Read with: iBooks for iPad
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: The House of Rohan, #3
Hero: Lucien de Malheur
Heroine: Miranda Rohan
Date of Publication: January 1, 2010
Started On: March 1, 2014
Finished On: March 2, 2014
Reading an Anne Stuart is like infusing an addictive drug into your system; one novel is never enough to satisfy your hunger for all those spots that Anne Stuart seems to hit with every single one of her books. After finishing Reckless, I found myself driven by the need to pick up the third book Breathless, the book which apparently sports the most villainous of hero in the House or Rohan series.
Breathless is the story of Lady Miranda Rohan, daughter of Adrian and Charlotte from Reckless. Miranda is 21 and contemplating on resigning herself to the sort of life that is expected of a lady from society, but she is determined to have at least one night of fun and flirtation where no one would know any better. But what was supposed to be a night of harmless fun, the memories of which she would treasure for the rest of her life, turns out to be the stuff nightmares are made of as Miranda is ruined thoroughly and completely. Becoming an outcast of society gives Miranda the freedom to live a life of her choosing and even though being rebuffed in polite society day in and day out gets tiresome, Miranda is nothing else if not determined not to let that get her spirits down.
Lucien de Malheur, Earl of Rochdal, more famously knows as The Scorpion is a man whose need and hunger for revenge on the Rohan family knows no limits. With Miranda as the pawn of his revenge, Lucien is determined that he would enact the justice deserved, even if it means Lucien himself would have to carry out the deed. Patient planning for a period of two years brings him in touch with the lady in question and even then Lucien cannot help the flare of attraction and want that burgeons to life inside of him from the very first encounter.
But Lucien is not a man to forget the path he has set on, even if it means destroying the one thing in his life that brings lightness into his otherwise dark and tortured soul. Miranda knows better than to fight a losing game. However, that doesn’t mean that she would make the course of revenge any easier for Lucien to enact. Miranda is determined to make the best of whatever situation it is that Lucien throws her way, except when it comes to the dark, alluring and forbidden hunger that rages to life inside of her whenever Lucien puts his hands on her. The things he makes her want and feel should be outlawed and leaves Miranda reeling from the impact of it all, and little does she know that even The Scorpion himself is not immune to the blazing passion that rules their bodies whenever they touch each other with carnal intent.
While everyone made Lucien out to be the irredeemable villainous hero of the likes Anne Stuart hasn’t written before, I found him to be dark and a bit more ruthless and tortured than the ilk of heroes encountered in this series thus far. I believe the ICE series features heroes more ruthless than Lucien, but that doesn’t mean reading Lucien’s story is a walk in the park by any means. I stayed up till the wee hours of the night to get to the ending because Lucien’s notoriety demanded nothing less, the ice encasing his heart and soul not seeming to thaw even by the last couple of chapters of the book.
While Lucien doesn’t bare himself and his soul even towards the end, his intense possessiveness when it comes to Miranda is evident if you look at the subtle clues he leaves behind with every encounter that takes place between them. I guess my dissatisfaction arose from the fact that the cause for revenge seemed a baseless one at most, one that seemed to rule Lucien’s nonexistent emotions, something I somehow failed to understand given his character. Nevertheless, his back story and every little tidbit to do with him was riveting in a way that only Anne Stuart can make it so.
While I am still undecided about Lucien though of course I’m veering towards loving him wholeheartedly, I flat out adored Miranda. I think the story worked given the dark nature of the hero only because Miranda turned out to be someone whose nature didnt’t allow her to go into a pissing contest with the hero to see who could outwit whom. Rather, Miranda in her own way does try and outsmart Lucien but there never was the feeling of animosity on her part while she went about doing what she did, which practically made the story for me!
And like every book in the House of Rohan series, Breathless too came with a secondary romance in its midst, one that was charming in its own sense. Though I would have loved to see where their romance would lead them, I guess I would have to satisfy myself with letting my own imagination carry me away, which is mostly what happens with the lack of epilogues that is a characteristic common to most Anne Stuart novels.
If you don’t like dark heroes, you might not find Lucien worthy of love and redemption. But if you love your bad boys really bad, look no further. Recommended for fans of Anne Stuart.
Final Verdict: Lucien is every tortured and ruthless hero breathed to life!
She froze, not certain what she should do. This was ridiculous, it was bizarre, it was shocking. She couldn’t scream, and she didn’t want to fight. He slowly seduced her with his tongue, sliding it against hers with a steady, sinuous rhythm that she felt in her breasts, the pit of her stomach, between her legs. It was a kiss that caught her soul, wrapped it up and stole it away from her, and when he finally lifted his head she was breathless. And so was he.
“Please,” she gasped out, and she heard his damnable chuckle. But then it didn’t matter, for his mouth latched onto her other breast, and her back arched as he drew her into his mouth, his tongue dancing across the pebbled nub, as he sucked at her, hard. His fingers slid lower, and she felt a tiny explosion rocket through her, making her jerk against his restraining hand.
He hoisted her higher, using both arms to support her under her thighs, bracing her against the wood paneling behind her bare back, and he began to move.
She let out a strangled cry, dropping her face onto his shoulder, letting her hands slide down his heavily scarred back, clinging tightly. He no longer seemed to mind, he was too intent on the sinuous movement of his hips, thrusting in, withdrawing as her body clung to him, then moving in deeper still, and each time she cried out, in blind, helpless pleasure.