Release Date: Oct 22, 2019
Series: The Rogue Files
Heat Level: Sensual
Imprint: Avon Books
The whole premise of this book appeals to me, every last historical romance loving bit. A woman needing to save her family and willing to take steps to do so and a Duke, who is not a people person, being the one she turns to for help. A fabulous tropey tale with great potential… fell a teeny bit flat.
I get it a writer has 385 pages, 85 thousand words to tell a story in and that’s it, but my standards for books are on the rise. Instant lust is of course inevitable in a romance, especially historical— you often need that spark of attraction to drive further interaction, but when fifty percent of the characters interactions are only around the physical it takes something away from the story (for me).
That being said the hero Nathaniel, Duke of Warrington is still fabulous. He’s a grumpy, stubborn man who’s used to being rude and gruff because he can and people take cover and simper because he’s a duke. Nathaniel is the hedonistic duke, whose life turned out less than he planned so he’s embraced the naughty side, sinful pleasures and what not. Our heroine, Marian is Nathaniel’s match because she’s not afraid of him or unwilling to stand up and call him out. She is the refreshing drink of water among bottles of spoiled milk. Which is exactly why Nathaniel says yes to the very woman he should be saying no to.
Marian needs a better solution, her parents now deceased have left her with two younger sisters and no means to care for them. Once the daughter of a well-known and respected town doctor, the honor bestowed to Marian and her sister’s during her father’s life is not extended past his death. There’s no money for coal, none for food, and beyond the creditors breathing down her neck there’s a nasty butcher that would love to take her to wife. This resourceful young woman finds the idea of being a mistress much more enticing than a wife who can be controlled. She yearns for the possibility of the money and the freedom being a mistress affords. Unfortunately, the only man even worth her time is one grumpy duke.
The story winds on from there, an arrangement, which of course goes awry. The plot moves along at a quick pace and Jordan deserves kudos for writing some delicious hot encounters that were inventive and fresh. I also enjoyed how the title came into play with the story, and really didn’t see some of the twists that showed up. So I’ll admit to being surprised, multiple times. Like I said before my major disappointment is that I felt the main characters didn’t know each other well enough to fall in love. Though for some that may be an expectation with historicals.
Overall, Jordan keeps the plot moving, the elements fresh, and the ideas intriguing. Her stories are always an adventure and a little disappointment with one or two elements won’t stop me from picking up the next one. For readers who enjoy Julie Anne Long or Laura Lee Guhrke.