A Rogue's Pleasure
Hope Tarr makes an impressive debut with A Rogue’s Pleasure. Normally I am not at all fond of the romping and feisty heroine who dresses up as a boy, but I couldn’t help but like Chelsea Bellamy. She doesn’t romp and posture because she is a little Miss Spitfire; she has a reason for her actions. As for the hero, Anthony, Viscount Montrose – well, I loved him from the beginning. These are two very impressive characters.
When the book opens, Chelsea Bellamy has received a note telling her that her brother Robert has been kidnapped and is being held for £500 ransom. Chelsea initially thinks to borrow the money from an old family friend, but when he makes advances toward her, she takes to the only avenue left to her and assumes the former identity of her old servant who used to prowl the roads as One-Eyed Jack. With Jack’s reluctant assistance, Chelsea robs the coach containing Anthony, Viscount Montrose and his fiancée Olivia.
When the booty from Anthony and Olivia proves less than sufficient, Chelsea breaks into a townhouse and begins to rob it, but she is caught by its owner – Anthony. He is amused and bemused by Chelsea and after he hears her story, he promises to assist her in getting her brother free from the kidnappers.
The plans to free Robert Bellamy do not go as smoothly as they had hoped and Anthony and Chelsea are forced to spend a lot of time together. The sexual tension soon becomes thick between them. Anthony is the one who is the most affected. He finds himself obsessed more and more with this intelligent and audacious young woman who is so very different from his bland and proper fiancée. He wants her, he needs her, he offers to make her his mistress (she flatly turns him down), and she is all he can think about.
I found myself cheering for Chelsea is 90 percent of the time and wanting to shake her the other 10 percent. She exasperated me mostly by refusing to listen to Anthony when he tells her not to put on her breeches and join him when he goes to meet the ruffians in the pay of the man who kidnapped her brother. Of course she doesn’t listen and must be rescued from rape a couple of times. Bravery is one thing, but Chelsea was too foolhardy at times. Still, she was intelligent and resourceful and motivated by her love for her brother – her actions were not the result of sheer stubbornness and that did redeem her in my eyes.
There are some very exciting and suspenseful scenes where Anthony and Chelsea race to free Robert. The identity of the kidnapper is no big surprise, but that does not lessen the tension and suspense of the last scenes. All comes out well, for Robert, Anthony, Chelsea and even the silly Olivia.
I enjoyed A Rogue’s Pleasure very much and plan on reading more of Hope Tarr. She can create very good characters and knows how to pace a story – what more can I ask?