Anne Sinclair is excited about visiting her sister Mary and her new husband because she hopes she can reconnect with Devon, the man who her father had turned away years ago. But she hurts her ankle and is forced to stay in the absent Duke of Cynssyr's room as he has been delayed in London. When Ruan, also known as Lord Ruin, shows up in the middle of the night he thinks the young lady in his bed is a prostitute his friend Devon hired for him. She is passionate and dream-like and he is immensely aroused by her and the two make love while she is under the influence of laudanum. When the two of them are discovered they agree to marry her, mainly to save his reputation as everyone knows that she was partly conscious. He is at first upset but after the passion they shared he believes they can make something of their marriage and she too is resolved to make the best of things.
It starts out as purely physical reaction to Anne as he cannot keep his hands off of her and it becomes an obsession as he wants her to become bound to him. He worries that she will leave and is jealous when any other man is with her and he wonders how it is he had previously overlooked her. Anne is scared that she will fall in love with him and he will love up to his reputation and end up breaking her heart. But they manage to work together to help Ruan and his friends find the men who have been kidnapping and assaulting women around London. Ruan has his own list of suspects and he listens to Anne as she believes that he is wrong about some of them. Ruan can't deny his feelings for her anymore and he admits he wants Anne by his side always, but the murderers are on to him and they have targeted her as their next victim so he will have to rescue the woman he loves.
This book reminds me quite a bit of Mary Balogh's writing style is it rather sedate and calm with no big blow ups or screaming. However, this book differs from Balogh in the most important ways; it's exciting, the characters actually have a real personality and I liked them, and I cared about what was happening. The opening scene in the book basically set up the rest of the book and, while it probably could be technically dubbed with the R-word, I hesitate to use it as that connotes a certain ugliness which this book, and Ruan, lacked. Others might label it rape and they would also be correct as she was drugged so if that's a turn off then don't read. Despite being calm characters both Ruan and Anne were very well written and it was easy to like both of them, especially because there was so much emotion running throughout the book, and it was so beautiful to read them falling in love with each other.
I loved reading about Ruan falling in love and how it just came over it and I know I liked it because he was a rake who was reforming with the love of a good woman. There was plenty of sex and aside from the first time it was entirely consensual even if sometimes it was unclear as to whether she enjoyed it as much as he did. I liked that he desperately wanted her and was so incredibly attracted to her that he could barely keep his hands off her. I loved knowing exactly why he was falling for her because she was really a great wife, but it wasn't quite as clear why she was so in love with him. He was a great guy and a fairly good husband, but it seemed more like she loved him because he loved her so much. The murder plot got confusing at times and I didn't quite understand what was happening through much of it but it did provide a wonderful opportunity for him to rescue her and I liked the way that was written in this book.
Rating: I liked this book a lot because it was more sedate and he was so in love with her, but I was sometimes a little overwhelmed with the murder plot near the end.