Title: One Rogue at a Time
Author: Jade Lee
Series: Rakes and Rogues, #2
Pubdate: December 1st, 2015
USA Today bestselling author Jade Lee continues her saucy, vibrant Rakes and Rogues Regency romance series with a high-society outsider who may have met his match…
A brown-eyed bastard with nothing to lose…
As the illegitimate son of a duke, Bramwell Wesley Hallowsby grew up tough, on the fringes of society, learning to hide his hurt and cynicism with charm and Town polish. He’s carved out a place for himself as a mercenary, serving as bodyguard and general strong arm for the peerage. Bram has nothing to lose… and he’s exactly what Maybelle “Bluebell” Ballenger needs.
Meets his match in a blue-eyed beauty with everything to hide…
Maybelle needs a mentor to teach her to speak and act like a lady, so she can claim the place in society she was denied. As they team up to take on the ton, Bram knows she’s hiding something even from him. Despite the deception he sees behind those sparkling blue eyes, Bram wants to believe that Maybelle’s love is no lie. But it seems fate has served him up his just desserts in the likes of this determined damsel.
A Word From Jade Lee: Our heroine (nicknamed Bluebell) has bartered her horse for lessons on how to speak like a lady. Our hero Bram knows there’s more to her than she lets on, and this is the first of many times he teases some of the tale out of her.
“Tell me how you came to be a man who protects people for money,” she said.
“What?” He jolted, though he wasn’t sure why. Of course she would ask about that.
“That’s what you do, isn’t it? Guard people? ’Cept you don’t look or act like any guardsman.”
“I’m not the militia,” he said, insulted though he wasn’t sure why. He had nothing against the militia. “And say the full word. Except.”
“Except,” she repeated. “And there ain’t—” She grimaced. “There isn’t a thing wrong with being in the militia.”
Of course there wasn’t. It just wasn’t a job for the son of a duke, even one born on the wrong side of the blanket. He squatted and looked at his carriage while trying not to think of the luscious woman a few feet away.
“That’s a complicated tale,” he said.
“I got all day.”
“You have all day.”
She rolled her eyes. “You have to start whitewashing. I have to have something to discuss.”
“Very well then. I will give you my sad tale if you tell me yours. Why do you want so much to be a lady?”
“I am a lady,” she repeated stiffly. “I just don’t sound like one.”
“Actually,” he said with a soft smile, “that haughty tone was perfect for a lady.”
“Really?” she said with a sudden bright smile. “I am a lady.”
“Yes,” he said sadly. “Just like that.” He didn’t like the idea of his Miss Bluebell putting on airs, but that’s what she wanted, so he didn’t argue. “So why do you want to sound so much like a lady?”
She was silent for a long time. Long enough for him to turn to look at her, to read that she was considering telling him the truth—the full truth—but in the end, decided on half. Or a quarter. Or whatever percentage, but it definitely wasn’t one hundred percent.
“I have relations in London. I want to go talk to them.”
“Relatives don’t care what you talk like,” he said, then immediately knew he lied. Good relatives didn’t care. Most Londoners would definitely turn up their noses at someone who looked and sounded as if they’d lived all their lives in Hull.
“They might care. I’d just as soon present meself—myself—in the best possible way.”
“Who are they?”
She buttoned her lip, and when he looked at her, she shook her head. “I only just learned of them from me mum before she died.”
There was a wealth of emotion in those words, so he gave her something else to focus on rather than the pain. “Say it correctly.”
“I have only just learned of them. My mother told me before she died.”
He nodded. “Excellent. What kind of people are they? Soldiers? Merchantmen?”
“I…I’m not sure.”
“Do you know where they live?”
She shook her head.
“London is a very big city.”
“I’ll find them.”
He was sure she would, but in the meantime, there was a mystery there. “Who knows about this?” Maybe he could learn the truth from Widow Dwight.
“No one ’ereabouts.” Then she grimaced. “No one in Hull.”
“But they know in London?”
“Delicate matter to introduce yourself as a long lost relation.”
“’At’s why you’re helping me.”
He arched a brow, and she cursed under her breath.
“That’s why you are helping me.” Then she lifted her chin. “Your tale now. I want to hear it all.”
One Rogue at a Time took a while for me to get into–at first, I wasn’t really too sure I liked either the hero or the heroine–but they grew on me, and before I knew it I was totally engrossed in their story.
Even when I wasn’t sure, though, Ms. Lee had me smiling and even laughing out loud at some of the scenes–the rogue pig and his predisposition for whiskey-soaked slops comes to mind, for some reason… 😉
So in the end, I did end up enjoying this one quite a bit, and Bram and Maybelle grew on me so that by the end I was rather desperate for them to manage to figure out an HEA together. (Spoiler: they do!)
One Rogue at a Time is the second in the Rakes & Rogues series, but it worked just fine as a standalone.
Rating: 4 stars / B+
I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
Rakes and Rogues Series Order:
50 Ways to Ruin a Rake (Book 1)
One Rogue at a Time (Book 2)
The Richer the Rogue (Book 3
About the author:
USA Today bestselling author Jade Lee has been crafting love stories since she first picked up a set of paper dolls. Ballgowns and rakish lords caught her attention early (thank you, Georgette Heyer), and her fascination with the Regency began. An author of more than 40 romance novels and winner of dozens of reader awards, she brings laughter into the sexy nights of England’s elite. Quirky characters and sexy banter are her hallmarks. Find out more at her website www.JadeLeeAuthor.com, or check out her wild contemporary half at www.KathyLyons.com.