Kit Ruthven’s Rules (for Rogues)
#1 Love freely but guard your heart, no matter how tempting the invader.
#2 Embrace temptation, indulge your sensual impulses, and never apologize.
#3 Scorn rules and do as you please. You are a rogue, after all.
Rules never brought anything but misery to Christopher “Kit” Ruthven. After rebelling against his controlling father and leaving the family’s etiquette empire behind, Kit has been breaking every one imaginable for the past four years. He’s enjoyed London’s sensual pleasures, but he’s failed to achieve the success he craves as London’s premier playwright. When his father dies, Kit returns to the countryside and is forced back into the life he never wanted. Worse, he must face Ophelia Marsden, the woman he left behind years before.
After losing her father, Ophelia has learned to rely on herself. To maintain the family home and support her younger sister, she tutors young girls in deportment and decorum. But her pupils would be scandalized if they knew she was also the author of a guidebook encouraging ladies to embrace their independence.
As Kit rediscovers the life, and the woman, he left behind, Ophelia must choose between the practicalities she never truly believed in, or the love she’s never been able to extinguish.
READ AN EXCERPT:
Seeing him again was worse than Ophelia had imagined. And she had imagined this moment aplenty. Far too many times. Not just on her infrequent jaunts to London but most days since they’d parted. The man had lingered in her thoughts, despite every effort to expel him.
Taking a shaky breath, she braced herself and faced him.
He’d always been tall. When they were children, she’d looked up to him. Literally. But he’d never used his size to bully others. More often he’d born teasing about his physique. Ungainly, his father had called him, and Kit repeated the word when referring to himself.
Now he offered no apologetic hunch in his stance. He didn’t cross his arms to narrow his body. More than embracing his size, he wielded his generous dimensions with a virile grace that made Phee’s mouth water. He stood with his long legs planted wide, shoulders thrown back. His chest was so broad that she itched to touch it.
Stop being a ninny, she chided herself. The most essential observation was that he did not look like a man who’d pined for her. Not a hint of guilt shadowed his gaze.
He thrust his hands behind his back, and the buttons above his waistcoat strained against the fabric on either side, as if the muscles beneath were too sizable to contain. Phee’s gaze riveted to the spot, waiting to see which would win—the pearly buttons or the dove gray fabric. When sense finally wound its way into her boggled mind, she glanced up into gilded brown eyes. He was the winner, judging by the satisfied smirk cresting his mouth.
Kit stood too near, close enough for her to smell his scent. A familiar green, like fresh-cut grass, but mingled now with an aromatic spice. Each breath held his spice scent heightened by the warmth of his body. The heat of him radiated against her chest.
His eyes were too intense, too hungry. He perused her brazenly, studying the hem of her outdated gown before his gaze roved up her legs, paused at her waist, lingered on her bosom, and caught for a moment on her lips. Finally, he met her eyes, and his mouth flicked up in a shameless grin.
She looked anywhere but at his eyes. On his neck, she noted the scar from a childhood adventure in the blackberry briar. Then she got stuck admiring his hair. Apparently his scandalous London lifestyle—if the rumors she’d heard were true—called for allowing his jet black hair to grow long and ripple in careless waves. Strands licked at his neck, curled up near his shoulders.
Time had been truly unfair. The years hadn’t weathered Kit at all. If anything, his features were sharper and more appealing. His Roman nose contrasted with the sensual fullness of his lips and those high Ruthven cheekbones. And his eyes. Gold and amber and chocolate hues chased each other around a pinwheel, all shadowed by enviably thick ebony lashes. One theater reviewer had written of the “power of his penetrating gaze.”
Ophelia only knew he’d once been able to see straight to her heart.
Christopher (Kit) Ruthven and Ophelia (Phee) Marsden were neighbors and sweethearts in the small town of Briar Heath. Kit’s overbearing, controlling father and his desire for independence led Nick to London to pursue his dream to be a playwright, leaving a brokenhearted Phee behind. Kit embraced his new life, and eventually found a measure of success. Still, every night, part of his ritual is to look out in the audience from the stage, hoping to see Phee’s face in the crowd. He never does
Phee was shattered when Kit left. Though he regularly writes to her, she never replies, except for one brief line, encouraging him to follow his heart. When Phee’s father dies, she has to devise a way to support herself and her sister, so she tutors pupils. But Phee has another secret occupation – she is an author of a book of rules for young ladies. However, it’s not the typical old fashioned rule book, as the one published by Kit’s father, it’s a modern version. Phee is smart enough to realize that if her pupil’s parents knew she was the author of this scandalous version, she would surely lose her position as their tutor.
Just as Kit has received an offer to write for a very prestigious theatre owner, he learns that his father has died, and he’s required to return home to Briar Heath. Kit wants no part of his father’s publishing business, and plans to sell it as soon as he can. As soon as he ties up loose ends, and assures himself that his sisters are fine, he plans to return to London, and the life he’s come to love. But first, he must see Phee.
It’s obvious that Kit and Phee have never stopped loving each other, but will that be enough? Their lives and desires have taken different paths, and Phee now has a marriage offer from a local baron – a chance for a family of her own. RULES FOR A ROGUE is one of my favorite tropes – a second chance at love. I admire Phee for her strength and the way she carried on despite her broken heart, and I totally understand why she chose not to answer Kit’s letters. I was a little less sure about Kit, as he seemed more able to move on into a new life, yet he wanted to cling to Phee and his first love. Their journey to happy ever after is not smooth, but the obstacles and compromises along the way make the victory that much sweeter. This is my first read by Christy Carlyle, and I enjoyed this book very much. The flow was good, the characters realistic, and she has a lovely writing style. I recommend RULES FOR A ROGUE and look forward to her future work.
- Rules for a Rogue prize pack filled with the following items:
- Book of Victorian etiquette (because RULES is all about etiquette)
- “Opelia’s blue” 1928 teardrop earrings (blue is Ophelia’s color)
- Harney and Sons English breakfast tea (because my characters are always drinking tea)
- a Rules for a Rogue spiral lined notebook
- Jasmine-scented hand lotion (jasmine is Ophelia’s scent)
- Downton Abbey scone mix (my characters eat scones with their tea)
**US shipping ONLY**