Twice Tempted by a Rogue
by Tessa Dare
Paperback: 384 pages
Available: June 22, 2010
Genre: Historical Romance
Book received from: Random House
How long could she resist him?
Luck is a double-edged sword for brooding war hero Rhys St. Maur. His death wish went unanswered on the battlefield, while fate allowed the murder of his friend in the elite gentlemen’s society known as the Stud Club. Out of options, Rhys returns to his ancestral home on the moors of Devonshire, expecting anything but a chance at redemption in the arms of a beautiful innkeeper, who dares him to take on the demons of his past — and the sweet temptation of a woman’s love.
Meredith Maddox believes in hard work, not fate, and romance isn’t part of her plan. But when Rhys returns, battle-scarred, world-weary, and more dangerously attractive than ever, the lovely widow is torn between determination and desire. As a deep mystery and dangerous smugglers threaten much more than their passionate reckoning, Meredith discovers that she must trust everything to a wager her heart placed long ago.
Disarray. That’s the first word that comes to mind when describing the hero and the overall feel of Twice Tempted by a Rouge. I had high expectations for the second installment of Tessa Dare’s Stud Club trilogy, but was disappointed and confused overall with the slow character development and less than intriguing, disjointed storyline.
Rhys St. Maur, (Lord Ashworth) is an extremely broken man, both physically and emotionally. Riddled with guilt and low self worth from tragedies during his childhood, Rhys has looked death in the face more times than he can count. He attributes his ability to survive the impossible to fate, which he comes to trust and rely on solely. After 14 years of war and self-loathing, Rhys goes back to where the tragedy took place to make amends and try to ease some of his guilt. He returns to the ruins of his ancestral home with the notion to rebuild the estate, provide work for the villagers and fulfill his responsibilities to the people his family abandoned so many years ago.
Meredith Lane (Mrs. Maddox) is the owner and barmaid of The Three Hounds Inn. Strong, fierce, self-sufficient, she wed her late husband in order to provide for herself and her disabled father. Growing up on the Ashworth estate, Meredith has been infatuated with Rhys since she was a mere child. She knows many of his deep, dark secrets and she has never stopped yearning for Rhys despite his 14 year absence. Upon arriving at the Inn, Rhys has an instant attraction to Meredith, no longer the child “Merry Lane” but the woman. He is determined to wed her, provide for her and her father, and rescue her from her labor as the innkeeper.
Sadly, the overall tone of the story did not allow me emotionally invest in the characters. I have to say I didn’t enjoy the development of Rhys and his obsession with making amends to Meredith, her father and the village. There was miscommunication on both parts throughout the entire story. Rhys believed the most important thing in Meredith’s life was the Inn. Meredith believed the most important thing in Rhys’s life was rescuing her from a life she did not want rescuing from. I questioned throughout the entire story what was truly the foundation of their love because I couldn’t see it . Also, I was shocked and disappointed that the author did not include Spencer and Amelia from One Dance with a Duke in this book, at all. The heroes from all three books are part of “the club” and had regular interaction in the first book so it was a shock for Spencer to be absent in Rhys’s story.
I’m all for broken, anguished heroes in need of redemption but I’m not sold when an author drags it out until the end of the book and then “ah ha” the light bulb flicks on for a HEA. I think in order to do a character, who is extremely broken by abuse, war, murder, etc., justice you sometimes lack enough pages in one book to truly and convincingly bring them full circle. While Ms. Dare is a pro at writing rich, sensual moments with her characters, the overall intensity and passion of Rhys and Meredith came up flat for me as a whole. However, anyone who enjoys the deeply somber, dramatic undertone of The Thorn Birds will appreciate the parallels in Twice Tempted by a Rogue.
“He was hopeless with words, couldn’t sing worth a damn. But when he kissed her, she went pliant in his arms. This mouth was good for something.”
Purchase a copy of Twice Tempted by a Rogue
Other books in the series:
One Dance With A Duke – May 25, 2010
Three Night With A Scoundrel – July 27, 2010
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