Do you have a deep desire to loosen up a caveat and muss the hair of an uptight hero?
Then, these historical romances are for you!
My lists are never in any particular order. Enjoy!
1. Earls Just Want to Have Fun by Shana Galen
Marlowe is a pickpocket, a housebreaker-and a better actress than any professional on the stage. She runs with the Covent Garden Cubs, a gang of thieves living in the slums of London's Seven Dials. It's a fierce life, and Marlowe has a hard outer shell. But when she's alone, she allows herself to think of a time before-a dimly remembered life when she was called Elizabeth.
Maxwell, Lord Dane, is intrigued when his brother, a hired investigator, ropes him into his investigation of the fiercely beautiful hellion. He teaches her to navigate the social morass of the ton, but Marlowe will not escape so easily. Instead, Dane is drawn into her dangerous world, where the student becomes the teacher and love is the greatest risk of all.
2. Garters by Pamela Morsi
Never underestimate the power of a pair of garters.
Esme Crabb has spent a lifetime in the mountains trying to stir up good gravy from watery "poor-do". And she's had no help from her ne'er-do-well father or silly sisters. The family lives rough and gets by beholden to their neighbors. Esme was hoping the twins could marry well, but like everything that needs doing in her family, it seems she has to do it herself. Cleavis Rhy, Vader, Tennessee's prosperous storekeep hardly takes notice of the raggedy hill girl. That is until she asks him to marry her.
That will never happen.
Cleav, a would-be gentleman, has been all the way to Knoxville for study. And as self-taught pisciculturist he corresponds with some of the best academics in the field. He has a love of reading and an enjoyment of stimulating conversation. He's romantic ambitions lie, much more reasonably, in the direction of the quiet and refined charms of the pastor's daughter.
An ignorant hill girl in a shabby dress and sagging stockings holds no interest for him. Nothing on earth could ever bring those two together.
3. Penelope by Anya Wylde
Leaving behind the rural charms of Finnshire, Miss Penelope Fairweather arrives in London with hope in her heart and a dream in her eye. The dowager, no less, has invited her for a season in London, where she will attempt to catch a husband.
Thus begins our heroine’s tale as she attempts to tackle the London season with all her rustic finesse. Unfortunately her rustic finesse turns out to be as delicate as a fat bear trying to rip apart a honeycomb infested with buzzing bees.
What follows is a series of misadventures, love affairs, moonlit balls, fancy clothes, fake moustaches, highwaymen, sneering beauties, pickpockets, and the wrath of a devilishly handsome duke.
4. Slightly Dangerous by Mary Balogh
All of London is abuzz over the imminent arrival of Wulfric Bedwyn, the reclusive, cold-as-ice Duke of Bewcastle, at the most glittering social event of the season. Some whisper of a tragic love affair. Others say he is so aloof and passionless that not even the greatest beauty could capture his attention. But on this dazzling afternoon, one woman did catch the duke’s eye—and she was the only female in the room who wasn’t even trying. Christine Derrick is intrigued by the handsome duke…all the more so when he invites her to become his mistress.
What red-blooded woman wouldn’t enjoy a tumble in the bedsheets with a consummate lover—with no strings and no questions asked. An infuriating lady with very definite views on men, morals, and marriage, Christine confounds Wulfric at every turn. Yet even as the lone wolf of the Bedwyn clan vows to seduce her any way he can, something strange and wonderful is happening. Now for a man who thought he’d never lose his heart, nothing less than love will do.
5. Dangerous by Amanda Quick
At five and twenty, Prudence Merryweather knew very well tht risks a woman took by visiting a gentleman in the dead of night. But bearding the notorious Earl of Angelstone in his den was the only way to stop him from engaging her hot-headed brother in a duel. And that was why she found herself ushered into Sebastian's frobidding presence at three int the morning--and thoroughly kissed before dawn.
She was a country-bred innocent--and an intriguing experience for a man who dwelt more in the shadows than in the sunshine. Yet as her boldness drew Prue into one dangerous episode after another, Sebastian found himself torn between a raging hunger to possess her and a driving need to protect her. And the reckless beauty would soon need all the protection she could get...
6. Something About Emmaline by Elizabeth Boyle
Alexander Denford, Baron Sedgwick, is a gentleman to be envied. He lives a rakish life of well-celebrated ease and contentment and has one person to thank for his perfectly ordered existence—his dearest wife, Emmaline. She never complains about his mistresses or his penchant for late nights out. His friends are envious, but they don't know the truth—Emmaline doesn't exist. But when he starts receiving bills from London for clothes, shoes, hats and a staggering amount of other female accoutrements, he realises something is decidedly amiss.
Posing as Emmaline isn't a stretch for the newly arrived Lady Sedgwick, she's been conning gentry for years. But as the popular baron's wife, she now has the one thing that has eluded her—entree into London's inner circles. Against Alexander's better judgment, Emmaline is impossibly fixed in his life. And suddenly Emmaline is challenging him to be the husband she deserves.
7. It Happened One Autumn by Lisa Kleypas
It Happened at the Ball...
Where beautiful but bold Lillian Bowman quickly learned that her independent American ways weren't entirely "the thing." And the most disapproving of all was insufferable, snobbish, and impossible Marcus, Lord Westcliff, London's most eligible aristocrat.
It Happened in the Garden…
When Marcus shockingly -- and dangerously–swept her into his arms. Lillian was overcome with a consuming passion for a man she didn't even like. Time stood still; it was as if no one else existed…thank goodness they weren't caught very nearly in the act!
It Happened One Autumn...
Marcus was a man in charge of his own emotions, a bedrock of stability. But with Lillian, every touch was exquisite torture, every kiss an enticement for more. Yet how could he consider taking a woman so blatantly unsuitable…as his bride?
8. Bewitching by Jill Barnett
hat's a duke to do when a carefully selected bride rejects him rather than marry without love? He salvages his pride by marrying the next woman who falls into his arms. Joyous Fiona MacQuarrie bewitched the Duke of Belmore the moment she appeared from nowhere and knocked him over...literally. Joyous MacQuarrie is a Scottish witch whose powers of white magic are not always easy for her to control. When Alec's pride makes him choose to marry her, Joy turns the life of the most serious and snobbish duke in England upside down. Too soon Alec finds his well ordered and controlled life a mess, because he married a witch--one who turns him to fire when he kisses her, who charms everyone around her, and threatens to destroy both their lives as scandal looms over her. Too late, Joy discovers she's desperately in love and not even the strongest magic can seem to turn her into a proper duchess, or make her husband love her. Passion holds them spellbound in an irresistiblely funny and tender tale of two opposite but lonely hearts.
9. Pride & Passion by Charlotte Featherstone
Lucy Ashton long ago gave up her quest for true love. In the rarified society of Victorian England, Lucy plays the game — flirting, dancing, even dabbling in fashionable séances. But when it comes to marrying who — and when — she's supposed to, Lucy is firm. The stuffy, proper Duke of Sussex cannot spark the passion she craves, despite her father's wishes that they wed.
But Adrian, Lord Sussex, is not the man the London ton has come to admire. His prim façade is only a means to conceal the ruinous secret that would shatter any chance of winning Lucy's affections, and when he finally reveals his sensual nature she responds in kind. Yet there is someone else who knows the truth, someone who would use it to destroy Adrian's happiness. Passion has a price, Lucy soon learns. And not all ghosts stay buried.
10. Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart by Sarah MacLean
She lives for passion.
Bold, impulsive, and a magnet for trouble, Juliana Fiori is no simpering English miss. She refuses to play by society's rules: she speaks her mind, cares nothing for the approval of the ton, and can throw a punch with remarkable accuracy. Her scandalous nature makes her a favorite subject of London's most practiced gossips . . . and precisely the kind of woman The Duke of Leighton wants far far away from him.
He swears by reputation.
Scandal is the last thing Simon Pearson has room for in his well-ordered world. The Duke of Disdain is too focused on keeping his title untainted and his secrets unknown. But when he discovers Juliana hiding in his carriage late one evening—risking everything he holds dear—he swears to teach the reckless beauty a lesson in propriety. She has other plans, however; she wants two weeks to prove that even an unflappable duke is not above passion.
Did I miss your favorite uptight historical hero? Gimme!
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