TBR reviewer: Nat
Before Lucasta Collyer resigns herself to an arranged marriage she wants one night of discovery…on her own terms…with a complete stranger. But Lucy’s plan for a single night of anonymous passion is destined for trouble. Her fortress heart, once fiercely protected, is breached by John Carver, a blue-eyed, salty-mouthed, yeoman farmer. He also happens to be a self-professed former rogue. John is brazen, arrogant and refuses to obey orders. He's everything Lucasta shouldn’t want yet she can't resist the challenge.
John has never bowed to nobility, nor will he be the plaything of an imperious, icy-tempered, young hussy. Clearly Lucasta needs a lesson in what it's like to toy with with a man, and it's one he’ll gladly teach her. But this rogue might not be as reformed as he wants everyone to believe.
Can Lucasta and John go back to their own worlds and forget one another after their one night together, or will they risk everything for love?
Once a Rogue, tells the story of Lucasta, a young lady that refuses to enter her arranged marriage being a virgin. But when she decides to spend the night with an escort she didn't imagine he would deny to follow her orders in the bedroom. John, a former rogue, becomes fascinated with the woman in front of him. She's bossy, spoiled and apparently always gets her way - not this time.
As their story progressed their struggle for power receives more and more attention. I loved the tension between them and all the twists Fresina had for this story. The plot was really tight and the characters amazing. I loved the secondary cast of characters too. I would have liked the end better if the last chapter wasn't there, and instead using this material for The Savage and the Stiff Upper Lip (the next book). Jayne has improved immensely since her first published novella, Engraved, that I had the pleasure to review previously and give it 4 stars!
I'll definitely read all the books of this series and the other incredible stories Jayne Fresina will come up with next! She has captivated me and now she has a new fan!
She’d rolled the dice and this is where they’d fallen. It was her fault he was there, after all.
Perhaps, just this once, under the anonymity of that leather mask, she could put her hands on his filthy boots, another novel experience to be sure, but over in a few minutes. She grabbed his foot and pulled.
“The laces,” he chided her. “The laces, wench!”
He lay back against the bolster, watching her, offering no assistance whatsoever, just an amused critique.
Once she’d tossed his boots aside she moved on to his breeches, but he sat up, grabbing her hands as she leaned over his sprawling form. “This I’ll do myself,” he warned, serious again.
Walking around the bed, she watched him undress. He was stocky, his thighs were thick and powerful. Afraid to look at anything else, she carefully averted her eyes to the floor boards, but he took a knife from his discarded belt, jumped up and came toward her with a determined stride. She backed away to the wall, alarmed.
There was a small diagonal scar across his left eyebrow, an interruption of the symmetry of his face lending a slight quirk to his expression which prevented those clear, sculpted angles from looking too stern. Even so, with that knife in his hand, when he commanded, “Turn around,” she contemplated running for the window and leaping out.
“Turn around,” he repeated. When she hesitated, he held the knife in his teeth, put his hands on her shoulders and spun her to face the wall. Then he slid the knife’s blade under her corset laces and, with one ruthless motion, cut her free.
Evidently he was not the sort to trouble himself with knots and bows. In a quick burst of wry amusement, Lucy thought of her maid’s face tomorrow when she saw the corset’s sad fate.
With one impatient tug he freed her likewise of her shift. It tumbled down to her wrists and hips, where it came to a whispering halt. She closed her eyes, gathering her courage again. For just a few startled moments, she’d relaxed her guard and likewise the reins. Now her nerves galloped in every direction, almost out of reach.
His breath was on the nape of her neck. And then he touched her.
Oh. She’d forgotten to make him wash his hands.
He stroked lightly down her spine with his fingertips, to the dip of her waist and back again. Then he spread them to her shoulders and down her arms, as if he measured her, as if she were a young filly at auction and he a prospective buyer. It was not at all the way she imagined, having received a brief theory lesson from her knowledgeable maid, she was prepared for a quick “in and out” that might take no more than five minutes at the most.
Head bowed, eyes closed, she murmured, “Blow out the candles.”