I was a bit worried about starting this one. The first book in the series wasn’t exactly a favourite and the characters I really want to read about are Margaret and Con. However, Balogh still is one of my favourite authors and I do like to read series in order so I picked it up.In a night of drunken revelry, Jasper Finley, Baron Montford, gambles his reputation as London’s most notorious lover on one woman. His
challenge? To seduce the exquisite, virtuous Katherine Huxtable within a fortnight. But when his best-laid plans go awry, Jasper devises a wager of his own. For Katherine, already wildly attracted to him, Jasper’s offer is irresistible: to make London’s most dangerous rake fall in love with her. Then Jasper suddenly ups the ante. Katherine knows she should refuse. But with scandal brewing and her reputation in jeopardy, she reluctantly agrees to become his wife. Now, as passion ignites, the seduction really begins. And this time the prize is nothing less than both their hearts.…
Right in the first few chapters one scene annoyed me tremendously. Jasper is a rake, since he sets out to ruin a young, innocent girl, who never did anything to him, on a whim is enough to see that he is one of the worst sort. So why does he repent when faced with obtaining his objective. Sorry but I am really done with rakes that are really bad but when faced with the heroine they apparently find they have a conscience and can’t go through with it. Either they are not the rakes we had been told they were or you had better have a perfectly good explanation for it. There wasn’t a good explanation here, in my opinion, and you can see how this really irritated me.
However, I was determined to continue and to do so I decided to go along with the “he is not so bad” point of view. Clearly, that was the way to go because what follows is a path to redemption. Jasper and Katherine do not meet again for 3 years and when they do, they seem to form a sort of friendship, unfortunately, Jasper has some very annoying relatives who will stop at nothing to make him loose the guardianship of his younger half sister and so the wager is brought up among the members of the ton. Although Jasper is the guilty party the most damage is to Katherine’s reputation and the obvious solution to all her male relatives is to have them marry and marry they do.
I did like the relationship that Balogh developed between them. They are lovers yes but they are mostly friends getting to know each other. That seemed a lot more real than the usual “falling in lust” we usually have in romances. I was still annoyed the rake image from the beginning though, and what really saved it for me is that Katherine does confront him with his actions. No matter how their relationship had evolved, she reaches a point where she can’t stand it anymore and she angrily asks him: How could you? Not that there is a sensible and reasonable answer of course but it made me like Katherine very much to know that she hadn’t just forgotten and forgiven. Aside this the story is easy to read, has no irritating characters like the first one and the main problem would probably be what I already mentioned in yesterday’s review - It entertains but is quickly forgotten.