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4.3 out of 5
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    Witty Battle of Wills and Hearts!

    What's not to love about an irreverent sexy hero and a smart and sassy heroine!? Valerie Bowman's fourth book in her Playful Bride series, The Irresistible Rogue, was a witty battle of wills and hearts. Never a dull moment in this appealing and intelligent Regency romp, it was a great escape to a world of ballrooms and espionage with the ultimate discovery of true love. A smile inducing and heartwarming story The Irresistible Rogue should be on every historical romance readers to read list! *I received this ARC via Netgalley.* *While part of a series this book can be read as a stand alone.*
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    The best!

    Wonderful storyline...superb characters ...love both hero and heroin ...cannot wait for more...pls write faster
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    Great addition to the Playful Brides series!

    This is the fourth book in the Playful Brides series by Valerie Bowman. I previously read and thoroughly enjoyed book three, the Unlikely Lady and I was excited to see another book released in this series with some familiar characters. Daphne Swift (younger sister to Julian, hero of book two of the Playful Brides series, The Accidental Countess) and Captain Rafe Cavendish might be married, but it's a marriage of convenience only - one that was necessary for Daphne to follow in her older brothers' footsteps as spies for the Crown so that she might pose as Rafe's cabin boy on their last mission. Sadly her eldest brother Donald was killed during that mission, a fact that Rafe bitterly regrets and seeks to avenge. Since then Daphne has returned home and the hunt for a 'real' husband is in full swing, her mother being unaware that Daphne is in fact already married, and her brother Julian having promised to help her get an annulment. But when Daphne hears that Rafe plans to seek Donald's killers, her excitement at helping him trumps her marriage problems and she finds herself once again in disguise and en route to seek her revenge too. When they were together the first time, Rafe was unaware that Daphne had lived with a crush on him for several years and nothing untoward happened. But this time, Rafe is seeing Daphne in an entirely new light. Can Rafe convince Daphne that he should remain top choice on her list of suitable husbands? I really enjoyed this story! Daphne is a fun, precocious young woman, full of vigor and adventurous spirit. Though she knows that she should be looking for a suitable husband, one with a title, wealthy, and staid (aka boring), she can't help but wish she could have another adventure like the one she had with Rafe before, her knowledge of Russian having been the impetus for him bringing her along the first time to catch the Russian spies working for the French. She thoroughly enjoyed her stint as his cabin boy, feeling like she was finally contributing to her country and following in the footsteps of her older brothers. Her one amorous advance on Rafe was rejected however and she's put it behind her, determined now that she'll do the right thing in society and marry well. Rafe showing up at her 'almost engagement' ball puts a kink in her plans, as he makes it quite plain that her choice of husband is a poor one (in particular because she's already married to him!) , and sets out to show her that she should reconsider. Rafe comes across as a loyal friend, a dependable man, one who has taken his marriage vow to Daphne seriously even if it was meant to be in name only. He's come to realize that Daphne has grown into a beautiful young woman, and his feelings for her are much more complicated than they used to be. When Daphne accompanies him on his latest mission, to catch the men responsible for Donald's death, their close quarters become much closer as they finally succumb to the deep attraction between them, one that Rafe is finally acknowledging. They share some steamy scenes together, consummating their marriage and in a nutshell, making it much more difficult for Daphne to consider another man for a husband. Rafe feels some guilt over this, in part because he knows that as a captain in the military he doesn't have the wealth or social standing that Daphne deserves. But it's not enough to stop him from showing her what they've been missing out on as husband and wife. Besides the romance blooming finally between Rafe and Daphne, there are some exciting action scenes as they seek out Donald's killers. I really liked how the plot came together, picking up in pace in keeping with the action. The secondary characters, Daphne's family and their friends who've appeared in previous books in the series were equally important to this story and added lots of laughs and camaraderie. It's a lively tale, with interesting and fun characters and a couple who are well matched in their thirst for adventure and love. 4 stars.
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    Absolutely smashing!

    THE IRRESISBLE ROGUE is such of wonderful book, I might run out of superlatives! On the eve of her probable engagement to Lord Fitzwell, Lady Daphne Swift receives a box containing a small wooden boat. It is from Captain Rafferty “Rafe” Cavendish, whom she had worked with on a secret mission a year before. Rafe is a spy for the Crown. Rafe has asked Daphne to marry him in order to protect her if something went wrong with their mission; the marriage was supposed to be annulled as soon as their mission was completed, as it had not been consummated. But Rafe hasn’t done anything about it, they’re still married; Daphne is livid. And Rafe has the nerver to ask her to accompany him on another mission; he needs her presence because she speaks Russian. Daphne is adamant she won’t do it, but Rafe makes her an offer she cannot refuse: he will find who killed her brother Donald. Valerie Bowman has crafted an absolutely irresistible book! The prose is luminous and elegant, light and crisp; the dialogues are dazzlingly brilliant and clever, and all this while the author never strays from correct Regency language usage, right down to the proper honorifics, and nicknames, where warranted. The characters are uniformly well-drawn and they all feel genuine. I fell in love with the absolutely delightful Delilah Montbank, Daphne’s 12 year-old cousin, who has French pretensions; she’s not sugary-sweet-cute, but she sounds like a real precocious child. Ms. Bowman’s attention to detail is exceptional, and a feeling of authenticity permeates everything in the book, and the adventure part is just as wonderful. THE IRRESISTIBLE ROGUE is so much fun, so pleasant and enjoyable; it is like a beautiful, sunny spring day. I loved everything from the very first sentences. This is the kind of book I will treasure, and I feel privileged to have read it. I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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    LOVED IT

    I loved this book about Rafe and Daphne. The story starts with Daphne maybe getting engaged to a the very boring Lord Fitzwell - that is if she can get an annulment to her marriage of convenience to Captain Rafe Cavendish (who she has loved for awhile), they got married so Daphne (who craves adventure) could accompany him on a mission for the war office - as his cabin boy, if she got found out as being a woman then her reputation would not be destroyed as she is already married to him. After the mission Rafe left and Daphne has not seen him since. This is where the fun begins because Rafe knows that Daphne is wanting to get engaged and he does not like her choice of gentleman so Rafe says he will only grant Daphne an annulment if she accompanies him on another mission to find out who killed her brother. Daphne agrees to assist him one more time and leaves to go on his ship. This story keeps you entertained the whole way through, I loved Daphne's cousin Delilah and Aunt Willie, these two characters together cause a lot of mischief and I loved it along with the attraction between Daphne and Rafe and both of them fighting it. This is one of my MUST READS if you like historical romances. I will be putting Valerie Bowman on my authors not to be missed list.
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