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on 1 September 2003
The long-awaited Hazard, direct sequel to Dragon's Bride and incidental connection to the Rogues books, is finally here! And it's well worth the wait.
Lady Anne Peckforth, daughter of the Duke of Arran, who will make her husband a rich man but who is considered less desirable by virtue of the fact that she has a club foot (walks with an unsightly limp, can't dance), has just suffered her second disappointment. Following on from Lord Middlethorpe's snub - he married another woman while in the process of negotiating for her hand - she then hears that Con, Viscount Amleigh, has married someone else after having indicated an interest in her. So she is doubly rejected.
Race de Vere, introduced in Dragon's Bride as Con's secretary, was asked by 'King Rogue', Nicholas Delaney, to check up on Anne. After all, she is unfinished business: twice a Rogue played dirty with her, and Nicholas therefore considers her his responsibility. He wants Race to establish whether she is genuinely hurt. So Race attaches himself to the Marquess of Uffham, Anne's brother, allowing Uffham to use him as semi-companion, semi-servant, all in the interests of helping the Rogues and seeing what he can do for Anne. Race, after all, is a congenital 'helper'.
Race, we discover, has very uncertain origins. He bears a surname which he has no right to - his father changed the family name in an attempt to 'gentrify' them, but didn't realise that the name he chose would be immediately suspect, as it was the family name of the Earls of Oxford, a line now extinct. So Race attracts attention everywhere as someone who can't possibly be what he appears. And anyway, as a 'hanger-on' to Society, he could never aspire to the hand of Lady Anne Peckforth.
Yet attraction sparkles between the two of them; when Anne asks Race to teach her about men and how they flirt, he only has to kiss her hand for her to realise that no man has ever aroused her senses with a simple kiss ever before. But Race isn't for Anne; how can she marry a man without a past, whose background makes him totally ineligible?
So she sets out to find a 'suitable' husband; yet none of the men she meets, and who fall over themselves to flatter her, appeal to her in any way. They all fall short next to Race. So should she obey her family by choosing a suitable titled gentleman, or follow her heart's desire... even if it means disgrace?
I adored this book. Anne is fleshed out extremely well here, and we learn that she is intelligent, shrewd, with a clever, dry sense of humour which is displayed to good effect in her verbal fencing matches with Race. There are scenes with her old friend Tris, the Duke of St Raven, which also sparkle with humour and wit - and the rats, mice and farthings discussions are hilarious! In fact, for a time there was an intriguing triangle going on with Race, Tris and Anne.
Hazard also introduces us to Tris, the Duke of St Raven, whom Beverley has assured us will be the hero of her next book. And already I can't wait!
wmr-uk
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on 10 April 2007
I've read three of Jo Beverley's books before and none of them have quite made it to five stars for me. However, Hazard was a definite improvement - the story and characters worked much better for me.

Lady Anne Peckworth (who has appeared in two of the Rogues books) seems to have an unfortunate habit - that of being jilted by the Rogues. When the second Rogue who has been courting her marries someone else the Rogues, worried about Lady Anne who really is a very nice woman, send Race de Vere to check that she is OK. Race teams up with her brother Uffham, working as his secretary/assistant, and thus gets invited to the Duke of Arran's home (Anne's father) and is able to get to know her.

Anne can't decide what to do with herself. Two betrothals that haven't quite happened make her wonder if it's safe to get married but the alternative, dwindling to a spinster, isn't appealing. When she meets Race de Vere she enjoys her conversations with him, particularly when he shows her more of the fun side of life - brandy drinking, playing hazard, kissing. Of course he's wildly ineligible, being from a family line which was born the wrong side of the blanket, but she finds herself coming out of her shell in his company. Then he disappears and Lady Anne sets herself the task of finding a husband with her friend, Tris St Raven, giving her advice on their suitability.

Anne very much comes out of her shell in this book - she turns from a quiet, reclusive lady with a limp to a bright, lively woman who seems to slay passing men with her charms and who behaves in a rather indecorous way at times. In fact I wasn't entirely sure how believable Anne was... her behaviour towards the end of the book gets pretty shocking.

De Vere is far too low down the social scale to even consider an alliance with Anne and yet the quality of this book is in the way in which it shows them as equals in terms of intelligence and interests which makes the reader eager to see things work out well for them. Although there is romance in this book the plot and characterisation takes more of a central position than in many regencies, plus the different social classes in this book sets it apart a little.

The Rogues appear in this book in many places, and there are also references to characters in some of Beverley's other books, but this one can be read as a standalone book without any difficulties. It's an enjoyable way to while away a few hours and I can recommend it.
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VINE VOICEon 3 September 2007
This book was brilliant!
It was not your usual book in the series as it wasn't about any of the rogues in particular, one or two did make a brief appearance though.
This book was about Con's friend and secretary Racecoombe De Vere (met in The Dragon's Bride).
The rogue's have asked him to make sure that Lady Anne Peckworth is ok as she has yet again been jilted by a rogue (first Francis Middlethorpe than Con). She is now especially annoyed and wants nothing to do with the rogues and is none too happy to know that De Vere has been enlisted to help with their consciences. De Vere feels slightly guility because he held back a letter that Con wrote promising himself to Anne, because he knew that Con was in love with Susan and wanted to be with her.
So to ease his conscience he sets out to help her find someone to marry and get her out of her shell. However the closer they get, he realises he wants her for herself, but because he isn't rich and titled he thinks its best for him to go away and leave her alone. Anyway she becomes irritated at him because she wants him too and he doesn't seem to be that interested so she sets about finding someone to marry and throughout most of the book, other men are courting her etc etc
The character development of Anne was fantastic, it wasn't completely out there, she was in love and able to come out of her shell and be more herself. The scene where she is seducing De Vere was very good and quite believable and he couldn't resist her.
This book was fantastic, I love the character of De Vere in The Dragon's Bride so was glad to read his story, and I was glad to read Anne's story and the amazing character development.
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on 1 July 2002
A love story about two unlikely candidates. After being jilted by Francis Middleham in 'Forbidden' and led to expect an offer from George Amleigh in 'Dragons Bride', Lady Anne is sensitive about provoking pity. Race de Vere, a friend of Amleigh's, wants to make sure that Anne is undamaged by George's defection, and finds himself attracted to her quiet charm. However he would be considered ineligible for a duke's daughter as his father is a tradesman with pretensions to gentility.
The rest of the book is about Anne's efforts to find someone she could face marrying instead of Race and how she eventually came to acknowledge that she wanted Race and no other.
Jo Beverley tells the love story between these two well and manages to describe what a real barrier that their social positions would be; and find a solution without giving the characters anachronistic modern views.
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on 15 May 2002
This is a wonderful book, involving Lady Anne Peckworth (first met in 'Forbidden') and Race de Vere, Con Somerford's secretary in 'Dragon's Bride'. Lady Anne has twice been passed over by Rogues who fell in love elsewhere, and Race goes to check on her on behalf of the Company of Rogues. Both hero and heroine have their flaws but act as perfect foils for each other. One of Beverley's best
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on 3 October 2013
This series gets better and better. Unusual hero but so like able and our heroine Lady Ann ,mentioned in previous books in the series, gets her moment in the spotlight. Can,t wait for the next book St Raven.
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on 28 October 2013
very good series of books very well written and follows on from previos books about a group of friends and there lives
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on 8 July 2002
As an avid reader and I mean avid (I own every book written by Jude Deverux, Julie Garwood,Judith McNaught,Johanne Lindsay to name but a few), I found that I have really struggled reading this book. An Arranged Marraige and Unwilling Bride were quite good, This one however seems to be more on the thoughts of the main characters (They must have been mind readers - a dukes daughter marrying beneath her)with hardly any conversation, I found it very esy to put this book down and still haven't finished reading it after nearly 10 days. I will definately think twice before buying this author again..
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on 21 July 2014
Two fascinating people who challenge conventions
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on 30 March 2015
love all jo Beverley books
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