3.5 stars for Victoria Dahl’s “A Rake’s Guide to Pleasure”, mostly for the incredibly hot sex with heavy hints of dominance by our hero. If it wasn’t for the weaker plot, it would have gotten that 4th star.
She’s the daughter of the deceased Baron Denmore, a totally degenerate member of the Hellfire Club who turned his home into a den of iniquity while caring for his grandchildren. Emma saw things as a young child that tore her innocence away. After his death, she was left destitute and thrown on the mercy of relatives whose son developed a manic obsession for her. Now she’s concocted a desperate plot to earn enough money to ensure a quiet, peaceful life away from the dangerous lures that engender feelings she can’t control. Feelings she’s sure mean that she’s too much like her grandfather.
He’s a Duke who suffered a most humiliating episode when he fell in love with a beautiful *itch at a young age and his innermost feelings were exposed by her as a joke to the rest of the ton. Since that time, he’s kept his wildness hidden and refuses to open himself to anyone. However, the recent marriage of his sister has left him with a hollow feeling he’s not sure how to fill. Then he spies a very young, very attractive widow…
I’m guessing this book likely offended many vanilla mainstream readers as the sexual attraction and acts portrayed ride the very fine line between acceptable mainstream portrayals and erotic dominance. I, of course, highly enjoyed it!! The only downside to my enjoyment of the story was the reasons the heroine gave for her aversion to marriage…pretty stupid for such a smart woman. And the secondary plots were fairly easy to predict.
This is only Ms. Dahl’s second book and she’s certainly one to keep an eye on. Her skill with words and smoking love scenes should result in oustanding books as her plotting abilities improve.