Read with: iBooks for iPad
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: The House of Rohan, #1
Hero: Francis Alistair St. Claire Dominic Charles Edward Rohan
Heroine: Elinor Harriman
Date of Publication: August 1, 2010
Started On: December 24, 2013
Finished On: December 26, 2013
I stayed up till the wee hours of last night to finish the 1st book in The House of Rohan series by Anne Stuart. Stuart is famous for her ruthless brand of heroes that no author ever dares to write and Ruthless too features one of those delectable heroes, but I would say comparably toned down from the caliber of the heroes gracing her ICE series which is an absolute favorite of mine.
The House of Rohan is based in Paris in the 1700’s where Edward Rohan more famously known as “The King of Hell” for the sort of depravity that he thrives on meets the destitute Elinor Harriman who comes to his lair looking for her mother. Rohan is a man who conducts orgies of all kinds at his residence, the thrills which he used to get from holding such lascivious affairs at his residences now bordering on almost nothingness. When Elinor arrives, she makes Rohan sit up and take notice, and for the first time in a long while Rohan feels as if life runs through his veins rather than the dissatisfaction which had almost been on its way to taking up permanent residency in his life.
Elinor though has lived through a lot of hard times in her life is not prepared for the effect of Rohan on herself. Elinor who thinks herself above feeling anything remotely sexual finds herself oddly mesmerized even though she tries to strive for repulsed when it comes to Rohan. Rohan has no qualms about making a niche for himself in Elinor’s life whether she wants him to or not. And because Elinor would do anything to protect those she considers as hers, even if it means getting mixed up with the devil himself, she has no choice but to “agree” to the terms and conditions that are set by Rohan in his attempts to maintain the euphoria that he feels because she is in his life.
The House of Rohan is a series that has continually come up in my quest for more books to read by Anne Stuart. And it was only quite recently that I took the plunge and read one of her historical romances which convinced me to give these a go as well. From the skim reading that I did on a couple of reviews on this series, everyone seems to talk about just how depraved a man Rohan is. But I found him to be nothing extraordinary in that sense, perhaps because I was expecting a lot more than what was actually in the book where he is featured. I found myself enchanted by the man Rohan is, a complex man if ever there was one. Exiled from his own country and going through life from one pleasure gathering to another, Rohan might appear frivolous when he is exactly the opposite.
The endearing bit about his character is the other side of him that he keeps hidden from the rest of the world, the side of his he takes comfort from when things get to be too much for him to take. Rohan convinces himself that he feels nothing but a passing interest for the woman Elinor is and that the novelty would pass over soon enough. But each encounter between them pulls Rohan deeper into a web of wanting that he hasn’t felt for anyone ever, but Rohan is intent on experiencing the thrill of the chase as much as he can drag it on.
Elinor on the other hand, I had a problem with. Somehow, I just didn’t feel that she cared overly much about Rohan. She just never seemed to see through mostly the elaborate show that Rohan puts up, even when he behaves in a manner that is the complete antithesis of his character. Somehow I think Elinor was too caught up in aspects of her own life to really take notice of Rohan or perhaps it was her defense mechanism against a man whose enigmatic way with her makes her forget that when it comes to engaging in carnal pleasures, she is to remain cold and aloof.
As which is common occurrence when it comes to Anne Stuart, there wasn’t an epilogue tucked into the story but I managed to find the epilogue up on Anne’s website which more than made up for the lack of one in the story. I ended up reading the epilogue more than once with this silly grin on my face which is the end result of having read a book that made you lose sleep over it.
Recommended for fans of Anne Stuart and fans of historical romances.
Final Verdict: When it comes to ruthless heroes and complex plots, Stuart is the master of the game.
“Your hands,” he said, startling her. “You’re quite ridiculously easy to read. You were wondering what I was going to go on about next. I’m quite fascinated by your hands.”
She immediately tucked her hands into her shawl, but he wasn’t deterred. “They don’t look particularly soft. Not the plump, white, useless hands most women have. You have long, beautiful fingers, narrow palms, and yet there’s strength in those hands. I rather think I want to feel them on my body.”
“Don’t…stop…” he groaned.
“I want you inside me,” she whispered. “I want you to finish in my body.”
His groan was powerful, and his need was great. Without another word he rolled over on top of her, shoving her shift up to her waist and pulling her legs apart, and she was just about to brace herself for the pain when he pushed inside her, hard, sliding deep into her with a smoothness that left her breathless, hungry.
He lifted his head, and then blew softly on her wet nipple. “I want to put my mouth everywhere on your body, poppet. I want to taste you all over. And then I want my cock to follow. I want to do things to you no one has ever dreamed of doing. I want to have you so completely that no one else has ever existed, only you and me.”