Thursday, July 15, 2010

Review: Twice Tempted by a Rogue by Tessa Dare

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.

For as much as I loved One Dance with a Duke, I felt a bit more lukewarm toward Twice Tempted by a Rogue.   (If memory serves, I had the same experience with the second book of Ms. Dare's previous trilogy.)   The problem is I cannot quite put my finger on what specifically I didn't like. 

Rhys isn't the "average" hero for a historical novel.  He's quiet, not necessarily reserved but not flashy like a true member of the ton.  He doesn't converse or even feel comfortable in society.  He's the muscle, an accurate description given to him in One Dance with a Duke.

And Meredith isn't your "average" heroine.  She's not in danger; she's not seeking a husband.  She's actually quite content with her life and has a plan for the future of the inn she inherited from her late husband.   Despite being relatively happy, she has a problem, though she doesn't know it -- Meredith is wishy-washy.  Now, to be fair, she may not have been wishy-washy until Rhys returns to their small community.  But after it's determined who Rhys is and what his life goals are, boy...

(Okay, maybe Meredith is what I didn't like...)

Rhys and Meredith have moments, serious moments, full of sexual tension, written as only Ms. Dare can write them.  Her prose is so descriptive, so fluid, it's like listening to a symphony.  Each part comes together effortlessly and right on cue.  And it's exactly what you needed, just the right amount, even if you consciously realize.  So while I love (love, love) her writing, Twice Tempted by a Rogue fell flat somewhere along the way.

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