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The Ruthless Charmer: The Rogues of Regent Street (Anglais) Poche – 10 octobre 2000

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Paris, France, 1836

Aha! He was being smothered by a pair of breasts.

That at least explained the strong scent of a woman. Julian shifted between the two luscious mounds and gasped for air as a most delectable female creature murmured unintelligible phrases in his ear. Unfortunately, even the touch of the little French goddess couldn't raise him higher than half-mast. A crane couldn't raise him higher than half-mast--damned appendage was nothing but trouble of late.

Julian sighed, realized he was still holding a bottle of whiskey, and managed to take a good swig of it before burying his face between her breasts again. A bead of perspiration trickled down his temple and he couldn't help smiling; perhaps he just wasn't trying hard enough. As if on cue, sweet Lisette sighed longingly, inflaming all of his masculine senses--except that one, curse it to hell--and Julian attempted to position himself for another go at it. His fingertips brushed a taut nipple; his palm cupped the firm swell of her breast--

The cold hands on his shoulders startled him so badly he couldn't even cry out. Suddenly, he felt himself being lifted and heard Lisette's muffled shriek as the bottle of whiskey flew out of his hand and scudded across the bed. He caught just a glimpse of the elaborate frieze moldings on the ceiling before he hit the hard wood floor with a resounding thud.

Now that hurt. Wincing painfully, Julian glanced up at his assailant. "What in blazes did you do that for?" The response was the toss of his shirt onto his head. He yanked it from his face and glared up at the infidel towering high above him--Louis Renault, otherwise known in this godforsaken country as Monsieur le Comte de Claire. A scoundrel if Julian had ever known one, an insufferable Frog with all the manners of a toad, and most unfortunately, the husband of his sister Eugenie.

Unsteadily, Julian gained his feet.

With disapproval seeping through every pore, Louis let his gaze sweep over Julian as he folded his arms across his chest. "Did you come to Paris to make trouble for me? Is that how you repay my kindness to your sister?" he demanded in that smooth, silky way he had of speaking English, and stooped to pick up Julian's trousers. "Come. Your frolic is fini. You must go from here."

Go? Julian glanced at Lisette, who smiled seductively and twisted a blonde lock around one finger. From here? His focus slipped to the rumpled bedding--ho there! Where was his whiskey?

"Kettering, listen to me!" With supreme effort, Julian forced himself to look at the Frog--no small feat given that there appeared to be at least two of him. "You are in danger. . . . Do you understand?"

He understood all right. "Ridiculous," he mumbled, and waved dramatically at the little French goddess. "What danger is Lisette?"

With a snort, Louis tossed his trousers to him, which Julian caught clumsily against his chest. "If you do not leave Paris at once, Monsieur LeBeau will see you shot. Or worse. Dress, will you?"

Dress. One glance down his naked body and Julian silently agreed that he ought to at least cover up the offending parts. All right, he'd dress, but he wasn't going anywhere with Louis. He was going to crawl right back into that bed and pick up where he had left off. Needing both hands to attempt the trousers, he dropped his shirt and lifted one leg. He missed.

This would, apparently, require some keen navigational skills. "Mon Dieu! I'll be forced to carry you from here!" Louis exclaimed, and grabbing Julian's arm--rather tightly--steadied him so that he could get his trousers on. "I distinctly warned you of the trouble you were causing, didn't I? LeBeau is a hateful man. I told you this, more than once I told you this, but would you listen? No! I ask you now--Madame LeBeau, is she so appealing for all the trouble you've caused?"

Julian paused with one leg in and one leg out of his trousers to ponder that. He could vaguely recall seeing Gisele LeBeau. Had she actually kissed him again? Probably. The woman could fill an ocean with her gall.

"What, so you think he would ignore this?" Louis heatedly continued. "Some of the most important names in Paris attend the balls on the Boulevard St Michel. How could you humiliate him so? Dallying with his very own wife!"

Actually, Gisele had cornered him when he wasn't looking, not the other way around. And what was he to do? When a comely woman pressed her breasts against him, he was only human. "Ha!" Julian interjected, thrusting the second leg into his trousers with such force that he swerved right into Louis's chest. "LeBeau is a . . ." --he had to think about this--"a shrimp. With ears," he added firmly, and clumsily attempted the buttons.

A hard jerk of his arm, and Louis was suddenly standing so close that Julian had trouble focusing on his flaring nostrils. "You would do well to heed my advice, mon ami. In France, a discreet affair is something a man expects and may tolerate, but to publicly coqueter with his wife in the most crowded ballroom in all of Paris is another thing entirely. These things turn deadly when a man's honor has been compromised! Trust me, LeBeau will see you dead if you remain here!"

The image that conjured up suddenly made Julian laugh. For some unknown reason, so did Lisette.

A rapid-fire, heated string of French fairly burst from Louis's lips. Although Julian thought he spoke French fairly well, when Louis was in a mood, he spoke that fast, never-let-an-Englishman-understand-you French. Hell, even Lisette seemed to be having trouble keeping up with him. With an impatient flick of his wrist, Julian said, "You fret like an old woman, Renault. Off with you now."

What was amazing, Julian would later recall, was that he never saw Louis move. He never even felt the impact of Louis's fist against his jaw. He just had the strange sensation of flying before everything went black.

Revue de presse

"... a rising star."—Romantic Times

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Amazon.com: 53 commentaires
25 internautes sur 26 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Unique plot devices and interesting characterizations 19 décembre 2001
Par camille - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche
Julia London is to be congratulated from veering from standard plot devices and resolutions in this masterful book. Our hero, Julian, has known our heroine, Claudia, for years since she was the childhood friend of his numerous sisters and spent many summers at his family's estate. She had long had a crush on him, but was crushed when he failed to return for a promised dance in her first season. This failure has led her to hold a grudge against him (which, frankly, was one of the many realistic touches in the book. Don't many of us hold grudges against the first man or boy to touch and break our hearts?) Later, Julian becomes attracted to Claudia, but bows out when a close friend evinces interest in her before Julian can speak of his own. This friend later dies of alchoholism and both Claudia and Julian blame Julian for failing to prevent the death. The novel begins at this point and the above is told through conversation between the characters and some descriptive prose. Claudia and Julian are caught in a compromising position and Claudia's father, who is more concerned about his political career than her happiness, forces her to marry much against her will. Meanwhile, Claudia has been anything other than the typical Regency miss concerned only with clothes and reading novels (ahem). She has begun a battered women's shelter, secret from everyone in her life. Kudos to London for introducing an important social issue without resorting to writing gratitious violence. All too often we forget that domestic violence has always existed and London educates us without ramming it down our throats. Claudia's knowledge in this area does not, however, permit her to see that her sister-in-law's suitor is a batterer waiting to happen and against her husband's wishes urges the sister-in-law to elope. Julian had known of the suitor's abusive nature and had done everything in his power to prevent the marriage, but had been unable to tell his wife or his sisters of the suitor's violence because of societal constraints against such conversation between men and women. I found this totally believable both for the time period in question (and unfortunately all too often in our own time). Julian, needless to say, has trouble forgiving his wife for aiding his sister's marriage to this abuser. In the end, Julian finds an imperfect solution to the sister's abusive marriage that, in contrast to most romances, does not involve the fortuitous death of the villian. I loved this book because the characters were realistic; the author not only developed the characters well but she was able to give them a history without getting bogged down in pages of descriptive prose; the hero was a rake (i.e. gorgeous, sexy and experienced)who was in fact loving and kind not only to his wife but to his family (I mean, who wouldn't want this guy?); the heroine had her own life and interests beyond Society; the love scenes were never perfunctory and always served to provide depth to the relationship; also the couple did not have fabulous sex even when they were angry or hurt -- their sex life did suffer as it would in reality. (I get so aggravated when I read love scenes in which the status of the relationship appears to be irrelevant to the sex life. I don't believe that would be accurate for the majority of women.) This book stands alone without having read any of the others in this series. A keeper of a book, full of depth and richness. Some of the plot devices are quite serious, but I never felt this was a gloom and doom book that was a chore or depressing to read. Even though there is not a lot of humor in this book, which is normally a requirement for a keeper for me, the characters and story are so compelling that I will return to this book again and again.
19 internautes sur 22 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Julia, just gets better & better!!! 1 octobre 2000
Par Linda Westburg - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche
It's hard to tell you how much I enjoyed this book!! I've loved ALL of Julia's books to date & wish she could write faster!!
Julian & Claudia are a H/H to die for!! He is even better than Adrian from The Dangerous Gentleman..
Claudia is feisty & independent, you will love her she is SO before her time! Opening a home for battered women & using her influence in society to support her cause! It's a wonderful story & warms the heart!!
Julian, is guilt ridden & tortured because he's loved Claudia for two years & feels he may have held back, helping his dear friend because of that love. When he compromises her at a party it's the beginning of the end of his bachelor days & his peace of mind! You'll love the ride this story takes you on & you'll feel like your watching a movie!! That is how vivid Julia writes!!
The sexual tension keeps you turning pages to get to the "HOT" part.. *G* But really the story is written with the heart & feeling that makes you able to "SEE" the story as it unfolds!! This is a tribute to an author's talent & Julia sure has that & more. When you read an author this good you wish they had a back list that could keep you busy until her next book comes out!!
10 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
This romance will becomee a classic 14 octobre 2000
Par Harriet Klausner - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche
In 1834, Julian Dane feels like his world ended when his friend Adrian Spence was forced to kill another crony Phillip Rothembow in a duel. Two years later, the death still haunts Julian, who seems bored with everything, finding temporary amusement in the precarious arms of a parade of females. In his entire life, only his childhood friend Lady Claudia Whitney has rejected his charm. Claudia has labeled Julian as a Rake with a capital R.

However, that changes when Julian and Claudia are caught kissing. To save her reputation, he knows he must marry her. She wants nothing to do with him, especially at the cost of her beloved independence. He broods over the death of Phillip, who Julian feels was Claudia's true love. Although passion threatens to enflame them, neither one is ready to admit, even to themselves, that love has blossomed between them.

The ruthless charmer, the second novel in Julia London's "The Rogues of Regent Street" (See THE DANGEROUS GENTLEMAN) is a captivating historical romance. The story line continues the train of thought set in the first novel as readers gain an understanding of the psychological problems eroding Julian's well being. The era comes alive through the cast and Claudia is a wonderful, feisty heroine, but Ms. London's plot belongs to THE RUTHLESS CHARMER whose mind has frozen that one deadly moment, haunting him forever.

Harriet Klausner
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Not that ruthless or charming 12 janvier 2006
Par Miss Style - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche
Julia London's Ruthless Charmer is neither ruthless, nor particularly charming. I gave it a C.

Centering on Earl and guardian Julian Dane and Earl's daughter and woman's activist Lady Claudia Whitney. While both characters are initially compelling both suffer from a variety of issues that are never fully flushed out. He ends up being overbearing in things that make no sense to even himself and she becomes a whiney, shortsighted brat.

Having known each other for years, one night they are compromised into a marriage neither of them want. They both love the other but believe the other hates them, then convince themselves that they hate the other. With no one main issue dividing them, it becomes a mishmash that you ultimately don't care much about.

In the background is a tragic story with Julian's youngest, self-conscious sister Sophie. She runs off with a terrible man who ends up extorting money from the family and beating her. The helplessness felt by the entire family is too big a thing to be a background to Julian and Claudia's bickering.

While Sophie is saved in the end, things are wrapped up too quickly and suddenly for the main couple.

A Shame, the characters if they would have remained true, rather than wishing washing between strange fights and long romantic and self effacing monologues, they might have been a good couple.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A charmer yes - but certainly not ruthless 28 novembre 2003
Par V - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche
Eagerly, I purchased the three books that make up The Rogues of Regent Street series. I had absolutely loved both The Devil's Love and Wicked Angel and rated them both five stars when I reviewed them on this site. But this series has not lived up to my expectations. The first in this series, The Dangerous Gentleman, was quite good but lacking when compared to her those first two London books I had read. I easily rated it a solid four stars when I reviewed it. However, The Ruthless Charmer, barely holds on to a four star rating. I would rate it a three and one-half if that option was available.
Julian Dane is the roguish hero who is tiring of that lifestyle. The suicide/death of one of his closest friends, Phillip, has left him shaken, even two years later, and he blames himself for his friend's death. He believes he could have prevented it had he just paid more attention. We don't really see Julian in full rogue mode. He has become increasingly interested in a long time friend, Claudia Whitney, and wants to pursue a relationship with her. However, she doesn't seem the least bit interested.
Claudia is a nineteenth century feminist. She is quite happy with her life as a single woman who spends her time and efforts on helping women. She is constantly attempting to raise funds for both a woman's shelter and a future girl's school for the less fortunate. She had been involved with Phillip prior to his death and blames their mutual friend, Julian Dane, for his death. If only Julian hadn't always encouraged Phillip's rakish ways, he probably would still be living. There is a lot of history between Claudia and Julian. She had grown up as a close friends to his many sisters and had a crush on him as a teenager. Although she is still attracted to him, she would never be foolish enough to hope for his love because she believes him to be too corrupt to ever be faithful. It seems Claudia is one very judgmental heroine. And she is one of the more belligerent and hateful ones I have read as well.
Julian proves to be a very likable character with much more patience than the average hero. The leads argue most of the book and don't even seem to like each other all that much. They each hold affection for the other but neither seems able to comprehend this glaring fact. Their continued conflicts become old quickly and it becomes tiresome, as we are privy to their insecure thoughts again and again and again. This is one story that is based largely on The Big Misunderstanding but in this case it should be referred to as The Big Misunderstandings. This couple has so many of these misunderstandings between them as one determines to show their love to the other only to give up just as the other has determined to show their love in return. There is so much angst between the two and they both appear a little stupid to not recognize or believe actions or actual words of love from one to the other.
Despite these conflicts, I still managed to be entertained and there are certainly some tender moments between the two. The sensual scenes are infrequent and rate about a 3.75 out of 5.0 (see More About Me for rating guidelines). This is a story that is primarily about the romance. There is a villain but thankfully, he only occupies a little of the story.
As I mentioned earlier, this is the second in a series of three. Although I was aggravated with the leads' interactions, I still recommend this series for some enjoyable reading. I am currently reading the third, The Beautiful Stranger, and it looks like it will be a five star rating. Julia London is an author I will continue to follow as her new books are released and I look forward to reading the remaining books on her backlist.
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