Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Rogues by Ava March

Author: Ava March
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: historical
Length: 28k words (122 PDF pages)

London, 1822

Two of London's most notorious rakehells, Linus Radcliffe and Robert Anderson, are the best of friends. They share almost everything-clothes, servants, their homes, and even each other's bed on occasion. The one thing they don't share: lovers. For while Linus prefers men, Robert prefers women...except when it comes to Linus.

As another Season nears its end, Robert can't ignore his growing jealousy. He hates watching Linus disappear from balls to dally with other men. Women are lovely, but Linus rouses feelings he's never felt with another. Unwilling to share his gorgeous friend another night, Robert has a proposition for Linus.

A proposition Linus flatly refuses-but not for the reasons Robert thinks. Still, Robert won't take no for an answer. He sets out to prove a thing or two to his best friend-yet will learn something about the heart himself.


Rogues is the third in the Brook Street series, and while the characters have wandered in and out of the other books, the tale stands alone. I didn’t feel that I’d missed any huge chunks of character development by coming in at this point. Some of the secondary characters here star in their own stories, so readers will feel a warm familiarity as they read through this and other of Ava March’s works.

Bisexual Robert may find entertainment with this young widow or that, but his true friendship and hottest sex happen with his best friend Linus. Linus cuts his own wide swath through the available men, of which there seem to be plenty, and every few weeks he enjoys a hot romp with Robert. They’re neighbors, friends, and have plenty of benefits. It’s working fine, until Robert decides he wants more.

And his straightforward request for an exclusive relationship is met by a polite refusal. Completely perplexed and unwilling to let “no” stand, Robert launches into heavy pursuit, only to be thwarted repeatedly.

Linus’ reasons eventually surface, and while they seem a trifle flimsy and lacking in true understanding of his friend’s character, they do provide some entertaining cat and mouse scenes. These two know each other well, having been childhood friends, yet they still don’t know each other well enough to discern sincerity or to trust in certain things. They both grow over the course of the story and have something new with which to surprise the other by the end.

A better Regency scholar than I might find objections to the historical accuracy, but as a casual reader of the period, I found few breaks in tone or history to throw me out of the story, aside from wondering how Robert was so accepted into society when he was too poor to maintain his own servants. The period’s antipathy toward homosexual lovers did get a nod, yet Linus could still be considered a rakehell, though he was never known to approach the ladies. Perhaps his reputation was strictly among other men of the persuasion and this was mentioned elsewhere, or perhaps we must chalk this one up to bending the rules just enough to let the story exist.

All told, Rogues was fun and definitely hot, if a trifle light on plot, there being no external conflict. A pleasant afternoon’s read. 3.5 marbles 

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