Monday, February 1, 2010

Another of My Guest Reviews Posted -- Revenge Wears Rubies by Renee Bernard

Galen Hawke desired nothing but revenge against the woman who betrayed his dearly departed friend. Instead of mourning the loss of her fiance, Miss Haley Moreland is merrily celebrating her upcoming nuptials to another man. Now, Galen has one mission: to seduce Miss Moreland and enslave her heart. And when she is completely his, he will destroy her. With her family on the brink of financial ruin, Haley knows she should be grateful for her providential betrothal. But then she meets the dangerously handsome Galen, whose wicked touch makes her long to abandon all logic. If Galen's promises are sincere, the match to a family of noble blood and strong financial accounts could be the remedy her family desperately needs. And if he isn't sincere, one last chance to taste the passion he ignites before settling into a life of convention is equally alluring.

This novel is the first in the Jaded Gentleman Series built on a group of Englishmen who have been kidnapped, imprisoned, tortured, and in some cases, killed by a mad shah in India during the Victorian Era. When the survivors return to England, Galen Hawke is bound by his promise to one of his compatriots who died in his arms, that he would watch out for the fiance in question, one Haley Moreland. His anger and desire for revenge grows out of his belief that Miss Moreland has not mourned her supposed fiance in an appropriate manner, rushing into another betrothal for obvious financial reasons. Thus his plan to ruin her physically and savage her reputation for all time, thus making an advantageous marriage impossible. In giving a brief introductory description of the imprisonment, torture, and bare survival of these Englishmen, a very solid foundation is established for this story as well as novels to come. Each of these survivors has his own individual style of re-entry into London/English society, but Galen's preoccupation with his revenge against Haley Moreland takes his mind off of any other issue in his life.
I found this book to be very readable and if the reader is seeking sensuality, then it is to be found in bags and gobs in the accounts of the torrid affair between the two main characters. It is so torrid, in fact, that this book is best read in a cold room! The underlying conflict in the story is between the Jaded Gentlemen and the East India Company, and add to that the conflict within Galen as he seeks to maintain his loathing of his intended target while realizing that he has become addicted to his lover. Intertwined are Haley's issues with her father's alcoholism and the impending financial ruin facing their family if she does not marry well. Yet her heart is engaged and her decision to indulge her own desires until such time as she must marry leads her into unknown depths of passion. She is finding it harder and harder to extracate herself and she is not sure she wants to. There's lots and lots of “stuff” going on in this book. It is so very well-written. There is humor and passion, suspense and intrigue, grace and love in the midst of betrayal throughout these pages. I really couldn't put it down. I am looking forward to reading much more of these Jaded Gentlemen. I give this book a 5 out of 5 rating!

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