Stand and deliver!.....Those are not the words one wants to hear while traveling on the road. Apparently the day has just gotten even worse for David Reece. First his brother, the duke, decides to leave the care of his entire finances to David while on his honeymoon trip abroad for three months. The pressure enough of that responsibility is suffocating. Next he becomes stranded while his horse goes lame on the way to London. And finally he's forced to take a smelly, dusty and dingy coach the rest of the way. Now he has to deal with highwayman! Bloody hell! Life was so much easier when he had no responsibilities; gambling away his fortune, dallying with any willing woman and drinking till he couldn't remember where he was or where he'd been.
Life has never been easy for pickpocket and thief Vivian Beecham, but that hasn't stopped her from getting what she can for her and her brother. It may be illegal but it keeps food in her belly. But when she tries to pawn some stolen goods, its her that gets captured by none other than one of her victims. Only this time its not the constable she has to worry about. The danger lies in the rogue who just might steal her heart.
So good! Not precisely a reformed rake story but similar. David has already decided to change his scandalous behavior on his own. Vivian just adds fuel to the fire. Their relationship begins rather oddly (he keeps her prisoner in his house!) and then changes several times through out the the book. Great characterizations by Linden (author). I was particularly impressed by the way she showed the consequences of Davids lifestyle. I don't think I've ever really read that before. It always seems that the rogue hero's life is secretly envied and even admired by everyone. Obviously thats not true. Seeing the ramifications was eye opening. I also love how Vivian is a real commoner and not someone who is, for example, the long lost daughter of an earl. Just makes the whole book more credible. David needs someone like Vivian who understands the lows and highs of his life and his shame.
Definitely a stand alone book, but I strongly recommend the prequel 'What a Gentleman Wants' (great Lizzy/Darcy thing going on in that one). I normally don't say this but you'll miss out if you don't read it first. David's scandalous behavior is highlighted there. You'll get a better general picture of who he was and why he determined that he must change. So if you haven't read it, go and read it first.