After years spent fighting for England, Harry Standish is a man of action. So when he learns his sister’s reputation has been ruined by a man giving her public attention, then rejecting her, Harry knows he must avenge her honor. He has headed to London to confront Simon Beaumont, owner of the gambling club, Perdition, and hold him accountable. Harry doesn’t have much of a plan; as a seasoned soldier, he can’t exactly call Simon out, as it would essentially be murder to attempt a duel. But he doesn’t expect his complete loss of control when confronted with the gorgeous, charming Simon.
Simon is shocked when Harry comes charging in, accusing him of dallying with his sister. Simon has never looked twice at a woman in his life, but it doesn’t take him long to figure out exactly what really happened to Harry’s sister. But of course, Harry will barely let Simon get in a word edgewise to explain and defend himself. Yet something about Harry’s anger and intensity ends up being quite the turn on for Simon, and he can’t help provoking the man into an intimate encounter.
Once the men finally have a chance to talk, Harry quickly realizes how poorly he has behaved on many levels. Not only did he accuse Simon without giving the man a chance to defend himself, he also was quite aggressive in bed. But Simon is quick to assure Harry that he loved every minute of it — and would be quite happy for more. The men agree to team up to save Harry’s sister’s reputation, and while they are at it, to spend more time with each other. But with Simon owning a club in London, and Harry just returned from the war and at loose ends, neither man is sure whether this is a short term adventure, or if there is chance they can be something more.
The Wrong Rake by Eliot Grayson is the fourth book in the Perdition Club series, a multi-author series set at the London gaming hell. I haven’t read the other books (though Camille reviewed book 2, Black & White, earlier today), however I had no trouble jumping in here. We do meet the MCs from the first book here, and the others are mentioned in passing, but this story stands alone perfectly well and you can definitely start here.
This is a fairly short novel and it’s super sexy fun. There is a nice enemies-to-lovers set up, along with the burly military man paired with the more genteel London sophisticate. There are some suspend your disbelief moments early on in terms of how the men end up in bed with one another, as well as a pretty short timeline for the falling in love. But Grayson made it work here and the pacing of this one is tight and feels right for the story. I was able to just sink into the book and enjoy the high heat and the great connection between Simon and Harry. The problem with Harry’s sister gets resolved neatly, the men figure out their future together, and we get a nice resolution for the pair of them. If you enjoy high heat historicals, particularly with an enemies to lovers element, definitely check this one out.