Berkley, Feb 2009, $7.99
Gwilym, the Earl of Banallt, relishes his reputation as a rake of the first order. However, he has one clink in his roguish armor; he loves Sophie Evans, wife of a womanizing friend and sister to another. In other words, she is untouchable even if her marriage was scandalously over the anvil elopement.
In 1814 Sophie has become a widow, so Gwilym decides to pursue the intelligent independent Sophie. However, she rejects his advances, not wanting a tryst or two with any man as love failed her once already. Gwilym knows what he wants is not a short affair, but a lifetime with his beloved while Sophie hides her deepest love for him; he no longer fancies his reputation as he must overcome his bad reputations She illogically fears if she submits to her desire he will use her like Evans did and go on to his next conquest while she knows if he stays she will lose her independence.
Sophie makes this character driven Regency romance into a great story as she has learned her lesson re falling in love with rakes as unlike the myths that they make the most faithful dedicated spouses, they remain rogues charming to others while ignoring their wives. Thus Gwilym knows he has an extremely difficult task ahead to prove to his beloved he is just like the legends of reformed rakes and not like her late spouse. Fans will relish this jewel of a historical.