Much Ado about a silly ring – “What a Rogue Desires” by Caroline Linden
Handsome nobleman/rogue David Reece is broke, and needs to turn his playboy lifestyle around. To repay his brother, he takes a gig watching the brother’s affairs while the brother heads off on an extended honeymoon. Said brother leaves him with a valuable ring with the family crest on it. Not a chapter later, David is on a stagecoach when he’s robbed and the ring is stolen. Turns out, the sexy widow he was watching his whole stagecoach ride was in on the scheme – gasp, she arranged the whole robbery! Once David tracks her down (thanks to the aid of the pawn shop owner arranging to buy said ring), he drags her back to his estate and locks her in a room until she tells him who she is and where he can get his ring.
Thief-lady’s name is Vivian Beechman, and of course she isn’t a bad person by nature. She was forced into becoming a thief as a way to support herself and her younger brother. This is a thief with morals, you see.
(There’s a semi-ridiculous half-plot about Vivien’s former crime boss using the ring to trick the local officials into thinking David is organizing and pulling off all the robberies happening, but let’s be honest – that’s not what this book is about.)
Such a hard case is made for Vivien’s morals that it falls to David to teach her the “ways of love” as their passion for each other intensifies. Because author Caroline Linden is aiming for a plot, it takes a while for the romance between David and Vivien to heat up, but once it does it turns positively dirty – and fast.
SuchaBookNerd Smut Index: I’m going to give this one a 7.5. There are really only two heated scenes between David and Vivian, but they’re rather blush-worthy in how graphic they are.
All in all, “What a Rogue Desires” was a pretty good way to start a month of romance novels. Well played, Ms. Linden.