RAKE WITH A FROZEN HEART
Publisher: HarlequinMay 1, 2012
Available in paperback and ebook formats
ARC from Net Galley for Review
Waking up in a stranger’s bed, Henrietta Markham encounters the most darkly sensual man she has ever met. The last thing she remembers is being attacked by a housebreaker—yet being rescued by the notorious Earl of Pentland feels much more dangerous!
Since the cataclysmic failure of his marriage, ice has flowed in Rafe St. Alban’s veins. But meeting impetuous, all-too-distracting governess Henrietta heats his blood to the boiling point.
When she’s accused of theft, Rafe finds himself offering to clear her name. Can Henrietta’s innocence bring this hardened rake to his knees?
Rafe is haunted by his past. The guilt he harbors from decisions made long ago has turned his heart to ice. He feels he no longer deserves to love or be loved. He is truly a tormented hero. Henrietta is a wide-eyed, trusting innocent who blurts out whatever is on her mind – what a breath of fresh air.
This is your typical H/h from different sides of the tracks making for a wonderful “opposites attract”. The fire is lit from their first conversation when Henrietta awakens in Rafe’s bed, after he has rescued her from the ditch, and she has just accused him of being a rake:
“I found you quite unconscious. I thought you were dead at first, and despite what you have been imagining, Miss Markham, I much prefer my conquests, both compos mentis and willing. You can be reassured, I made no attempt to molest you. Had I done so, you would have not readily forgotten the experience. Something else I pride myself upon,” Rafe said sardonically.
When Henrietta is accused of a crime she didn’t commit, she flees when it seems she has no other choice but to try and prove her innocence. Henrietta hides on the back of a carriage hoping it will lead her to London. As it turns out, the carriage belongs to none other than that notorious rake, Rafe St. Albans, Earl of Pentland. He agrees to help Henrietta in her quest, since her actions have implicated Rafe as a coconspirator.
The story line may be conventional, but it is the questioning naivety of Henrietta and her outspoken ways that keep this story moving. Rafe seems to be the usual broken hero with a bit of a secret - but oh no, no, no; there is much more. Not only does he put the health and welfare of Henrietta first and foremost at all times, (even during their lovemaking), he also tries to atone for his sins in a very unconventional way.
A delightful Regency tale with plenty of romance, sensuality and intrigue.