04 May 2015

Claimed by the Rogue (Claimed #1) by Hope Tarr

 When Robert Bellamy signed on with the East India Company and set sail for Calcutta, Lady Phoebe Tremont took his promise to heart. Their separation would be but brief; in six months he would send for her.

Six years later, believing her love to be drowned at sea, Phoebe hides her tears behind a disguise at a masked ball to celebrate her engagement to a dashing French aristocrat. It is there she encounters a handsome guest costumed as a rogue of the sea—a pirate. When he drops his mask, she finds herself looking into a dead man’s eyes. A ghost’s eyes. Robert’s eyes.

Through hardship and degradation, Robert never lost his resolve to return home to England a rich man. Now a successful ship’s captain, there is one prize left to reclaim—Phoebe.

But the demure debutante he left behind has grown into a dazzling, decidedly self-determined woman. Nor is Robert the callow youth who set sail in search of adventure. Yet the one thing that could win her heart is the very dark truth his pride warns him never to reveal…

Warning: This book contains steamy sex, some violence—and a hero so swoon-worthy you’ll find yourself seduced into staying up into the wee hours turning pages.
Claimed by the Rogue was an enjoyable read the left me looking forward to Ms. Tarr’s next installment in the series, while at the same time sending me off to search her backlist to see if she has released Chelsea and Anthony’s story. While Robert is far more damaged of a hero than I usually get in my historical romances, he has managed to overcome the horrors he was exposed to during his time away. But he is soon to learn that while Phoebe has not married another, she is not the same girl he left behind six years earlier. Ms. Tarr not only takes Robert through the paces as he attempts to woo Phoebe again, but she also adds a good bit of intrigue and a bit more spice than I expected to find in a book of this genre, but by no means am I complaining.

I quite enjoyed the banter between Robert and Phoebe. Much like her actions, Phoebe’s tendency to bicker with Robert was a sure sign that she wasn’t “over him.” Quite the contrary, her tendency to lash out merely highlighted how much his supposed death had broken her heart and how his subsequent desertion had hurt her. Were it not for all that Robert endured and overcame during his time away, he may have given up his attempts to win her back. Thankfully Phoebe’s hardheadedness is matched by Robert’s persistence and love for her, and he refused to let her wed another without fighting for her. Unfortunately Phoebe’s intended is not quite the gentleman he purports to be and has no qualms about fighting dirty in order to thwart Robert’s efforts and I for one was stunned by the lengths to which he went to secure Phoebe’s hand in marriage.

I was also surprised by the level of intimacies that Phoebe allowed. Despite being in her mid-twenties and a near-spinster, I was surprised with the liberties she allowed Robert. My surprise had little to do with the genre or Phoebe herself – because despite all that she said, her love for Robert clearly never waned – but rather my surprise had to do with Phoebe being willing to risk her mother’s wrath. Lady Tremont was certainly a force to be reckoned with and one I cannot imagine waving the proverbial red flag in front of, but it merely added to the excitement of their predicament. That said, Robert proved to be worth the risk and I’m not sure I could have resisted him either had I been in Phoebe’s position (pun intended). Ms. Tarr does a delightful job of weaving action, intrigue, steam, and love within this second chance romance that kept me up late until my eyes would read no longer. Claimed by the Rogue was a delightful read for me and I look forward to reading more of Ms. Tarr’s work.


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