125: Dearest Rogue
James Trevellion has been Lady Phoebe Batten's bodyguard for almost a year. While his presence seemed just another way for her brother to limit her freedom, she reconsiders his usefulness after he thwarts a kidnapping attempt. While she admits she needs him to keep her safe, she cannot help but feel more interested in him as a man than a guard. James has admired Phoebe from the start but never dreamed she would return his feelings. Yet when Phoebe suddenly kisses him one night, he's faced with a choice: make it clear he is only her brother's employee or give in to his deeper feelings. We're back in Maiden Lane with Dearest Rogue by Elizabeth Hoyt.
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If you'd like to listen to a certain segment of our show, here's our outline this week:
0:00 - 08:23: Intro, Author, and History Fact
08:23 - 14:55: Synopsis
14:55 - 16:22: Parlour
16:22 - 44:56: General Discussion
We include our synopses as a semi-transcription of the episode in our blog posts. You can learn more about how we compose these by reading this article. As a reminder though, our synopses are FULL of spoilers. Read ahead at your own risk :)
Dearest Rogue Synopsis:
After he was injured during Duke of Midnight, James Trevellion was unable to continue as a dragoon. After his broken leg healed, it did not heal well enough to continue active duty, so for the last yearish he’s been Lady Phoebe Batten’s bodyguard.
Phoebe has mainly resented his presence, since it is just another way her brother has limited her freedom since she started going blind. She was never able to have a season, never went to events, and now what limited activities she is permitted she must bring her keeper.
Our book opens on Bond Street when it finally appears that having a bodyguard may not have been the worst idea since there is an attempt to abduct Phoebe in broad daylight.
James thwarts the kidnappers' attempts and Phoebe is brought home safely.
Her brother is convinced that he knows who was behind the kidnapping attempt, so is a bit dismissive when James tells him they should investigate deeper.
This now means Phoebe is even more closely watched but she and James seem to be growing closer. Phoebe begins to admit that she does like James a bit and even considers him a friend at the end of the day.
James has admired Phoebe from the beginning, but he is very aware that he is 12 years her senior and commoner to boot.
Which is why it is a shock when Phoebe suddenly kisses him one evening when he is comforting her after an argument with her brother.
He knows he must stay away but this does soften him a bit when it comes to their outings. Phoebe convinces James to let them go to Harts Folly to meet with Mr. MacLeish, the architect whom she recently met at her new friend, Eve Dinwoody’s house.
At the folly though, there is a second kidnapping attempt and this time, it is a very near miss.
When they arrive back at home, James tells the Duke about the second attempt and also resigns his post. If it wasn’t for the other footmen, he would not have been able to protect Phoebe due to his bad leg.
While this is happening Mr. MacLeish comes to check on Phoebe and actually proposes to her. She turns him down and this is where she begins to realize her growing feelings for James.
Her growing closeness with James is then threatened when she learns that he’s quit.
Phoebe runs to his room and tells him he doesn’t need to leave, he needs to stay and be her bodyguard. Also she’s sorry for being so forward the day before. James removes her from his room without a word.
The next day, James gets word that the kidnapper the Duke suspected is dead, so the danger is past. James does not feel this is actually true. So he reaches out to Alf to keep an ear out for information about who would want to kidnap Phoebe.
Just as his gut was telling him, James finds out a short time later that Phoebe was kidnapped from behind the house on her way to mews.
After interrogating Phoebe’s Lady’s Maid who sold out Phoebe’s information to the villains, James finds Phoebe and rescues her from her kidnappers.
While she expects him to take her back to her brother’s house, he instead whisks her off to an undisclosed location, which is where they find themselves playing husband and wife on the road and sharing a single bed at night.
On day two we have an, almost, encounter. In the morning with Phoebe cuddled up and tempting, they kiss and it quickly turns into a very hot and heavy makeout where Phoebe orgasms for the first time thanks to some clothes on grinding.
However, after that lovely interlude we end up at our secret hideaway. James’s childhood home in Cornwall. We learn that his family are horse breeders by trade.
We also learn why James joined the Dragoons.
He had to flee after beating the man who raped/sexually assaulted his mentally handicapped sister. He was meant to protect her when she went into town but he stopped at the bookstore and the man seduced her with a sweet.
This man was the second son of the local lord, who then put a price on James’s head for beating his son nearly to death.
From that encounter, James’s niece Agnes was born. She’s very fun and the one who named his horse Cowslip, who sadly was put down in the same accident that broke Jame’s leg.
She has also been the primary link to home James has had, since he has not been there in a decade.
While in Cornwall, James and Phoebe grow closer. He tells her it cannot work with them, he is too old for her but she will not hear it. She feels safe with him and admires him for all of who he is.
We finally get our first encounter when James takes Phoebe to the beach for the first time. She gets to experience something new, while knowing James is nearby. It is a full on encounter, they basically go from “no, we can’t” to “f*** it!”
When they arrive back at the house, they find out Agnes is missing and that her father is back in town.
Immediately James sets off to confront the man and get rid of him for good.
When he arrives at the local lord’s house he finds that Agnes has been meeting with her grandfather for almost two years. He tells James his son is a disappointment to him, he will not arrest James, and that he would like to have a relationship with Agnes. Also his son is leaving for the Caribbean and will likely never come back to England.
He returns and tells Phoebe what happened. They have encounter 2 and they’re just all in. Like no hesitation.
The next day, there is a note from Maximus (the Duke). He tells Trevellion they have the kidnapper arrested and that he needs to bring Phoebe home now.
They set off and Phoebe is not looking forward to going back. James has given her more freedom than she has had since going blind.
On the way back, she’s worried he will distance himself and she is not interested.
Luckily he listens and we have encounter 3 and 4 on their two day journey to London.
Once they arrive, Phoebe is taken to her room and James confronts the Duke. He is outraged and even more outraged when he hears that James wants to court Phoebe.
When Maximus goes to Phoebe to “let her choose” her new bodyguard, she lays into him.
“It’s not my blindness that cripples me, it’s everyone else deciding I can’t live because of my blindness. If I stumble, if I run into things and fall and hurt myself it’s because I can and I’m free to do so, Maximus. Because without that freedom I’m just a dull, chained thing and I won’t be that woman anymore. I simply won’t, Maximus.”
He is shocked but luckily, he has had Artemis to soften his stubbornness, he goes to James’s room and gives his blessing for him to marry Phoebe.
But we’re not done yet. Phoebe is once again kidnapped.
James, upon learning this, immediately calls Alf, our favorite St. Giles informant, and asks what he has learned so far.
This information takes James to Phoebe and the real kidnapper. Turns out the Duke of Montgomery has a grudge against Maximus for shutting down the gin stiles so he was going to have MacLeish marry her and take her from Maximus.
While Mongomery is given his villain speech, one of the hired hands runs off with Phoebe so James has to chase them down in St. Giles. He rescues her and professes his love.
“I love you with all my cynical heart. Be my wife and teach me to laugh and let me buy you beer and ride with me on the beaches of Cornwall. Be my love and my wife forevermore.” “I will,” she whispered to him. “Oh, James, I will.”
Epilogue: Two weeks later James and Phoebe are married and chilling in Cornwall. Exactly where they want to be.
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