Published by Avon Impulse on January 10th 2017
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
Beauregard “Beau” Courtland has no use for the whims of society and even less for aristocratic titles. As a younger son, he travels the world in search of adventure with no plans to settle down. Even when the title of Viscount Rainsleigh is suddenly forced upon him, he will not bend to duty or decorum. Not until an alluring young woman appears on the deck of his houseboat, determined to teach him propriety in all things and tempting him with every forbidden touch…
Lady Emmaline Crumbley has had a wretched year. Her elderly husband dropped dead without naming her in his will and she’s been relegated to the life of a dowager duchess at the age of 23. She has no wish to instruct a renegade viscount in respectability, but desperate to escape her greedy stepson, Beau’s family makes her an offer she cannot refuse: teach the new lord to behave like a gentleman, and they’ll help her earn the new, self-sufficient life of her dreams. Emmaline agrees, only to discover that instructing the viscount is one thing, but resisting him is quite another. How can she teach manners to the rakish nobleman if he is determined to show her the thrill of scandal instead?
This is the tale of two brothers.
No, allow me to go back. This is the tale of two half brothers, a distinction that does not affect the brothers as much as it creates a place for the story to begin.
They were born deep in Wiltshire’s Deverill Valley, less than a mile from the River Wylye, in a crumbling manor house called Rossmore Court.
Although the Rainsleigh title was ancient and the family lands entailed, the boys’ parents, Lord Franklin “Frankie” Courtland, the Viscount Rainsleigh, and his lady wife, Este, were not held in high esteem—not by their neighbors in Wiltshire nor by members of London’s haute ton. Instead, they were known mostly for their predilections: recklessness, coarseness, drunkenness, irresponsibility, and deep debt.
Their notoriety did not curtail their fun, however, and they carried on exactly as they pleased. In 1779, the viscountess became pregnant, and Lord and Lady Rainsleigh added “woefully unfit parents” to their list of indiscretions. Their firstborn was called Bryson—the future viscount, Lord Rainsleigh’s heir. Young Bryson was somber and curious, stormy and willful, but also inexplicably just and kind.
In 1785, Este and Frankie welcomed a second son, favored almost immediately by his mother for his sweet nature and easy manner, his angelic face and smiling blue eyes. The viscountess named him Beauregard, known as “Beau.”
On the whole, the boys’ childhood was not a happy one. Lord Rainsleigh was rarely at home, and when he was, he was rarely sober. He managed the boys with equal parts mockery and scorn. Lady Rainsleigh, in turn, was chronically unhappy, petulant, and needy, and she suffered an insatiable appetite for strapping young men, with a particular preference for broad-shouldered members of staff.
Money was scarce in those years, and schooling was catch-as-catch-can. The brothers relied on each other to get along.
Bryson’s hard work and good sense earned them money for new coats and boots each year, for books, and for an old horse that they shared.
Beau employed his good looks and charm to earn them credit in the village shops, to convince foremen to hire them young, and to persuade servants and tenants to stay on when there was no money for salaries or repairs.
And so it went, each of the boys contributing whatever he could to get by, until the summer of 1807, when the old viscount’s recklessness caught up with him, and he tripped on a root in a riverbed and died.
With Frankie’s death, Bryson, the new viscount, set out to right all the wrongs of his father and cancel the family’s debts. He moved to London, where he worked hard, built and sold a boat, and then another, and then another—and then five. And then fifteen. Eventually, he owned a shipyard and became wealthier than his wildest dreams.
Beau, on the other hand . . .
Well, Beau had no interest in righting wrongs or realizing moneyed dreams—he wasn’t the Rainsleigh heir, thank God. His only wish was to take his handsome face and winning charm and discover the delights of London and the world beyond.
For a time, he sailed the world as an officer of the Royal Navy. For another time, he imported exotic birds and fish. He spent more than a year with the East India Company, training native soldiers to protect British trade. His life was adventurous and rambling, sunny if he could manage it, and (perhaps most important) entirely on his own terms.
Until, that is, the day the Courtland brothers received, quite unexpectedly, a bit of shocking news that changed both of their lives.
The news, which they learned from a stranger, was this: the boys did not share the same father.
The horrible old viscount—the man who had beaten them and mocked them, who had driven them into debt and allowed their boyhood home to fall into ruin—was not, in fact, Bryson’s father after all. Bryson’s father was another man—a blacksmith’s son from the local village with whom their mother had had a heated affair.
Beau, as it turned out, was the only natural-born son of Franklin Courtland.
Beau was the heir.
And just like that, Beauregard Courtland became the Viscount Rainsleigh, the conservator and executor of all his brother had toiled over a great many years to restore and attain.
It made no difference that Beau had no desire to be viscount, that he was repelled by the notion, that the idea of becoming viscount made him a little ill.
In protest, Beau threatened to leave the country; he threatened to change his name; he threatened to commit a crime and endure prison to avoid the bloody title—all to no avail.
He was the rightful Viscount Rainsleigh, whether he liked it or not.
His brother, now simply Mr. Bryson Courtland, shipbuilder and merchant, set out on a new quest: to train, coach, and cajole Beau into becoming the responsible, noble, respected viscount that he himself would never be again.
To answer that, Beau seized his own quest: resist. He could not prevent his brother from dropping the bloody title in his lap, but he could refuse to dance to the tune the title played.
He would carry on, he vowed, exactly as he had always done—until . . . well . . .
“Until” is where this tale begins.
But perhaps this is not a tale of two brothers or even the tale of two half brothers.
Perhaps it is the story of one brother and how the past he could not change built a future that he, at long last, was willing to claim.
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~~Reviewed by AnnMarie~~
One For the Rogue is the third book in the ‘Bachelor Lords of London’ series by Charis Michaels. It’s easily read as a stand alone story despite being part of a series.
It’s the story of Lady Emmaline Crumbley. She is a Dowager Duchess since her very elderly husband, a Duke, whom she was forced to marry, passed away. He didn’t even think to leave any finances to her in his will, therefore when he passed away she was at the mercy of the new Duke. He begrudges giving anything to her. Emma has a mentally disabled brother, and it’s her dearest wish is to move to America with him, away from the horrid Duke. In a bid to earn passage on a ship she takes on the task of making a gentleman of a newly titled Viscount.
Viscount Reinsleigh, Beau, was brought up as a second son. When circumstances find him having to take on his brother’s role, he refuses. He hates the aristocracy with a vengeance and has enjoyed his life living it to the full. Travelling, womanising, and helping raid whore houses to rescue women who had been forced to work in them. He’s a good man, just rebelling gentleman ways. If Emma can convince him to give him lessons in deportment etc, then she will earn her passage to America, a place where she is sure she will find happiness with her brother.
The problem is Beau is adamant he won’t have lessons. Emma doesn’t give up easily and during her time of ‘hunting’ him to make him change his mind, they end up actually spending time together. When she ends up in a predicament and needs rescuing by Beau, it’s then that they both realise that they are, if nothing else, very physically attracted to each other. They share a kiss, or two or three, but when things look like they could get very heated, Beau discovers that although Emma is a widow, she is actually a virgin!! He won’t bed her because he has no intention of marrying her, but just like her determination to teach him to be a gentleman, she is just as determined to at least share many more kisses with Beau. If only he wasn’t such a difficult man to convince.
A lot happens in the story other than the possible romance between the main characters, we have poor Teddy, Emma’s brother going missing and the having to be found. Emma’s escape from the horrid new Duke to be planned, and of course we have poor Beau fighting the good fight to stay away from Emma and his new found title. Can he win those fights, or is he destined to give in.
I really loved this story, I loved how despite thinking himself a rogue, that Beau is actually a true hero in every sense of the word. Emma despite being somebody who could just accept her lot and live her life as the Dowager Duchess, strives for her independence and to protect her brother. Her and Beau make the perfect partnership if only he could see that. There was a lot of drama, some characters that you will despise, and others that you will adore. There’s much passion and a lot of love going on. The book was a joy to read and I can happily add this author to my list of favourites.
I voluntarily read an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book.