Read with: iBooks for iPad
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: The House of Rohan, #4
Hero: Benedick Francis Alistair Rohan
Heroine: Melisande Carstairs
Date of Publication: June 21, 2011
Started On: April 6, 2014
Finished On: April 10, 2014
I believe I am in quite the predicament. Anne Stuart has ruined me. Yes, you heard me right. She has ruined me for practically every other author out there. Two or three books from random authors and that feeling of restlessness stirs inside of me, that craving to read something from an author I firmly believe would never fail me. And every single time I start a new book from her, there is this feeling of anticipation that courses through me, that feeling of rightness and contentment in knowing that Anne Stuart would never do me wrong. And with every book that I finish reading, depression hits, because I know that I would end up devouring most of her published books pretty soon and then I start wondering, where on Earth am I going to get my fix from when that day comes?
Shameless is the 4th and last published book in the delectable The House of Rohan series by Anne Stuart. Depravity is the name of the game for the Rohans, but then the only truly “depraved” character I encountered from this series turns out to be the one hero that wasn’t a Rohan; Lucien from the 3rd book Breathless. Even though Shameless could be read as a standalone, I would advice you to read at least Breathless first. Because certain aspects of the story would only make sense and also give you that deep feeling of happiness if you’ve read Lucien’s story first.
Shameless tells the tale of the sixth Viscount Rohan who has gone through one tragedy after the other that leads him to believe that he would be better off marrying someone who would just bear him children and look for his fix for carnal pleasure elsewhere. That is the intention with which Benedick returns to London and in turn gets gobsmacked by his encounter with the reformist who makes his head spin; Melisande Castairs widow of Sir Thomas Castairs.
Melisande’s charitable activities leaves her on the fringes of society, but Melisande is a determined woman if ever there was one, taking in the “soiled doves” and teaching them the way to a better life. At first Benedick is annoyed by the woman who single-handedly thwarts his attempt to appease the hunger that has not been slated in a long while. But then his fascination with Melisande is one Benedick is willing to ignore at all cost, until she turns up on his doorstep, seeking his help to dig deeper into the activities taking place in the “Heavenly Host”, a secret society of sorts that gets together to seek and slake all types of sexual needs. Though Benedick might not want to believe what Melisande has to say, his own brother’s elusiveness raises red flags all over the place and Benedick has little choice left but to investigate with the annoying Melisande at his heels, and perhaps seduce the woman along the way and walk away once his hunger for all things that is Melisande has been appeased.
While some die-hard fans of Anne Stuart had found Benedick to be too “mild” compared to the likes of gamma heroes that Anne Stuart creates in most of her books, I found Benedick to be just the right sort of rake for Melisande. Lucien turned out to be the darkest of heroes in this series, so perhaps Anne Stuart’s mind was on toning things down a bit from all the intensity that had gone down in the previous book.
As always, Anne Stuart kept the story alive and kicking in so many ways. There are the characters, each and everyone of whom contributes in some way to make the story the well rounded one it turned out to be. And then there is the trademark caustic wit of Anne Stuart that shines through in each and every dialog that happens in the story. I loved the conversations that took place between Melisande and Benedick, not to mention the constant parrying back and forth between Benedick and Lucien; Benedick always having the urge to throttle the very life out of Lucien.
I just flat-out adored Melisande. She’s like this deep bundle of energy and spirit, determined to right the world, one wrong at a time. The fact that she doesn’t seem to mind what the society may think of her and goes on brazenly working to achieve the things she believes in earned her major points! I rooted for her every step of the way and couldn’t get enough of the way that she cannot help herself over her want for a man who is so deliciously wrong for her in numerous ways. Her take charge attitude is one that I loved to bits, the way she just slams her way through into Benedick’s seemingly well ordered life and turns it completely upside down a reason that kept a smile on my face in a way that signaled my unabashed enjoyment for the story.
Ah, and then there is Benedick. Just like 99.99% of the heroes that Anne Stuart creates, Benedick won my heart through and through – it was just as simple as that. I loved the conflict his waspish tongue brought to the story, the angst and the turmoil that kept the story alive, not to mention that deep sexual pulse which brings that electrical vibe to the story that makes it hard to put down. This is where once again, I have to wish and ask out aloud; why cannot more authors embrace writing stories and heroes like Anne Stuart does? Too much to ask in a world where even romance books have to be politically right huh?
While there seemed to be a thread of a secondary romance in the story, namely between Brandon Rohan and Emma Cadbury, it seemed to just stop when things seemed to get interesting between them. And I can’t help but want to read Emma and Brandon’s story with a need that is almost crippling in its intensity! An internet search into the matter revealed that MIRA had not wanted any more stories into the Rohan series even though Anne Stuart had been of the mind to write Emma and Brandon’s story next. Oh the soul crushing disappointment of it all!
If all this constant rambling has given you anything after reading this review, it should be the fact that this story is one that I loved to bits and pieces. The fact that Miranda and Lucien seems to be making so many babies and seeing a “softer” side of Lucien; well, softer in the context of Lucien, was one additional bit about Shameless that had me smiling from deep within my heart. And if you don’t understand where I am going with this review, I will just lay it out for you; I recommend this as one of the most entertaining reads I’ve had the good fortune of reading this year. Don’t miss out on the last installment in this wonderful series!
Final Verdict: Anne Stuart’s mastery continues to amaze & Shameless just sets the fact in stone.
He moved closer, brushing his face against her arm, breathing in her scent. Sun-warmed skin married with the roses and something indefinably female that stirred his senses. Danger, he reminded himself, his instincts well-honed. This was a very dangerous woman.
And then he fell asleep.
His smile was fleeting. “I’m an eminently reasonable man.” And before she realized what he was doing she was back in his arms and he was kissing her, openmouthed and hot and wet, no teasing approach, just raw, sexual demand that should have filled her with disgust and dismay.
Instead her stomach tightened, her heart raced, and the place between her legs grew hot and tingling.
She turned her face away from him, staring at the wall, trying to control her wayward body, envisioning it packed in ice, frozen. But the ice melted against him, and her body was soft and welcoming.
“What do you want?” he persisted, his breath hot against her ear, and his teeth closed lightly over the lobe, and she wanted to moan in pleasure. “What…do…you…want?”
She gave in. She had reached the end of her ability to fight him. “More,” she whispered.
And then all conscious thought vanished in a white haze as her body arched, rigid, as thousands upon thousands of tiny pinpricks shot through her, and she lost herself, the pleasure-pain exploding into a rich darkness she never wanted to leave. It was glorious. It was heaven.
It was disaster.
There was no escape, she didn’t want to escape, but she kept fighting, pushing it away.
“Stop it, Melisande,” he growled in her ear. “Take it. Claim it.”
“No,” she sobbed.
“Take it,” he said again, hard inside her, slamming into her so that the bed shook and her body trembled and she knew she would break apart, and she couldn’t stop, couldn’t stop shaking, couldn’t stop crying, couldn’t stop…
There was no time, no need for preparation. She was wet, he was hard, and he simply released himself from the breeches, lifting her up and bracing her against the wall before he thrust into her with a grunt of satisfaction, feeling her tight around him.
He wanted to slow down, afraid he might hurt her, but she dug her fingers into his shoulders. “No,” she whispered in his ear. “Don’t stop. I need you. Hard. I need you to take me. Harder.”