Not every lady plays by the rules.
Lady Lavinia Vaile knows what happens to a woman who puts her faith in society. For her, it was a disastrous marriage to a depraved man-one she threatened to shoot when she left him. Now Lavinia lives outside of society’s strict conventions, hosting private gambling parties. It’s only when her husband is shot dead that Lavinia finds herself in terrible danger…
A former judge in India’s high court, Maximilian Harrison will do anything he can to help Lavinia. In the darkest of times, he held on to thoughts of her and the love they once shared. Now he risks his own position in society―along with his ambitions―in order to clear her name. Yet as desire reignites between them, Lavinia remains caught up in secrets and shame. Her only salvation is to do the unthinkable…and trust in both Maximilian and love.
Hello Brooke! Thank you for hosting me for a Top 5 post on Brooke Blogs! Today I’d like to share my top 5 heros-who-aren’t-rakes.
I love a good Reformed Rake Hero…a wounded man transformed by love into a devoted husband. But today I’d like to talk about another kind of hero—a hero who, though he has trials to overcome, is rooted in honor and duty from the page one. Reviewers have described the hero of Lady Vice as:
“so sweet, so devoted to Lavinia… I just adored him”
“I loved Max!! He was do dedicated”
And, from my cover quote,
“a smoldering hero who will sacrifice anything to regain his first love.”
These descriptions got me thinking about my top 5 heros who are strong, devoted and kind throughout the romance.
1. Jude Bertrand in Victoria Dahl’s A Little Bit Wild
He’s not pretty like the other men the heroine admires, nor does he have rank and status. But he does accept the heroine for who she is and freely gives her what she needs to save her reputation.
2. Hadrian Bothwell, in Grace Burrows Hadrian, Lord of Hope
I fell in love with Hadrian as the vicar and friend to the heroine in The Soldier. In Hadrian, Lord of Hope, he finds his match and his true calling in Lady Avis and is just the man to help her heal.
3. Sir Benedict Harper in Mary Balogh’s The Escape
Despite the fact Benedict’s battle wounds make travel difficult, he insists on helping the widow Mrs. Samantha McKay escape her rigid in-laws and escorting her to Wales so she can claim her inheritance.
4. Benedict Bridgerton in Julia Quinn’s An offer from a Gentleman
Although Benedict is a more of a rake than the other heros on this list he is kind, and thoughtful and protective of his Sophie. Who can resist a man who utters a line like this: “I’ll give anything you want. All I want in return is you.”
5. Lord Edward Valentine in Sally MacKenzie’s Bedding Lord Ned
The hero of Bedding Lord Ned is yummy, indeed. Ned is a widower who carries the weight of the world on his shoulders. When a matchmaking Mama and a pair of red knickers are thrown in his path, his eyes finally open to the love that’s been by his side his whole life.
So readers of Brooke Blogs, if a non-rake hero has made you book-swoon, I’d love to know…
Maximilian Harrison’s heart beat for a single purpose: get to Lavinia.
“You will let me pass.” He trapped the lone man guarding the private gambling salon against Lady Sophia’s garden gate.
“But you do not have an invitation. And Lady Sophia does not allow uninvited—”
“You misunderstand.” Max placed a hand on the guard’s shoulder. “I don’t give a damn about Lady Sophia or her rules. I must speak with Lady Vaile.”
Time was tying a hangman’s noose. Already, dawn cast shadows into the mist.
He’d fought his way to the outskirts of London. He’d scaled the outer wall of Lady Sophia’s infamous mansion. He’d dashed through her courtyard like a hunted thief. He had no desire to hurt the guard but, by God, he would not be turned away.
In the space between their bodies, the guard’s grip on his musket tightened. Chilled air stung Max’s teeth. Firearms didn’t frighten Max. If they did, he would have died in that hell-scented cell in India.
A tremor ran through his fingers. Focus. Thirty seconds, perhaps less, and he could have the guard spitting dirt.
No. Destroying him is not necessary. Nor is breaking his bones.
“Lady Vaile is in danger. Unless I warn her, she, and your mistress, will suffer. Open the gate,” Max ordered. “Now.”
Faint lamplight illuminated the flush spreading up from the guard’s neck as his gaze darted toward the garden.
“Go, then.” He unlatched the gate. “But cause trouble and you will pay.”
Max stilled his curling fist. He stepped inside and, with a calculating gaze, surveyed the garden and the gamers within.
So this was the Furies’ lair.
He’d heard fantastical tales of the private salons hosted by the three ladies collectively known as the Furies—Lavinia, now Lady Vaile, and her friends Lady Sophia and Her Grace, Thea Marie, Duchess of Wynchester.
Marriage-minded misses clamored to obtain Almack’s vouchers, but every aspiring rake coveted an invitation from the Furies. And, clearly, invitations had been sent to every dandy, wastrel, and libertine in London.
Maids, not footmen as custom dictated, served guests in costumes accented by silken wings. Miniature cherubs hung from tree branches.
Angels—he snorted—a clever thumb in the face of the hostesses’ sobriquets: Lady Vice, Lady Scandal, and Duchess Decadence.
Around a nearby table, men chanted in unison. “Place the card, place the card!”
Max shouldered through coats of velvet and caught his first sight of Lavinia in years.
She did not look like a fury—all darkness and fear. Haloed in the pale pink glow of early dawn, she appeared almost as innocent as the girl he had courted all those years ago. She still commanded the colors of autumn. Her skin glowed like ripened wheat and her smoky lashes rimmed eyes as brown as spiced ale. A man could become forever mired in those depths, enraptured and entombed.
He blinked to quell the sudden burn in his eyes, a natural result of coal soot and sleeplessness, undoubtedly.
About the Author
Wendy LaCapra has been reading romance since she sneaked into the adult section at the library and discovered Victoria Holt & Jane Aiken Hodge. From that point on, she dreamed of creating fictional worlds with as much richness, intrigue and passion as she found within those books. Her stories have placed in several contests, including the 2012 Golden Heart®. She lives in NYC with her husband and loves to hear from readers.
11 Winners – Will win an eBook copy of ONE of the following books from the ladies from www.PastThrills.com:
In Bed With a Spy by Alyssa Alexander, Reckless Wager by Christy Carlyle, Captured Countess by Ann Lethbridge, To Love a Thief by Darcy Burke, My Lady’s Trust by Julia Justiss, Unraveling Secrets by Lana Williams, A Shocking Delight by Jo Bevelery, Why Dukes Say I Do by Manda Collins, Secrets in Scarlet by Erica Monroe, An Improper Aristocrat by Deb Marlowe and Night Storm by Tracey Devlyn