A Rake’s Progress
I love rakes. And I don’t mean the garden tool used in autumn to gather leaves.
No, the rakes I love come from literary and romance novels–the original bad boys who make us swoon and do exactly what we know we shouldn’t do.
“The Rake burns with a desire that enflames the woman he is seducing.” Robert Green, The Art of Seduction
Nothing is more attractive to a woman than a man who desires her with a single-mindedness that takes the breath away. She cannot resist such a passion aimed at her–she must reciprocate no matter what.
Some great and famous rakes: Fronsac, Duke du Richelieu, John Wilmot, the Earl of Rochester, George Gordon, Lord Byron, and Giacomo Casanova.
My favorite (and best in my estimation) rake in literature has to be Valmont from Dangerous Liaisons, adapted from the 18th century novel by de Laclos. His charm, wit, and persuasive talents, as he seduces not one, but two very different women at the same time, are spellbinding to watch. As John Malkovich portrayed him, he would have had me at hello.
My rake, the Marquess of Dalbury, has a very scandalous past. He began his affairs with women at the age of sixteen. And although he took several mistresses, he still managed to bed around 700 women in the course of ten years by his estimation. Duncan has a rake’s marvelous command of language and an innate knowledge of what a woman wants or needs to hear. He’s charming, witty, and quite an actor when he needs to be to get what he wants.
So how does my rake plan a seduction? In Only Scandal Will Do, he tries to seduce Katarina when he’s with her in the brothel. He plays on her need to believe that he’s accepted her story. So he treats her as a damsel in distress:
“You are distraught, my lady. It has been a harrowing night for you. Please allow me to come to your aid.” He brought her hands to rest on the soft black cloak that disguised the solid expanse of his chest. The concern and respect in his voice, which had so recently mocked and insulted her, broke through her crumbling defenses. Ready to drop from weariness, she could not reclaim the strength leached away by the excitements of the night. And his chest was so strong and warm under her palms. Incredibly warm. Kat sighed as that heat stole into her body, relaxing the muscles in her hands and arms inch by inch.
The face beneath the mask softened, his lips turned up in a tender smile. He traced a line down her cheek with the back of one finger. “Allow me take care of you, my dear.”
His touch, like fine silk drawn over her skin, sent a pang of longing through her. Could she permit someone else to be strong for her, just this once? He understood the fears she faced tonight and sought to vanquish them, as any knight errant would seek to make amends. He continued to stroke her cheek, her jaw, her chin, his touch feather light. A powerful, unreasoning desire assaulted her to feel his strong arms around her, sheltering her from the harsh world. She was hardly surprised, then, to find him gathering her against his broad chest.
“Lean your head just there, sweet.”
She could hear the strong beat of his heart, smell the clean, comforting citrus of his cologne. The fresh scent reminded her of home.
“You will be all right now,” he whispered, holding her securely to him. Safe at last. She closed her eyes and leaned into his caresses, contentment stealing through her for the first time since leaving Virginia.
With a finger beneath her chin, he lifted her face up to his. Her eyes flew open and peace fled as he pressed her mouth with a gentle kiss that stole what breath she had left. His lips–soft, warm, insistent–generated heat all the way to her toes. A sensation so overpowering she forgot everything around her, giving herself completely to the pleasures of that kiss.
Not a bad strategy. Looks to be working. But all seductions don’t go as planned. Always keep that in mind when designing yours. J
I hope you enjoyed spending time with my rake today. And to help you Enjoy the Scandal, I’m offering a copy of Only Scandal Will Do to a random commenter who tells me if you’ve ever been seduced by a rake/bad boy before?
He has the woman of his dreams, but what price will he have to pay to win her heart?
Kidnapped and sold at auction in a London brothel, Lady Katarina Fitzwilliam squelches an undeniable attraction to the masked stranger who purchased her, pits her wits against him, and escapes him and the scandal that would ruin her life.
Unable to resist temptation in a London brothel, Duncan Ferrers, Marquess of Dalbury, purchases a fiery beauty. She claims she’s a lady, but how can she be? No lady of his acquaintance in polite society is anything like her. Then he discovers she is who she says, and that this latest romp has compromised her reputation. He knows how that is. One more scandal and he’ll be cast out of London society, but he needs a wife who’ll provide an heir to carry on his illustrious family’s name. He seeks out Katarina, intending only to scotch the scandal, but instead finds his heart ensnared. He’s betting their future he’ll capture her heart, but does he have what it takes to win the wager?
WARNING: A blade-wielding heroine who crosses swords with a master of sensuality.
Jenna Jaxon is a multi-published author of historical and contemporary romance. Her historical romance, Only Scandal Will Do, the first in a series of five interconnecting novels, was released in July 2012. Her contemporary works include Hog Wild, Almost Perfect, and 7 Days of Seduction. She is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America as well as a member of Chesapeake Romance Writers. Her medieval romance, Time Enough to Love, is being published this year as a series of three novellas. The first book, Betrothal, released on April 19th.
Jenna has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager. A romantic herself, she has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise. She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own stories. She lives in Virginia with her family and a small menagerie of pets. When not reading or writing, she indulges her passion for the theatre, working with local theatres as a director. She often feels she is directing her characters on their own private stage.
She has equated her writing to an addiction to chocolate because once she starts she just can’t stop.
Only Scandal Will Do
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Jenna Jaxon