A long string of tragic loves haunts Viscount Benedick Francis Alistair Rohan. Cool and cynical, he's weary of life's fickle games and wants a prim and proper wife he can ignore while indulging his sensual appetites.Lady Melisande Carstairs is nothing less than a tornado storming into Benedick's measured life. Possessed of boundless energy and the soul of a reformer, Melisande always conquers, whether it's saving the souls of soiled doves or seducing the man she's inconveniently fallen for. When she informs Benedick that his brother's newly revived Heavenly Host has graduated from simple carnal debauchery to sadistic violence, he's compelled to investigate, undercover. Under those covers, however, is Melisande herself, playing a dangerous game in the name of justice.
And the Heavenly Host has just seen her hand, and more.
Despite my complaints about the ending of the previous book I couldn't resist grabbing this one next. Quite unexpectedly this time we don't have a dark, brooding hero. Benedict Rohan has had his share of tragedy but he has not turned sour nor does he bed anything and anyone crossing his path (although he is definitely thinking of bedding someone soon). In fact he is quite decided to find a pleasant and harmless woman to marry and provide him with heirs.
Enters Melisande Carstairs, pleasant when she wants to be (but never around Alistair) and not exactly harmless or discreet due to her chosen way of life - reforming prostitutes! Even thinking she is totally wrong for him Alistair finds himself attracted to her and since Melisande keeps trying to get his attention that attraction is difficult to ignore. Melisande knows that the Heavenly Host has turned into a terrible and criminal organization, not above torturing and killing girls on their pursuit of pleasure. And she is sure that Alistair's young brother is a participant. So, what better to enlist his help in uncovering the wrongdoings and saving the young girl that has recently vanished from her house?
Alistair is not a member of the Heavenly Host and, at first dismisses Melisande's complaints as the organisation has never been violent. However, since he can't get through to his brother and Melisande is so insistent, he starts wondering if there is any truth in it. And the more they see each other the more they are attracted to one another.
Stuart writes beautiful loves scenes but to be honest I was a bit bored by these two. I know it is a good thing when love scenes advance the action and make the characters know each other and their love interest better but to be honest I am looking forward to read more books with less bedroom scenes. Maybe I've read too many Rohan books in a row... Or maybe I'm am suffering from burn out because Stuart does write better than most and when this formula works it is the perfect comfort read. It just didn't hold my attention as I was hoping it would and I found myself shaking my head that they would have sex when they are in danger of being found out by the bad guys. The suspense subplot also didn't convince me and I guessed who the villain was fairly early. That people are so envious of the Rohan's that they want to harm them is getting a bit old as that has been happening in every book. While it was a fast read I am struggling to remember all the details to write this review and that is never a good thing.
I was really interested in the secondary love story we get a peek at in the end and I am very sorry to have found out that Brandon Rohan's book has not been published. I really hope it will be sometime in the future because it sounded much more promising...