“Are you afraid?” he asked softly. “I don’t believe this will be a journey for the fearful.”
If someone made me choose my favorite romance genre I would probably have to say historical romance but that is also the genre I am most picky about. I only have a handful of authors I regularly read and that is because they hit all the marks for me. My historical romance needs the ultimate bad boy, a non-blushing, non-simpering heroine and some good, strong angst. I had heard good things about book one in Jennifer Haymore’s House of Trent series so I decided I should give book two a try.
Book one of the series focuses on the duke who is serious about pulling his family up from scandal and into respectability. The Rogue’s Proposal is about Lukas, one of the duke’s brothers. Where Simon was attempting the straight and narrow path Lukas is the bad boy, seducer rolled into a complicated, emotional package. From what I gathered Lukas learned a life changing secret in the previous book and has been left to deal with the fallout. He has also taken responsibility for finding his mother who disappeared in book one.
While searching for his mother he is approached by a beautiful woman. She finds him in a tavern and tells him that she has information on the man last seen with his mother. She will give him that information if he agrees to take her with him when he goes to find this man. It is no hardship for Lukas to travel with a lovely woman so he says yes not even blinking when she says he must keep his hands to himself. Seducing women is what he does so he is confident he will change her mind as the miles pass by.
Emma Anderson is looking for the man responsible for murdering her husband. He is the man last connected with Lord Lukas’s mother and the man she believes stole her father’s money. Her father is sick, wasting away, and she thinks that if he sees his money he will recover. She feels like it is her fault for marrying a man who ultimately brought ruin to her family and she will do whatever she can to fix it, even if that means sacrificing her reputation by traveling with a well-known rogue.
The House of Trent books will follow the brothers and sisters as the find their love matches but also tells the story of their lost mother. The overall plot arc was advanced far enough for the reader to learn who she is with but not the why or how of the story. Along with learning about their mother we get the story of an abusive, controlling father. There are a lot of half sisters and brothers here and we find out new secrets about them in each book.
Lukas was on the receiving end of the abuse from his father and it has caused scars and nightmares. He deals with the pain by drinking which causes a rift between him and Emma. He leaves her each night to go drown himself in alcohol and eventually Emma takes the only action she can. There is a very heartbreaking scene when Emma finally confronts Lukas about his drinking but it was necessary and I appreciate how it was done. Their relationship could not have gone on with her simply accepting small pieces of him without ever getting to the heart of his issues.
Lukas has also had some problems with his brother, Simon, and always being compared to the Duke. Many sibling issues come to a head in the last chapters of this book as Lukas is forced to confront the fact that maybe there have been other motives behind the way Simon behaves. I liked how all the siblings came together at the end of this book as they will offer up some interesting secondary characters in upcoming stories.
The Rogue’s Proposal ended up hitting every button for my historical romance wants. Lukas is troubled, sexy and pulled at my heartstrings in the way a bad boy hero should. Emma is strong and keeps to her convictions without being overbearing and unlikable. Together they are a great couple and I enjoyed reading their path to love. I look forward to the next story which will be able Sam and he has a dark tale to tell. Final grade- B
“Do you like to be bound, Mrs Curtis?”