Her wicked ways were the talk of the ton
Teresa, Dowager Marchioness of Darent, is rumored to have exhausted her four deceased husbands with her insatiable needs. So it's no surprise that every rake in the ton wants to bed her. If they only knew through clever marriages to men who would ask nothing of her physical self, Tessa has remained rather innocent in the ways of the bedroom. But now she's on the verge of losing everything and wants to take care of the stepson she's grown to adore.
Enter Captain Owen Purchase. The handsome American adventurer has come into the title of Viscount Rothbury. And the rumors surrounding his injuries at sea suggest that he could fit Tessa's requirements. But little does Tessa realize that the gossipmongers are wrong. She just might lose her heart, and her desires, to the most unlikely of men .
Tessa Darent didn't want another husband; she'd buried three, who weren't much use to her other than the state of her financial affairs, so why would she need another? Owen Purchase, however, is too damn smart for his own good. When he stumbles upon her shimmying out of a window of a brothel, he steps in to "rescue" her. He's able to put two-and-two together (almost) and discover Tessa's true passion as a political satire cartoonist. When Tessa's step-daughter's future is threatened by a smarmy man reminiscent of dead husband #2, Tessa turns to Owen with a proposal of marriage in name only, but Owen cannot abide by such a thing.
Tessa's seemingly charmed life is actually a great disguise for the hurt she's suffered through the course of her marriages. It was dead husband #2 who actually hurt her the most -- both physically and by creating the scandalous reputation she's known for. Owen is able to break through the walls she puts up and shows her she is worthy of the love and pleasure he surprisingly wants to give.
Desired is the fifth book in the Scandalous Women of the Ton series and while it can be read alone, some of the minor threads -- Owen's attraction to Tessa's sister Joanna and the problem of Tom Bradshaw -- were introduced in previous books. All in all, a very good historical romance series.
(A very special thank you to Harlequin and NetGalley who provided me with an ARC of Desired.)