Diamonds in the RoughDiamonds in the Rough by The Novel Strumpet
Series: The Ladies Sewing Circle #6
Published by HQN on May 28, 2013
Genres: Erotica, Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley
Buy on Amazon

From author’s website:

Pragmatism and passion. Diamonds and daring drawings. First desire rekindled… and out of control!

Adela Ruffington has resigned herself to becoming an old maid, despite her sensual nature and a passionate sexual initiation at age eighteen, with her distant cousin, Wilson. What she perceives as imperfections in her appearance seem to be the reason for her lack of suitors, along with unfavorable financial prospects due to the eccentricity of her wealthy but misogynistic grandfather. But a lack of marriage proposals doesn't mean Adela denies her sexual urges, and she's arrived at daring but logical solution to satisfying her desires. Trading on her remarkable skills as an erotic artist and illustrator she swaps the fruits of her talent for the services of the "young men" at her friend Sofia Chamfleur's exotic pleasure house for women.

At a summer house party hosted by wealthy friends, eccentric polymath scientist and academic, Wilson Ruffington, catches his distant cousin Adela breaking into the room housing a famous private erotica collection, cleverly employing a couple of her hair pins to pick the lock. Intrigued by her clandestine behavior, he finds his long standing but dormant desire for Adela suddenly and powerfully rekindled, which is a shock to him since he's sworn off sex in the wake of a disastrous breakup from his mistress, a legendary beauty.

Embroiled in family complications involving inheritance, indiscretions, and some breathtaking heirloom diamonds, Wilson and Adela somehow find themselves joined in a marriage of convenience, a union fraught with dark secrets, confrontation, and a lot of conveniently fabulous sex.

But can their practical arrangement ever be more than just desire? Can these two stubborn, strong willed people stop butting heads long enough to admit they're still in love?

First off, it’s historical which is a plus.  Secondly, the teasing between the two main characters is lots of good naughty fun.  I found the premise of a woman in the Victorian era who is in touch with her sexuality, rather fun to read.  Also the idea that there is a pleasure house she goes to that caters to women’s desires?!?!  YES PLEASE!  The only problem with this is that we only hear about it rather than visit it with her 🙁  Guess that’s what da Costa’s earlier anthology “A Gentlewoman’s Quartet” is for 😉  I identify with Adela a lot which means…

Of course I’m going to fall in love with Wilson.  Plus, he’s my ideal: uber-smart, uber-sexy, a hedonistic dominant and at heart a really good man.  *SWOON*  And c’mon – we all know who his friend “Arthur” is.

At first I thought this was just going to be about a woman who’s mother wants to marry her off even if she is around spinsterhood.  A man who doesn’t want to marry but then can’t deny that this woman is his perfect sexual match.  And they all live happily ever after.  Then da Costa throws in blackmail, daring break-ins, etc. and suddenly I’m wishing this wasn’t just a novel but the start of a series with these two.


I might be biased because I really loved the characters, but I honestly think this is a really good and steamy read.  I think the only drawback is that Adela is a little impatient sometimes to get to the finish line, so to speak, and that can cut some of the really steamy scenes short.  With a man like Wilson, I’d say he can take all the time he wants.  Tee hee hee.

I’d label this book a scorching swooner.  You’re going to want to loosen your corsets or you may get slightly dizzy and you’ll definitely get a little hot under the collar.