The Lord Vampire of Rochester doesn’t do a favor without a price. And now it’s time to collect.
Gavin Drake, Baron of Darkwood is being pestered by nosy neighbors and matchmaking mothers of the mortal nobility. To escape their scrutiny, he concludes that it’s time to take a wife. After witnessing the young vampire Lenore’s loyalty to the Lord of London, he decides she is sufficient for the role.
After surviving abuse from rogue vampires, Lenore Graves wants to help other women recover from their inner wounds. She befriends mesmerist John Elliotson and uses her vampire powers to aid him with his patients. When the Lord of London declares that Lenore is the price the Lord of Rochester demands for aiding him in battle, she is terrified. Will all of her hard work be destroyed by Ruthless Rochester? Yet she can’t suppress stirrings of desire at the memory of their potent encounter.
After Gavin assures her that the marriage will be in name only, Lenore reluctantly accepts Gavin’s proposal. Determined to continue her work, she invites John Elliotson to Rochester. As they help women recover from traumas, Lenore explores her own inner turmoil and examines her attraction to her husband.
Gavin realizes his marriage is a mistake. His new baroness’s involvement with the mesmerist is dangerous. He knows he should put a stop to Lenore’s antics— yet her tender heart is warming his own and tempting him to make her his bride in truth.
As Lenore and Gavin’s relationship blossoms, the leader of a gang of rogue vampires embarks on a quest for vengeance against Gavin… using Lenore as his key.
This is a new and intriguing addition to the Scandals with Bite series that I’ve been really enjoying. I ‘met’ Lenore in the last book and I was very impressed with her bravery and determination. She is going to need every bit of that courage when she takes center stage in His Ruthless Bite.
Gavin, the hero, is as ruthless as his reported reputation and the author presents a reader with enough evidence to believe it. Yet I came to respect him and his decisions and judgment. The saving grace for Gavin is that he is fair, that he cares and not one of his people goes without his notice. He’s so different from what Lenore is used to that it takes her a while to find her feet with him.
The heroine has quite a bit of growing and healing to do. In the last book, she was tortured and traumatized. In this novel, which truly is a standalone read, she has a fresh start, an opportunity that she never believed she would ever have and a wonderful possibility for a great future; she just needs to tap into her inner strength and stand up for herself. Some of the things she does are amazing, and some are predictable. Part of learning about her own ability to stand up for herself has her testing not only herself but Gavin’s patience and goodwill. I found it interesting that in reading her point of view, Lenore can justify and rationalize her decisions but they don’t stand up to Gavin’s censure. She’s strong enough to admit when she’s wrong, then goes off and plans something else. Lenore is stubborn.
Gavin is an interesting hero. He initially has an atmosphere of ennui about him, hence the strange marriages he’s had in the past, and I enjoyed watching his waking up to love. As the story unfolds, there is an undercurrent of sadness and regret because of one of his past decisions and it comes back to haunt him. In exploring this conflict, the author shows a reader another aspect of Gavin’s character – he’s passionate and truly caring, and he loves deeply. Even when he’s supposed to do the unthinkable, he doesn’t because of how he feels about the person whom he had to punish. That facet of his personality plays an important role later on in the novel and it really solidified my belief that he is not only a good hero but perfect for Lenore.
Even with all the good stuff that is packed into this book, it didn’t continuously wow me; at times it was a ‘warm like.’ I think it’s because Lenore did predictable things, things that made me roll my eyes and think less of her. It was also in how Elliotson was portrayed. Initially he was described as nice and sincere, then it was sinister, then he was a fruitcake with obsessive plans, and Lenore’s reactions to him seem kind of waffly too. His inclusion was a necessary foil for the plot but it didn’t impress me much.
The fun scenes were when Gavin was wooing Lenore and those kisses led to more. There was a great build up from kisses on knuckles and necks to other places that made the pages steam. Those moments were written well.
All in all His Ruthless Bite has a lot to offer followers of the series as well as fans of historical paranormal romances. It’s entertaining and enriched with a few twists to keep the pages flipping. I liked Gavin and Lenore’s relationship and the promise of new beginnings at the end. This is a really good read and quite enjoyable.