Lady Gwyneth Evans Simms, a fiery and independent young widow, is renowned for her campaigns to aid the unfortunate and the oppressed. Fearlessly determined, she turns her passionate energy upon the prison hulks anchored in England’s harbors…unwittingly throwing herself into the most perilous fight of her life…
Damon de Wolfe, the rude and arrogant Marquess of Morninghall, is a lone wolf of a man with devil’s eyes and a temper blacker than hell. Tall, dark, and very dangerous, he is driven by revenge…until his life is turned upside-down by the sensuous virago with the power to exorcise the personal demons which haunt his soul – and teach him the meaning of love….
This book may contain explicit intimate scenes, so if you are not 18+ then I probably wouldn’t recommend it for younger readers.
Danelle Harmon is officially one of my favorite historical romance authors. I have read her other books and Wicked At Heart did not disappoint – which is no surprise! Damon – the diabolical devil can be stand offish, a brute, and down right infuriating at times but that is just a fixture – a facade that he puts up so he will not get hurt or close to anyone as he had been hurt and humiliated in the past and he is hell bent on not letting it happen again. Gwyneth, a tough young widower is a take charge type of woman who is determined to knock down Damon’s walls to find the real ‘Damon’. Such a great read as always. Loved the tension and banter between Damon and Gwyneth.
He feared her, desired her, thought he’d very well kill any man who dared look twice at her, and here she was, expecting him to walk her home, as though he were a — a goddamned gentleman or something. Didn’t she know the only one from whom she needed protection was him?
“Do I intimidate you?” “I am not going to answer that.” He merely smiled, knowingly, and let his gaze slide heatedly down her throat . . . over her collarbone . . . to her breasts, tingling with fire beneath their bombazine shield. “I mean it, Morninghall.” “Really, Lady Simms. Do you think I’m going to leap out of this chair and —” he lifted one wicked eyebrow — “ravish you?”
“Yes, and Satan was able to charm Eve before he brought about man’s downfall, too.” “Satan was once an angel of God.” “I am no angel.”
“Really, my lady,” he said, letting his voice drop to a smoky murmur as his lips neared hers, “before you seek to cross swords with the devil, you should know that he can be very dangerous . . .”
“Really, my dear, you should count your blessings that I didn’t show up. How horrified your gently-bred friends would’ve been to have Satan himself darkening their charming affair! But never mind that. I’m more intrigued by your calling card.” He faded into the gloom for a moment and reappeared with the damp oar, which he casually handed down to the grinning fisherman. “Quite an unusual one for a — ahem — lady, is it not?”
Sir Graham looked directly at Gwyneth. “Lord Morninghall is semiconscious and out of his head.” Then, softly: “But it is your name that he’s calling.” Gwyneth’s mouth fell open and she felt a direct stab of pain to her heart. In confusion she looked from the admiral to the chaplain. “My name?” “Yes. Over and over again. He will not stop.”
He kissed her then, and she stopped thinking. It was a hard kiss, full of passion, anger, and raw, unrequited male hunger, a kiss that pinned her head, her spine, against the bedpost behind her and left her nowhere to go. There was no mercy in the kiss; no gentleness, no sweet seduction, no kindness, nothing but the full force of his anger. His tongue thrust against her lips, forcing them open, and Gwyneth felt her defenses falling away, one by one. Sudden fear shot through her. This was no silly challenge intended to wound his pride. She was playing with hellfire itself, and she was going to get burned — badly.
Any moment now, that enraged prince of darkness was going to come storming out of his cabin and drag her right back into the Hades he ruled.
There he stood, tall, lethal, and silhouetted in the doorway. He was holding a pistol and it was leveled directly at Ralph. In his eyes Gwyneth saw only darkness and a total absence of soul. In his eyes, Gwyneth saw the devil incarnate.
He wondered if she knew how much he needed her. He wondered if the lilacs were still in bloom, and what she would have done if he really had broken one off that day in her garden and given it to her, and suddenly wished with all his heart that he had.
“Lady Simms?” he whispered. “Yes?” He swallowed hard, gathering the courage to say what he must. “You . . . you won’t leave me, will you?”
“That which I wish to tell you, Damon . . . is that I love you.” He drew her to him, unable to contain himself any longer. “I love you too, Gwyneth. God help me, I do.” He felt her arms go around him, pulling him up and into her embrace, and as he leaned his forehead against her shoulder and the great, hitching sobs claimed him, the light shone upon him at last.
She looked up and her face immediately brightened. “Good afternoon, my lord.” “Greetings, madam.” “You should be in bed, resting.” “You’re absolutely correct. I should be in bed.” He plucked a stray piece of grass and chewed absently on the stem, his gaze never leaving hers. “But not resting.” She snapped to her full height and tried to glare at him, but laughter played in her eyes and around her mouth. “You are a very wicked man, Damon.” “Yes, wicked at heart. Tell me you would have me any other way.” “I would not.”
“Well?” “Is that — a proposal?” “It is trying to be a proposal. I can rephrase it, if you wish.” She could only stare at him. “Oh, Damon!” “Shall I rephrase it? I can bow over your hand like a gallant young buck and say, ‘My dear Lady Simms, will you do me the honor of becoming my wife?’ That is the traditional approach. Or — ” She giggled, drinking him up with her eyes, loving every inch of him. ” — I can do it as a pirate might, by sweeping you off your feet and carrying you straight to the nearest clergyman without giving you a chance to deny me —” She laughed, and reached out to swat playfully at his shoulder. “And how might the Black Wolf do it?” He stared at her, momentarily taken aback. Then, swiftly recovering, he smiled and murmured, “I suppose he would kidnap you and wrap you in his black cape, and adopt much the same method as would our pirate.” “And how do you know he has a black cape?” “Well, if I were the Black Wolf, I’d certainly wear a black cape.” “Oh, Damon. I do so wish you’d ravish me.” “Consent to be my marchioness, and I shall consider it.”
He stared down at her, slowly shaking his head. “How can any man look upon you and not want to possess you, wholly and fully?” “You’re looking upon me,” she said softly, invitingly, “and I have yet to see you begin the process of possessing me wholly and fully.” Lowering his head until his forehead touched hers, he gazed deeply into her eyes. “I know I’ve been a brute in the past, but I swear to you, Gwyneth, I shall be as gentle, as considerate as you deserve to have me be.”
“I would like to say the yellow suits her and she looks quite charming. I would like to say she looks gentle and sweet, fairer than any of these flowers that surround her in this garden, but since her fingers are tightening around her spoon, and I already know what damage she can do with flying projectiles, I think I shall refrain from making any comment whatsoever.”