WHEN YOU'RE DESIRED – Tamara Lejeune
Zebra Books
ISBN-13: 978-1-4201-2391-3
December 2012
Historical Romance

London, England – 1817

Celia St. Lys is considered by some to be the Devil's daughter…she's an actress.  Everyone loves her blonde hair, her habit of damping her white gowns in plays where she has “almost drowned”, and even winking at the audience as if sharing a joke with them.  Celia is truly the toast of the town, with men scrambling to have dinner with her and maybe have a chance at making her their mistress.  When Dorian Ascot, the Duke of Berkshire, sees Celia in a play, he is slightly attracted, especially when his mother tells him he needs to make her his mistress and even offers to draw up a contract for them dealing with financial matters and even the future of their bastard children.  Dorian asks Celia for dinner, and when she agrees, his mother reminds him he really does need to find a new wife after the death of his first wife.  This time Dorian tells her that he wants to marry for love, unlike the first time.  Dorian's mother is determined to find the perfect wife for her darling son, so unlike his younger brother, Simon.

Several years before, Simon and Celia had a week of passionate love, but Simon went to war, and when he heard she was not true to him, he went on with his life.  When he sees his brother Dorian looking interested in Celia, he is bound and determined she will not hurt his brother like she did him.  Dorian himself is rather innocent, despite being married and losing his wife. He knows he must remarry, yet when his mother suggests a mistress, he is surprised, that just is not something that is part of his personality.  Meeting Celia changes his mind, especially when he learns the secret of Celia's life and how it has intersected with his family.

Against the backdrop of the theater and all the women trying to take Celia's place in popularity, Dorian is attracted to Celia but deplores the kind of environment she lives in, and they must each deal with their separate histories and with each other.  Dorian tries to right the wrong his family inflicted on Celia, and Simon is only interested in destroying Celia and keeping her away from his brother, while maybe keeping her around for what most actresses are good for, as a lover.  It is a long journey for Dorian to right the wrongs for Celia, and Simon to realize Celia has always cared for him.

Tamara Lejeune presents us with a story of revenge and heartbreak on the part of Celia.  Dorian is interested in a woman he can love; Simon is interested in hurting Celia, and Celia is extremely hurt by what happened with the entire Berkshire family and how they treated her and then cast her out.

Secondary characters abound because Celia works with many people in the theater.  The Dowager Duchess of Berkshire initially seems mainly a concerned mother, but her true self comes through at the end.

WHEN YOU'RE DESIRED takes us through the interesting life of a fairly well-to-do actress in London, and how she has lived her life to manage her finances and live in a way that gives her the most happiness after her many years of torment.  Dorian is a true gentleman, and Simon is not, but then women always are attracted to the bad boy.  Learn the secrets of how Celia's, Dorian's, and Simon's lives had crossed years ago, and how their family's actions hurt Celia, and whether Simon and Dorian can right those wrongs.

Carolyn Crisher