A Notorious Love (Swanlea Spinster Series #2)

A Notorious Love (Swanlea Spinster Series #2)

by Sabrina Jeffries

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Helena Laverick is at her wits end! The only man who can help find her eloping young sister is that scoundrel Daniel Brennan—the man who played with her emotions last year and then left. And he used to be a smuggler! Although Mrs. Nunley's Guide to Etiquette for Young Ladies would never approve, Helena forced to go after the runaway in Daniel's company. But something about being with him feels oddly freeing—and a delicious tingle warns Helena that more than her reputation may be in danger . . .

Daniel finds most of the prim and proper lovely's rules ridiculous—but when she insists on masquerading as his wife for the sake of appearances, he immediately envisions the delights of sharing a bedchamber. The unexpected smouldering beneath her straitlaced exterior ignites his desire, and die vulnerability hidden beneath her cool control makes him want her even more. Yet Helena's a lady, and he's the son of a highwayman. How can he ever ask her to share his world?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061750922
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/13/2009
Series: Swanlea Spinster Series , #2
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 65,096
File size: 816 KB

About the Author

At the tender age of twelve, Sabrina Jeffries decided she wanted to be a romance writer. It took her eighteen more years and a boring stint in graduate school before she sold her first book, but now her sexy and humorous historical romances routinely land on the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists and have won several awards. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and son, where she writes full-time and is working on her next novel.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

October 1815

The hero now I speak of, he was proper tall
and straight,
Like to the lofty poplar tree, his body was complete;
His growth was like the tufted fir that does ascend
the air,
And waving o'er his shoulders broad the locks of
yellow hair.

“Rody McCorley,”
anonymous Irish street ballad

The Well-bred Young Lady avoids the merest hint of scandalous behavior.

Helena Laverick couldn't help remembering that stricture as she surveyed the deserted hallway of the St. Giles lodging house. For she was about to break it most flagrantly.

Her sister Rosalind had always criticized their late mother's favorite instruction book, Mrs. Nunley's Guide to Etiquette for Young Ladies. Rosalind's philosophy was to follow Mrs. N's rules when possible, but ignore them when they were impractical. Helena usually considered that her excuse for disregarding any checks to her outrageous behavior.

But in this case she had a point. Their young sister Juliet's mad dash into trouble made it impossible for Helena not to break the rules. And by venturing into this strange lodging house, where rats scrabbled all around her and burning rushlights clogged the air with their scorched mutton scent, she was breaking quite a few.

The Well-bred Young Lady does not take long trips alone -- she'd broken that one when she'd traveled alone to London from Warwickshire. Since Rosalind and her new husband, Griff Knighton, were honeymooning on the Continent and Papa was unable to leave his bed, someone had to handle this messysituation.

The Well-bred Young Lady never ventures outdoors without her maid -- that one was laughable. The fewer servants involved in her secret mission, the better. Servants did have a tendency to talk.

Her grip tightened on her cane as she stared at the scarred oak door before her, the one that belonged to Mr. Daniel Brennan, her brother-in-law's unmarried man of affairs. Now she was about to violate one of Mrs. N's most serious strictures -- The Well-bred Young Lady does not call on a gentleman in his lodgings unchaperoned.

And certainly not at dawn. Why, Mr. Brennan's own landlady had refused to risk his ire by rousing him so early.

A shiver ran down Helena's spine as she remembered the last time she'd provoked Mr. Brennan's ire, when he and Griff had been guests at Swan Park this past summer. Not that he'd had any right to be angry. He'd been the one in the wrong. He'd been the one shamelessly taking money from Griff for misleading them all, for pretending to court them while undoubtedly laughing at them behind their backs for believing his kindnesses and compliments...

No, she mustn't think of that. All that mattered was saving Juliet. Which was why she must swallow her pride, rouse her courage, and awaken Mr. Brennan. And soon, too, because her bad leg pained her from the arduous climb up the steep stairs, and nothing would be more mortifying than having it give out in front of him. So before she could change her mind, she rapped sharply on the door.

At first she heard nothing. Merciful heavens, what if she had the wrong place? She'd wondered why Mr. Brennan would reside in a slum like St. Giles when he surely could afford better, but Griff's coachman had insisted that the man lived here.

She knocked again, this time more loudly. Nothing. Might he refuse to answer? Panic seized her at the thought, so she rapped the silver head of her cane on the door repeatedly, loud enough to raise the dead.

Success at last. Through the thin walls, she heard heavy steps and a male voice growling, “I'm coming, devil take you!” If not for her mission, she might well have fled. Instead she braced herself for whatever might happen.

But nothing could prepare her for her first sight of the burly giant. Bare-chested, clad only in his drawers.

Struck speechless, she gaped at him. Despite what her sisters thought, she did have some curiosity about men, especially half-naked ones of such impressive dimensions. Mr. Brennan was a veritable Samson, with the muscular shoulders of a pugilist and the broad, sculpted chest of a laborer, thickly sprinkled with dark blond hair. As for those arms swathed in sinew...she could easily imagine them pulling down a temple.

Just now, however, the Samson was staring at her, perplexed. “Lady Helena?” He shook his head as if to clear it. “It is you, isn't it?”

She kept her eyes trained on his face as a blush crept up her cheeks. “Good morning, Mr. Brennan. I'm sorry if I awakened you.” Not that there was any question of it -- his tousled sandy hair and lack of attire confirmed it.

“Is everything all right at Swan Park? Your father is well?”

“Yes...no...I mean, I...” Her lame attempt at coherent speech came crashing to a halt when he leaned one huge forearm against the doorframe, unwittingly causing all his muscles to shift and flex.

How in creation could a lady converse rationally when such a magnificent display of male flesh was before her? Despite his size, he hadn't an inch of fat on him -- no hint of unwanted flesh on the chest and arms, no telltale thickness about the waist. Not a woman above the age of fifteen could miss that Mr. Brennan in his drawers was a fine figure of a man.

“M'lady, are you well?” he queried.

Only when her head snapped up did she realize her gaze had wandered down to his bulging drawers. “Yes!” she cried too loudly, then added in a more subdued tone, “I'm fine. Quite well. Yes.”

He cocked an eyebrow, as if knowing precisely how much his appearance unnerved her. “Forgive my inappropriate dress, but I wasn't expecting company..."

A Notorious Love. Copyright © by Sabrina Jeffries. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Notorious Love (Swanlea Spinster Series #2) 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 42 reviews.
theshadowknows on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A Notorious Love was enjoyable enough - a road romance in which our intrepid hero and heroine are hot on the trail of the heroine's abducted younger sister. Much hanky panky high jinks and adventures with smugglers ensue. Helena and Daniel are cute together. Daniel especially is such a charming fellow - I really liked him when he made his first appearance in A Dangerous Love. The plot in A Notorious Love, however, was just a bit much for me. Daniel used to be a smuggler back in the day, and along the road with Helena his past catches up with him. So he gets all moany and repentant, goes a bit crazy with "shackle" metaphors (he is "shackled" by his evil past, and he doesn't want to "shackle" Helena to him and his evil past, all while he is literally shackled to a bed ...don't ask,) and takes back his marriage proposal. It takes a while for these two to hash things out (Helena doesn't help any either. She's a bit of a cold fish - except when drunk apparently) and just get on with their happily ever after already. But when I'm not distracted by the angst or the plot, the book was pretty fun and sweet. Oh, and I really liked the excerpts from old Irish and Scottish ballads that preface each chapter.
Anniik on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is one of the "Swanlea Spinsters" series, and an enjoyable one. Daniel is the son of the Irish highwayman "Wild" Danny Brennan, and Helena is a well-bred daughter of an Earl. It's an amusing sort of Cinderella story - with a gender reversal. The plot in this book - recovering her sister who has eloped - doesn't get in the way of the story, but supports it. Enjoyed this book!
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CarBear More than 1 year ago
Another great book from Sabrina Jefferies. I read this book first (and the first book second) and didn't feel like I was missing anything important. Great characters, great plot, another winner fir S. J.!!
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MWanderer More than 1 year ago
The second of the Swanlea Sisters series this novel details the Romance between Daniel Brennan and Helena Laverick. These characters are neither perfect nor stunningly beautiful and yet we find their romance to be a beautiful tale. I am reminded of a painting I saw once of A sculptor and his model. The sculptor held a heavy mallet and his large muscles were corded while the model graceful and delicate. The artist held the lady's hand as she stepped down from the pedestal on which she had posed. That picture would describe the relationship shown by these characters. It is for that depth of emotion and characterization that I recommend this series. This story line seems to be in the period between the American Revolution and the Napoleonic wars.
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