Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Disgraced Playboy by Caitlin Crews

The Disgraced Playboy (Harlequin Presents)The Disgraced Playboy by Caitlin Crews

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

With two under my belt in the Notorious Wolfes series, I can tell this is going to be a favorite. I love the family dynamics in this series, even though you don't even see most of the family members in all the books. That tells a lot right there. This family unit has critical fractures. The Wolfes are walking wounded. Every one of them. The good news is that they are on the path to healing.

In The Disgraced Playboy, Caitlin Crews gives us Lucas' story. She takes what appears to be a shallow womanizer and shows his scarred heart. He truly believes himself incapable of being loved, the only thing he has to offer is his good looks, his charm, and his prowess in bed. Initially, seducing Grace is about the chase, about the conquest, about having her sexy body in his bed. However, Grace touches something deep inside him with each encounter. The way she hides so much behind a proper facade. He can't imagine how such a gorgeous woman can be happy so buttoned up. He doesn't know why Grace chooses this life. He's so intrigued he can't walk away for an easier conquest, and most of them are ridiculously easy. I liked that he took the time to find out.

Lucas had a different feel from the average Harlequin Presents hero. One that took me by surprised and charmed me. He reminded me more of an Anne Stuart historical hero. Beautifully male, but not at all macho. Debonair, suave, languidly elegant, all hiding a sharp, keen mind to match his sharp wit. If I'm going to read about a rake, I'd prefer he be like Lucas. Not just some walking fount of testosterone. But a real life man, completely fascinating, irresistible, and deep as the Mariana Trench.

I enjoyed the play of wits between Grace and Lucas. I never like to see the heroine give in too soon or the hero conquer the heroine before it's time. I liked that Grace was the one who took the initiative when the magic hour finally happened. It was completely her decision, not just a moment in which her hormones got the better of her. If there's anything that annoys me in these books, it's the heroine who turns into a hormonal puddle of goo over an unworthy (or at least unproven to be worthy) hero.

Caitlin Crews' writing is dense with character reflection, and it worked for this book. Those moments of inner monologue gave Lucas a depth that he needed to show, a depth that illuminated the tortured, damaged man behind the carefree, ladies' man facade.

As different as night to day from Sarah Morgan's A Night of Scandal, but I appreciated how both books showcase their authors' different writing styles and give me two love stories that have distinctive flavor, but together add a rich texture to this series. Looking forward to reading The Stolen Bride by Abby Green, another favorite Harlequin Presents author.

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