Kit Ruthven’s Rules (for Rogues)
#1 Love freely but guard your heart, no matter how tempting the invader.
#2 Embrace temptation, indulge your sensual impulses, and never apologize.
#3 Scorn rules and do as you please. You are a rogue, after all.
Rules never brought anything but misery to Christopher “Kit” Ruthven. After rebelling against his controlling father and leaving the family’s etiquette empire behind, Kit has been breaking every one imaginable for the past four years. He’s enjoyed London’s sensual pleasures, but he’s failed to achieve the success he craves as London’s premier playwright. When his father dies, Kit returns to the countryside and is forced back into the life he never wanted. Worse, he must face Ophelia Marsden, the woman he left behind years before.
After losing her father, Ophelia has learned to rely on herself. To maintain the family home and support her younger sister, she tutors young girls in deportment and decorum. But her pupils would be scandalized if they knew she was also the author of a guidebook encouraging ladies to embrace their independence.
As Kit rediscovers the life, and the woman, he left behind, Ophelia must choose between the practicalities she never truly believed in, or the love she’s never been able to extinguish.
Seeing him again was worse than Ophelia had imagined. And she had imagined this moment aplenty. Far too many times. Not just on her infrequent jaunts to London but most days since they’d parted. The man had lingered in her thoughts, despite every effort to expel him.
Taking a shaky breath, she braced herself and faced him.
He’d always been tall. When they were children, she’d looked up to him. Literally. But he’d never used his size to bully others. More often he’d born teasing about his physique. Ungainly, his father had called him, and Kit repeated the word when referring to himself.
Now he offered no apologetic hunch in his stance. He didn’t cross his arms to narrow his body. More than embracing his size, he wielded his generous dimensions with a virile grace that made Phee’s mouth water. He stood with his long legs planted wide, shoulders thrown back. His chest was so broad that she itched to touch it.
Stop being a ninny, she chided herself. The most essential observation was that he did not look like a man who’d pined for her. Not a hint of guilt shadowed his gaze.
He thrust his hands behind his back, and the buttons above his waistcoat strained against the fabric on either side, as if the muscles beneath were too sizable to contain. Phee’s gaze riveted to the spot, waiting to see which would win—the pearly buttons or the dove gray fabric. When sense finally wound its way into her boggled mind, she glanced up into gilded brown eyes. He was the winner, judging by the satisfied smirk cresting his mouth.
Kit stood too near, close enough for her to smell his scent. A familiar green, like fresh-cut grass, but mingled now with an aromatic spice. Each breath held his spice scent heightened by the warmth of his body. The heat of him radiated against her chest.
His eyes were too intense, too hungry. He perused her brazenly, studying the hem of her outdated gown before his gaze roved up her legs, paused at her waist, lingered on her bosom, and caught for a moment on her lips. Finally, he met her eyes, and his mouth flicked up in a shameless grin.
She looked anywhere but at his eyes. On his neck, she noted the scar from a childhood adventure in the blackberry briar. Then she got stuck admiring his hair. Apparently his scandalous London lifestyle—if the rumors she’d heard were true—called for allowing his jet black hair to grow long and ripple in careless waves. Strands licked at his neck, curled up near his shoulders.
Time had been truly unfair. The years hadn’t weathered Kit at all. If anything, his features were sharper and more appealing. His Roman nose contrasted with the sensual fullness of his lips and those high Ruthven cheekbones. And his eyes. Gold and amber and chocolate hues chased each other around a pinwheel, all shadowed by enviably thick ebony lashes. One theater reviewer had written of the “power of his penetrating gaze.”
Ophelia only knew he’d once been able to see straight to her heart.
I really enjoyed Rules for a Rogue–second chance romance at its best! Kit and Ophelia fell in love years ago, but Kit’s constant clashes with his father–and the fact that he had plans for his son that didn’t involve the girl next door–lead to Kit leaving for London and not looking back toward his childhood home. Phee, heartbroken by Kit’s desertion, has moved on with her life as best she can–after her father’s death, she started tutoring neighborhood girls and more recently (secretly) wrote a (somewhat scandalous) book. She’s even thinking about a marriage proposal–true, she doesn’t love the baron, who used to bully both her and Kit when they were children, but she’s barely able to make ends meet on her own, and she doesn’t know what other choice she has.
Until Kit’s publisher father dies, and he returns…to his sisters, and to Phee. She’s certain that his return has an expiration date, though, and is determined to guard her heart. Kit too has no intention of staying–he’s only back to check on his sisters, settle his father’s affairs, and get rid of the family business. Or is he? The more time he spends back home, the less sure he is of anything but the fact that he doesn’t want to be without Phee for another moment. Convincing her of that, though, is going to be a struggle and a half.
I loved Phee and Kit! Ms. Carlyle did a great job of showing us how clearly these two were meant to be together, while at the same time throwing one obstacle after another in their path. Their resolution, when it finally came, was decidedly satisfying, and along the way there’s enough interesting secondary characters (Kit’s and Phee’s sisters, Kit’s reprobate friend Grey, and Phee’s best friend Milly) to make me really anxious for the next books in the Romancing the Rules series to be released!
Rating: 4 stars / A-
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
- Rules for a Rogue prize pack filled with the following items:
- Book of Victorian etiquette (because RULES is all about etiquette)
- “Opelia’s blue” 1928 teardrop earrings (blue is Ophelia’s color)
- Harney and Sons English breakfast tea (because my characters are always drinking tea)
- a Rules for a Rogue spiral lined notebook
- Jasmine-scented hand lotion (jasmine is Ophelia’s scent)
- Downton Abbey scone mix (my characters eat scones with their tea)
**US shipping ONLY**