Waking Up With A Rake by Connie Mason, Mia Marlowe

RAKE

Waking Up With A Rake by Connie Mason, Mia Marlowe
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (346 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Dahlia

To prevent three royal dukes from marrying their way onto the throne, heroic, selfless agents for the crown will be dispatched…to seduce the dukes’ intended brides. These wickedly debauched rakes will rumple sheets and cause a scandal. But they just might fall into their own trap…

After he’s blamed for a botched assignment during war, former cavalry officer Rhys Warrick turns his back on “honor.” He spends his nights in brothels doing his best to live down to the expectations of his disapproving family. But one last mission could restore the reputation he’s so thoroughly sullied. All he has to do is seduce and ruin Miss Olivia Symon and his military record will be cleared. For a man with Rhys’s reputation, ravishing the delectably innocent miss should be easy. But Olivia’s honesty and bold curiosity stir more than Rhys’s desire. Suddenly the heart he thought he left on the battlefield is about to surrender…

Trading favors and wagering against an admitted rake was Olivia’s first mistake. The second was falling for him.

As a first born wealthy heiress from an untitled family, Olivia’s prospects for a husband are slim and her social awkwardness and lanky physique don’t help matters either. However, she may not have to search far since one of the royal dukes has made his interest known, but first she must be “interviewed”. Olivia is not so naive to be unaware that the royal duke’s real interest is mostly in her untouched state and fertile future to secure his own seat on the throne. It’s all politics, but for the sake of her family’s future and mostly that of her sisters, Olivia may not have much choice in her match with the aging duke. That is until temptation walks in upsetting her quiet life and challenges her to become a knowledgeable virgin.

Lord Rhys Warrington lives a wastrel existence after a defeat in battle leaves him and his two best mates mired in scandal. Three years after the offending event, Rhys now finds himself faced with the proposition of a lifetime to restore his and his family’s honor. But it will mean seduction of the wrong kind of girl – a virgin. As an admitted libertine and rake without any gentlemanly qualities, Rhys should have no problem bedding the unknowing chit and ruining her chances of a royal dukedom. It is Rhys’ conscience, however, that poses the problem and controls even his most basic of instincts especially his physical responses. When it becomes clear someone else is threatening Olivia’s physical well-being, but with deadly intentions, Rhys must decide his priorities and what his true intentions toward the lady are.

A story complete with an overbearing mother, an unlikely romance and a deadly whodunit mystery to solve set in a time where propriety and acceptance in high society were the concerns of the day. However, a Hymen Hunt is underway and there are several players who have a stake, political, vengeful or otherwise, in the outcome. By these twisted circumstances is how our leads meet and their headstrong personalities and brilliant banter kept the story paced perfectly. I really enjoyed the sexual banter and how the whole “knowledgeable virgin” venture led to some very steamy scenes.

Olivia is not the typical heroine in description and I believe Rhys said it best when he described her as “endearingly awkward”. On the other hand, Rhys fits the physical embodiment of a rake perfectly, but with a much deeper side that only comes out when he’s around Olivia. It’s his rakish attitude that makes him charming and frustrating at the same time, but it definitely keeps things interesting. My complaint comes from these two falling for each other too soon and I would have liked to see Olivia’s intelligence shine just a bit more by her holding off on Rhys’ advances longer.

I believe the author duo did a fabulous job taking historically realistic events, people, places, and things and twisting them in their own imaginative way. Since we were introduced to three determined rakes in need of reforming and vindication at the beginning of this story, I am eagerly waiting to see what happens with the other two. For all historical romance fans this is definitely one not to be missed.

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