Once a rake…
Known as "Magnificent Max," diplomat Max Ransleigh was famed for his lethal charm until a political betrayal left him exiled from government and his reputation in tatters. He seems a very unlikely savior for a well-bred young lady.
Except that Miss Caroline Denby doesn't want to be saved…she wants to be ruined! To Caroline, getting married is tantamount to a death sentence, and meeting the rakish Max at a house party seems the answer to her prayers…. Surely this rogue won't hesitate to put his bad reputation to good use?
Where these notorious rakes go, scandal always follows…
Second book in Ransleigh Rogues quartet, available April 2013
A hero to love!
This is the story to read if you like second chance stories and let me tell you that even if you’re not fond of the trope you’re still going to thoroughly enjoy it. The story starts with a chance encounter of former sweet-hearts Alastair Raleigh and Diana, recently widowed Duchess of Graveston. Due to past history, he believes she owes him a great deal and therefore she must pay with none other than herself. They each have their reasons to go into the affair and as much as each tries to keep the heart out of the equation, they do not succeed much. He’s a poet at heart so even though he’s a rake by reputation he can never bring himself to be mean to Diana, as much as he thinks he wants to. He’s thoughtful, sweet, and charming but never falters in his decisions, always assertive, always confident.
Diana on the other hand tends to be cool and distant, even during their liaison and particularly at the beginning of it; however, she has pretty good reasons to be. Even with that stoic attitude and seemingly emotionless demeanor I connected with her, I mean, what do you do when you are truly alone? When everything is taken away from you, even the thing that you’re supposed to love more than life itself? I love that Alastair takes his time with her, never pushing her, always remembering what she’d gone through (even when I wanted to shake her about and slap her upside-down the head for being stubborn and unreceptive to his love) and patiently makes her understand that she’s no longer alone but among friends, old and new. Their relationship goes from Diana paying her dues as Alastair’s mistress to a relationship that bears forgiveness and acceptance. Their encounters are very well crafted and as the story progresses I simply wanted to know more about their story, have more, read more.
The story touched all the right cords of the times; the naïveté of the innocent girl in love that didn't know better, the young man in love that had all his dreams shattered when his beloved jilted him for a titled man for no apparent reason, the influential taking advantage of those beneath him in society, but as with any good romantic tale friends come through and you are reminded that no matter what, a true hero will do what must be done to win the heroine’s heart.
* Be warned this is an adult read and it contains some very graphic scenes that may not be suitable for some readers. If I may, don't read it if this is not your cup of tea. If you do, don't rate it poorly because it wasn't a fit to your sensible taste.
++ I was gifted a copy of this story by the author in exchange for an honest review ++