If You Give a Rake a Ruby is the second in Shana Galen’s Jewels of the Ton series. Fallon, the Marchioness of Mystery, is one of the three most celebrated courtesans in London, and happy to be so. She’s recently seen one of her best friends, fellow courtesan Juliette, married off to a Duke. And since she harbors no romantic illusions that the same might happen to her, she finds herself content with her status and not at all ambitious for any sort of adventure.
This changes, of course, when she retires to her bed, one night, only to find it already occupied. The rogue’s name is Warrick Fitzhugh and he is a spy for the Office of Foreign Affairs. From that very moment, he forever changes the course of Fallon’s fate. During his research, Warrick has stumbled across a link between Fallon and the traitor who is trying to kill him and his fellow spies. He has learned all of her secrets and intends to use them to get whatever he wants from her.
Thanks to Warrick’s self-serving ends, Fallon is forced to confront a past she’s desperately worked to keep hidden and forgotten. She can’t help but hate this man who has brought her secrets to light. Except that he’s tantalizing in a way she never imagined possible. And though his exploits cause her physical injury, the respect with which he treats her and the intense attraction she feels toward him, are gradually chipping at her emotional barriers.
Warrick likewise finds himself inexplicably drowning in attraction to Fallon. He quickly realizes he cannot use her to find his enemy and switches from blackmailer to protector. He admires Fallon’s strong character and brazen independence. But he’s also thwarted by those very attributes when he discovers that she won’t return his love quite as easily as he hopes.
I definitely enjoyed this book. The repartee between the hero and heroine is witty yet romantic. Fallon is strong and modern, but the real surprise is with Warrick. Instead of butting heads with her, he generally respects her as a partner in their adventure. One favorite scene of mine is when he is picking a lock. He can’t seem to pull it off and Fallon hangs back until he gives up. Then she switches tools. While she works at the lock, Warrick politely lectures her about how it is the wrong tool and it will never work…and then the lock opens. What I really liked was that he didn’t get angry. He was just grateful that she’d managed to do what he couldn’t. Their relationship is very well balanced.
If you like Regency Historicals, this one is a must. Fast paced adventure, with plenty of steamy interludes, makes this a page turner. I definitely recommend it.
Also by Shana Galen: The Making of a Gentleman
A.D. Cole is a homeschooling mother and aspiring romance novelist. She lives in the Ozark foothills and spends her free time reading, writing, baking and pondering life’s little mysteries.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Sourcebooks Casablanca. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.