reminder of all the devastating
vulnerabilities a woman faced in the world.
Stopping it was hard. As hard as he probably knew it would
be once she allowed the first liberty. Harder than she
believed possible, considering she hardly knew him and did
not need the costs of such passion explained.
Somehow, she found the strength and forced her body to
stiffen, then her mouth to as well.
He noticed at once. He stopped the kiss. She knew not all
men would under the circumstances. She refused to meet his
eyes in the long, searching gaze he gave her. Then his arms
fell away. He stepped back.
In the taut silence that followed, she pieced together some
composure. She could hardly upbraid him for insulting her.
Considering how she had behaved, that would be comical. She
would not give him the satisfaction of watching her run
away like a frightened mouse, though.
She turned away and pointed airily to the far wall of the
greenhouse. â€śAllow me to show you the grapevine we grow
here, Lord Castleford. It always amazes visitors to find
one flourishing inside. We are very proud of it.â€ť
She spoke nonstop as they strolled toward the passage that
connected the greenhouse to the back sitting room. She
explained the grapevine and encouraged him to admire a huge
pot of camellias. He paced silently, a tall, dark presence
exuding sensual danger.
She trusted he would take his leave gracefully, and they
would pretend the kisses had never happened. He did not.
Instead he subjected her to a gaze that ignored all social
niceties. It was the gaze of a man debating his options and
the strength of her will.
Heaven help her, he managed to revive some of those
sensations in her while he looked too deeply into her eyes.
â€śI may have to devote the next year to seeing you in high
color again, Mrs. Joyes.â€ť
What an outrageous thing to threaten. Vexed, she curtsied
and turned to make good her escape. â€śSince drunkards are
beyond my interest, I expect that my composure is safe for
a year of Tuesdays, Your Grace.â€ť
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