Twice Tempted by a Rogue by Tessa Dare
Series: Stud Club #2
Also in this series: One Dance with a Duke, Three Nights with a Scoundrel
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication Date: June 22nd 2010
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The daring members of the Stud Club are reckless gamblers and no strangers to risk—until love raises the stakes in Twice Tempted by a Rogue. 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 good 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.
From the Paperback edition.
This is the 2nd book in Dare’s Stud Club series. I was really looking forward to it because Rhys intrigued me in the first book. He was so bent on self-destruction I wanted to see how his character would develop and what his past would reveal.
On that score I wasn’t disappointed. Rhys really came alive for me. His past and his self-destructive bent were explained well, and we got a lot of insight into his character.
On the opposite side was Meredith. If Rhys was dark, brooding and complex, Meredith was light, open and uncomplicated. She was just a simple woman trying to make a living for herself, her father and the village she loved.
Rhys decides fate had decreed that he and Meredith marry. He thinks it’s because of him she’s had to work hard to make a living for herself all these years and that her father was injured and lost his job. He also feels responsible for the state of the village. His solution is to marry Meredith and rebuild his manor, which will save her from having to work so hard plus offer jobs to the village people.
But the way he presents it to Meredith pricks her pride. She wants to be wanted for herself, not because fate decreed it. And Rhys doesn’t help the situation at all, being the oblivious man that he his.
I understood where both of them were coming from; Rhys wanted to make things right and finally settle down with someone who would give him peace; Meredith wants to be wanted for herself, not because fate said so or Rhys had “nothing else to do”.
Unfortunately something was lost in translation. While I appreciated both their positions, I wasn’t as emotionally invested in either of them as I expected to be. I became annoyed with both of them on several occasions for not talking things out.
I was also very bothered by the thought of a Peer of the Realm marrying a tavern owner/widow who’d had several lovers. Not that I begrudge Meredith her fun (hey girl, get you some), but it wasn’t plausible at all that a Viscount would marry a tavern owner/stable master’s daughter and it not be seen as a problem. Maybe this wouldn’t have bothered me if it had been addressed, but it was totally glossed over.
Having said that, there were parts I adored. When Meredith and Rhys visit Bath and each are battling their own insecurities I was really touched. I also loved that Rhys was so set on Meredith and refused to back down. When he had the banns read at church without telling her he was doing it I laughed out loud. I was also amused at several of the scenes when he was ‘courting’ her.
I really liked the end, too. The way things all came to a head and Rhys really let go..well, it was beautifully done. Unfortunately that wasn’t enough to elevate my enjoyment of this book to the same level as the last one.
3.5 out of 5
Interested in winning a copy? Leave a comment telling me what you think of the the idea of a Viscount marrying a tavern owner and I’ll throw your name in the hat. Contest ends Tuesday, July 13.
This book is available from Ballantine. You can buy it here or here in e-format.