Once A Rogue by Jayne Fresina
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Length: Full Length (240 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Freesia
Sometimes a bad boy is just a hero in disguise.
Before Lucasta Collyer resigns herself to an arranged marriage she wants one night of discovery…on her own terms…with a complete stranger. But Lucy’s plan for a single night of anonymous passion is destined for trouble. Her fortress heart, once fiercely protected, is breached by John Carver, a blue-eyed, salty-mouthed, yeoman farmer. He also happens to be a self-professed former rogue. John is brazen, arrogant and refuses to obey orders. He's everything Lucasta shouldn’t want yet she can't resist the challenge.
John has never bowed to nobility, nor will he be the plaything of an imperious, icy-tempered, young hussy. Clearly Lucasta needs a lesson in what it's like to toy with with a man, and it's one he’ll gladly teach her. But this rogue might not be as reformed as he wants everyone to believe.
Can Lucasta and John go back to their own worlds and forget one another after their one night together, or will they risk everything for love?
There’s just something endearing about a woman who wants to lose her virginity to thwart her soon-to-be-bridegroom. From page one of Once A Rogue, Lucasta Collyer proves to be a spitfire in search of life on her own terms, in a time when women were little more than possessions. In fact, the fiery hero and heroine are two of the major attractions in Jayne Fresina’s historical romance, set in 1588.
Quite often in romance novels we see the old adage “opposites attract” played out through a series of spirited encounters. Lucy Collyer and John Carver, however, prove that two like souls can provide just as many fireworks. Both hero and heroine are feisty, headstrong, passionate characters whose pasts have led them to the chance encounter that changes their lives. I was particularly drawn to Lucy, ready to defy all the male figures in her life to get what she wants for the first time.
The plot also captures the reader from the opening scene—Lucy in a bawdy house choosing the man to whom she will give her maidenhead. Disguise and mistaken identity, a night of passion and a morning of reckoning, flight and discovery all move the story along at a steady pace as Lucy and John meet and part repeatedly. Each encounter syncs them more securely together, though they constantly protest their attraction.
The major drawback to Once A Rogue, in my opinion, is not enough historical grounding. Ms. Fresina set her tale during the English Renaissance, a colorful time with the possibility of rich settings and costumes. With my love of the period, I craved the minute details that would set the characters and action firmly in that particular world. Even though much of the novel is set in a rural cottage, I still wanted to revel in that part of the Renaissance as well. And though she does include some well known events, like the defeat of the Armada, they seemed far removed from the action and therefore less part of the world of the novel.
If you enjoy a sexy romp with strong characters vying for control in and outside the bedroom, you will surely want to read Once A Rogue. The title is suppose to refer to John Carver’s past exploits, but it could just as easily describe Lucy’s roguish rebellion. As I said before, they are so much alike they have to be made for each other.