by Julia London

October 2000
ISBN: 0-440-23562-6
Reviewer Graphic Button Dell Publishing
Mass Market Paperback

The Ruthless Charmer is the second in the Rogues of Regent Street series. In this story, Julia London tells the tale of Julian Dane, Earl of Kettering.

Julian was there, at the dueling field, when Phillip was shot by Adrian Spence. Why didnít he stop the duel before it got this far? Why didnít he see that Phillip was egging Adrian on, making Adrian angrier and angrier? And then Adrian deloped and still Phillip shot at Adrian, forcing Adrian to protect himself and shoot back. And now Phillip was dead. Some ĎRogueísí they all turned out to be. They were supposed to protect each other not kill one another.

Wallowing in his own form of guilt, Julian went to France to stay with his sister. After drinking his way through the ballrooms there, not to mention sleeping with a few Frenchmenís wives, he returns to London to try and put his life back together. He was a Rogue of Regent Street. He could do anything.

Upon arriving in Dieppe, to board a ship for England, Julian stopped at an inn for some ale and food. He never expected to see the one person in this whole world who had never succumbed to his charming roguish ways, Claudia Whitney. The tomboy, always getting into trouble and following him around, pain in the butt. But to see her now, sheís nothing like a tomboy, but a beautiful woman with a shrieking Frenchman yelling the inn down around them. What the devil trouble has Claudia gotten herself into now?

Claudia is mortified that her footman was screeching like a madwoman and all over a hurt ankle. Is it her fault that he doesnít understand English, and when she yelled to get out of the way, he didnít move and the mare stepped on him? And now, they were in this inn in Dieppe and just when sheís trying to get through to these Frenchmen, she sees someone she knows. At least she thinks itís him since she hasnít seen him in a while. Oh dear, itís Julian Dane, the one man in this entire world who knows how to push her buttons. Now heíll think sheís in some kind of trouble, again, and try and fix it.

As Julian tries to help Claudia out of her predicament, one thing leads to another and soon they are faced with a possible scandal that could ruin Claudiaís reputation. The only thing to save her is for them to marry. But can they make a marriage between them work? After knowing each other since childhood, they know each other very well, maybe too well. But most importantly, can Claudia teach Julian to live again? To accept that Phillipís death was not his fault? Will her love for him be enough to heal his wounds?

This Rogue story was even better than the last. It was fun and fast paced and Julian and Claudia are perfect for each other, even though they canít see it. Ms. London creates characters with great depth, never leaving the reader lacking in any way to understanding their personalities. The passion that springs from the pages will make you run for a cold glass of water, or maybe some wine!

Reviewed in October 2002 by Debbie.

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