by Alexandra Hawkins, historical (2010)
St Martin's Press, $7.99, ISBN 978-0-312-58019-3
Alexandra Hawkins's All Night With A Rogue seems to be inspired by the 1999 movie Cruel Intentions in that the hero of this story, Alexius Braverton, conspires with his sister to seduce and publicly ruin our virginal heroine Juliana Ivers only to fall for her. Juliana, that is, not his sister Belinda. The hero also seems rather, er, familiar with his sister in that scene, heh.
Alexius is a rake who will pretty much do anything that moves. The fact that he's the romance hero and romance heroes aren't supposed to be a walking incubator of at least 73 strains of STD viruses is the only thing that protects him from having suspicious warts covering his pee-pee. He decides to help his sister Belinda ruin Juliana when he learns from Belinda that Juliana had deliberately conspired to lure Belinda's suitor away. He's not doing this out of principle, of course, he's doing this out of loyalty to his sister. The fact that Juliana turns out to be that same woman who had already made him stand at attention is just icing on his cake.
Juliana is of course an innocent darling incapable of lies and deception. However, the poor darling suffers from the All Men Want to Rape Me disease: every man who isn't the hero wants to rape her, paw her, molest her, or at the very least, propositions her rudely. She will soon be trapped in an unwanted marriage in the making because, like loyal Alexius, she too is loyal, this time to her mother who is willing to use her to save her own hide and to her sisters who'd rather see their stupid sister sacrificed instead of them.
I give the author credit for one thing: she doesn't try too hard to unrealistically push forward the hero's obligatory sad childhood as justification for his antics here. However, Ms Hawkins also doesn't try any other credible method to present the romance between Alexius and Juliana realistically. Alexius is the man for Juliana only because every other man in this story is a sex fiend. Of course, Alexius is a rampant sex fiend too, but she's attracted to him and puts out to him easier and faster than a hot knife cuts through butter. That's the difference between him and those other men: she's willing to put out to him without expecting anything back, so that makes him the lucky hero.
Romance? These two spend so much time thinking about the other person's physical attributes, I don't think they even know that the other person has a brain. Actually, I don't think the brains in question are in fine working order, because both Alexius and Juliana are stupidly loyal when they should be entertaining doubts about playing the martyr (her) or doing the dirty work for the family (him).
What stands out in this story is the rampant lusty urges of our main characters. It is comical how loose Juliana is in this story despite her protests of virtue and what not, and it's amazing how frequent she finds herself in situations where she gets sexually manhandled by the hero as well as a few more guys in this story. It is also amazing how Juliana gets ruined by Alexius in public only to continue attending parties and what not. Alexius is, of course, Alexius. He is the hero only because he rescues the heroine and he actually gets her to willingly and quickly and easily put out to him.
He also gets a groan-inducing nickname here: "Sin", derived from his title Marquess of Sinclair. Don't groan, because it gets worse. His sequel bait friends are Saint, Dare, Reign and Hunter, and these guys call themselves the Lords of Vice. Don't they look sexy in their hot and dangerous group pose below?