Robert Anderson is jealous. His best friend since childhood, Linus Radcliffe, is flirting with another man. It's a common sight in the ballrooms of London's ton, but one that's become harder and harder for Rob to take. Unlike his friend, Rob generally prefers women in bed--with the very big exception of Linus. After a jealousy-fueled night of passion, he decides to take matters in hand, and proposes they become exclusive. To his surprise and dismay, Linus refuses, and walks out of his bedroom with a flippant word. Undeterred, he is determined to convince his best friend that they belong together--no matter what Linus may think.
Gay Regency romance should be an easy sell for me--two of my favorite genres in one! Unfortunately, ROGUES fell flat for me. I liked Rob, and enjoyed his inner journey from rake to monogamy, from bisexual to gay (or gay-for-you), and his stumbles along the way. His hurt and jealousy over Linus's affairs was believable and a little sad. The story starts just as he loses his patience with watching Linus waltz from bed to bed, and the reader is with him as he struggles to understand how to win Linus back. The sex scenes between the two were absolutely smoking hot, and the chemistry was palpable. I love that they weren't exclusively top or bottom--something far too rare in m/m romances. Their balance in the bedroom is an extension of their longstanding friendship and love for one another.
Linus, on the other hand, was rather annoying. His reasoning for turning Rob down--and the main conflict of the novella--just didn't ring true to me. It wasn't until Linus's second POV chapter that I even realized what his problem was; it was not clear at all the first time around. The teasers about Linus's traumatic past seemed tacked on, as if the author decided she needed another reason for Linus to be wary of monogamy with Rob, as did the bit about him having made this decision before.
Overall, I think a lot of my issues with this novella can be blamed on the lack of length. There's not much time to get to know the characters, or flesh out their pasts, or set up a satisfying conflict. The smoking sex scenes (they switch!!) and my love of Rob, in all his cluelessly domineering glory, still make this a solid three-star read. Fans of the previous books will enjoy the brief cameos by Bennett & Norton from My True Love Gave to Me and Parker from Brook Street: Thief (Brook St. Trilogy).
This ARC was provided free of charge by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of this review.