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When the Rogue Returns: The Duke's Men    by Sabrina Jeffries order for
When the Rogue Returns
by Sabrina Jeffries
Order:  USA  Can
Pocket, 2014 (2014)
Paperback, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

As a young Prussian soldier fresh from war it's easy for Victor Cale to find himself attracted to the sweet and shy Isabella, who, he soon discovers, has a gift for creating imitation jewels. When he falls victim to what he is led to believe is Isa's scheme to steal the Dutch royal diamonds, he's labelled an accomplice and suffers for it. Bitter, angry, and feeling every inch the fool for falling under Isa's spell, he vows to track her down, but it's as if she has completely vanished along with a small fortune in jewels.

A decade later, Victor is the newest member of Manton's Investigations. His next case lands him in Edinburgh to probe the background of a young aristocrat's apparent bride-to-be. The guileless baron's mother believes that her son's crush, one Sophie Franke, is nothing more than a rapacious gold digger. The Baroness demands Victor leave no stone unturned to prove her suspicions. Much to Victor's shock, however, the alluring young widow Franke turns out to be none other than his long lost wife, Isabella.

Isa is furious, and not a little terrified that Victor might well ruin the successful life and business she has built for herself as one of the city's most renowned jewellers. Victor, on the other hand, is determined to root out all Mrs. Franke's secrets, even if he must shake the truth from his duplicitous wife. But it soon becomes clear that his 'little mausie' has become a feminine force to be reckoned with. Equally aggravating, Victor finds himself as wildly attracted to his wife as he'd been a decade ago. When the true villains of the piece slither forth from the shadows with blackmail in mind and in short order threaten the well-being of someone close to both Victor and Isa's hearts, the couple must work together and formulate a resolution so that they can at last find peace and happiness together.

Wonderful atmosphere, crisp dialogue, an entertaining plot, two headstrong leads (with sizzling chemistry) and a colourful array of secondary characters make for a fast paced, often humorous and thoroughly enjoyable historical romance, one that will keep you quickly flipping pages to see what will happen next.

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