About the Book:
Title: The Rake of Hearts
Author: Emily Windsor
Series: The Games of Gentlemen #2
Page Length: 299
Publication Date: Aug. 23, 2021
Publisher: Senara Press
Synopsis: When the heart is afire…
By his own admission, Lord Ernest Brook is a rake. With sapphire gaze, sinfully handsome looks and a duke for a brother, the pleasures of London have come with ease…apart from one.
Ever since the gauntlet of her first wintry dismissal was thrown, the widowed Hebe Lock has stirred his deepest desires, but just what would it take to woo such a woman?
Sparks will fly.
Hebe Locke has vowed to never again fall for a scoundrel after her brief marriage to one left her broken and haunted.
Now she finds comfort with paintbrush and canvas, but as a female artist in a male world, commissions are as rare as a ballroom without rakes.
A castle of enchantment.
As the heat of late summer warms the land, an ancient, moated castle plays host to a widow and a rake, both concealing passions contrary to their reputations.
But as Lord Ernest awakens Hebe’s desire and thaws her frozen emotions, can she hold true to her vow?
Or can this rake win the one heart he yearns for?
Sensual Regency romance with warmth and wit, this tale also includes a disreputable aunt with a secondary love story, Cotswold country fairs, sinful masquerades and…a goat.
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The Rake of Hearts is the second book in The Games of Gentlemen series and it focuses on Ernest Brook, the younger brother of Casper from the first book. Ernest is a notorious rake known for melting women’s hearts with a look, but there is one woman who isn’t affected by his smoldering gaze and charm. Hebe Locke is a widow who has vowed never to fall for a rake again. She is delighted when she is commissioned by the Duke to travel to his castle and paint his horses. Though the Duke and his wife won’t be there, Ernest will, as he has taken over the breeding program at the castle.
Both Hebe and Ernest are starting over. Ernest is determined to prove that he’s not the frivolous and irresponsible man people think he is. Ernest longs for responsibility and loves working with horses, and he is excited to finally get the chance to show his skills. Hebe’s past was traumatic and difficult, and it made her trust in men and herself dwindle. She is learning to live again and is redefining her life now that she is free of her rotten husband.
Hebe is dismayed to learn that Ernest will be around while she works. She loathes rakes and hates that she is attracted to the charming man. However, as she gets to know Ernest, Hebe realizes that he is not the rake that he appears to be. The pair has fantastic chemistry from the start, and the depth of their feelings is lovely. Ernest’s feelings and revelations are particularly romantic, and I’m not surprised that so many women swoon near him. He’s a dream! However, unlike all of the other women he knows, Ernest has to work hard to win Hebe’s heart.
The banter between Hebe and Ernest is filled with chemistry. Both are quick-witted and funny when they want to be, and they have some great moments together. My favorite was when Ernest claims that one look from him caused a woman to swoon in her trifle. Hebe responds, “Perhaps the custard was off?” There are several comical conversations and scenes throughout the story, and there are equal amounts of heartwarming and romantic scenes.
“You utter rake.”
His lips neared. “You utter beauty.”
“Irresistible..”Hebe & Ernest
The relationship between Ernest and Casper has grown and changed since the beginning of the series, which is another wonderful part of the story. The brothers seem more honest with each other, more personal, teasing, and trusting. I love that they were able to strengthen their bond and be more upfront about their feelings instead of hiding behind the societal expectations of behavior as they did at the start of the series.
Aunt Beatrice is another wonderful character! She is such a loving support to Hebe, and she has a vivacious personality. A wealthy widow, Beatrice has a bit more freedom in society, and she takes full advantage of this. She is a passionate woman who embraces life as one epic adventure, and she brings an exuberance to Hebe’s life that she desperately needs. Aunt Beatrice also has a bit of a romance, and it, too, is fantastic! I so rooted for this couple to have their second chance at love, and I was as invested in their story as I was in Hebe and Ernest’s.
Other secondary characters stand out, especially Grampy Tom. He is a hoot, and behind his gruff demeanor is a soft-hearted and compassionate man that really connects with Hebe. He’s a strong father figure, and I loved the scenes that included him. There is also a bit of a mystery surrounding stolen horses, which adds a bit of danger and suspense to the story.
This was such a great read! The characters are great, the dialogue is excellent, and the romances are swoon-tastic!! It is the second book in the series but can easily be read as a standalone. I actually read this book before I read The Duke of Diamonds (the first book in the series) and followed the story with no problem. Of course, I enjoyed this story so much that I immediately went back and read the first book, which was also wonderful!! I definitely recommend this book (and series) to readers of historical romance and am so thankful to Emily Windsor for providing me a copy it in exchange for my honest review.
- The romance!!
- The setting.
- The secondary characters and love story.
Gentleness and compassion got stomped on in the City.
Fate also seemed to wield a wicked sense of humor, fond of toying with mere mortals.
The world and all those within it could be tumbling into hell and his lordship would just expound upon the beauty of the warm crimson decor in order to ease the fearful.
They say sticks and stones may break your bones but words can never harm you. That is wrong. Words can sear your heart and destroy all hope. And like a scorching brand to a pony’s rump, words never leave you but linger and taunt and scar.
Want to learn more about the series? Check out my review for the first book The Duke of Diamonds!