Series: Rakes & Rogues #1
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on May 5, 2015
Genres: Historical Romance
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Mellie Smithson has a plan…
Mellie Smithson is trapped in the country with no suitors and no prospects on the horizon except, perhaps, the exasperating—although admittedly handsome—guest of her father. Unwilling to settle, Mellie will do anything to escape to London...
Trevor Anaedsley has a problem…
Trevor Anaedsley’s grandfather has cut off his funds until he gets engaged. Beset by creditors, Trevor escapes to the country—ostensibly to visit his old tutor Mr. Smithson—where he meets Smithson’s lovely daughter Mellie. The obvious solution is suddenly before him—but will this fake engagement go as Trevor and Mellie plan? Or will they find that even the best laid plans often go awry?
I’m so excited to welcome Jade Lee and her newest, 50 Ways to Ruin a Rake, to Geeks! There’s lots of fun…we’ve got a quiz, an excerpt, a giveaway, plus my review. Enjoy!
50 Ways to Ruin a Rake is the first in Jade Lee’s hilarious new Rakes & Rogues series. To celebrate her new release, Jade is here to share a quiz about the book. See if you can guess correctly!
Question: I’ve written over 40 books, and frankly, it’s a mystery to me why I end up writing one story idea over another. Something pops in my head and I start writing. So guess what I was doing when the idea for 50 Ways to Ruin a Rake popped into my head.
A. I was in bed with Benedict Cumberbatch and dreaming about all the ways we could seduce each other.
B. I was on a treadmill dreaming of all the ways I could seduce Johnny Depp.
C. I was watching The Avengers and just thinking about hot superheroes proposing to me. Obviously, it wouldn’t be a real proposal because I’m happily married. But an engagement of convenience? Now that would work.
D. I’d dropped out of the US Open racquetball because my knees were so swollen I couldn’t get out of bed much less play racquetball. And since I couldn’t move, I decided I might as well write. And so (since I was in a pissy mood and wanting to blame a man), Mellie showed up and started right in on Trevor because he was going to screw up her plans. And, of course, he did, but in the best possible way.
Answer: D. Yup. I’d been thinking about returning to my glorious athletic days but my knees weren’t up to the task. So on the morning of my last match, I couldn’t even get out of bed. I dropped out of the tournament, sobbed for a while, and then pulled over my iPad. I have a kind of gallows humor at times like this and the humor just flew. The really dark jokes were edited out in revision, but at that moment, I was angry and wanted to blame it on an annoying man. Mellie and Trevor were born!
Trevor was down. Ronnie was going to finish the fight. But he hadn’t reckoned on Melinda. She’d been an unwilling participant in this whole disgusting display. Well, if her cousin wanted a Cheltenham tragedy, she would bloody well give him one.
She surged forward, having no need to fake the desperation in her voice. “Stop it! Ronnie, stop it now!” And when he didn’t hear her, she said the words she’d never thought she’d utter in her entire life. “My love!”
That got his attention. His fist was raised, but he looked to her, his eyes alight with excitement. “Mellie!”
She flung herself forward. Dropping to her knees, she slid in the mud, coming to a stop just where she’d intended—right beside Trevor’s head. Ronnie reached for her, but she pushed him away as she wrapped herself around the fallen lord.
“Stay away, you brute!” she practically spit at her cousin. Then she used her cloak to dab at the blood on Trevor’s face. “My love, my love, are you alive? Oh God, someone fetch a doctor! Please, someone!”
Her words were ten times more dramatic than were needed, but she’d learned that the best way to deliver a message to her cousin was in the most theatrical tone possible. So she cradled Trevor in her arms and crooned like any heroine in the most lurid gothic romance.
Trevor’s face was indeed a battered mess, but not so unrecognizable that she didn’t see the gleam of appreciation in his eyes or the mischievous smile that pulled at his swollen lip.
“Are you an angel?” he asked. “Have I died?”
The man was lying in the mud, his ankle nearly snapped in half. His face oozed from a myriad of cuts, and yet he still had the wherewithal to give the crowd a good show. It was enough to make her contemplate dropping him in the mud. She didn’t, of course, but she hoped her glare would suffice.
Meanwhile, Ronnie just stood there poised, his fist still raised as he gaped. “Mellie?”
She looked up, shooting a venomous look at his bloodied fist. “Do you mean to trounce me as well? Lay me out in the mud and the shite like last week’s garbage?”
“What?” Ronnie took a moment to understand while she gestured with her chin toward his fist. Then he abruptly gasped and shook out his hand, dropping it helplessly to his side. “But I won. This was an affaire d’honor.”
“Congratulations,” she mocked. “You beat a man half your weight.”
“Hey!” muttered Trevor. “I’m not that small.”
“Oh shut up. I’m making a point.” Then she turned her attention to her cousin. Best make the situation absolutely clear. “You were right, Ronnie. You have made everything so clear to me. I could never love a brute like you. It’s him I want. A man of elegance, not violence.”
She watched her cousin absorb her words, his mind obviously working slowly, and no wonder. Certainly, Ronnie was an accomplished fighter, but he’d never in his life been called a brute. He was a poet, for God’s sake. And his father was wont to call him a useless fribble with no starch whatsoever. Of course, both appellations were completely wrong, but truth didn’t matter here. Not when he’d wanted drama. And so she stretched the truth—she outright broke it—and she felt no remorse.
“I love Trevor,” she said loudly enough for everyone to hear.
“Since when?” her cousin demanded.
Since never. She had a thorough disgust of them both. Especially as Trevor began to speak in a quavering voice.
“Oh, to finally hear those words, now in the moments before I expire. My life is complete.”
“You’re not dying,” she hissed. Unless he was hurt more than he appeared. The thought shot her with alarm until he started speaking again.
“I am dying!” he cried. “Kiss me, my love. Kiss me, and mayhap your love will keep me tethered to this mortal coil.”
“I will not,” she said between clenched teeth.
He pitched his voice to a plaintive wail. “Then I shall die for sure!”
Damnation on all bloody, arrogant, ridiculous men! One glance about her showed that the crowd was hanging on his every word. She didn’t really care until she looked at Ronnie’s face. He wasn’t stupid. He could see that Trevor wasn’t really hurt. It wouldn’t take him long to remember that she’d never spoken of Trevor with anything but disdain. And from there it was a small step to realizing that this entire display was a sham. So she had to do something quickly. Something that he’d never forget, even if he did suspect the lie.
So she did it. She kissed Trevor.
USA Today bestselling author Jade Lee has been scripting love stories since she first picked up a set of paper dolls. Ball gowns and rakish lords caught her attention early (thank you, Georgette Heyer), and her fascination with the Regency began. An author of more than thirty romance novels and winner of dozens of industry awards, Lee lives in Champaign, Illinois.
50 Ways to Ruin a Rake made for a steamy ride with lots of unexpected antics from some unusual characters. While the journey to romance for Mellie and Trevor was predictable, the streets they took to get there definitely weren’t typical.
Let’s start with our heroine Mellie Smithson. I liked the fact that she grew up unconventionally with a scientist father and was interested in science herself. She’s smart, practical, and doesn’t waste time with a lot of angst. Her initial annoyance with Trevor felt a little unfair at first, but in a world where men go off behind closed doors and leave women excluded, I got why Mellie had some jealousy issues going on. Her gumption was admirable—she knew what she wanted, went right after it, and wouldn’t settle for anything less. Plus, she refused to allow anyone to take advantage of her. Loved that.
Trevor Anaedsley is grandson to the duke and in desperate need of a fiancée to get back in the financial game. I really liked him right at the start. He’s charming, also interested in science, and is kind to Mellie and her father, but he’s also quite self-centered. He talks Mellie into a fake engagement plan so his grandfather will let him back on the cash cow and Mellie can find a proper husband…and off they go to London.
50 Ways to Ruin a Rake is a historical romance with some comedy, so let’s just say there are a few things that range toward the ridiculous, such as Mellie’s poetry-spewing cousin, Ronnie, and a three-way duel (or would that be battle?) that includes a heroic turkey. If you’re looking for an unconventional historical romance with a strong, independent scientist heroine, a future duke in need of a good kick to the noggin, and some off the wall antics, look no further.
Have you read any Jade Lee? Do you like comedy in your reads?