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When the Rogue Returns

When the Rogue Returns

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When the Rogue Returns

ratings:
3.5/5 (91 ratings)
Length:
360 pages
5 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Jan 21, 2014
ISBN:
9781451693522
Format:
Book

Description

The second sparkling book in the New York Times bestselling Duke’s Men historical romance series, featuring the Duke’s cousin and a skilled female jeweler who must unravel a mystery ten years in the making.

USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR SABRINA JEFFRIES SHINES BRIGHTLY WITH THIS SPLENDID NEW SERIES!

They are the Duke’s Men: an investigative agency born from family pride and irresistible passion, risking their lives—and sometimes their hearts—as they unravel shocking deceptions and scandalous transgressions!

Victor Cale never imagined that his sweet, shy bride, Isabella, would use her talent for creating exquisite imitation jewels in a criminal way. But there’s no denying that Isa’s handiwork was used in the brazen heist of the Dutch royal family’s diamonds—after she disappeared into the night.

Ten years later, still reeling from her betrayal and enraged that her duplicitous side was so undetectable, Victor is sent to Edinburgh to investigate a wealthy baron’s mysterious brideto- be. Simple enough—until the “fiancée” proves to be Isa, masquerading as an alluring young widow.

No longer the meek and mild girl he once knew, the bold woman vehemently asserts that it was Victor who abandoned her after he helped steal the royal diamonds! Piecing together the truth of the past reawakens their volatile passion, which burns hotter than ever. But with a decade of secrets between them, Victor and Isa must trust each other in order to bring the real thieves to justice—without getting burned themselves.
Publisher:
Released:
Jan 21, 2014
ISBN:
9781451693522
Format:
Book

About the author

Sabrina Jeffries is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of several Regency-set historical romance series, including the Royal Brotherhood, the School for Heiresses, the Hellions of Halstead Hall, the Duke’s Men, and the Sinful Suitors. When she’s not writing in a coffee-fueled haze, she’s traveling with her husband, caring for her adult autistic son, or indulging in one of her passions: jigsaw puzzles, chocolate, music, and costume parties. With more than nine million books in print in twenty languages, the North Carolina author never regrets tossing aside a budding career in academics for the sheer joy of writing fun fiction and hopes that one day a book of hers will end up saving the world. She always dreams big.

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When the Rogue Returns - Sabrina Jeffries

PROLOGUE

Amsterdam

1818

DARKNESS HAD FALLEN a while ago. Eighteen-year-old Isabella Cale clung to her new husband Victor’s neck as he carried her into her old room at her sister Jacoba’s house. Isa hadn’t wanted to come here, but it was safer than having Jacoba look after her in their apartment. She didn’t want her sister nosing around for the imitation diamonds that Isa kept hidden from her husband. And Victor refused to leave Isa alone while she was sick.

She winced. She hoped this pretense of being ill succeeded. And that he never found out it was a sham. It had been hard enough to keep it up all day, when she was supposed to have been working at the jeweler’s shop, but Victor’s concerned glances now made it even more difficult. After only a week of marriage, the last thing she wanted to do was deceive him.

But she had no choice. It was for his own good. And hers.

Are you sure she’ll be fine? Victor asked Jacoba as he laid Isa gently in her old bed.

She just needs rest and coddling. Jacoba pulled the covers up over Isa. She’s had these awful sore throats since she was a girl. They never last more than a week. You were right to bring her here. It’s not good for her to be alone.

Her older sister’s soft words used to make her feel safe. But that was before their clockmaker father had died six years ago. Before Papa’s apprentice, Gerhart Hendrix, had married Jacoba and taken them in. Before Gerhart had begun gambling.

Isa and Jacoba were no longer as close as they once were.

I’m not so ill that I’ll expire while you’re at the shop, Isa told Victor in a raspy voice.

Victor worked temporarily as a night guard at the jeweler’s where she was a diamond cutter. Since their conflicting shifts didn’t allow them much time together, it had been pure bliss staying home with him today. Well, except for the pretending-to-be-sick part.

Shadows darkened Victor’s lovely hazel eyes. I’m sorry to have to leave you, but at least Jacoba can look after you.

Oh, how she wished she weren’t too much of a coward to tell him the truth! But it would devastate her if it changed what he thought of her. Better to avoid the problem entirely.

If she could fool her sister and brother-in-law with her illness for just one night, it would all be over tomorrow. Then Victor would never have to learn of her family’s insane scheme to steal the royal diamond parure from the jeweler’s shop.

A lock of wavy hair the color of rich oak dropped over his brow as he bent to kiss her forehead. I wish I didn’t have to leave you alone, but with the prince’s guard coming—

I know, she said, cutting him off before he could reveal that the royal diamonds would be leaving the shop tomorrow. Jacoba mustn’t learn that the chance to steal them would be gone after tonight. You may not have your post much longer, so you have to work while you can. His post would end in the morning, when the jeweler handed the royal jewels to the prince’s guard.

"I will find work after this, he said resentfully, even if the jeweler doesn’t keep me on. Don’t worry about that."

I’m not, she hastened to reassure him. He was such a proud man, and she hadn’t meant to wound him. Besides, who wouldn’t hire Victor? And the jeweler was an old friend of his mother’s; the man would surely find some way to keep Victor on. I have faith in you.

Victor looked only slightly mollified by her words. "You’re fretting over something. I can tell."

Don’t be silly. Had she been that transparent? Oh, Lord, she had to get him to leave, before she gave too much away. She forced hoarseness into her voice. And if you don’t go, you’ll be late. His shift began at 8 P.M., when the jeweler went home. Don’t worry about me. I’m in good hands with Jacoba. She practically choked on that lie.

But he didn’t seem to notice as he tucked the covers about her. "I’ll come fetch you in the morning when I’m done with my shift, Mausi."

She winced at the German endearment. Victor often used foreign words—he spoke Dutch, Flemish, German, English, and French fluently, which impressed her. But she didn’t like being called little mouse.

Probably because she was a mouse, in every respect. She looked like one—nondescript brown hair that defied curling, boring brown eyes, and hips that were a touch too wide for her small bosom—and she acted like one, too. She would much rather cut diamonds or design jewelry than argue or make a fuss. It was how she’d landed in this mess in the first place.

It was also why she lay here silent while he headed for the door. She ought to call him back, tell him the truth, face the consequences. But it would be so much easier just to bluff her way through this night. Then she’d be free of her family’s machinations forever.

Because she was never creating another imitation parure. She wouldn’t have made this one if Jacoba and Gerhart hadn’t convinced her that they could sell it as a legitimate copy and earn some good money out of her talent for creating false diamonds. If she’d known they would take it into their heads to use it to commit a crime . . .

Stifling a groan, she turned onto her side and watched as Victor went out with Jacoba into the hall, murmuring instructions on how to care for his wife. He was so handsome, her husband, and so kind. She lived in terror that he would find out about the Hendrixes’ sordid plans and her part in them.

Her throat tightened. How had she even managed to snag his attention? He was a lion to her mouse. His many scars told her that he’d suffered a great deal during his three years in the Prussian army. And the pain of fighting at Waterloo still lurked beneath his clear hazel eyes. She suspected he had other dark secrets—he didn’t talk about his childhood or his family—yet he took each day as it came, persevering through whatever agonies lay in his past.

Meanwhile, she lay here pretending to be sick. Oh, what she wouldn’t give to be courageous and reckless, to stand up to Gerhart whenever he droned on about how he’d saved her and Jacoba from certain ruin after Papa died. It was true, but why should it mean that she had to risk her own happiness and safety? And why couldn’t she just say that?

Because then Gerhart would shout at her and shout at Jacoba, and she hated the shouting. And the stony glances. And the reminders that she wouldn’t even have her position at the jeweler’s if Gerhart hadn’t encouraged the talent for jewelry making and diamond cutting that she’d inherited from Papa.

She sighed against her pillow.

"So you’re not asleep," Jacoba said, having padded back into the room with the quiet tread of a cat.

Isa tensed. No, not yet. But I feel horrible, all weak and achy. And my throat hurts. Tamping down her guilt, she slanted a glance up at her sister, who, being seven years older, had been like a mother to her.

Once.

Jacoba laid her hand on Isa’s brow. You do seem a bit hot.

That’s what came of lying under a pile of heavy covers. Though she prayed that the dampness of her brow wouldn’t give her away. I can’t get warm, she lied in a husky whisper. It always starts with the chills . . .

I remember.

Her sister cast her a hard look, as if she’d seen right through her farce, and Isa held her breath. Jacoba and Gerhart had been pressing her to substitute her imitation parure for the real one, now that the jeweler had finished it. All she’d have to do, according to them, was steal her husband’s keys while he was asleep and get into the strongbox while the jeweler was at lunch.

Betraying her husband and everything she believed in.

She’d put them off for days. But last night Gerhart had threatened to bring up the matter with Victor and get him to do the switching. Isa couldn’t have that; Victor would be horrified.

Let Gerhart rage about the injustice of her being sick on the last day she could have switched out the parure. Eventually he would resign himself to having missed his chance. He might even be able to sell the imitation parure, as he’d first intended, to some wealthy woman who wanted jewelry identical to that of the soon-to-be bride of the prince.

At last Jacoba seemed to accept Isa’s ruse, and her expression softened. Well, then, you’d better get some sleep. I’ll bring you something to soothe your throat.

Thank you, Isa murmured, not bothering to hide her grimace.

She hated Jacoba’s medicine. But when her sister returned with the vile tonic, Isa knew she had to choke it down. If she refused, Jacoba would be suspicious.

Afterward, her sister surprised her, sitting by her bedside and wiping her forehead with a cold cloth until she dozed off.

♦  ♦  ♦

IT SEEMED ONLY minutes later that she awoke to the gray dawn seeping into her bedchamber. At first she was groggy and disoriented. Where was she? Why wasn’t she in her apartment? And where was Vic—

She bolted upright as last night’s events came flooding back. It was always dark when Victor’s shift ended at 6 A.M., but judging from the light, it must be well past seven now. He should be here. He’d said he would fetch her as soon as his shift ended!

A door opened and shut down the hall, and she heard voices. Before she could do more than throw her legs over the side of the bed, Gerhart and Jacoba entered her room.

We did it, Isa! Jacoba cried, her face flushed and her eyes bright as she performed a little jig. We got them!

When Isa stared in confusion, her brawny brother-in-law pulled a necklace from his pocket and held it up to catch the faint rays of morning light. It’s ours now. We’ll break it down for the diamonds and sell them in Paris. I know a dealer who will pay us well for—

Stop it! Isa said, horror growing in her belly. "What do you mean? You have the real diamonds?"

Of course. Gerhart exchanged a glance with his wife. With you ill, we had to act on our own. Surely you didn’t think we’d let this opportunity pass? We made the switch ourselves.

Her mind raced. But how . . . Victor would have had to let you . . .

Yes. Jacoba came over to lay an arm about her shoulders. After I explained our scheme earlier, he agreed to help in exchange for our giving him the earrings from the parure. He and I left here to go look for the imitation at your apartment, and then he made the switch at the shop.

A chill coursed through her. Was that the reason for all the furtive whispers in the hall earlier? Jacoba had actually spoken to Victor about the scheme?

We were more than happy to allow him a share, Gerhart put in, given your part in the affair . . . and his. Sale from the earrings alone should provide the two of you with enough money to—

He wouldn’t do that! Isa cried through a throat thick and tight with dread. Shoving free of Jacoba, she rose to face them. He would never steal. I know him.

Apparently not as well as you thought. Gerhart headed over to the window and opened the curtains to let in the weak winter light. I told you he would listen to reason if you only broached the subject.

Was it possible? Could she really have been that wrong about her husband? I was waiting to mention it until—

Yes, we know, her sister said, her tone sharp. I’m sure you simply forgot to tell us about the prince’s guard coming this morning for the jewels. You weren’t really planning to let it pass without comment.

Of course not, she mumbled, unable to meet her sister’s eyes. This couldn’t be happening.

Thank God Victor said something as he was leaving here, Jacoba said, or we would have missed our chance entirely.

Dear heaven. Where’s Victor now? Isa headed for the door. She had to find out if he’d really done this outrageous thing.

He’s gone. Gerhart tucked the necklace into his coat pocket. He’s the most at risk of being caught, so he had to head straight off to Antwerp as soon as his shift was over. They won’t expect him back at the shop until this evening, and perhaps not even then, given that his post as guard ends today. Meanwhile—

"You’re saying Victor left me? With her blood pounding in her ears, she whirled on them. My husband left me?"

Not exactly, Jacoba said, oozing sympathy and concern. After he sells the earrings in Antwerp, he’ll join us in Paris. That’s where we’re heading with the necklace, bracelet, and brooch. Victor suggested that we split up, in case anyone comes after us. They’ll expect two couples traveling together. They won’t expect you to go with us and him to go another way.

Not that we think your imitations won’t hold up under scrutiny, Gerhart said, but it’s better that we be well away, in case they don’t. The jeweler won’t expect you at the shop until tomorrow, since Victor already told him how sick you are—fortuitous for us. That gives us time to put some distance between us and here.

"And the beauty of it is that if your diamonds do escape notice, no one will ever even know about the theft! Jacoba crowed. The unnatural light in her eyes made Isa shiver. Victor left a letter behind with your landlord saying that you both got lucrative positions in Frankfurt. The jeweler will certainly find that plausible, especially with Victor’s post coming to an end. It’s the perfect plan!"

Except that I wanted no part of it! Isa cried.

Gerhart narrowed his gaze on her. That’s not what you said. You said you were waiting for the right moment.

Her mouth went dry. "Well, I—I lied. I don’t want to be a criminal. I just want to cut diamonds and design jewelry and have a regular life."

What kind of regular life do you think you’d have with a husband out of work? Jacoba snapped. How long do you think it would be before you lost your position to some man? And then what? She jerked her gaze from Isa as if disgusted. At least your husband saw the sense of our plan.

Determined not to be a mouse this time, Isa thrust out her chin. I just can’t believe that Victor would have agreed to—

He’s not here, is he? Jacoba pointed out. And you heard him say he would be here to fetch you home. Yet it’s well past the time for him to do so.

The truth of that struck her hard. I still just don’t—

How do you think we got the diamonds, you little fool? Gerhart strode up to her in a temper. "We couldn’t have breached the strongbox ourselves. The thing takes five men to lift, and the locks are intricate. It could only be opened with the keys. Victor’s keys."

Isa’s blood thundered in her ears.

He let that sink in, then added coldly, He was more than happy to help when he realized it was the only way to make sure he could provide for his wife.

I will find work after this, even if the jeweler doesn’t keep me on. Don’t worry about that.

Tears sprang to her eyes. Had she sent him off to do this awful thing by making him believe she was worried about his ability to find another post?

"And I should think, Gerhart pressed on, that you’d be grateful for all the trouble we have taken to provide for you. Instead, you stand here mewling—"

Gerhart, darling, Jacoba said in soothing tones, why don’t you go pack our things and let me talk to my sister?

Gerhart glared at Isa, who was clutching her stomach in a fruitless attempt to quell the fear roiling inside her. With a snort, he walked out.

As soon as he was gone, Jacoba came to Isa’s side. My dearest, I like Victor as much as you, but you must admit that you hardly know him. He rarely even speaks of his previous life. For all you know, he may have done this kind of thing before. Consider all those languages he speaks—has he ever even said how he knows so many?

She swallowed. She’d never asked. He just seemed worldly, a man who’d learned things far beyond her ken, even though he was only two years older. "He was a soldier in the Prussian army," she pointed out.

That explains his knowledge of German. But how does he know English? Or French? Surely not just from being a soldier. I daresay he did a few things during the war that required special . . . skills.

Since she’d often wondered about his reticence, she could hardly ignore that possibility.

Besides, Jacoba went on, soldiers are practical sorts. And since you never mentioned our plan to him, how do you know he wouldn’t have embraced it?

The words cut her right through. She didn’t. She had only her instincts to go on, which said that Victor would never steal. But could she be sure? Or did she just believe it because she’d placed him so high in her esteem?

Worse yet, some facts were irrefutable. Jacoba and Gerhart couldn’t have breached the strongbox without Victor. And a glance at the clock showed it was already 8 A.M. He would have been here long before now if he were coming.

That was the part that hurt.

He didn’t even say goodbye, Isa whispered.

Jacoba chucked her under the chin. Why should he, silly girl? He’ll see you in a few weeks. This is just temporary. He had to get as far away as he could before the time he’d be expected at the shop. She bent her head to touch Isa’s. And we have to as well, so come along now. Victor packed your bags, and we have to hurry to the dock.

Her heart faltered. Can’t I go back to the apartment?

We’ve no time, I’m afraid. The packet boat for Calais leaves very soon. We’ll barely make it as it is, and the next one doesn’t leave for hours. Jacoba squeezed her hand. Don’t worry—I gave Victor the address of the hotel where we mean to stay in Paris, and I daresay there will be a letter waiting for us the moment we arrive. Or one will come shortly afterward.

Isa hesitated, but what choice did she have? She could never go back to the shop now. Even if the imitations were never discovered, she would know they were there, and that would plague her until she told the truth.

Besides, she couldn’t risk implicating Victor. Or her family. She was furious that they’d taken the matter out of her hands, but now it was done, and she didn’t want to see them go to prison—or worse yet, be hanged!

She could end up in prison or hanged herself, just for making the parure. The thought sent a chill to her soul.

All right? her sister pressed.

She nodded. But as they raced about, preparing to go, she vowed that this would be the last time she let them bully her into doing something so despicable.

And once her husband arrived in Paris, she would find out what kind of man she had really married.

♦  ♦  ♦

FOUR MONTHS LATER, Victor still hadn’t come or even sent word. And now she had his child growing in her belly. Dear heaven, what was she going to do?

Feeling particularly blue, she sat in the parlor of their very fine Paris town house and waited for the mail. She wasn’t sure why she bothered. Clearly something awful had happened to Victor. It was easier to believe that than to think he might just have abandoned her.

A ray of afternoon sun flashed through the barely parted silk curtains, glinting off Jacoba’s new gilded ormolu clock, dancing across Gerhart’s recently acquired Persian rug, and bursting into sparkles in the cut-crystal bowl near her hand. But she could find no joy in all the costly newness.

With a sigh, she picked up that week’s issue of the Gazette de France and flipped through it. An article caught her attention. Her French wasn’t the best yet, but she could still decipher a bit of gossip that a local jeweler named Angus Gordon was leaving Paris to return to his native Scotland. His French wife had died, and he wanted to go home.

But what intrigued her was that the fellow had built his reputation by creating exquisite imitation jewelry.

She muttered an oath, something she was doing more and more lately. If her sister and brother-in-law hadn’t been so impatient, the three of them might have built a similar business in Amsterdam.

No, that would never have satisfied them. Gerhart was already hinting that Isa should make more imitations to sell as real. So they could buy an even better house in an even better part of Paris, with better chances for social advancement.

She suspected that he just wanted more money to wager on wrestling bouts. He thought he could always win since he’d been a wrestler briefly himself, before he’d injured his knee. And the very thought of committing fraud repeatedly in order to provide Gerhart more money for gambling chilled her blood.

Jacoba wandered in, thumbing absently through a stack of mail. She looked different now, with her hair short and fringed about her face to change her appearance. Gerhart wore a beard now for the same reason.

Swiftly turning over the newspaper, Isa asked, Anything for me?

At the quiver in her voice, her sister’s head came up. It’s just bills. She walked up to the table. My dear, I hate to see you like this. Don’t you enjoy being able to buy what you want and go to the theater whenever you wish?

That was always your dream, not mine. Isa’s hands shook now, too. I just wanted Victor.

Something like guilt flashed over Jacoba’s face before her expression hardened. Well, it’s clear he’s not coming. He took the earrings and left, the wretch, and there’s nothing we can do about it. We don’t even have a way to find him.

The truth of that statement struck Isa hard. "We wouldn’t have to find him if you and Gerhart hadn’t gone to him behind my back. He was probably so disillusioned to learn that his beloved wife was no better than a counterfeiter that he—"

Has it occurred to you that perhaps he married ‘his beloved wife’ in the first place because of her post at the jeweler’s? Jacoba snapped.

Isa blanched. No, that hadn’t occurred to her. But it should have.

With an oath, Jacoba hurried to sit beside her and take her hand. I’m sorry, sister, I shouldn’t have said that.

Misery choked her. Jacoba was merely voicing fears that Isa hadn’t wanted to admit to herself. It was time she faced the truth. After all, it had never made sense to her that a fine, stalwart fellow like Victor would consider her worthy to be his wife. She wasn’t tall and elegant and blond like Jacoba. She wasn’t a good cook, which every man wanted, and she liked to spend her hours poring over design books and experimenting with smelly chemicals.

Do you really think he married me because of . . . my post? Isa managed.

"Of course. The jeweler constantly sang your praises. So if Victor married you, he knew he could stay on longer. The jeweler would have found something for him to do, if only to keep you there."

Isa’s heart broke. She hadn’t thought of it in that way, but it made sense. Had she always been the mouse to him, someone to shoo off once he got what he wanted? Had she really only been a convenient means to an end?

How could she not have seen that?

But she knew how. She’d been so enamored of his sweet kisses, so caught up in the idea of healing his pain from the war that she hadn’t seen the real him. All it had taken was those diamond earrings dangled in front of him, and he’d sold his soul to the devil.

And thrown away their marriage in the process.

I’m sorry to be so blunt, Jacoba said softly, but I thought you would have figured it out by now. She tightened her grip on Isa’s hand. You deserve better than Victor Cale.

Isa stared at her sister a long moment, then lifted her chin. Yes, she did. She deserved a husband who didn’t hide his ulterior motives behind his reserve. Who didn’t run off without saying goodbye.

Who didn’t collude with her family to steal things.

He only wanted to use you, Jacoba added.

Like you and Gerhart? Isa nearly said.

It was dawning on her that she also deserved better than to be used by her kith and kin. She had a child to consider. It was one thing to let them use her, but it would be quite another to let them use her child. And they would surely find a way to do it.

Shall I fetch you something? Jacoba asked, all soothing kindness now that she’d made her point. You have to keep your strength up for the babe, you know. Perhaps some of those summer peaches you love?

Yes, thank you, she murmured.

As soon as Jacoba was gone, Isa flipped back to the article she’d been reading. Mr. Gordon had told the paper that his main regret in leaving Paris was that he had to leave his French apprentices behind. They didn’t want to go to a land as wild and barren as Scotland. So now he would have to train new ones in Edinburgh, and that would take time.

Her heart began to pound. She tore out the article, then tossed the rest of the paper into the fire so Jacoba and Gerhart wouldn’t figure out that she was planning something.

Was she? It was a mad idea at best, to think she could convince a stranger to hire her as his apprentice and take her with him to Scotland. How was she supposed to manage it?

By steeling her heart and swallowing her fears. It would take strength and courage to get away. And she had to get away. She dared not stay with her family any longer if she wanted

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What people think about When the Rogue Returns

3.6
91 ratings / 7 Reviews
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  • (5/5)
    This is a story of second chance at love and even though I found the romance predictable, the rest of the story was not.

    As was the case with the first book in this series, this is another complex story featuring even more complex characters. Once more I had to concentrate very hard in order to follow the story and in the end I liked it.

    I'm actually glad that this series is turning out to be this complex in nature.

    Melanie for b2b
    Complimentary copy provided by the publisher
  • (5/5)
    Victor Cale was once betrayed by Isabella, his young sweet wife who he trusted with his life. But when she used her talent to create imitation jewels, to steal authentic jewels, then she disappeared from his life. Now ten years later he has found a family, a job in a investigation business called the "Dukes Men". Victor is sent on a job, up to Edinburgh, to investigate a woman who is involved with a young man, whose mother is concerned for his welfare. So when he learns that her description fits the exact image of his wife, he knows he must head up to Edinburgh, and discover the truth. Isa believes that it is Victor who abandoned her. Isabella has always loved Victor, but years ago, her family coerced her into working for them, but she never stole the jewels Victor believed her to have stolen. Isa believes that Victor betrayed her, and then abandoned her and their daughter. Now ten years later, with a new life and changed identity, she has a place here in Edinburgh, until the husband that abandoned her shows up asking all sort of question and demanding explanations. Victor and Isabella will have to learn to let go of mistrusts and learn to trust in each other and the love they share to defeat the enemy that is just beyond their reach and could threaten their future and their daughter.When The Rogue Returns is the second in the Dukes Men series. I was given a ARC of this title in return of a honest review through Edelweiss and Pocket Books. Now I have to say that after reading this I don't know which book in the series is my favorite, I feel like ripping my hair in frustration, how to choose? Well I think I am at a impasse! When The Rogue Returns was so amazing!!! I still can't believe how much I actually enjoyed this one. I really love the second chance themed romances, especially when Sabrina Jeffries is at the helm. This story was so romantic and sweet and suspenseful and plenty of steamy action to satisfy any romance lover. When The Rogue Returns is a story that begins with beginning glimpse of Isabella and Victor when they were newly married and young, and full of love not knowing what future awaited them or that they would be torn apart for ten years. Then it jumps ten years into the future, and you see both sides, and what each has suffered and struggled with over the past years. Secrets abound, and suspension rise when they see each other again. When they both eventually learn the truth of how they were both betrayed and lost ten years together, they join forces both in rediscovering each other and discovering the truth and finding a way to be together once again. This plot is definitely packed full of action and mystery and intrigue. I enjoyed the way the author seemed to put this story together in such a way that it enthralls the reader until you have finished the story and are left aching for more and more from this author.There is quite a bit that goes on in this story, much more than I ever expected to find. We see a suspenseful portion to the story, a small side romance of a friend of Isa's, more involvement from Dom and others in the Duke's Men, and more history on Victor Cale. Even though this story takes place in Scotland, its in the Regency era, so you don't see too much of culture or countryside of Scotland or the irresistible brogue. It definitely has more of a regency theme to the story, however this would probably be one of my top favorite regency romances yet. This unique story is somewhat different than most other regency style romances, and I loved the ups and downs and unique flips this story takes on. Definitely can hardly wait until the third installment comes out.Overall a thrilling paced romance that is going to drive you wild!! A love story that is tender and sweet, yet suspenseful and intense at times. A tale to give you a thrill and bring a few surprises to your doorstep. A hands down unforgettable story of betrayal, sacrifice, and love. REMARKABLY WRITTEN!!
  • (3/5)
    a dearth of 'rogues' _______unless your counting the villain and and the other ducal Manton investigators.Talented maker of artificial gems, Isabella is caught up in a plot to steal a betrothal diamonds necklace belonging to Dutch Royalty.Masterminded by her brother-in-law, Gerhart, and sister Jacoba, Isabella is devastated to learn that her husband Victor Cale was part of the heist. Not only that, but he has deserted her.Broken hearted she changes her identity and flees to Edinburg where she becomes a successful jeweller and business woman.Of course we find out that the truth is far from what she thought.Her husband Victor, has also had a change fortunes. Once a soldier without family connections, he has since found out that he's a cousin to a Duke and has been welcomed back into the fold.His new family runs an inquiry agency near Bow Street, Manton's Investigations. He undertakes to go to Edinburg to follow up a client's case, not the least because he realizes that the name of the woman he is to investigate is called Sofia Franke, the same surname as his mother. Is this coincidence?Of course he finds Isabella, the woman who threw him over for a lucrative criminal life. The premise of the novel is great. Isabella's work as a maker of quality imitation stones is fascinating, but truthfully I found both lead characters somewhat flat. In the end, although there was a jewell heist, wicked protagonists, and romance I was just not drawn in. I am still wondering why 'Rogue' is in the title. Victor doesn't seem at all roguish to me. All in all Rogue Returns is disappointing despite having all the right elements; grand theft, intrigue, love and adventure. There's just no 'wow' factor in the interaction between the main characters. They're all just a little too wooden. Still, the potential depth of this novel Inclines me to hope for promise realized in forthcoming titles. A NetGalley ARC
  • (5/5)
    Very good second chance/reunion story. Ten years ago Victor and Isa were very much in love and newly married. Victor was working as a guard for a jeweler and Isa was working for the same jeweler. She has a talent for making beautiful imitation jewels. Isa's sister and brother-in-law have forced her to make a fake set of Dutch royal jewels and are planning to switch them for the real thing. Isa has thought of a way to stop them, but is drugged by her sister, and her relatives pull off the switch anyway. The next day, Isa is told by her sister that Victor helped them, then left to throw authorities off the trail, but would join them later. Meanwhile, Victor finds a note from his wife telling him she has left him because he isn't good enough for her, leaving him to take the blame for the theft.Ten years later, both have moved on. Victor has discovered that he is the cousin of a Duke (What the Duke Desires). He's living in London, but society life isn't for him, he's worked for his living his whole life. So he goes to the Manton Agency and asks if he can work for them. They send him to Edinburgh to investigate a woman who may be trying to dupe a wealthy young baron into marrying her. The description of the woman sounds a lot like his wife, so he's eager to check her out. He's been searching for her the whole time. Meanwhile, after Victor abandoned her, Isa found herself pregnant and desperate to get away from her family, She created a new identity for herself and apprenticed to a jeweler moving to Edinburgh. She now has a successful career and a nine year old daughter she loves dearly.Isa is stunned to see Victor in Edinburgh. She is certain that he's only there to ask her to make more fakes for him to use to steal more jewels. At the same time, Victor thinks that Isa is after a way to steal the baron's family gems. After several days where Victor tries to get Isa alone, he finally succeeds, and makes his accusations. Isa is stunned by what he says, and has her own accusations to make. When they actually take the time to compare stories, they realize that they were set up by her relatives and have spent ten years hating each other for no reason. Of the two, Victor has the harder time letting go of his anger and seeing that he has blamed Isa for something that she didn't do. Now they have to decide if their marriage is able to be saved.Isa and Victor had been very young when they married and both had had their own insecurities. Victor's childhood hadn't been good, with a father who had kidnapped another man's son, and later died a syphilitic madman. Victor had become a soldier fighting the French until the war ended. He had been afraid to share his past with Isa, certain she would leave him if she knew about his past. When he was questioned about the jewels' disappearance, the authorities accused him of working with Isa, using his own past against him. He didn't want to believe that she had used him, but her disappearance had him doubting himself, though he still wouldn't confirm their accusations. Isa had been young and innocent and believed in Victor's love. She hadn't told him what her relatives were doing because she thought that she could stop them without him having to know. She had a hard time believing such a brave soldier would be interested in her, and her sister used that against her. When Victor never came after her, she believed her sister had been right. Now that they are older and wiser, they realize that they were both used. I liked the fact that the truth about what happened didn't take too long to come out, and that they actually did believe each other as they worked it out. But both of them are still reluctant to trust the other, sensing that there are unrevealed secrets. Victor still wants Isa's relatives brought to justice, but Isa is afraid that exposing the truth could put both her and Victor in danger, and ruin their daughter's life too. Now that their anger with each other is gone, their old feelings are coming back to the surface. I loved seeing them get to know each other again and try to rebuild their marriage.I loved the way that Isa has matured over the last ten years. She is no longer the quiet girl, content to let others tell her what to do. She has become strong and independent and has no trouble telling Victor when she doesn't like something that he is doing. However, she still has moments when she isn't sure of his motives for doing something. Victor has also gotten more confident in himself and who he is, but like Isa, still has lapses in his belief in her innocence. He wants his revenge, or justice, on Isa's relatives and has to rethink things when she points out the hazards. I liked seeing them realize that they are stronger together, as long as they can maintain their belief in each other. When Isa's relatives make a reappearance after ten years of leaving Isa alone, Isa's daughter is put into danger. They must find a way to put their trust issues behind them for good if they are going to save Amalie and make a go of their marriage.I really enjoyed the secondary characters also, and the layers they brought to the story. Baron Rupert was one of the best. He is young and rather awkward socially. He is the Regency version of a nerd, and Isa is one of his few friends. He has a crush on her and is pretty sweet because of it. But he is also a very good friend to her and plays a very big part in Amalie's rescue. He also ends up with a pretty sweet romance of his own. I also loved seeing Max and Tristan and Dom from the first book and seeing how they support Victor. They show up just in time to help Victor and Isa. I loved the ingenuity of their plan and how it all came together. I enjoyed the scene with Tristan and Lady Zoe, and what appears to be the set up for the next book in the series.*copy received in exchange for honest review.
  • (5/5)
    Read for Review (NetGalley)Overall Rating: 4.50Story Rating: 4.50Character Rating: 4.50First Thought when Finished: Holy historical goodness! When the Rogue Returns was an absolute freaking good read!Story Thoughts: What do you do when you think you are wronged and see that person 10 years later? Especially when that person is your husband/wife? Well all I can say is that in When the Rogue Returns the banter was witty, the miscommunication was immense, and the reconnection was freaking fantastic. I enjoyed every stinking minute of this book!Character Thoughts: Vic oh Vic! You made my heart pound and my nose twitch. You were broody, wrong,and oh so handsome. I am glad that Isabella couldn't resist you either time. Isa! You were smart, resourceful, and your secret was mighty. I am glad that you were the woman who could hold it all together and thrive. Together you made a wonderful pair!Final Thoughts: Oh how I loved When the Rogue Returns!
  • (4/5)
    After years of searching, Victor finds his missing wife, Isabelle. He believes she is the reason he was wrongly accused of stealing royal jewels. Anger and resentment boils hot between these two. He wants revenge, she will do anything to protect their daughter (which he knows nothing about.)What a fun, angsty read! It was fast paced, with plenty of secrets and surprises along the way to keep me hooked. Another good historical romance, if that is what you are looking for.I received this book in exchange for an honest book review.
  • (5/5)
    Title: When The Rogue ReturnsAuthor: Sabrina JeffriesGenre: Historical RegencyStory Setting: Amsterdam, Paris, Scotland, London Published By: Pocket Books (January 21, 2014)Pages: 400ASIN: B00DPM7YP4“Anyone who loves romance must read Sabrina Jeffries!” – New York Times bestselling author Lisa KleypasAbout the Author: Sabrina Jeffries has written 35 novels and eight stories of short fiction. She has more than 6 million books in print in 18 different languages. Certainly this is a testament to the delight that these stories bring to her readers. The Duke Men’s Series as of tomorrow consists of two books: What the Duke Desires and When a Rogue Returns. It is a series based around an investigative agency which was created through pride of family and passion. These men risk their lives to discover devious deceptions and scandalizing transgressions which occasionally having them risk their hearts.About the Story: Isabella escaped her thieving sister and brother-in-law in Paris when she read in the newspaper that a jewelry maker who made imitation jewelry was moving to Scotland. When she found herself with child she knew she had to escape. She decided to apply for the position of assistant. Scotland would be far enough away for her to begin a new life. If she stayed with her sister and brother-in-law, she would be an accomplice to their thievery. She already was an accomplice to the last theft. What had she done? Where was her husband? Did he truly leave her taking part of the heisted jewels with him? Was his love so shallow that he could do that to her? She knew so little about him—they had been married such a short time. Victor Cale could not believe that his wife would use him to make a heist on the Dutch royal family jewels. He thought he knew her. She was sweet and shy, certainly no one who could do what she did. But she, her sister and brother-in-law must have been planning it all along. As the night guard on duty when the switch was made, he was the prime suspect. And when his sister and family did not return, the authorities worked on Victor to get him to tell them that his wife and family had done the robbery. Victor held out even though being tortured. He did not tell them. The experience had hardened and embittered him. He spent the next 10 years looking for his wife so that he could seek revenge for what she did to him…until one day through a stroke of good luck he found her. She was in Scotland impersonating a widow using his mother’s maiden name.While Isa thought her husband had left her running off with part of the jewels, he thought that she had run off with the jewels. Neither trusted the other. Yet, they still were attracted to each other. The flame of passion from ten years ago only burned brighter. Isa was no long the shy, sweet woman. She’s bold and she confronts him about his crime. She’s a lioness and must protect her cub, Amalie, now nine years old. He cannot know that she exists. He will never have her! Victor cannot believe that she is trying to get out of being caught, because caught he intended her to be. He would get his revenge. My Thoughts: Sabrina Jeffries has the perfect mix of romance, suspense and villainous characters in her stories. They are a delight to read. This series promises to be as addictive as her others. I love women who are changed from sweet to something more. Obviously Victor does, too, because he is ever more drawn to his wife, her boldness pleases him. It doesn’t take him long to be drawn into her net. Likewise, Isa finds her husband to be more attractive and she approves of the changes that she finds in him. But, can they come to trust each other again? Will they be able to share each other’s secrets? If I rated books, this would take a top rating.