Avon Impulse, $6.99, ISBN 978-0-06-241297-3
Historical Romance, 2016
Aww, so third time’s not the charm. No matter, we all have our off days, although a part of me will always wonder whether One for the Rogue was some first ever completed draft fished out by the author and hastily given some polish, in order to sell three books as a trilogy to Avon Impulse. This one is such a regression from the previous two books, it should have come out first, so that I won’t be too hard on it.
Incidentally, the very premise of this book serves as a spoiler for the last few chapters of The Virgin and the Viscount, so you’ve better stop reading if you want to read that book and don’t want to be spoiled. Otherwise, you will have to live with your own indiscretion.
Beauregard “Beau” Cortland is the new Viscount Rainsleigh after people found out that his older brother is actually his stepbrother, the consequence of their mother forgetting to practice birth control with another guy who wasn’t her husband. Beau only wants to live a life of carefree irresponsibility, however, so he now spends his time generally sulking and complaining that his life is so hard because he’s now a nobleman. He occasionally helps out his sister-in-life in rescuing prostitutes who want out from their pimps, but even then, he complains that he wants to stop doing that because, remember, all he wants in life is to be free to loll around doing nothing.
He’ll be like this for the most part of this story. Every time he has to face the consequences of his antics, or he has to man up, he’d either decamp or whine that he never wants to be like this, he just wants to be free, blah blah blah. In the meantime, he’s mean to his brother while complaining at the same time that nobody likes him anymore. Some people call the men they adore “baby”, but in Beau’s case, he’s really one. A big whiny baby.
Our heroine Emmaline Crumbley married a much older man, and now she’s a widow with a rather simple brother to take care of. Her husband’s son from a previous marriage is now trying to control her and restrict her movements, so that she becomes dependent on him and he gets to “convince” her to spend her inheritance on him and his own family. Taking something Beau’s brother said in jest, she decides that she must train Beau to become a proper nobleman in exchange for a trip to America. Beau generally runs rings around her, and she’s putty in his hands because he’s just so hot and she is that kind of virtuous heroine who feels lust for the first time and hence she must put out ASAP.
The story takes its time to get anywhere in its first quarter or so, and I soon become bored by the continuous pattern of Emmaline desperately chasing after Beau like some hapless puppy and Beau having a hard time picking a way to drive her away. He has so many ways to do it so successfully, after all. And then, when Beau realizes from his brother how desperate Emmaline is, and how she’s a widow (and hence fair game in our hero’s mind), he decides to let her catch him. By the mid point of this story, Beau’s brother has helped Emmaline out of her problems – yes, Beau’s brother, not Beau because our hero is a baa-baa-baby – and Emmaline just keeps hounding Beau because she feels that she owes the Cortlands a debt and hence, she must discharge that debt by finishing her tutoring of Beau.
I’m bored, so bored.
From the midpoint on, the story continues to meander, throwing up minor subplots that resemble filler stuff to pad the pages. A bit more drama ramps up in the last few chapters, and then it’s the end. In the meantime, I find myself wondering where all the rich characterization and lovely writing that characterized the previous two books have gone to. Is this book even written by the same author? It feels so ordinary yet disappointing, complete with a heroine with a weird, rigid sense of morals that serve only to inconvenience herself and force the plot along, a hero who spends way too long expecting me to overlook his whining big baby antics because he has a penis and I’m supposed to go MMMMM I LOVE IT, and a story line that doesn’t seem to know where it is supposed to head towards. One for the Rogue is definitely not one for me.