Guest Post by Victoria Vane on Cupids in Disguise + Giveaway

Victoria VaneToday’s very special guest is Victoria Vane, the author of the indescribably delicious Devil DeVere series. Jewel of the East (reviewed today) is a treat, just what I expect from the “Queen of the Georgian Romance”. Her guest post today is about DeVere, talking about him in a way that heroes (or anti-heroes) don’t usually get talked about. DeVere is Cupid, at least for his friends. A surprising turn for the reprobate we meet in A Wild Night’s Bride.

A Cupid in Disguise
by Victoria Vane

Devil DevereFor those who are unfamiliar, The Devil DeVere is an ongoing hot historical romance series that features a wide cast of characters who are all connected by the series namesake, Viscount Ludovic “the Devil” DeVere.  Although DeVere is the primary protagonist in only four of the eight stories (and counting), he is a master manipulator who plays an integral role in each and every one. Although DeVere is a rakehell of the first order, he is also intensely loyal to, and fiercely protective of,  those few who are fortunate enough to be counted in his inner circle.

In the first book, A Wild Night’s Bride, he brings his grieving best friend Ned back to the land of the living. Poor Ned’s night begins at a high end brothel and ends with an actress in the King of England’s bed!  In The Virgin Huntress, DeVere conspires with Ned’s daughter Vesta to help her get her man who happens to be his young brother Hew. His own path to a happy ever after is a very rocky one and takes three books to tell! The Devil You Know, The Devil’s Match , and A Devil’s Touch

And now, in Jewel of the East, he has reprised his cupid role once more by bringing together two damaged souls who are close to his heart. Simon Singleton (Devil in the Making and The Trouble with Sin) is one of DeVere’s oldest friends. Believed dead, he has just returned home after six years as a prisoner of war. The horrifying experience has left its mark in myriad ways.

jewel of the east by victoria vaneExcerpt: Jewel of the East

For six years, while others perished of dysentery and starvation, Simon had clung to the feeble thread of hope that one day he’d return home to reclaim the lost dreams of his youth, that he would somehow reassemble the fragments of his life.

But now, he was himself a shattered shambles of a man. Feeling neither alive nor dead, he was doomed to this horrific half-existence, destined to be a mere observer. Life as he remembered it—the one he had desperately hoped to resume—was over.

***

Salime, better known as Jewel of the East, is a courtesan with a mysterious history and scars of her own. When her livelihood is compromised, DeVere hires her to be a companion to Simon.

Excerpt: Jewel of the East (book #5)

Salime looked puzzled. “I do not understand what you would ask of me. I am no healer.”

DeVere answered, “He is in great want of one who understands a man’s needs. I believe that you alone might be able to comfort him…to relieve his distress. “

“Ah.” She nodded. “I begin to comprehend. You have such confidence in me, Efendi?”

“I have every confidence in you, my dear. Should you accept my proposition, I am willing to provide you generous compensation.”

She frowned. “It is not for money that I accept. It is only for you. You have asked this of me, so how can I refuse?”

He returned a soft smile. “I pray, Salime, that one day you meet a man worthy of such devotion.”

***

devils touch by victoria vaneExcerpt: A Devil’s Touch (book #4.5)

Ludovic was exhausted. He had left DeVere House near midnight—after he and Ned had gotten Sin foxed enough to abduct him from the rooms he had refused to leave. They had remained at DeVere House only long enough to see their friend comfortably installed in DeVere’s own luxurious chambers, where Simon would awake to find himself in Salime’s tender care.

Although it was a highly unorthodox proposition, Ludovic had full confidence in Salime’s ability to effect Simon’s cure. He had departed London in the belief that no further intervention would be needed. Simon was a man with a man’s needs. Even blemished as she was, Salime was still an exceedingly desirable woman, and one skilled in all manner of pleasure. They were alone together in the lap of luxury. Nature would surely take its course.

Once more, DeVere proves a veritable sage. In Jewel of the East, Simon and Salime discover a true connection of souls that far surpasses even their physical passion. I hope that readers will be enchanted by this sometimes lyrical story of emotional healing and romantic love.

The Devil DeVere Series

(Library Journal Best E-Book Romance 2012)

A Wild Night’s Bride  ( #1)
The Virgin Huntress  (#2)
The Devil You Know (#3)
The Devil’s Match (#4)
A Devil’s Touch (4.5)
Jewel of the East (#5)
Devil in the Making (Devilish Vignette#1)
The Trouble with Sin (Devilish Vignette#2)
A Devil Named DeVere
(a full length compilation of the three Diana and DeVere stories)

Also by Victoria Vane

The Sheik Retold
Treacherous Temptations
A Breach of Promise

About Victoria
Victoria Vane is an award-winning author of smart and sexy romance. Her collective works of fiction range from historical to contemporary settings and include everything from wild comedic romps to emotionally compelling erotic romance. Her biggest writing influences are Georgette Heyer, Robin Schone, and Sylvia Day. Victoria is the founder of Goodreads Romantic Historical Fiction Lovers and the Romantic Historical Lovers book review blog. Look for her sexy new contemporary cowboy series coming from Sourcebooks in 2014.
CONTACT:
victoria.vane@hotmail.com
Web: http://www.victoriavane.com
Blog: http://victoriavane.wordpress.com
Twitter: @authorvictoriav

~~~~~~GIVEAWAY~~~~~~

trouble with sin by victoria vaneVictoria is generously giving away a copy of The Trouble With Sin to ALL commenters! Wow!

So, in order to get a copy of the story that starts Sin’s redemption (ooh, that sounds naughty) just leave a comment and include your email address. Tell us what you love about historical romance and get one.

Review: Jewel of the East by Victoria Vane

jewel of the east by victoria vaneFormat read: ebook provided by the author
Formats available:
Genre: historical romance, Georgian romance
Series: Devil DeVere #5
Length: 191 pages
Publisher: Vane Publishing
Date Released: January 18, 2014
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Maimed by misfortune… healed by love…
His wounds run deep… Having once lived his life only for larks, laughter, and ladies of easy virtue, Captain Simon Singleton has returned from war a shambles of a man. Although free from six years of captivity, he’s still fettered by fears that confine him to a life of seclusion.

Her scars are well-hidden… Once the crowning jewel of the most lavish brothel in London, the exotic Salime finds her reputation and livelihood destroyed by a bitter rival. With a closely guarded secret stripped away, she fears no man will ever desire her again. Seeking aid from one who once saved her life, she accepts a proposition to become a companion to his war-scarred friend.

But love is the eternal cure… When circumstance brings these two damaged souls together, fate ignites a love story worthy of the Arabian Nights.

My Review:

Jewel of the East is a sensual love story between two damaged and scarred people, brought about by their relentlessly manipulative matchmaking friend, the Devil DeVere.

trouble with sin by victoria vaneWe’ve met both Simon and Salime before, and in somewhat better circumstances. Simon, better known as Sin, was one of DeVere’s school chums. Their escapade with the lion got all of them expelled and rusticated.

They were all a lot younger and in Sin’s case at least, considerably lighter at heart. Sin didn’t think any of his antics would catch up to him, until the morning they all fell on him at once. He’s been paying ever since. (Sin’s last straw, or his parents’ last straw, is detailed in The Trouble With Sin).

DeVere and Ned Chambers (Ned’s story is in A Wild Night’s Bride) have believed that Sin was killed in action in the Colonies. Instead, Sin has been languishing in a prison hulk for six long years. He may have returned from the dead, but the man who comes back is not the same as the one who left.

Six years as a prisoner of war in a hellish situation has left Sin with horrific nightmares and a full-blown case of PTSD to add to the permanent injury to his right hand. He needs healing, and Bedlam was not the place for it.

DeVere has a solution. DeVere always has a solution. Sin can hide in DeVere’s London house and be mostly alone. As he needs to be; part of his PTSD is that he can’t bear to be touched.

Sin is incapable of realizing that he is also helping DeVere. DeVere’s friend, the exotic courtesan Salime, needs a place to stay and a task to perform. The sensual and erotic skills that she acquired in the East are just the perfect solution for Sin’s current aversion to touch.

Salime can make him beg for it.

Salime thinks she’s doing a favor for DeVere. It doesn’t take long for her to come to value Simon for himself. She never realizes that DeVere is meddling, and matchmaking, both Sin and herself into a relationship that will heal both of them.

Escape Rating A-: Jewel of the East is a decadently delicious addition to the marvelous Devil DeVere series. And while it would be possible to read Jewel without having read the rest of the series, if you love historical romance you would be missing an absolutely treat.

wild nights bride by victoria vaneIt was great to catch a glimpse of how the characters from the previous books are doing, especially DeVere, Diana and Ned Chambers. Even though DeVere is not the star of Jewel, his influence on events is keenly felt throughout the story. His house, his friends, his matchmaking, his manipulative meddling. And he’s right again, just as he was in A Wild Night’s Bride.

Sin and Salime have both been deeply wounded before they reach this point. Sin’s path to recovery, while difficult, seems more straightforward. We know what damaged him, and we see him working against his internal barriers to become whole again.

It’s easy to see why Salime wants to help him for his own sake, no matter how she starts out. Sin has a lot to overcome, but he is trying.

The road that Salime took to reach her present circumstances is not as clear. She was kidnapped in childhood and sold into slavery in a sultan’s harem. While that sounds romantic, it clearly is not. DeVere rescued her from a life of prostitution after she was scarred and discarded. But in England, she became a famous courtesan, until the unveiling of her scarred face got her tossed out of her place.

But Salime has led a life where she can never reveal her feelings for anyone. She has made a living in the only way she knows how, and she knows it is precarious at best. Her facial scar makes her feel unworthy.

What Sin gives her is that as she heals him, he gives himself to her without reservation. Not just physically, but also emotionally. She’s never been loved. Desired, but not loved. She’s sure his feelings can’t be real. So she runs away.

Salime tells Sin most of her personal story through stories, much like Scheherazade and the Arabian Nights. He uses those stories to track her down. It’s beautifully done, but I would also love to have heard her tell her story without embellishment. She is exotic, and I would love to know more of her story.

I’ll have to content myself with future installments in DeVere’s story. Or future tales of DeVere’s meddling. They are the same marvelous thing!

JOTE Virtual Tour 1200x600

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money or borrowed from a public library and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

Review: The Devil’s Match by Victoria Vane

Format read: e-ARC provided by publisher
Release Date: 24 August 2012
Series: Book #4 in the Devil DeVere series
Number of pages: 132 pages
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Formats available: ebook
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author’s Website, Amazon

Blurb:

Once burned twice shy… but when old flames come together…passion reignites…

When burned once… Arriving in London as her goddaughter’s chaperone, Baroness Diana Palmerston-Wriothesley wants to avoid her erstwhile lover at all costs. Once nearly consumed by passion, four years has reduced the former inferno to bitterness and ashes.

By an old flame… A world-weary master of seduction, Ludovic “The Devil” DeVere is bored with his chosen life of debauchery. When Diana’s charge disappears, she is forced to seek help from the devil’s lair, and their mutual desire reignites with undeniable ferocity.

Fire is best fought with fire… While DeVere is hell-bent to have her back for keeps, Diana is equally determined to bring him to his knees…by acquiring some sensual secrets of her own.

My Thoughts: Everything has been leading up to this. Which might be both good and bad. It’s possible to read A Wild Night’s Bride, The Virgin Huntress and The Devil You Know on their own and enjoy them as much as I did Bride and Devil, or didn’t in the case of Huntress, but The Devil’s Match is the culmination of the story begun in the other three books. You need to have read at least The Devil You Know (or, one could say you need to already know how Diana knows the Devil) in order for The Devil’s Match to have the resonance it should.

The “match” in the title of The Devil’s Match could just as easily mean a matchstick for lighting fires as a mate. And, come to think of it, one brand of matches in the early 1800’s was known as “lucifers”, yet another name for the devil. Entirely too appropriate, because the unfinished business between DeVere and Diana makes them set each other off like, well, tinder and matches.

The Devil’s Match picks up right where The Devil You Know ends. Diana stalks into DeVere’s house in the middle of a orgy, Really, an orgy! Full of righteous indignation because DeVere’s brother Hew has kidnapped her goddaughter Vesta (see The Virgin Huntress). There are half-naked women everywhere, and DeVere himself is in the middle of getting serviced while this conversation is taking place! Diana’s speech, and her maintenance of outward composure, is astonishing.

It’s too bad for Diana that DeVere has all too clear an idea of what’s going through her head, and that’s she wrong about who kidnapped whom between Hew and Vesta, admittedly with DeVere’s connivance.

But just like Diana’s assumptions about Vesta’s supposed kidnapping, very little about that scene is exactly what it appears to be. And that’s what made the resolution of this four book long story so interesting (not that the erotic scenes weren’t steamy!) DeVere starts out as merely a sybarite and a rake. A consummate puppet-master out for his own amusement. As the layers peel back, DeVere turns out to be the prisoner of his own fears, too worried about making the same mistakes his parents did to trust his own heart. Or even to trust that he has one.

Verdict: I dove straight from The Devil You Know to The Devil’s Match. I had to find out exactly how the Devil got his due! Once I finally found out how DeVere and Diana end up in the positions (hah!) they are in at the beginning of the series, I couldn’t wait to find out how they got out of the mess.

The Devil’s Match isn’t as frothy as A Wild Night’s Bride, but it’s even more delightful in some ways. Watching the rake not only admit that love just might be possible, but actually reform, is a far better ending for him than anything the reader might have expected when he first sauntered onto the pages of A Wild Night’s Bride. Bravo!

I gladly give The Devil’s Match 5 fiery stars.

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

Dual Review: The Virgin Huntress by Victoria Vane

Format read: ebook
Series: Book #2 in the Devil DeVere series
Release Date: 29 June 2012
Number of pages: 140 pages
Publisher: Breathless Press
Formats available: ebook
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author’s Website, Amazon, Breathless Press, Read an excerpt

Blurb:

Desperate times call for devilish measures… when the object of one’s passion has eyes for another… it’s time to take matters in hand!

Lady Vesta Chambers is accustomed to getting what she wants…Coddled and pampered, since her mother’s death, Lady Vesta Chambers is beside herself when her father goes to London to prepare for her come-out and returns with a young bride of his own. With her world turned upside down, Vesta accompanies her godmother, Diana, to town, where she is smitten the moment she lays eyes on a certain captain of the Seventeenth Light Dragoons.

But when the object of her passion has eyes for another…

Captain Hewett DeVere, younger brother and heir to Viscount Ludovic “The Devil” DeVere, has returned from the American war scarred, disillusioned, and looking forward to settling down to a quiet and respectable life. But when the handsome and straight-laced captain turns his eyes toward the widowed Diana, Vesta is prepared to take devilish measures to prove she is no longer a little girl, but a woman with the passion of … a huntress.

Our Thoughts:

Marlene: A Wild Night’s Bride was so much fun because Ned and Phoebe (the hero and heroine) were essentially very likeable. You want them to get their happily ever after. Vesta Chambers, Ned’s daughter from his first marriage, is something else again. Vesta is a manipulating little baggage. It’s too bad that DeVere is fated elsewhere, they almost deserve each other.

Stella: I enjoyed A Wild Night’s Bride, the first novella in Victoria Vane’s The Devil DeVere historical erotica series, I found it a light and entertaining, a steamy and fun romp, so I was excited to read the subsequent instalment, but sadly I just didn’t really enjoy The Virgin Huntress, the 2nd novella in the series. It’s not even that I had lukewarm feelings towards this 2nd story, but rather that I found it frustrating, and I think the main reason for that (or at least 90%) is the heroine’s fault.

Vesta is a young girl of about 18 years old, who is preparing for her coming out. As such I knew I should expect some immaturity, but what frustrated me was to see the petulant, spoiled brat she was behaving like: she was whining, rebelling and throwing hissy fits constantly. Not only was she childish but she was so selfish, the way she did whatever she wanted without any care in the world about how it would change others’ life irrevocably made me so angry. Even the hero realized this when he said:

“How can you possibly think I could ever love such a spoiled, petulant, self-absorbed, and scheming little wretch?”

I couldn’t put it better myself.

Marlene: Having said that DeVere deserves Vesta, he’s not as black as he’s painted. He manipulates, yes. And he enjoys manipulating the people around him. Very much. But the results, while they amuse him, tend to end up being for the person’s own good. At least the man’s own good. Ned got shaken out of his grief. Hew needs to get shaken out of what sounds like PTSD. If DeVere enjoys watching the show, well, he is a consummate puppetmaster.

Stella: Sorry Marlene but I don’t agree with you, in my opinion Vesta would be too great of a punishment on DeVere, and besides he is too much of a father figure for her. But regarding your other statement I agree. Despite his repulsive debonair, roguish ways (Ludovic DeVere is the most debauched rogue I have ever read about, if there is an orgy he is there and upping the ick factor), he has a warm and generous heart and what he has in mind is his friend’s/brother’s happiness. So in a way he is quite selfless 😉

Marlene: I did say that DeVere wasn’t quite as bad as he’s made out to be, now didn’t I? Having Vesta end up as his sister-in-law will be quite enough of a punishment in any case. 😉 But back to the story as written, Ludovic DeVere seems to be out for his own amusement first, what he believes will be his friend’s best interests second, and whatever happens to the female in the equation is much farther down his list of considerations. Vesta brings any consequences on herself, of course. In the first book, Phoebe gets lucky.

Stella: I already noticed in The Wild Night’s Bride the archaic language Victoria Vane used in the dialogues, and although they made the repartee somewhat stilted it didn’t detract from the story. However in The Virgin Huntress there were a lot of Americanisms that bothered me, they were most prominent in Vesta’s hissy fits and lines (“Vesta gushed”).

Marlene: I enjoy the author’s writing style, but this romance just didn’t have the zing that the first one did. This couple didn’t have the right long-term chemistry. Vesta comes to London because she’s not the center of her father’s life anymore now that he’s remarried. Talk about self-centered! She falls in love with the first man she sees, and kidnaps him to make him fall in love with her. And it works? It forces the marriage, but why does it force an actual happy ending? I’m not feeling it.

Stella: I agree, besides Vesta what made The Virgin Huntress a disappointment was the lack of credibility of the romance (which once again failed due to Vesta’s character). Vesta’s infatuation, childish crush for Hew cannot be called love and whenever she passionately (=whiningly) declared that Hew was the one, he was the love of her life and how much she loved him, it just made me roll my eyes.

“No, this time Vesta would not run away like a child. This time she would hold her ground and fight for the man she loved.”

That’s what she thinks after spying him for the very first time from afar and a 3 sentence meeting. She’s behaving childishly fancying herself in love, which wouldn’t be a problem if she didn’t take it upon herself to force others’ hand and alter their lives irrevocably. That I couldn’t forgive her.

Verdict:

Marlene: The romantic leads in this romance unfortunately do not carry the book. Vesta remains a whining little brat who does not grow up. Her behavior is unfortunately rewarded, so she is not redeemed. Hew, the ostensible hero, is more of a cardboard cutout than an actual man, let alone a hero. The scenes that sparkle are the ones between Vesta and DeVere (her godfather, too delicious) and between DeVere and Diana. Their history is revealed in the next novella, and I really want to know, because it clearly screwed them both up something fierce.

I give this 2.5 rather disappointed stars.

Stella: Sadly I found the heroine of The Virgin Huntress (her actions and motivations) despicable and as there was no character development for Vesta, she couldn’t redeem herself. Though the hero had some promise, he remained quite 2D and undeveloped as a secondary character, DeVere and Diana (Vesta’s chaperone of pseudo-step mom) got more screen time than poor hero, and their scenes were the most vivid and pulsing in the book. I preferred the 1st story in the series, but as the next one will be about DeVere and the woman who will tame him, I’m looking forward to reading the 3rd novella in the series.

I give The Virgin Huntress 2.5 stars as well.

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.