4 silken sheets
Marriage to a rake? One of my favourite historical tropes 🙂
For years Serafina McPhee has been engaged to marry the heir to the Duke of Hartholm and for almost as long, she has been struggling to find a way out of that engagement. When he suddenly dies, she does not mourn but thrills at the idea that she will be free. Unfortunately, best laid plans go awry when the next in line for the title, her intended’s cousin, Raphael “Rafe” Flynn is forced to take over the engagement. But Serafina knows Rafe’s reputation as a libertine and wants nothing to do with him, either, even if he is devastatingly handsome.
She proposes an arrangement: she will agree to the marriage and provide Rafe with his heir and spare. Once she has done her duty, he will let her go. Rafe is intrigued both by her beauty and by her utter disgust with the idea of being his bride. Women normally fall at his feet, not cringe away from him. However, since their arranged marriage is not something he can escape, he agrees to her terms.
But when he finds out on their wedding night the truth about her torture at the hands of his predecessor, he finds himself driven not just to fulfill his bargain with his new bride, but to introduce her to desire. While they move closer together, surrendering to wicked pleasures, dangerous emotions may violate every agreement they’ve made.
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I’d previously read several of Jess Michael’s books, and gobbled up her Pleasure Wars series. I knew I was going to enjoy this one.
Serafina’s concealed delight at her fiancés untimely death, is overtaken by horror, when her father points out the intricacies of the betrothal contract.
“The contract was written such that it says you will marry the Duke of Hartholm,” her father said, eyebrows lifting.
“But he is dead,” she said.
“No, dukes never die,” her father chuckled. “Men do. There is already a new Duke of Hartholm, you see. Or there will be once the formalities are conducted, as early as the end of the day. The solicitor believes that man won’t be able to break our contract. You will marry as planned, my dear.”
And though we know Raphael ‘Rafe’ Flynn is a good guy, honourable, affectionate and handsome too, all Serafina knows is his reputation.
“What will you do, abandon your post?” Crispin said with a half-smile for his brother. “That would only add to the reputation we currently hold.”
Rafe tried to smile back at the teasing, but couldn’t quite manage it. “It is one thing to gamble until dawn at the Donville Masquerade or drink and streak naked through St. James Park or even bed a dozen willing ladies. But to walk away from the title? It would go too far.”
Hence the very apt nickname the family holds: The Notorious Flynns.
Rafe hesitated. He had kissed many a woman and none had ever seemed so resigned to unpleasantness beforehand. It drove him to change her mind about the act, about him. Only he had to do it delicately.
If you enjoy taming-the-rake novels, you’ll like this one. Rafe is well written, and has some pleasantly modern attitudes, and Serafina is no wishy-washy pushover. He has to work hard to win her heart. Add in a little intrigue, and a hint of danger, and it adds up to an enjoyable and absorbing read, and a solid start to this new series. I’ll definitely be reading the next, in search of more Notorious Flynns.
4 silken sheets
4 sexy lips
Note: this copy was gifted to me by the author, in exchange for an honest review
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Plot – great
Characters – intriguing
Warnings – none
Genre: Sexy historical romance
Published: January 2015; $3.99