How to Tame a Wild Rogue
Book Six, Palace of Rogues series
July 25th, 2023
He clawed his way up from the gutters of St. Giles to the
top of a shadowy empire. Feared and fearsome, battered and brilliant,
nothing shocks Lorcan St. Legernot even the discovery of
an aristocratic woman escaping out a window near the London docks
on the eve of the storm of the decade. They find shelter at a
boarding house called the Grand Palace on the Thamesonly
to find greater dangers await inside.
Desperate, destitute, and jilted, Lady Daphne Worth knows the
clock is ticking on her last chance to save herself and her family:
an offer of a loveless marriage. But while the storm rages and
roads flood, she and the rogue who rescued her must pose as husband
and wife in order to share the only available suite.
Crackling enmity gives way to incendiary desireand certain
heartbreak: Lorcan is everything she never dreamed shed
wanted, but he can never be what she needs. But risk is childs
play to St. Leger. And if the stakes are a lifetime of loving
and being loved by Daphne, hell move any mountain, confront
any old nemesis, to turn never into forever.
Hed been born on a night like this: the sky choked with
black clouds, the wind banshee-screeching through cracks and rattling
windows in their frames like a costermonger whod caught
hold of a thieving urchin.
Or at least thats the sort of thing Lorcan St. Leger liked
to tell whatever audience he held in thrall at a given moment.
Its how I got so strong and so ugly, you see,
hed say. I was born screaming into a headwind. And
Ive fought against headwinds me whole life.
He didnt actually know precisely when or where he was born.
But hed come to understand that a personal myth could be
as useful as armor.
Experience told him the impending storm would be long and violent
and his skin prickled with not unpleasant portent. His ship had
reached harbor just ahead of it; and while his crew had dispersed
at once to inns or brothels, captains business had kept
Lorcan out later than hed anticipated, and by the time hed
reached the nearest inn the last room had been taken. He needed
to find shelter soon, but the only other possibility for lodging
nearby was a storied brothel he knew of mainly through misty,
prurient reminiscences shared by sailors over the years. Hed
seen the building once, years ago; gargoyles lined the roof edge.
So thats where he was headed. In a pinch, he supposed, he
could take shelter in the livery stable hed passed. God
knew a man could keep worse company than horses.
Now and again the fitful wind whipped clouds away from a full
moon, and fragments of his surroundings were illuminated: the
eyes of a slinking cat, the sheen of greasy water atop an open
barrel, a lantern hook outside a shop door. Nearly every shop
and dwelling had taken their lamps in. He hadnt seen another
human on the street for nearly a quarter of an hour.
Only cats, rats, and Lorcan St. Leger would walk the streets near
the London docks unafraid at this time of night.
In St. Giles, as a child, hed learned that a moments
distraction could mean death. Terror had been the whetstone against
which hed honed his reflexes and wits. How to find hiding
places and escape routes, how to fight, when to ingratiate, when
to intimidate, how to barter and stealhe leveraged his lessons
into strength, and then into power. By the time he was scarcely
more than twenty years old hed built a shadowy empire from
one end of England to the other of men and women who would have
killed for him.
Hed made sure theyd never needed to. Brutality was
the fastest way to the gallows, after all. The quickest way to
get caught. And it was no substitute for strategy and cunning
or for razor-sharp judge of character. Lorcan wasnt above
it, of course, if it was the quickest solution to a sticky problem
of disrespect or immediate threat. And hed tolerated no
nonsense from the various earls, viscounts, and other nobs whod
been his customers and whom hed easily charmed. They paid
cash on the nail or they got nothing.
And no one ever crossed him twice.
In exchange for their fealty, hed given his meticulously
chosen crew trust and respect. He listened to their needs and
paid them promptly and well. Theyd repaid him with adulation
and ironclad loyalty.
Those days were behind him. He was more than a decade older than
when hed begun; he led a different life; he had a different
crew. And yet still he instinctively moved swiftly and nearly
soundlessly through the dark, his every sense on alert.
He froze when he heard a muffled thump from a few feet away.
It was the sound of somethingor someonefalling to
the ground in the narrow street up ahead.
He flattened himself against the building wall. Pistol in hand,
he inched soundlessly toward the alley. Then peered around the
Very little surprised him anymore.
But about fifteen or so feet ahead of him, into the alley separating
two buildings, a woman was lowering herself out of a second-story
window on what appeared to be a braided bedsheet.
On the cobblestones below her he could just make out a small,
dark, oblong shape. Likely a valise or knapsack shed thrown
to the ground before her descent. The source of the thump.
He decided to pause to take in the spectacle as though it were
a puppet show.
Her feet flailed a bit before she gingerly came to rest on the
top of a stack of crates pushed up against the building wall.
She was still a good seven or eight feet off the ground.
And shed run out of bedsheet.
Lorcan wasnt quite certain what manner of escape he was
watching, but he found himself rooting for her just the same.
The wildness in his soul could not help but admire the wily people
of the world, the ones who tried and got away with audacious things.
He was disinclined to judge. No one knew better than he did what
desperation could inspire even a saintly person to do. He possessed
a moral code, after a fashion, but his first instinct was always
to help. At least the first time.
The moon and a rude gust of wind conspired to hurl her cloak and
skirts upward and dropped it, revealing a pair of elegantly curved
calves wearing surprisingly good embroidered stockings.
I once gave a pair of stockings much like those to a mistress,
he said idly.
The woman flattened herself against the wall and froze.
But her breath formed swift white puffs in the frigid air
One hand remained fisted around the sheet. The wind whipped the
hood from her head. She yanked it back over her head with the
He moved carefully closer. He could now hear her terrified breathing.
Madam, he mused, it looks as though youre
in a bit of a bind.
Perhaps because this was self-evident, she didnt reply.
If what youve just tossed down is a satchel full of
silver plate, youd best hurry. I should hate for their rightful
owners to awake and shoot you. Now he was having a little
fun at her expense.
Why would I take silver plate?
Her voice was a shock. Low-pitched, exquisitely refined, every
word as precise as a cut gem. It was like stumbling across a diamond
necklace in the dirt.
Oh . . . lass . . . he said pityingly. First
day at thieving?
Im not thieving. She actually sounded indignant.
Some . . . blighter . . . moved the barrel that I . . .
that I planned to . . .
Blighter! He was amused. Youll never get
to heaven using that sort of language.
And then he became brisk. I believe youre going to
have to jump. And Im going to have to catch you, because
the sound of human bones crunching against cobblestones puts me
right off me feed.
She said nothing. The only movement was the lashing of her cape
about her ankles. It snapped like a sail in the wind.
My offer is not indefinite, madam. Jump or be caught stealing,
its all the same to me.
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a STARRED review from Publishers
Long continues her hot streak with the spicy sixth Palace
of Rogues... heightened emotions, palpable passion, and just the
right amount of suspense keep the pages flying. Readers won't
want to put this one down.
a STARRED review from Kirkus
Thus begins a lovely new episode in the Palace
of Rogues series, in which the author works romance alchemy on
the familiar tropes of forced proximity, opposites attract, and
a fake relationship, with magical results. Along with the pleasures
of peeking in on series regulars, readers will witness the slow
build of sexual and emotional ties between a former orphan from
the slums and a woman once destined to marry a fellow aristocrat.
As they spend time alone in their suite to build a convincing
story about their nonexistent couplehood, Lorcan and Daphne realize
theyre revealing hidden facets of themselves that no one
else has known or could have been trusted with. Long imbues their
every gesture and utterance with delicate weight. Metaphor and
similes abound, making visible the ineffable threads that weave
two people into one self when they share past griefs, present
desires, and future wishes.
a STARRED review from Library Journal
The delightful plot
dances from there, but the strongest part of the reading experience
is Longs deft writing. She creates deep emotional attachments
across characters, both romantically and companionably, and her
dialogue simmers and sparkles. Reading the book is akin to sinking
into a sofa in the boarding home and being welcomed to great company.
VERDICT Series readers will be delighted, and those yet to discover
Long will have found a treasure, quickly seeking the full series
for Julie Anne Long's work:
"I am in awe of her talent."
Quinn, #1 NYT Bestselling Author
"Julie Anne Long reinvents the historical romance for modern
readers, delivering intense, passionate characters and high adventure.
Her writing glows."
Quick, NYT Bestselling Author
voice that stands out in a chorus of Regency historicals, Julie
Anne Long entrances with deftly woven humor, strong and believable
characters, and a genuinely rich and emotional resolutions. Delicious
Hawkins, NYT Bestselling Author