If You Give a Rake a Rubyby Shana Galen, Lucy Rivers
Fallon, the Marchioness of Mystery, is a celebrated courtesan with her finger on the pulse of high society. She's adored by men, hated by their wives. No one knows anything about her past, and she plans to keep it that way. Warrick Fitzhugh will do anything to protect his compatriots in the Foreign Office, including seduce Fallon, who he thinks can lead him to the
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Fallon, the Marchioness of Mystery, is a celebrated courtesan with her finger on the pulse of high society. She's adored by men, hated by their wives. No one knows anything about her past, and she plans to keep it that way. Warrick Fitzhugh will do anything to protect his compatriots in the Foreign Office, including seduce Fallon, who he thinks can lead him to the deadliest crime lord in London. He knows he's putting his life on the line . . . To Warrick's shock, Fallon is not who he thinks she is, and the secrets she's keeping are exactly what makes her his heart's desire . . .
"An incredibly addicting read, and a pretty steamy romance. " - Book Whore
"Galen is at the top of her game... Galen is a grand mistress of the action/adventure subgenre. 4 ½ Stars, Top Pick of the Month!" - RT Book Reviews
"Engrossing and fun. Shana Galen is known for her fast-pasted Regencies, and she scores again with If You Give a Rake a Ruby." - Historical Novel Review
"A brilliant historical romance!" - Imagine a World
"Galen expertly entwines espionage-flavored intrigue with sizzling passion. " - Booklist
"If you GIve a Rake a Ruby took me to a place beyond love. Shana Galen has done it again." - Not Just a One Night Stand
"Galen always seems to find the human qualities in her characters that will have you on an emotional roller coaster. " - Gourmonde Girl
" Galen writes an intricate dance between the ballrooms of the ton and the life lead by the damned." - Bodice Rippers, Femme Fatales and Fantasy
"This spine-tingling romance will thrill readers as they are swept into another race to find the identity of a killer... a wonderful read!" - Readaholics Anonymous
Read an Excerpt
"Lord Kwirley," Fallon said with a pointed look at the bracket clock on the brass-inlaid drawing-room table. "The hour grows late, and I would like to go to bed."
Kwirley smiled suggestively, and Fallon's upper lip itched to curl in disgust. But she controlled the impulse, as she had been taught, and imagined Lady Sinclair nodding in approval.
"Why, Marchioness, that was my thought exactly." He rose and held out his hand, seemingly unfazed by Fallon's icy stare. Kwirley was not a small man. He was tall, well-built, and handsome in the most conventional way. Fallon could understand why the ton insisted on pairing the two of them. Kwirley with his dark hair, dark eyes, and tanned skin complemented her own dark features perfectly. His height was better suited to Juliette, who was tall and willowy. Fallon was petite, which was Lady Sinclair's polite way of saying she was short. Fallon did not mind her diminutive size. It meant others often underestimated her, and that usually worked to her advantage. Not tonight.
"Why don't you show me to your boudoir, Fallon?"
Fallon raised a brow. "You overstep yourself, my lord. I have not given you leave to use my Christian name. Nor have I expressed any interest in taking you to my bed."
"You're a courtesan," Kwirley said, his eyes narrowing in annoyance, "you're paid to take men to your bed."
Fallon was still sitting, Kwirley still standing, and her neck was beginning to ache from looking up at him. What a boorish lout-or, as her bastard of a father would have said, what a bloody clodpole. How dare Kwirley stand when she, a lady, was seated?
Simple, she supposed. He did not consider her a lady.
Very well, then. She rose. "My lord, you are exceedingly arrogant."
He laughed, which was not unexpected but certainly not the response she'd hoped for. He was going to make this difficult. She rolled her shoulders. Perhaps difficult was not such a bad thing. She needed to keep in good form.
"And you are exceedingly coy," Kwirley said, stepping closer. "I had not expected as much. In fact, I have been led to believe you are quite the tigress in bed. Roar." He lifted his hands to make claws.
"Unfortunately, my lord, you will never know. Shall I ring for my butler to show you out or can you find the way yourself?"
Kwirley lowered his hands. "I don't think you understand, Fallon."
"I've told you not to address me as such, my lord."
"I am the most sought-after man in London. I am doing you a favor by becoming your lover."
"Really? The only woman I know seeking your favor is your wife. And, if I'm not mistaken, she is quite heavy with your child at present. Do you not think you should be home with Lady Kwirley?"
He took a step toward her. "My wife is my business."
"Then I suggest you attend to your business, my lord. Good night."
She turned and strolled toward the drawing room doors. She knew she would not reach them unmolested. She also knew she could ring for Titus.
But that would be too easy.
Kwirley was slower than she'd anticipated, and she had almost gained the towering mahogany doors before he caught her elbow and spun her around. "Not so fast-" he began.
Fallon kicked him in the belly, sending him sprawling backward. He knocked over a pedestal holding a jeweled lamp, and she had a moment's worry because it was one of her favorites. But a quick glance reassured her the lamp was not broken.
The glance also revealed Kwirley was getting up. Blockhead. "Go home, my lord. I don't want to hurt you."
"Really?" He wiped his hands on his breeches. "Because I would like to hurt you. I don't know who you think you are, but you're going to pay for-"
She sidestepped him, spun, and booted him in his lower back. The blow set him off-balance, and she had a moment to grab a book and hurl it at him. Her aim was perfect, and the book's spine hit him in the center of the forehead. "Ow, you little bitch!" He charged her, and Fallon shook her head. He wasn't even thinking, simply acting blindly. She easily sidestepped him again, and he rammed into a settee, knocking it over. While he struggled to rise, Fallon dug her heel into the back of his neck and pressed him down.
"Had enough?" she asked. "Or would you prefer to go another round?" Because she was tired and wanted to go to bed, she ground her heel into his neck.
"Enough," he mumbled.
"Good." Without lifting her heel, she reached for a little silver bell and rang it. The sound tinkled softly in the room, and the drawing room doors opened immediately to reveal Titus.
Titus was close to seven feet tall and easily twenty-five stone. He had a thick head of bright red hair, shocking blue eyes, and a mouth full of crooked teeth. His hands were as big as puppies and his legs tree trunks. He did not walk so much as lumber, and Kwirley began protesting the moment Titus entered the room.
"There's been some sort of mistake. I didn't intend any disrespect."
Fallon sighed. "Titus, I might have known you would be standing right outside."
The giant shrugged, his shoulders small mountains. "I like to make sure there's no trouble, my lady."
Fallon had told him a hundred times she was no lady, but he insisted on referring to her as such anyway. Who was she to protest? It wasn't as though anyone else was clamoring to call her a lady.
She pressed her foot into Kwirley's neck for good measure then lifted it and stepped away. "Would you be so kind as to show Lord Kwirley out?"
"I'll show 'im out," Titus said. "But I won't be kind about it."
Kwirley gave her a panicked look, and Fallon was sorely tempted to shrug helplessly. But at the last moment, she took pity on the man. "Titus, be nice. Don't throw Lord Kwirley farther than the lamppost."
She strode out of the drawing room, listening to Kwirley sputter and then plead for mercy. Titus was a gentle giant to anyone he loved. He was an ogre to anyone who but looked askance at someone he loved. But she couldn't feel too sorry for Kwirley. Her father-she hoped he burned in hell-always said when you started feeling sorry for those who want to take advantage of you, then you've gone soft and deserve what you get.
Of course, he hadn't said it quite that politely.
She lifted her skirts and climbed the stairs, nodded to Mary, one of the chamber maids, and blew out a long sigh. She was exhausted.
The past few days had been grueling. She'd been to one social event after another-balls, routs, masquerades, soirées, musicales. At this point, if she never saw another ballroom, theater, or pleasure garden, she would not mourn the loss. Normally she enjoyed the whirl of the Season, but without Juliette, everything seemed different.
Juliette, Lily, and Fallon were no longer The Three Diamonds. Now it was only Lily and Fallon, and they both missed Juliette terribly.
And, if Fallon was honest, she envied Juliette. Who wouldn't envy a woman married to a wealthy duke who obviously adored her? Fallon had never really believed in love. Her father hadn't loved her mother. He'd used her charms to run scams or make ends meet. And her mother hadn't loved her father. She'd been a dim woman who needed a man to tell her what to do.
Fallon hadn't loved either of her parents. She thought she'd fallen in love once, but the experience had taught her she'd been right all long.
There was no such thing as love.
Except... when she looked at Juliette and her Dangerous Duke, Fallon wondered.
She strode down the corridor toward her boudoir. Her booted feet made shushing sounds on the thick rug, and even though she was now quite used to living surrounded by opulence, she paused a moment to savor the plush rug, the paintings on the walls, the expensive upholstery on the Sheraton chair she'd just passed, and the fine silk of her gown.
She had no illusions as to how fortunate she was. Unlike the daughters of duchesses and earls Fallon often glimpsed at the theater or a ball, she had not grown up in such privileged circumstances. She had been lucky to have something to eat and shoes on her feet.
She did not take any of this for granted. It could all be taken away from her with the snap of a finger if anyone ever found out who she really was. There was a reason the Prince Regent had dubbed her the Marchioness of Mystery. No one-save Lady Sinclair, Juliette, and Lily-knew the truth about her. The ton was greatly diverted by conjecturing as to her true identity.
Some said she was the daughter of a maharaja. Little did they know, Fallon had been obliged to ask Lady Sinclair for the definition of maharaja. Other rumors hinted she was a gypsy queen or a princess from a secret kingdom. Fallon wished there was a tiny kernel of truth in but one of the rumors. Anything was better than the reality.
She opened the door of her boudoir and stepped inside. Strange. Usually Anne had the fire roaring and several candles lit. But the room was dark and cold. Fallon shivered, crossed to her bed, and pulled the cord to summon her lady's maid. She reached out and felt the edge of her bed-the soft silk of her counterpane felt light and inviting as a cloud. Fallon rolled her neck, then sank down onto her bed.
She bolted upright and stifled a scream. There was a man in her bed.
An uninvited man.
What People are saying about this
"An incredibly addicting read, and a pretty steamy romance. " - Book Whore
"Galen is at the top of her game... Galen is a grand mistress of the action/adventure subgenre. 4 ½ Stars, Top Pick of the Month!" - RT Book Reviews
Meet the Author
Shana Galen is the nationally bestselling author of many historical romance novels. Her series include the Sons of the Revolution, Lord and Spy, Jewels of the Ton, and Covent Garden Cubs.
Lucy Rivers is a seasoned narrator for erotica and books on human sexuality.
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Fallon is a well known courtesan and one of the last two diamonds left that still rule the ton. Fallon is the most mysterious of the diamonds and she is hiding secrets from everyone around her. Fallon thinks her past is forever behind her until she finds Warrick in her bed; he utters one word that will bring her past straight into the present...Maggie. I fell in love with this series from the first book When You Give a Duke a Diamond and I couldn't wait for this sequel. When I saw this book was on Netgalley I submitted my request and impatiently counted down the days until I was approved. Fallon is a loveable character that lacks the "perfection" that authors now-a-days seem to think heroines need. I like a vulnerable character I can relate to and that is Fallon through and through. From her troubled past to her glamorous-ish present Fallon is positively loveable. Warrick isn't exactly a ''rake" as the title would have you believe but he is a wounded man haunted from his days in battle. While his troubles from being a soldier are a bit over the top I tend to enjoy a wounded man and I definitely enjoy stories that are a bit dramatic so it didn't bother me. These two characters are on an adventure together that unravels a mystery and will surely keeps readers in suspense, creating an incredibly addicting read, and a pretty steamy romance. The most important part of a romance novel for me other than the storyline is the romance!! I can't have a great romance with a crappy storyline or visa versa. If You Give a Rake a Ruby succeeds in creating both a great storyline and a strong romance. I love falling in love right alone with my characters and that is what you get to do in this story. So now I bet you're wondering why I gave this book four hearts instead of five? The ending was a miss for me. While the book did end, I felt a little ripped off. I wanted to follow the characters all the way through not just find out how the mystery ends. Everything else about this book was perfect for me except the ending. I just wanted a bit more but I guess that is the definition of a great book not wanting it to end. I recommend this book to adult lovers of historical romance. I cannot wait until the next book in this series. Shana Galen really shows readers glimpses of the last diamond Lilly and what we can look forward to, so I cannot wait.
You need to read the first book of this series if you want to understand the plot of the second. This second book seemed a more enjoyable read. But I find the physical relationships depicted greatly detract from the romance and action of each book. In my understanding of regency romance, I find it hard to equate "true love" with the almost immediate over-the-top sexual relations this author's characters engage in.
Fallon, also known as The Marchioness of Mystery, must deal with danger, her past and a spy with post traumatic stress. Warren Fitzhugh is trying to find out who wants him, and other agents, dead. He falls in love with Fallon but convincing her of that may be harder than finding the bad guys. I really enjoyed this fast paced book. A lot happens in a short amount of time. No real plot spoilers from me. This book can be read alone, but I think you will enjoy it more if you've read the first one of this trilogy, "When You Give a Duke a Diamond". I highly recommend this book.
I loved this book!
Shana Galen has done it again. This is a fabulous story that keeps you so entertained that you lose track of time and can't put it down. I have read the first two in this series and cannot wait for the next. Thank you Shana
After reading the first book in this series, I HAD to read the next two; this book did not disappoint. The dynamic between the lead characters was electric; read in order.
Enjoed Fallon & Warrick and their escapades
Reviewed by: Robin Book provided by: NetGalley Review originally posted at Romancing the Book Once again I found myself choosing a book by a favorite author. I think you find out that there are those times when you want or you know you just want some comfort from a familiar author to bring you out of a funk. Shana Galen is one of those authors for me. I have so enjoyed many of her books. It seems like forever since I read the first one in this series: Jewels of the Ton, When You Give a Duke a Diamond. I liked it so much I anticipated the long wait for the next one, If You Give a Rake a Ruby. Between you and me I was not disappointed. It was the type of book that you can’t put down. I even took it to the kitchen as I prepared dinner. One of the things I enjoy most about this series is that the women are everyday women. They have flaws, they aren’t perfect, and they come with baggage of a sort so to speak. Yet despite all of that they get beyond that the past and find that no matter what happened before you can still find love. You can still move on to find your own happiness. People and life have a way of pulling you down. It is always nice when there is a happy ever after. Fallon has a vulnerability that stems from her past making it hard for her to think that she could ever be loved. Even with the glamorous life she is living now with the help of her very good friends Juliette and Lily. Not to leave out her surrogate parents as I like to call them who have helped out allot. Then we have the handsome ‘Rake’ who really isn’t a rake at all Warrick. He comes with baggage of his own because he is haunted by the deaths of people in past battles. He has nightmares but Fallon tends to be able to offer him the comfort that he so desperately needs. Together they find adventure and romance as they try to solve a mystery which ends up bringing out the hidden past for Fallon. Ms. Galen takes us into the dark side of London as we find violent crime lords, traitors, murder and yet in the middle of all this she brings us a hot and steamy romance. I enjoyed the fast paced storyline that keeps your attention as your travel around the seedier sides of London and the fanciful ball of the ton. I found it to be a rather addicting story from start to finish and was kept in suspense right up to the end. I now have to wait for Lily’s story. Even though this is a book from a series, it can stand alone which I like. As I wait for the next in the series you just might want to pick up this book and fall in love with a rake that gets a ruby.
I always like Shanas writing. I enjoyed book one of this series. But this one, ok, so its easily my favorite from her so far. Period. Warrick. He's a hoot! Unpredictable. Determined. And oh my gosh, sexy as all get out. He knows what he wants. Fallon. Fallon. Also stubborn. Smart. Tough. She does know what she wants, also. But isn't sure what she is willing to give to get it. It has all the best of historical romance. Wonderful reading. Highly recommended. You would not have to read the first one. But I would suggest that you do. It will definitely be more fun if you do.
I really enjoyed this series!
Captivating! OMG I loved "If you Give a Rake a Ruby"! This is the first book that I read written by Shana Galen. I was really surprise by this intrigue that I could not put it down. I am so please to mention that I found her story a real delight to read. This book is the second in her “Jewels of the Ton” series. It's the story of Fallon, the Marchioness of Mystery, a Courtesan and of Warrick Fitzhugh. Fallon is a strong minded woman, impulsive, independent and like to kick everyone's ass! I liked this character because she is independent but also needs a man in her life...She is one the three Diamonds in this series and also shares a mysterious past. As for Warrick, he is the Queen's Spy; he will use seduction to obtain the trust he needs with Fallon. Having been a soldier on the battlefield, he has nightmares that cause him torments. It's a story of two independent and stubborn characters that will learn to trust each other’s and fall in love. Sparks will flare! High drama and sexy hot scenes! Mystery! Romance! Intrigue! Sexual intensity that keeps you reading! I loved the chemistry that Ms. Galen developed between her main characters. I love her style of writing! I recommend reading first "When You give a Duke a Diamond" the story of Juliette then this one. I can't wait to read the story of Lily, the Countess of Charm. Let yourself be carried away by her strong and fascinating characters in this funny and wonderful suspense! Ms. Galen is a great author and I highly recommend her historical romances! Thank you Nancy G.!
Great storyline, great book!
Fast paced, great characters and dialog. Can't wait for the third book.
IF YOU GIVE A RAKE A RUBY by Shana Galen is another exciting Regency Historical Romance.#2 in the "Jewels of the Ton",but can be read as a stand alone. See,"If You Give a Duke a Diamond". Well written story with an intriguing plot and realistic,engaging characters. Fallon, the Marchioness of Mystery,one of the "Three Diamonds",is not all she confesses to be,she has secrets that could just get her killed. Warrick Fitzhugh, is a spy and someone is out to kill him and his compatriots in the Foreign Office. Filled with danger,sensual tension,treason,secrets,revenge,romance,spies,and love. Fast paced and action filled story from the first page to the last page. "If You Give a Rake A Ruby" is a must read. This is an awesome read. Received for an honest review from the publisher. RATING: 4.5 HEAT RATING: MILD REVIEWED BY: AprilR, My Book Addiction Reviews
Fallon, the Marchioness of Mystery, is one of London's most fames courtesans. She keeps her past a mystery because if it became known she'd be ruined. Since being a spy during the war, Warrick Fitzhugh still occasionally works for the Foreign Office. He's trying to find out who is attempting to kill off the Diamonds in the Rough, the spy network he is part of. He feels Fallon has knowledge that will lead him to the answers he seeks and he plans to force her to help him. But Fallon is not just beautiful, she's also tough and street smart and won't be pushed around. As these two characters work together the attraction between them increases. But they both have vulnerabilities they try to keep hidden. When they're able to open up to each other, the romance really comes to life. I really enjoyed this story as the characters were both strong, yet vulnerable, and the romance that developed between them as they got to know each other was completely believable. My only complaint was the cliffhanger ending! Though that does make me even more eager for the last book in the "Jewels of the Ton" trilogy.
This is the first book I’ve read by Shana Galen and what a fabulous introduction it was to her books. In this story we’re introduced to Fallon, the Marchioness of Mystery, and a favorite of the ton. She parades through society as a courtesan, but appearances can be deceiving. Only a scant few know her secrets, that is, until Warrick Fitzhugh whispers in her ear something she’s feared—her real name. Against her will, Fallon is drawn into the world of espionage, murder and intrigue. Throw in a sizzling romance between these two and you have a page-turner.The characters of Fallon and Warrick are delicious and their intense romance is hot, but definitely for adult readers although I did feel like their proclamations of “I love you” seemed a tad rushed. The story was fast-paced and I loved the conflict between them as they try to solve the mystery of who is killing off a number of government spies. Fallon is no “damsel in distress” and I really enjoyed reading about a strong female who could take care of herself in a fight. Add in a wonderful cast of supporting characters and you have a most enjoyable and entertaining story. My only complaint was the ending—I would have liked to see a little more resolution. Overall, I enjoyed the story so much that I bought the first book in the Jewels of the Ton series and am looking forward to the third and final installment when all of my questions will be answered. I received a complimentary ARC from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
~Reviewed by ANN & posted at Under the Covers Book Blog. There’s an alarming amount of action that makes for a very quick and easy read. But I can’t say the romance between Warrick and Fallon was the best aspect of this book. ~ Under the Covers Fallon is known as the Marchioness of Mystery. Her secrecy about her past makes her one of the most celebrated courtesans in the ton. Men are interested in knowing more about her, but there is one man who has seemed to uncovered her past without her knowing. Fallon will do anything to keep her past a secret, even if it means giving into the blackmail and trolling the London streets at night in dangerous places. Warrick Fitzhugh is a spy who will do anything to get what he wants. Even if it means seducing the sensual courtesan to gain what he desperately needs. In a journey that is filled with danger and mystery, Warrick and Fallon soon find themselves wanting to get to know each other. IF YOU GIVE A RAKE A RUBY is the second book of the Jewels of the Ton series by Shana Galen. I would definitely recommend reading the first book because the Three Diamonds are really the shining stars of this book. Readers will definitely get a better sense of their friendship if read in order. While I enjoyed the first book immensely, I can’t say this book held the same appeal. There was one big thing that fell flat for me here. I simply didn’t fall for the hero. Warrick is a very determined man who will do anything to get his way…even if it means upsetting the heroine, Fallon. Though I know that Fallon can hold her own and isn’t exactly forced to do Warrick’s bidding, I did feel as if some of her choices were limited because of Warrick. He blackmails her, then forces her to troll the dark streets of London just so Warrick can get what he wants. Unfortunately, I didn’t believe in the chemistry between Warrick and Fallon. Warrick seems too rough and demanding, while Fallon just tried to keep up with all the action. She even breaks a rib and though Warrick tends to it momentarily, the next moment they are off again on some adventure. As a result, I don’t think there was a good balance between the action and the romance. Within the first 100 pages of the book, there’s an alarming amount of action that makes for a very quick and easy read. Galen does do a spectacular job on that part and I have to say that the action definitely surprised me in the best possible way. So while the action kept me reading, I can’t say the romance between Warrick and Fallon was the best aspect of this book. However, I do enjoy Galen’s plotting and pacing because some surprises are in store for the reader. Overall, IF YOU GIVE A RAKE A RUBY is an action-packed novel, but probably not my favorite of the series. *ARC provided by publisher
Excellent romance, plenty of action and intrigue building to a truly sweet ending. Very well done.
I absolutely love what Shana Galen does for historical romance. I find a lot of the genre densely written and often just carbon copies of each other with the characters' names accordingly replaced and the central conflicts modified, but her stories are always creative, amusing, and captivating to read. Last year, I reviewed and adored The Rogue Pirate's Bride and am pleased to say If You Give a Rake a Ruby is equally passionate, equally fast-paced, and equally engrossing. True to form, Galen acquaints readers with unconventional characters: Warrick Fitzhugh, the rebellious son of an earl who was disowned after choosing to go fight during the French Revolution and still is suffering mental post-war ailments, and Fallon, an exotic, exquisite courtesan with an unnameable past. Warrick works for the Queen and finds his way to Fallon's bed—literally—because he knows she has information regarding the murder of a fellow spy, and he'll go to any lengths to find out who or what is threatening the country. Upon meeting Fallon, Warrick immediately has a prevailing respect for her, which is something she receives little of from anyone else. And this respect is what shapes their relationship and forms a mutual understanding. The characters are fresh and enticing. They aren't cookie-cutter characters; they have depth, concerns, flaws, R-E-A-L emotions and hopes and fears, and that's what made me love them so much. Fallon and Warrick's dynamic is both hilarious and red-hot. They both recognize in each other, a desire to be understood, a desire to have someone to whom they can whisper all their secrets and dreams. Fallon is lovable and could be your best friend. Fiercely impulsive, dangerously cunning, and all-around awesome, she basically kicks everyone's ass in the novel. Although her vocation prevents her from being respected by high English society, Warrick has never met anyone as extraordinary as her; he trusts and regards her highly immediately: "[Fallon] shook her head. '[Leaving me to fight all by myself] is no way to treat a lady.' 'That's because most ladies are skittish ninnies who faint if a man utters the word damn in her presence. You should hope I don't treat you like a lady. I have no use for ladies.'" Both may be faring well today, but both have committed unthinkable crimes they don't want to relive. Fallon is at once animated and weary; she has finally escaped her past that made her the sturdy, independent woman she is, but its horrors have also made her too experienced, too jaded, and too wise to be seduced or to love. Warrick is successful, but is just trying to escape the wartime memories still haunting his mind. All in all, they both seem to have the world at their fingertips, but he's no hero and she's no damsel in distress. Fallon just may be Warrick's cure, and he, her sweet relief... but not if the rungs on the ladder of society get in the way. And don't you dare think they won't. She is a courtesan after all; she may have celebrity status and be classier than most women in the country, but in the end, her title is just a prettier word for the women of the street. Fallon and Warrick can only do so much for to see a passion like theirs to survive this brutal, high-collared English society: hold on, keep hope, and make sacrifices, even if they do risk losing everything. The plot itself moves at a thrilling pace, but romance is too abrupt. We've got "I love you"s by the first half and "I'll love you forever"s not much later—not very believable and way too hasty, like a forced romance novel. I do like the crime-ridden central conflict, but am not taken with the mystery, especially since it's open-ended. It is resolved in that the villain SPOILER ALERT—who is just this completely random, previously unmentioned man—SPOILER OVER is revealed, but it isn't settled... at least not in this story. While I do understand there will be more mention of it in the next book, I wish it had been tied up more cleanly; the book shifts back and forth between the romance and the life-or-death situation, but only fully consummates one of them. I will say, however, there are shocking revelations and dangerous bumps in the road that shape the suspense brilliantly. I have no complaints on the story itself, just on the jarringly empty conclusion. The other Diamonds—Fallon's fellow coveted friends—and Lady Sinclair—Fallon's benefactor—are delightful secondary characters. The book ends on a persisting note and with an expected, but still intriguing confession. Due to both, I'm eager to try the preceding and succeeding books in the series—When You Give a Duke a Diamond and what I assume will be Lily's story—to discover more answers, more stories, and of course, more secrets surrounding the Diamonds. Pros: Story is entertaining // VERY strong characters // Charming cast of supporting characters // Steamy, perfectly improper love scenes // Undercurrent of danger is suspenseful // Lovely French Revolution context // Well-written and easy to read // I definitely want to try the other books in the series now // Breathtaking romance and heartfelt emotions Cons: Affections are premature and difficult to believe // The ending is just ?????? /? Love: "'What are you doing?' 'For a courtesan, you're rather modest. Don't you dance naked at the Cyprians' balls or some such thing?' Courtesans did dance naked at some of the debauched balls held by Fashionable Impures ... but Fallon had never participated. She wasn't all that modest, either, but she didn't like the effect his touch had on her. Or perhaps she liked it too much." Verdict: Sharp, scintillating, and not even for a moment dull, Shana Galen's newest installment in the Jewels of the Ton series is not your typical bodice ripper. There are plenty of scandalous premarital rendezvouses that'll make readers blush and their skirts rise, yes—but there are also dark, deceptive emotions, dangerous peeks into organizational London crime, and two delicate, troubled, and tremendously tender characters that they'll want to take home, themselves. Sometimes the romance is a little rushed and stilted, but I love the chemistry between Fallon—the contrary heroine who's smart as a whip and won't ever let you down—and Warrick—the tragic, loyal, and passionate hero who'll have you sighing in content. Light-hearted, sentimental, and narrated in a gratifying and playful voice, If You Give a Rake a Ruby is a refreshing addition to the historical romance genre. Rating: 7 out of 10 hearts: Not perfect, but overall enjoyable. Source: Complimentary ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you!).