This book was great. I normally don't put a lot of quotes in my reviews, but I just can't help it here. Rhys was sweet and eloquent. I think he's one of my favorite heroes. Merry was a determined woman who worked hard and helped keep the town afloat when Rhys left home, and his family home burnt to the ground.
We met Rhys in One Dance With a Duke, and we learned about the Stud Club. Leo, the founding member of this tongue-in-cheek club, was murdered. The murder is as of yet unsolved, but we've learned that Leo was extremely angry at Spencer (the Duke of Morland) for winning a certain gent by the name of Farrady's token...Leo knew that Spencer wanted to disband the club and was furious with Faraday for gambling against his better judgement. But who is this Faraday? what is his purpose in all of this-and is he the man who looks like Bellamy?
Now, here, Rhys is courting his ill-fated good luck that keeps him alive against all odds-I love how he is an "imperfect" hero, with scars and stiff fingers, and a trick knee. And I love how from the first moment Rhys sees Meredith, he wants her...for his wife! The widowed owner of a tavern/inn, he's a lord, and he wants her for his wife. Loved it. Loved how he wooed her, how he announced the banns without letting her know, and how he kept refusing her efforts to get him into bed.
here's a quote I particularly love. He's kissing her for the first time, but he'd also avoided kissing her the night before.
He pressed his lips to her quickly, as if she might change her mind if he gave her the chance, or as if he might change his. The timing was off, and their lips mashed together at the wrong angle, and her eyes were still open.
For a moment she felt 14 again. Awkward, uncertain. Painfully aware of everything but the joy of being kissed.
But then he tilted her face a degree, and his mouth shifted a fraction against hers. She remembered to close her eyes.
And suddenly they fit. Suddenly this kiss was everything. And she still felt 14 again, but in that blissful, giddy way of tumbling headlong down a rocky slope- with no thought for caution, no purpse but to chase exhilaration and joy.
Rhys St. Maur was kissing her.
And it was wonderful.
There were too many quotes for me to copy down, but this had some of the most romantic moments without being to "purple."
I thought it was evil of Tessa Dare to finally have Merry agree to Rhys' constant proposals, and to have him start brooding on something such as "I'm not good enough for her," "She deserves better," etc...but Cora (the witness to Leo's murder-she has quite a surprising story herself!) tells both Bellamy and Rhys that they are being absolute cowards! I loved that! And Rhys took her advice! How many heroes take advice from an 18 year old girl?
One part I particularly enjoyed was where Rhys takes Merry to Bath. In Regency historicals, so often everything takes place in London...Almack's Bowling Green...I know all the locations that make it a Regency romance. But here we got a very descriptive look at Bath. More than just "they hied to Bath for the waters" or something along those lines. Here we see what sounds like a true picture of the town of Bath. I liked it.
I won't summarize at all here, since the mystery will continue into Three Nights with a Scoundrel, but I will say that Leo's death was bigger than just the Stud Club...which is why I was disappointed to not see more Stud Club action.
Anyone who enjoyed the first stud Club book will enjoy this, and those who liked the writing, story and Spencer but were annoyed with Amelia, you'll like the strong and determined Merry. And I don't think anyone won't like Rhys-he's my choice in stud.