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Ms Dare had backed herself into a corner because book one in this series, was for me the near perfect historical romance. With that in mind, this the second book in the series had a lot to live up to...and fell slightly short of the mark. I liked how Ms Dare used a different setting (the tavern) but two things left me dissatisfied. The first was the Rhys saw Merry and pretty much fell in love with her on the spot, enough to become infatuated with marrying her - and the second was that Meredith set about seducing him, whilst he held off consummation until she'd agreed to marry him. It seemed implausible that a seasoned soldier would not sucumb to temptation when a seductress of Merry's metal set him in her sights. (Dont get me wrong, I'm not stereotyping soldiers - just seems odd that a man used to living for the moment, wouldnt seize take advantage!) That said, it was a satisfying read but what I have learnt is to not read Ms Dare's books back-to-back. I dare say if I'd read other, more average HR's in between this and book one, I'd have been much more impressed.
This is the second of three in Ms Dare's Stud Club. The story revolves around three men - the arrogant Duke, the Warrior Knight and the outrageous ton trendsetter-who hold a combined 10 tokens for a prize horse to stud. The original owner, and founder of the Club is dead and the three men, with different lives and different motives, struggle to expose the crime, determine who is responsible and what to do about their own lives. This is the story of the warrior who ran away from a horrible home life, continually put himself in harm's way only to emerge a hero, and somehow survived to be come involved in a tangled web, a girl he left behind and a life he thought he wanted to lose. The book is not as fun as the first, but better than the third. The hero is reluctant, introverted, used to being rejected and has no idea how to woo the lady his wants, to how to run away from his obligations. If one reads all three books they are a good way to spend a quiet weekend or to ignore time while waiting.
This is my least favourite of an excellent series, yet I enjoyed it a lot more than many other books of this genre, and still gave it four stars.
The start was not engaging enough. I tried to read it a few times and put it aside. Once I got into it, though, things changed, and I found the rough and tough Rhys and the strong and determined Meredith to be well-thought-out characters who are consistent throughout the story.
Tessa Dare is great at creating visual images. You almost feel like you are eating at The Three Hounds, admiring the sweaty Rhys building the cottage, or watching the bar brawl in person.
The ongoing mystery of the murder of Leo Chatwick continues and the characters of Bellamy and Faraday are brought back into the picture, tying together the three books of this series. The surprise ending, identifying who was attacking Rhys and his plans for his future at Ashworth, was an added bonus that was not at all expected, but tied in well to the story overall.
The biggest problem is where was the twice in the "Twice Tempted by a Rogue"? Rhys was certainly a rogue, but Meredith was tempted by him over and over, with the sexual tension at first (while he insisted they be married); the intense passion once they actually slept together, even though she wanted to remain independent; the scene where she sees him shirtless; and the way she protected him whenever he got into trouble. The only thing I can think of is that she was in love with him as a child and then tempted by him as an adult. This adds up to a lot of times she was tempted, though!
Good strong story that was not predictable. About a quarter of the way into the book I started to lose interest and almost put it down. But I picked it up the next day and read to the end. Maybe I was tired. Did not see the end coming.
This chapter in the Stud Club Trilogy is a little darker than the first. Rhys St. Maur is that kind of hero, and the heroine is a widowed innkeeper who has led a far from easy life. Still, it's a interesting story -- although there is precious little progress made toward solving the overarching murder mystery. Forward, then, to the next installment.