Book Review: The Art of Ruining a Rake by Emma Locke

The Art of Ruining a Rake is the fourth book in The Naughty Girls series of historical romances by Emma Locke. Practiced rake Roman Alexander never meant to seduce his best friend's sister, and he certainly never intends to do it again.  But the damage has been done. Lucy Lancester, his buttoned-up spinster refuses to marry a bounder like him and doesn't seem to like him. Nevertheless, he can't seem to forget her, or her passionate response to his kisses. When he arrives at her school intent on proving their one night together wasn't enough and this time the scandal can't be contained.

The Art of Ruining a Rake is the first book from the series that I remember reading, although some of the characters seemed familiar to me. I still caught on to the action pretty quick, although those that have read the previous books would likely have understood the dynamic between the characters already. Lucy is terrified of her similarities to her mother, who went mad and killed Lucy's father and then herself. she wanted to experience passion with Roman, but never wanted more that that- even though most of her body and heart would gladly take everything he has to offer. She is resigned to life alone and ready to resist any offers otherwise. Roman is much more than he seems, and has troubles and secrets galore. He wants to be a better man and is determined to prove himself to both Lucy and his brothers. However, not everyone is ready to more forward and baring all his secrets might just cost him the relationship he craves most.

The Art of Ruining a Rake is an interesting read, and might have been better for me if I knew everything before starting the book. While I think I caught on quickly, the number of siblings and intersecting issues kept tossing new surprises in my lap. I still enjoyed the read, and was glad to see a book that focused more on man's efforts to better himself and earn the trust of the woman he loves rather than resorting to smooth words, trickery, or the woman doing what she is told. Lucy has her own mind, and Roman seems to encourage this rather than trying to undermine in- which gave him bonus points in my book. 

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