Devilish - Jo Beverley
Diana Westmount, Countess of Arradale, and Bey Malloren, Marquess of Rothgar, have both sworn never to marry. She, a peer in her own right, refuses to give over control of her body and property to man; he because he carries the taint of madness in his family. Diana's freedom is threatened when King George III learns that she wishes to take her place in Parliament -- the King refuses to allow such an unnatural thing to happen. Rothgar is tasked with bringing Diana to court, and the journey leads to passion and mutual respect, yet they both remain steadfast in their goals not to marry.
Palace intrigue takes up much of their time -- Rothgar is the ultimate player while Diana quickly learns the ways of court. Beverley's storytelling style allows the reader to indulge their love of history, sometimes arcane, as much as love of romance. Because Rothgar played such a looming, if mysterious, presence in previous Malloren titles, so readers find the emphasis on Diana's story to be a bit disappointing. Devilish was a highly anticipated novel due to reader desire to learn more about Rothgar, who came off as controlling, loving, family-oriented, and much of a puppet-master in previous books. Characters from other Malloren titles make appearances as well.