First book I've read by this author and I have to say I was really impressed with the story and the writing. What surprised me the most was the dark edge to it. Really liked that and really wasn't expecting it. What I liked was the fact that it wasn't over the top and 'crass' for the sake of being crass. I hate when authors have characters swearing off in every other line for no reason but the fact to show off that they are 'oh so bad' yet oh so charming. Here, completely different story. You have a hero who has a very sordid past, he was pretty much a 'villain' before a chain of events ended up changing him and his outlook on life. I have a thing for physically scarred/emotionally 'damaged' heroes especially ones who brood and pine over the heroine who they think is off limits to them and they will never deserve. Be still my heart. YUM. Greyden Kane is the epitome of a bad boy, a rake who's bedded and seduced almost half of the female population in England and didn't care one bit for the ramifications. Until one night he's brutally attacked by a gang of men avenging a woman who he wronged, leaving him with a nasty scar on the side of his face. That changes him completely leaving him with a cynical attitude and loathing society and banishing himself from London world all together. He never leaves his house and if he does he wears a mask to cover up his scar.
It was interesting seeing Grey struggle with past mistakes and trying to make things better for his family and the family he's responsible for. Rose Danvers and her mother are Greyden's responsibility after Rose's father dies. He saves them from ruin and looks after them while secretly longing for the much too young beautiful Rose. Grey is a very flawed character with a lot of emotional, personal insecurities and fears and I just fell for him really hard. And the intensity with everything he does from looking after his family, protecting his loved ones and 'lusting' (as he referred to it) after Rose so openly completely enthralled me. It was just overwhelming. I mean can I get some of that please? lol Grey tries very hard to be a better person and just keep to himself. His charge, Rose Danvers makes it very hard for him to keep to his promise of protective duty. He promised Rose's father to look after her and her mother and make sure she is married off and happy and oh yes..... to keep his hands off of her. The continuous attraction and hidden feelings between the two flares up whenever they see each other and when a secrete masked rendezvous between the two is revealed things get even more complicated and interesting. The angst and push/pull dance between Grey and Rose is very intense and emotional that I almost wish it was dragged out a *little* longer to see what would happen before they were compromised. Ha. They broke my heart with how much they wanted to be together but couldn't. I also really loved the family interaction and witty banters, especially between Grey and his brother Archer. Makes me really wish there was a book on him. :P
I would definitely read another book by Smith if the writing style used in this book is present in her other work. And can I say the love scene with the reading material was by far the sexiest, sensual and most INTENSE love scene I've read in a long time. Left me with my mouth hanging open and wanting to just re-read it again. Having a man be so emotionally open and vulnerable while making love to a woman is by far the sexiest thing to me. She really knows how to write steamy sensual love scenes. So good!