The Art of Ruining A Rake by Emma Locke


Where to start… I ran hot and cold with this story. The opening chapter had me laughing out loud. The situation was absolutely stunning and not funny at all for this time period. But I couldn’t help laughing. Roman certainly is a rake and he starts out as a horribly selfish person. These kinds of stories are always hard to pull off because I inevitably wonder what it is about this ‘hero’ that the heroine is so attracted to – other than the obvious – his looks. Gasp! Women aren’t allowed to pursue men for only their looks.

Only it turns out that some women do exactly that. I’ve never read a story about a male harlot – or cicisbeo as they were called. [I learned a new Regency term!] Roman sells his body to several young widows. A man’s got to make a living somehow… and when your father gambles away the family fortune, there are few options for carrying on the lifestyle expected of a marquis.

Oh… what a delicious beginning. This story gives a whole new meaning to the concept of a rake. Why can we forgive men who are only sating their loins but we cringe at the idea of a man offering sex for money? If sex is ‘just’ sex, then why does it matter that money or goods exchanged hands? This is one of the many questions Lucy must grapple with.

I will say my heart broke a little for Roman when Lucy treated him exactly like the whore he was. Because she was dear to him. He didn’t want ‘just sex’ between them. No, that wasn’t enough. He wanted her complete and utter surrender. He wanted her to love him. This story takes us on quite a ride. Both characters have moments when I didn’t like either of them. But in the end I was really happy they found their HEA. Still, after reading the entire story, I’m not sure I entirely understand why Lucy was so fascinated by Roman from the onset. A young girl’s silly infatuation, I guess.

On a side note, I began reading this series with “The Danger in Daring a Lady” which is book #6 in this series. Oh my god, am I glad I read that first. Lord Darius Alexander, the hero in book #6, is Roman’s brother. And I despised Darius in this book. He is a reckless gambler and a horrible person! Seriously, if I had read this book first, I don’t think I would have taken the time to read “The Danger in Daring a Lady”, which would’ve been a pity because I rated that book 5 stars. It is one thing to be told the hero was ‘a rake and bad person’ and quite another to be shown his character.

If you enjoy historical romances that take you down a dark and untrodden path, then I can highly recommend this one. This is not a story of young misses meeting their prince at the ball. An unconventional and delightful story.


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