To Kiss a Rake by Barbara Monajem

to kiss a rake


Melinda Starling doesn’t let ladylike behavior get in the way of true love. She’s secretly assisting in an elopement . . . until she’s tossed into the waiting coach and driven away by a notorious rake.


Miles Warren, Lord Garrison, comes from a family of libertines, and he’s the worst of them all—or so society believes. When Miles helps a friend to run away with an heiress, it’s an entertaining way to revenge himself on one of the gossips who slandered him.

Except that he drives off with the wrong woman . . . and as if that wasn’t scandalous enough, he can’t resist stealing a kiss.

My Review:

All Melinda Starling wanted to do was to see her friend happily married, even if that meant aiding an elopement.  But when her fickle friend gets cold feet and changes her mind, soft-hearted Melinda can’t bear the thought of the rejected almost-groom waiting in vain for his bride.  So Melinda sneaks away, not knowing that Miles Warren, a friend of the groom’s is now aiding him.  Since Miles doesn’t know the bride, he assumes it’s Melinda, and whisks her into the carriage, where she accidentally injures her head and is unconscious for a few minutes.  By the time things get sorted out, it’s very late – or perhaps very early.  Miles takes Melinda home, but her cruel grandmother refuses to let her in, because of her scandalous behavior.  Melinda has no choice but to go home with Miles.  Though he behaves the gentleman and stays elsewhere, gossip begins to fly.  Soon the word is out to everyone, and Melinda is all but ruined.

Miles, Viscount Garrison, has a scandalous reputation, which is largely undeserved.  There is an incident in his past in which he was the victim, but society chose to believe otherwise.  Now, he decides, he will prove he’s an honorable gentleman, so he offers to marry Melinda.  Eventually coming to realize she has no choice, Melinda accepts, though she had always hoped to marry for love.  Thus begins a marriage of necessity, but with both Miles and Melinda vowing to give it their best.

I really like both these characters, especially Miles.  He is a good man who was dealt a very bad hand in life.  The experience caused him to be suspicious and jealous, though he realizes this, and tries hard to fight it.  Melinda, too, is a victim of circumstances she had no part of.  They have more in common than they realize.  In addition to a strong attraction to each other and a will to make the best of their marriage, Melinda and Miles each has a secret.  Each feels telling the other will be disastrous to their fledgling happiness.

This is my first book by Barbara Monajem, and I enjoyed it very much.  I love the way she handled the marriage of necessity, and how she wrote the hero and heroine as likeable and honorable people who made sincere efforts to shake off their pasts and move on.  Their falling in love was sweet, yet passionate.  TO KISS A RAKE is a well written, fast paced book. It was a pleasure to read, and I recommend it.

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