Hard to believe Pearl Wolf managed to get this published. Just awful! The plot is the standard, worn-out historical romance - rake hero trying to reform and saintly heroine. Throw in the nasty relatives attempting to take over the hero's new title, a smuggling ring, attempted kidnapping, etc. etc. and you have the framework.
Unfortunately, there is absolutely NO emotion and NO romance. Wolf does not develop the main characters, much less their relationship, which just falls flat - way flat. Out of the blue, our hero, Desmond, decides he is in love with the heroine, Helena. That's it. It appeared the author suddenly realized she was writing a romance and needed the "love" in there somewhere. AAugh... What are supposed to be the "hot" sex scenes amounted to cold, unfeeling and mechanical - no emotion, much less passion exist between the two.
I was very annoyed by the author's habit of writing out-of-context scenes occurring elsewhere at the heroine's home with parents and siblings. No doubt she is setting up future books in this series, but the scenes were so out of place and disjointed to the main story, that it left the reader wondering "what the heck was that?" Overall, Too Hot for a Rake suffers from the lack of a smooth continuity.
While the author states that she did meticulous research for this historical and asks readers to inform her of inconsistencies, she simply did not pay much attention to her dialogue. Phrases used by the heroine are decidedly contemporary and in direct opposition to the language of the hero and other characters. Several are quite jarring to the seasoned historical reader. Wolf's entire dialogue is short and choppy and brings to mind the efforts of a high schooler attempting to write his or her own screenplay.
Finally, my biggest problem with "Too Hot for a Rake" is the relationships between the heroine's father, the Duke of Heatham, and his children. The final straw for me was his stated annoyance with another daughter : "he found it hard to like (her), one because she was overweight and for another, she meddled." This sentence alone is enough to make Too Hot for a Rake my very first wallbanger in decades of reading romance. Shame on you Ms.Wolf.