From the BLURB:
Adrian Alistair Rohan lost his faith, and now, a dedicated member of the depraved Heavenly Host, he loses himself in his only pleasure: the seduction and debauchery of beautiful women. Rich, charming and devastatingly skilled in the arts of love, he never fails in his conquests.until Charlotte Spenser.
Charlotte is facing a desolate, passionless future, none of which matters to Adrian, who imagines her a toy until better prey arrives. But beneath her drab exterior, Charlotte is a woman as enchanting as she is brilliant and, lured into Adrian's world, soon she becomes the seducer, and he the seduced...
‘Reckless’ is the second book in Anne Stuart’s ‘House of Rohan’ trilogy.
This trilogy spans three generations of Rohan’s. ‘Ruthless’ was about Viscount Francis Rohan, who started the orgy-delights of the ‘Heavenly Host’ and went down as a Paris legend for his wicked sojourns. ‘Reckless’ is about Adrian Rohan, son of Elinor and Francis.
Adrian is a twenty-eight year old rake. He is following in his father’s footsteps, doing what he pleases and uncaring of what others think. Adrian is attending the reincarnation of the Heavenly Host where he bumps into Charlotte Spenser... Charlotte is a thirty-year-old spinster; ginger-haired, freckled and awkward. Charlotte is also besotted with Adrian. She has watched him for three London seasons; watched him bed women and throw them away, watched his beautiful form across numerous ballrooms and lusted after him. Charlotte was dragged to the Heavenly Host by her strumpet cousin, Evangelina Whitmore, but she never thought that she would run into the notorious Adrian Rohan. And she never in her wildest dreams thought that Adrian would offer her three days in his bed. Three days introducing Charlotte to pleasures of the flesh and then sending her own her way to a lifetime of spinsterhood....
I loved ‘Ruthless’. That book was my first introduction to Anne Stuart and her wonderfully rakish male protagonists. Stuart’s bad-boy heroes are her forte – she writes truly villainous men who seem impossible as love interests, but whose redemption makes for compelling reading.
Unfortunately, Adrian Rohan didn’t live up to his father’s level of rakishness. I can’t quite put my finger on why Adrian wasn’t in the same rake league as his father.... It might be because when he meets Charlotte, Adrian is instantly (if unknowingly) besotted, whereas in ‘Ruthless’ Francis Rohan’s affections were never crystal-clear to Elinor or readers. It was also a matter of never reading much evidence of Adrian’s libertine behaviours, beyond other character’s gossip and innuendo.
Charlotte was also not of the same heroine-calibre as Elinor of ‘Ruthless’. Where Elinor had a backbone and stubborn-streak to admire and put Francis Rohan in his place, Charlotte is a bit of a whiner. Charlotte sees herself as an ugly, unwanted and unmarriageable spinster. She spends a lot of time telling Adrian of her short-comings and convincing him that he can’t possibly want her frumpy self. All of Charlotte’s self-flagellations started to get on my nerves and wore away my sympathy for her. There’s only so much pity-partying I can take, especially when all of her protestations are unfounded because Adrian shows his enthusiasm for her, repeatedly.
Finally she said, “You sick bastard.”Overall I didn’t particularly like Charlotte and Adrian’s romance. Beyond good sex, these two had no reason to fall in love. Adrian is intrigued by Charlotte because he knows she is lusting after him (egomaniac). And Charlotte is attracted to Adrian because he’s very, very handsome (shallow). Not exactly the most romantic of couplings.
“Oh, my love, not sick at all. It’s quite lovely, and some women, the very best women, enjoy it as well. So I gather this means you don’t want me inside you, riding you, pumping you, making you cry and scream with pleasure?”
“You’re a pig,” she snapped.
“It’s a pig’s world. So the answer is no, my precious?”
Like ‘Ruthless’, ‘Reckless’ has a second romantic storyline. This one concerning Charlotte’s somewhat slutty cousin, Evangelina, and a reformed rake turned vicar, Simon Pagett. I don’t think these two got enough page-time to really draw me in. And honestly I kept thinking that the romance of a slut and a vicar could have easily carried its own book – especially because Evangelina’s reasons for sluttiness are quite sad and worthy of deeper exploration than Stuart gives them in ‘Reckless’.
I am beginning to see why Anne Stuart has earned her reputation for writing brilliant bad-boys... but ‘Reckless’ just didn’t do it for me. The bad-boy didn’t titillate, the heroine grated and their ‘romance’ was nothing but good sex. ‘Ruthless’ was brilliant, ‘Reckless’ is a poor follow-up.