The Disgraced Playboy, by Caitlin Crews

>> Tuesday, January 31, 2012

TITLE: The Disgraced Playboy
AUTHOR: Caitlin Crews

PAGES: 192
PUBLISHER: Harlequin Presents

SETTING: Contemporary England
TYPE: Category romance
SERIES: 2nd in continuity series, The Notorious Wolfes.

Lucas… Playboy. Rebel. Rogue.

No one denies Lucas anything. Women fall at his feet and into his bed at the click of his fingers. His life is charmed, reckless and carefree-he is definitely a bad boy.

Grace Carter knows uncontrollable Lucas could ruin her career, and she won't tolerate his wayward behavior, despite their chemistry. But working with Lucas is thrilling, and after just a small dose of his magic, even Grace's prim-and-proper shell begins to splinter…
I was really looking forward to this one. I picked it up based on really good reviews, and then it got the enthusiastic endorsement of my only romance-reading real-life friend (hey, MI!), who thought it good enough to specifically tell me I needed to read it, when we got together to catch up while I was in Uruguay.

Sorry guys, it really, really, really didn't work for me.

Ok, the plot. This seems to be part of a continuity series, so I don't know the whole set-up, but basically, the hero, Lucas Wolfe, goes through life playing the part of a useless playboy, never known to work for a day in his entire life, and desired by every woman in England. The heroine, Grace, works in PR for a posh department store, which used to be owned by the Wolfes. For reasons of his own, Lucas agrees to become the store's new face, and has to work with Grace. He immediately is determined to seduce her.

I did not believe in these characters at all. I think Lucas is supposed to be this really charming, irresistible man, but even though the author told me so repeatedly, through Grace, I didn't find him charming in the least. I found him annoying and rude, and too often behaving inappropriately to Grace at her own place of work, not caring about the consequences this would have on her. That, to me, is not sexy. It's being inconsiderate and not giving a shit about someone's livelihood.

It's supposed to be this epic seduction, with Grace resisting with all her strength, but finally giving way to Lucas' charm because it's impossible to resist him. I think we're supposed to agree with that, and wonder at how Grace manages to hold out in the face of such irresistibleness. My reaction was the opposite. I wonder what the hell she saw in him, beyond good looks.

And I also wondered what the hell he saw in her that he hadn't seen in a thousand women before. She's distinctly average and I found her very boring.

And then there was this massive scandal about Grace having posed in what sounded like really quite tasteful and harmless swimsuit pictures when she was a teen. That was just preposterous, and ended the book on an even lower note than it started. Even the nice touch of having Grace reevaluate her past and decide she's actually proud of it didn't save it.

I am well aware that I'm being a bit of a grinch here. I don't know why I took such a dislike to the book. I promise I was really well-disposed to it when I started it -I really expected to love it. I guess it must have been a matter of the author's voice just not working for me, which made me react with annoyance to everything else. I just wanted it to end, because I was bored with these two.



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