Thursday, September 18, 2014

Book Tour for Once More, My Darling Rogue by Lorraine Heath (Review & GIVEAWAY)

As a fan of Lorraine Heath I breathlessly await each new release as I know I can count on her delightful heroes to take me away from it all.  Once More, My Darling Rogue continues her trend of satisfying reads but has to work a bit harder at it because of a spoiled heroine.  Keep reading to get a glimpse of this book, along with my impressions of it, and learn even more by visiting the other blogs hosting this tour.  Make sure to fill out the form below for the chance to win a $25 bookstore GC too!

From New York Times bestselling author Lorraine Heath, comes the second book in a brand new series, The Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James, featuring three eligible bachelors...and the scoundrels that reside within each.
Born to the street but raised within the aristocracy, Drake Darling can't escape his sordid beginnings. Not when Lady Ophelia Lyttleton snubs him at every turn, a constant reminder he's not truly one of them. But after rescuing her from a mysterious drowning, he realizes she doesn't remember who she is. With plans to bring her to heel, he insists she's his housekeeper—never expecting to fall for the charming beauty.
While Ophelia might not recall her life before Drake, she has little doubt she belongs with him. The desire she feels for her dark, brooding employer can't be denied, regardless of consequences. So when Ophelia's memory returns, she is devastated by the depth of his betrayal. Now Drake must risk everything to prove she can trust this rogue with her heart once more.


Just that morning she had been the envy of every female in London because Darling had escorted her down the aisle of St. George’s following the ceremony that had united Grace and Lovingdon. She had served as Grace’s maid of honor while Darling had stood asLovingdon’s best man. But on the long stroll from the altar to the vestry, she’d spoken not a word to him, and he’d barely acknowledged her. He hadn’t bestowed upon her his remarkable smile. His eyes hadn’t twinkled. She knew he wished to be with anyone other than her just as she wished to be with anyone other than him.
The ladies were dancing with the devil as he led them merrily into temptation. It was time someone put an end to the charade, that someone reminded them—and him—of his place within their ranks.
At that precise moment Drake Darling wished to be anywhere other than where he was, but he was well aware that in life one did not always get what he wished for. On occasion, he didn’t even get what he deserved.
So he relied upon what he’d learned during his formative years about deception and he pretended that he was positively delighted, beside himself with joy, to be the center of attention. He much preferred the shadows to glittering ballrooms. He was most comfortable when not noticed, but he was at best a chameleon. He knew how to blend in even when the blending in took place within a room with mirrored walls, gaslit chandeliers, and the finest personages the aristocracy had to offer.
The one thing he was not feigning was his happiness for Grace and Lovingdon. He considered Grace a sister, even though their blood could not have been more opposite. For many years now he had been close to Lovingdon, a confidante on occasion, but more often a hell-raiser of late. Until Grace had captured the duke’s heart.
Therefore, Drake couldn’t very well not attend the celebration of their marriage. Only minutes earlier he’d caught sight of the happy couple escaping the ballroom. Normally the bride and groom didn’t attend the ball held in their honor, but Grace was far from conventional. She’d wanted to dance with her father one last time. The Duke of Greystone’s eyesight was deteriorating, although only the family was aware of his affliction. Another reason Drake was here: to acknowledge his debt to the man and woman who had given him a home. His presence was expected, and so he gave no outward sign to the six young ladies surrounding him that he wished to be elsewhere. He always did whatever was required to ensure the duke and duchess had no regrets about taking him in.




It takes a very talented author to take an immensely unlikable and spoiled heroine and transform her into someone caring, likable, and deserving of her HEA.  Lorraine Heath has always been a favorite of mine and with this second installment in her Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James series she shows just such a talent by transforming the extremely nasty and spoiled Ophelia into Phee who's good to both people and animals and works hard when tasked with living a life foreign to her.

Ophelia has been taught not to associate with those of the lower class by a cold and commanding father.  She carries an air of superiority and doesn't hesitate to lord her status over others, particularly made man Drake Darling.  Her comments are cutting and hurtful and make her immensely unlikable as the story starts until a dramatic event changes her life, her attitude and continues to put her in jeopardy from demons from her past.  Ophelia is a strong-willed woman who knows what she wants and what she wants is freedom and her promised inheritance to acheive that.  With the family coffers dwindling though desperate times call for desperate measures and a near-drowning in the river with a bout of amnesia courtesy of a mysterious figure along with brief, painful glimpses from the past don't bode well for her future.  Being rescued by Drake leads to an eye-opening experience as he convinces her that she's his maid.  She learns that the lower class aren't what she was taught and neither is Drake.  She becomes a more caring and appreciative person, learns to love and find freedom in acceptance of herself and ultimately Drake.  Throughout this journey Drake's there keeping her safe from her past and those seeking to harm her future which allows for a friendship to morph into a love that will be put in jeopardy once she discovers that he's been lying to her ever since he rescued her.

Drake started out a boy on the streets who witnessed his father killing his mother and believes his father's darkness taints his soul.  He was rescued by a man of wealth and is grateful for all he's been given in life though he doesn't feel worthy.  He longs for a deep connection with someone but the darkness in him has him keeping his distance.  Though their relationship started out bitterly he finds himself drawn to Ophelia.  At first he just wants to bring her down a notch through his lie but discovering her deeper layers while she's in his home has him finding a soul similar to his.  Theirs is an unlikely connection but a deep one of complete acceptance.  I liked Drake immensely as he was charming and loyal to his friends and family.  He worked hard to rise above his circumstances.  He knew his lie to Phee was wrong but keeping her safe was worth the ramifications.  He knows he's not a good man but he is a man worthy of a HEA and he finds it with the most unlikely of women.

Ms. Heath surprised me by making me like the new Ophelia.  She made her into a real person who was easy to relate to.  Discovering what made her the shrew she was at the start of the story, through foreboding references at first and then the discovery of how she was trained as a child by her father, lead to great sympathy for her.  Though I couldn't completely forgive her as she was a bit hypocritical in her thoughts regarding Drake early on.  I adored Drake in the previous book and his protectiveness of his adopted sister Grace, Ophelia's friend.  He might be rough around the edges but I found him charming and could forgive his lie as I too wanted Ophelia to learn a lesson.  These two bruised souls formed a surprisingly satisfying connection and their romance was both sweet and sensual and progressed at a believable pace.  The secondary characters were again delightful and showed support towards one another that only people who've been through hardships could understand.  I look forward to more stories from this band of brothers.  The mystery surrounding Ophelia was another intriguing part of the story and Ms. Heath juggled its issues both past and present perfectly to add surprising layers to her character.  I was doubtful at the start of the story but Ms. Heath's talent shown through and took me on a delightful and satisfying journey to HEA between two very different people joined in their inner pain.  This was another entertaing installment in the Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James series that can be read on its own but with such a strong cast of characters you won't want to miss any of their stories.

My rating for this is an A-

*I got this book from Edelweiss for review in exchange for my honest opinion.


LORRAINE HEATH always dreamed of being a writer. After graduating from the University of Texas, she wrote training manuals and computer code, but something was always missing. After reading a romance novel, she not only became hooked on the genre, but quickly realized what her writing lacked: rebels, scoundrels, and rogues. She’s been writing about them ever since. Her work has been recognized with numerous industry awards, including RWA’s RITA® and a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award. Her novels have appeared on the USA Today and New York Times best-seller lists.



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