While it’s cooling down outside, things are heating up between the covers of the Rakes Beyond Redemption series. Today, I’m excited to introduce readers to the three rogues featured in this series, because each one is a little bit different. Most of all, I am excited to introduce readers to three very real rogues with very real issues to deal with both emotionally and practically that will resonate with twenty-first century readers.
Merrick St. Magnus is the hero featured in book one, How to Disgrace a Lady. He’s twenty-eight and realizing that the rather adolescent goal he’d had in his early twenties of dedicating his life to the pursuit of love (physical, lusty love) is not as exciting as it used to be. But it’s become a lifestyle, he’s built his financial security and his reputation on it. He’s not sure how he can escape it without taking help from his father, something he’s sworn never to do. His father’s money comes with expectations and Merrick wants no part of them. He wants to be his own man, even if he’s not sure who that is.
Enter Alixe Burke. She is the opposite, at least on the surface. She knows who she is and what she wants from life and what she can’t have she’s resigned herself to accepting. Thrown together with Alixe by circumstances (don’t want to spoil the book for you), Merrick begins to unlock his true potential. It’s not easy. A lot of people think Alixe is too good for him, he even thinks it himself. He’s not made for monogamy and the decent daughter of an earl. It’s easier to believe what he’s always believed about himself than to try something new with Alixe.
Merrick is the perfect example of the male transition from early adulthood into ‘second adulthood,’ a transition that generally occurs between ages 28-30 and before the ‘settling down’ of second adulthood which kicks in about age 35. The old dream isn’t working anymore, so he’s looking for a way to re-vamp it or start over.
Finally, let me leave Merrick for you with a warning—he’s a rake! He does things that are not socially acceptable. He uses women for sex—of course just the ones who want to play his games—but all the same, he uses sex, and up until he meets Alixe, he uses women. He never manipulates them and he never messes with women who don’t want to play, but that might be a big deal for some readers who like the gentler, less edgy rake. Merrick isn’t it. He’s convivial but beneath the surface of all that bonhomie, there is something darker. But don’t worry, keep reading this blog, there is a hero for you in here. I promise.
For those of you who like them dark inside and out, Ashe Bedevere is your man in How to Ruin a Reputation. He reminds me of Charlie Babbitt from Rain Man. Unlike Merrick, who laughs everything off superficially, Ashe is a shrewd brooder and a definite cynic. He knows people and he’s skeptical of every last one of them, especially the American heiress who befriended his father before his death and has now inherited part of the estate. He, on the other hand, hasn’t seen his father in years. He returns home only to discover the estate and the family is in shambles with a greedy cousin waiting in the wings if Ashe fails to save his home. Ashe has nineteenth century foreclosure issues to deal with, a family to put back together, and guilt to overcome. But no matter how hard he tries to resolve any of those three issues, he realizes he can’t do it alone. He needs Genevra. Ashe’s struggles are very much like the struggles so many of us are facing today with our own families and economies. We are struggling to figure out how to keep or regain what really matters and how to learn from our mistakes instead of letting them define us. Like us, Ashe finds these hard lessons to learn.
If Merrick is about the present, and Ashe is about coming to grips with the past, then Riordan is about the future in How to Sin Successfully. He might also be the one you’ve been waiting for if you like the softer rake. He’s inherited his older brother’s two young wards and that has turned his life upside down, only he doesn’t want to admit it. He’s run through a string of governesses who can’t handle his rambunctious life and he is in the habit of simply taking the children with him wherever he goes, be it White’s or the racetrack. He is used to living for the present, not planning for the future, an attitude that appalls Governess Number 6, Maura Caulfield, who has run from one future to make another one.
Riordan’s story is a little Parent Trap and a little Mary Poppins. It’s fun and much lighter than Ashe’s. But Riordan learns that life can’t be all rainbows, no matter how much he drinks and parties. Certain truths are still there and if he ever really means to grow up and be a father as opposed to the adoring uncle to these wards, he’s going to have to embrace the good and the bad. And he’s going to have to stand up for the people who matter most.
I hope you enjoy the rakes! Stop by my blog throughout the fall to celebrate each of these rakes during their release month. There will be trivia and prizes.
Keep reading, and I’ll see you out there.