I’ve lurked on Pajiba and subsequently this blog, and decided to take the plunge and join. I love to read, primarily historical romance; contemporary/new adult just don’t interest me. Whether I can review on a regular basis remains to be seen, but I hope to do my best!
This book by Lorraine Heath is part of a series, Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James, and is actually the second generation of characters from a previous series but I think it works well enough on its own. Rosalind Sharpe is a lady on a mission when she tours a gambling club opened to women for the first time, hoping to find a wealthy man to swindle. She attracts the attention of the wicked Duke of Avendale, and finds herself torn between her own attraction to him despite his reputation, and the fact that he is the perfect target for what could be her last con.
Of course, Avendale is a rogue of the worst kind, accustomed to drinking and gambling and having whatever woman he desires. Now he wants Rosalind, but he is no fool. After she manages to get the funds from him that she asked for, and is prepared to flee London, he discovers she played him. At this point, he proposes that she can keep the money, if she will agree to spend a week in his bed. And of course, she agrees, but asks that he doesn’t question her need for the funds, and that she is allowed to have some time away from him every day.
Rosalind and Avendale are well suited, they both have their secrets and are reluctant to reveal them. She succumbs to the pleasure and passion that he provides, all the while trying to maintain an emotional distance from him. For his part, Avendale finds himself growing more and more intrigued with her, and wants more than one week with her. He is jealous of the time she wants away from him, and follows her one day back to her residence. He discovers that her brother is the reason she needs money; he is afflicted with a disease that leaves him vulnerable to ridicule and Rosalind will do anything to protect him.
For his part, Avendale is somewhat of a loner, and estranged from his mother, due to something he witnessed as a small boy. This has colored his perception of his mother’s subsequent re-marriage, and he finally has to confront the truth which isn’t what he thought it was.
He eventually meets Rosalind’s brother, Harry, and the two form a friendship. He arranges to bring Harry to stay with them, and give the young man some experiences that never would have happened otherwise. It’s all sweet and poignant, and endears Avendale to Rosalind even further. I don’t believe it could all happen so smoothly in real life, but I appreciated all of his gestures to win her heart.
I read this book in record time, and was sorry to see it end. I’ve read many of Lorraine Heath’s books, and enjoyed all of them. This is one that I can recommend without reservation!