The Art of Taming a Rake (Legendary Lovers Series #4)

The Art of Taming a Rake (Legendary Lovers Series #4)

by Nicole Jordan

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553392562
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/26/2016
Series: Legendary Lovers Series , #4
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 119,649
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Nicole Jordan is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous historical romances. She lives with her real-life hero (her husband) in the Rocky Mountains of Utah, where she is at work on her next enthralling tale about the sparks that fly when Regency lovers play the matrimonial mating game.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

London, April 1817

“Take care, Venetia. Traherne has a magical touch with the fair sex. If you tangle with him, even you may find him impossible to resist.”

Her friend’s recent warning echoing in her head, Venetia Stratham watched the tableaux across the crowded gaming room. She had run her quarry to ground at London’s most notorious sin club and found him surrounded by fawning beauties.

Well, perhaps not surrounded, Venetia corrected herself in a fit of honesty. But he certainly wasn’t lacking for adoring female companionship just now.

Quinn Wilde, Earl of Traherne, was reportedly a splendid lover, and Venetia had no doubt the gossip was true. In all likelihood, his expertise in boudoirs and bedchambers was a chief reason women vied for his favor and tripped over themselves to earn his patronage. Whatever his sensual attributes, though, he was indisputably a rake of the first order. She had come to Tavistock Court tonight seeking proof of his transgressions to show her sister—­and here it was, right before her eyes.

Beware of what you wish for. The cautionary adage came to mind, and oddly, her feeling of triumph was trumped by keen disappointment.

She had hoped she was wrong about Lord Traherne.

An inexplicable, exasperating reaction if she had ever felt one.

Traherne was lounging carelessly in his seat at the Faro table, but she had easily located him among the gamesters upon her arrival some twenty minutes ago. With the striking features and form of a Grecian sculpture—­tall, sleek, muscular—­he stood out in the company. She could not miss his aristocratic elegance, either, or his gleaming fair hair—­dark gold streaked with lighter threads of silver.

The two lightskirts hovering at his shoulder, showering him with attention, were also an identifying clue and put to rest any lingering questions Venetia might have had about his predilection for debauchery.

Her lips pressed in a frown of self-­reproach. She should be extremely pleased to find the confirmation she’d sought. To think she had once held Lord Traherne in high esteem. In her defense, her admiration had developed before she’d known the kind of heartbreaker he was. Before she had lost her hopeless naïveté to another seductive nobleman.

For her, “Beware of blue-­blooded Lotharios” was a more appropriate admonition than careful wishing. She had learned that particular lesson quite painfully. And most definitely, she didn’t want her younger sister falling prey to Traherne’s spellbinding temptation.

His other vices, such as gambling for high stakes, did not overly concern her. With his enormous fortune, he could well afford to risk large sums on the turn of a card, especially since he regularly won. It was the carousing and womanizing that gravely troubled Venetia. Clearly Traherne was no better than her former betrothed, intent on only carnal pleasure, no matter who suffered hurt and heartbreak.

Just then another curvaceous Cyprian brought the earl a glass of port and remained to observe the play at his table. When the painted beauty draped herself over his arm, trailing suggestive fingers along the sleeve of his superbly tailored coat, Venetia stifled a sound of disgust in her throat.

Now Traherne had not two but three clinging demi-­reps eager to serve his every need.

But then, women of all ages tended to tumble at his feet. She herself was not immune to his lethal charm, much to her dismay. His smile was captivating, piercing female hearts with deadly accuracy. And when those clever blue eyes glimmered with amusement . . . well, her pulse quickened each and every time, as if she had sprinted a great distance.

In fact, Traherne’s entire family possessed the same formidable charm in extraordinary abundance. The five Wilde cousins of the current generation were the darlings of the ton—­

Suddenly his lordship’s blue gaze shifted in her direction to scan the company. Quickly Venetia adjusted her face mask and tried to blend into the throng of gamblers and filles de joie. She had attended a sin club once before, in Paris with her widowed friend Cleo, and this one was similarly genteel. The gaming room boasted a large gathering, as did the adjacent drawing room, where dancing and refreshments and a lavish buffet supper were offered for the guests’ enjoyment. She could hear music and laughter and gay conversation drifting through the connecting doorway.

Except for the risqué apparel of the women present, this could have been an elite artist’s salon—­the sort of sophisticated assemblies she had frequented during her past two years of exile in France. Yet she ought not have come here tonight. If she was caught in this den of iniquity, it would only cement her scandalous reputation, which could further wound her family. But she had needed proof of Traherne’s sins to show her sister just how dangerous he was to any gullible young lady’s heart.

As if to prove her point, the earl glanced up at his adoring companion and smiled his brilliant smile. A pang of jealousy hit Venetia with astonishing force.

How absurd—­how infuriating—­to be so foolishly affected, even if her reaction could be blamed on elementary human nature. She well knew that masculine breeding, charm, virility, and stunning good looks were potent weapons against the fair sex. In her case, Traherne’s keen wit and sharp mind had impressed her far more.

It was a grave pity that he was such a rake, squandering his exceptional intelligence and talents on dissipation and libertine ways. Ordinarily she wouldn’t care how many women he seduced or how many mistresses he kept, but her sister was very dear to her, even if they had been estranged these past two interminable years.

And if she could not conquer her attraction to him, what chance did her highly susceptible sister have?

Despite the rumors about his budding courtship of the younger Miss Stratham, Venetia could not credit that a nobleman of his stamp actually wished to wed a green girl barely out of the schoolroom. But whether he had marriage—­or worse, seduction—­in mind, it could not end well for starry-­eyed Ophelia.

As if sensing Venetia’s scrutiny, Traherne refocused his penetrating gaze through the crowd to stare directly at her. The spark that flared in his vivid eyes at her immodest attire made her breath catch. She had borrowed her evening gown of scarlet velvet from Cleo in order to fit in with the other ladies of the evening. The décolletage dipped much lower than her usual wont, leaving her shoulders and the upper swells of her breasts bare.

The shock of Traherne’s admiring masculine perusal caught her off guard. Instinctively, Venetia took a step backward, swearing to herself. A mere glance should not have impacted her so powerfully, no matter how lascivious. He was simply being a man after all.

She was also concerned that he would see through her disguise. Lord Traherne had witnessed firsthand the most humiliating, painful event of her life. Not only witnessed but actively participated. She was to blame for her own downfall, of course. But his actions had triggered the rash, prideful decision that had changed her fate forever. Moreover, she did not wish to give him the satisfaction of seeing her at such a disadvantage—­forced to sneak around clandestinely, an outcast of decent society.

“May-­yi have the honor of a dansh, my lovely?”

Venetia gave a start at the interruption. With her thoughts so fixed on the earl’s sinful character, she’d been unaware of another gentleman approaching, this one much shorter and somewhat younger than Traherne, with darker hair and more flamboyant garb. The dandy’s slurred words suggested that he was already half-­foxed.

Venetia hid a grimace at the unexpected annoyance. She needed no complications to divert her attention from her goal of saving her sister from the Earl of Traherne’s romantic pursuit.

With effort, she pasted an apologetic smile on her lips before answering sweetly. “Thank you, kind sir, but I will not be staying much longer this evening.”

Rather than accept her rebuff, the drunkard slipped an arm around her shoulders and drew her close.

With an inward sigh, Venetia set about the task of extricating herself from this unwanted predicament. She was not afraid of being assaulted in so public an arena. Even a notorious hell had rules of accepted behavior to follow, certainly one that catered to high-­class clientele such as this. Any number of nobles and gentlemen of the ton were present tonight, as well as a few wellborn ladies, attending incognito.

But this was simply one more damning demonstration that men were often led by their lustful urges rather than honor or common sense, and she was growing exceedingly weary of having to deal with their peccadillos.


Distracted from his thus-­far fruitless Faro game, Quinn narrowed his gaze on the masked beauty across the room. She had endeavored to remain unobtrusive, but she was much too noticeable.

Puzzled and curious as to why she was watching him so intently, Quinn absently played another card. Her familiarity nagged at him. She wore a demi-­mask and a feathered silk turban to hide her hair, but her feminine attractions were quite apparent. The graceful carriage, the ripe breasts, the lush mouth—­

Quinn abruptly gave a mental start as his gaze shot back to her. She was indeed familiar. Miss Venetia Stratham.

What the devil?

He would have recognized her anywhere. She was the kind of woman a man never forgot. Not least because she had been engaged to marry a friend and peer.

From the Paperback edition.

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The Art of Taming a Rake (Legendary Lovers Series #4) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
All these Wilde true loves have a fairy tale/fantasy cannection. I didn't see it here. My least favorite Wilde story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can't wait ti read the next
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She usually delivers but not this time.
ajenkins979 More than 1 year ago
I do enjoy this Legendary Lovers series by Nicole Jordan THe Wilde Family truly sticks together no matter what. I do look forward to finish reading the series. * I recieved my copy for review from
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Nicole Jordan books. She is my all time favorite author. This book met my expectations from her. Can't wait for the next book.
judiOH More than 1 year ago
another wonderful romantic story in the legendary lovers series. venetia has been shunned by the ton for two years. when she hears her little sister is being courted by a known rake, she goes to a gambling house to talk him out of it and before she can say rumplestiltskin, she is married to him. a little suspense, romance, and you reach the last page wishing you had more story to read. loved it!!!
TheSassyBookster More than 1 year ago
Venetia Stratham fell from grace with the ton two years ago when she broke her engagement to her rakish fiancé on the day of her wedding and even her parents turned their backs on her in favor of their social standing. She's given up on the idea of marriage and has been living in France as a companion since then, but the news that her younger sister has caught the eye of a notoriously wild earl has Venetia determined to save her sister from a fate similar to hers, especially because the earl in question is a good friend of her ex-fiancé . Quinn Wilde, Earl of Traherne is on a quest to uncover the mystery surrounding the sudden appearance of a piece of jewelry that was his mother's and was believed to have sunk with a larger collection when his parents' ship went down in a storm. His quest finds him in a gentleman's club where he matches wits with Venetia. Quinn has always been attracted to Venetia, but did the honorable thing and stayed away from her due to her betrothal to his friend. His attention to her sister is his way of making up for his role in Venetia's fall from grace and when an attempt is made on his life and she is falsely blamed, he knows that she and her family would never recover from another scandal and offers a marriage of convenience to save her. The marriage of convenience is an all-time favorite story-line in historical romances. Some of my favorite books have combined that trope with some suspense and action for a very interesting read and with the action-filled start, I was hoping for the same from THE ART OF TAMING A RAKE. Both Venetia and Quin have been hurt by love and are no longer open to it, but their marriage gives them the freedom to explore other similar interests, at least until the mystery surrounding the attempts on Quinn's life has been solved. Quinn hopes that he can convince Venetia to give him and their marriage a real chance, while Venetia fights to resist his appeal, making for some delightful dialogue and passionate interludes. However, while I enjoyed Venetia and Quinn's characters and their interactions, the rest of the story fell flat for me. It started out with a lot of momentum that fizzled out in the middle and made the revelation of the villain at the end feel like filler and unnecessary, instead of an integral part of the story. I feel like the beginning and the end could have been one book and the middle another, both interesting on their own. This is a new-to-me author and while this book did not blow my socks off, I'll be checking out the rest of the series. Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
BuckeyeAngel More than 1 year ago
Two years ago, Venitia Stratham was shunned from society for breaking it off with her fiance on their wedding day when he showed up escorted by his best friend, Quinn Wilde, fresh from his mistress’s bed. Venitia refused to accept a man that wouldn’t be faithful, regardless of money and a title, so she was shunned not only by society but her family as well. Now, two years later, she has returned to England from France, determined to save her sister from wedding a rake like Quinn Wilde. This was a really good story. It’s part of the author’s Legendary Lovers series, which all in all, is quite a cute theme. So, as with the other stories, it’s definitely a story that has been told before but with the author’s unique twists. My favorite piece from this book was Venitia and her strong personality in a timeline where women didn’t have rights. She was determined to lead her own life regardless of what got thrown at her. I enjoyed watching her and Quinn go round for round, fighting her preconceived notions and his mistrust in feelings. I highly recommend. **I received an ARC of this story in exchange for an honest review
alterlisa More than 1 year ago
I do so love a good mystery wrapped up in a historical romance. That the heroine is spunky and funny and the hero a sexy rake also amps up the reading fun. This is a fast paced read and as always Jordan doesn't fail to leave you with a satisfied smile as you turn the last page at 3 AM.
onmtntime More than 1 year ago
No spoilers here If you have read the guardian series and the first books in this new series you know that the Wilde's are such a fun lovable family. Each new book brings the same smart, fast paced, wonderful characters and this book is no exception. Nicole always meets that mark of strong women characters but smart and funny as well. It is a hard balance that many authors can't seem to get right. Venetia and Traherne are hilarious and really really "HOT". There are bad guys that will surprise you and poor Kate's plan of which legendary lover goes with whom in the end. This one is truly a love story about two nice characters who deserve lasting love. If you haven't read the series it is still a great book, it is just more fun when you know the rest of the crazy Wilde family. I own every book Ms. Jordan has written and if you are like me you judge books against how much you paid for it. I have never bought one that I haven't kept and read more than once. I hope you love it as much as I d
Historical_Romance_Lover More than 1 year ago
This is book 4 in the Legendary Lovers series. When Venetia Stratham learns that the notorious Quinn Wilde, Earl of Treherne, is courting her sister, she returns from her exile in France to make sure is sister is not hurt like she was. Dressing up as a man, she confronts Quinn at a gentleman's club, demanding that he stop courting her sister. What she didn't count on was the attraction she felt for him as soon as he was in her site. Quinn feels bad about what happened all those years ago to Venetia and was only trying to help out her family by courting her sister. By showing interest in her, he hoped to attract more men to vie for her hand. Quinn has no interest in Venetia, only in her. He has been attracted to her since they became acquainted, but wasn't about to poach on his friend's territory. When Venetia gets caught up in someone trying to kill Quinn, they must marry to save her reputation. Can this marriage of convience turn into one based on love? I really enjoyed Venetia and Quinn's story. I mentioned when I reviewed Secrets of Seduction, that I didn't think it was as well written as Jordan's other books. This book was definitely better written than SoS. Venetia is trying to fight her attraction for Quinn because she feels like he is just like her former fiancee and isn't about to get her heart broken again. Quinn and her former fiancee were best friends and she can't imagine that Quinn is any different. Quinn had never planned on getting his heart involved after getting it broken once before, but once he realizes he is in love with Venetia, he has to convience her that what he feels for her is real. Unfortunately, she doesn't believe that he can ever be faithful, so it takes a lot of work on Quinn's part to convience her. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series which is featuring Kate, the last remaining cousin. Thanks go out to Random House via NetGalley for a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.
RhondaRFK More than 1 year ago
FIERY HISTORICAL ROMANCE – A TOTAL WINNER! Any book I pick up written by Nicole Jordan has always turned out to be a winner in every way expected! This author writes reads books which are reads in one sitting, page turning, and permanent keeper shelf read and reread books! I highly recommend anything written by Nicole Jordan! Sort of like potato chips, you can’t read just one! Both the hero and heroine want to stay unattached, but the sparks that fly when they meet captures and hold a physical attraction they cannot deny. Fiery passion ignites between these characters! Venetia Stratham, thinking the hero's intentions are anything but honorable toward her sister, boldly tracks the hero and enters a gentlemen's club to warn him to stay away from her sister. Quinn finds everything about her totally irresistible, except when she threatens, in front of everyone present, to shoot him if he doesn't do as she says. Despite whether she actually meant her words or not, when an attempt is made on his life, Venetia is looked toward as a suspect. Quinn, who totally doubts that she is responsible, does the only thing he thinks he can do, he proposes. Although she vows to ignore and remain immune to him in every way, her body doesn't listen and has a mind of its own. I highly recommend this and any other book written by this author to anyone who loves to read historical romance. This one is a winner!
DebDiem More than 1 year ago
I LOVE this book! Nicole Jordan's book, The Art of Taming a Rake is a fantastic read. Ms Jordan has delivered a well written book with plenty of suspense, action and drama. Quinn and Venetia's story is fast paced with lovable characters and humor. I look forward to reading more from the talented Nicole Jordan in the near future. The Art of Taming a Rake is part of the Legendary Lovers Series but can be read as a standalone. This is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger. I received a copy of this book from NetGalley for review purposes.
gaele More than 1 year ago
The first I have read from this author or in this series, The Art of Taming a Rake by Nicole Jordan was a mixed bag for me. The characters had a rather infamous first meeting, as Venetia met Quinn as he escorted her hungover and disreputable groom to the altar. After fleeing that moment and finding herself the subject of scandal and family displeasure, she retreated to France. But a note stating her sister is to marry her ex-fiance’s running partner send her back to England to release her sister from the commitment. This alone was plenty of fodder for a story, with the background between Quinn and Venetia and their resulting attitudes that make them both hesitant to commit despite the very palpable attraction between them. What happens here is the back and forth as they flirt with and then retreat from this attraction, while the world around them interferes, inserts and often is at cross-purposes to their connection. Quinn was a standout in this story, I enjoyed his caring demeanor despite his reputation, and he provided a solid picture of his own character, complete with good humor. Venetia is one of those scandalous for her behavior, yet wholly immature and insecure despite some very adult decisions. This made her more erratic and unfocused, and often harshly judgmental about little things as she ignored the important ones. She was just in need of some growing up, to let go of her preconceived dreams of what life should be so she could accept things as they were. As I said before, there were plenty of elements that interrupted the flow of the story and really were extraneous, not truly given enough attention to be a true element, but included nonetheless, and this made the read lag in those places where those elements, particularly the threat to Quinn’s life, even when he won’t take it seriously, took primary focus. Otherwise, the read bounced along nicely with a good contrast between hero and heroine, even if he did carry the day and the story. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher for purpose of honest review for The Jeep Diva. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility
JeneratedReviews More than 1 year ago
Tarnished reputations and sizzling attraction unite as the latest Nicole Jordan hero and heroine face their fate in the fourth book in her Legendary Lovers series, The Art of Taming a Rake. Festering heartbreak takes hold of characters long resigned to denying love and readers are taken on journey full of hidden danger, bravery, kindness and charismatic seduction. Between the interesting and clever conversation between the leads and a threatening mystery element in this work Ms. Jordan displays her writing talent admirably. The Art of Taming a Rake is another great story in a fun series! *I received this ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.* *While part of a series this book can be read as a stand alone.*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
** I received a copy of this ebook from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review** Nicole Jordan is a new author for me -- but this definitely will NOT be the last book of hers that I read. It was GREAT -- I couldn't put it down and read it straight through!!! I loved both the hero and heroine -- both were great -- and I loved how they came together -- especially with him being so understanding of why she was so shrewish. So, our heroine, Venetia Stratham, caused a huge scandal and was ostracized from good society. (Glad I don't live in that time period) Her groom showed up at the wedding drunk and fresh from the bed of his mistress. Instead of quietly marrying him anyway as her parents and evidently society expected her to do -- she broke it off with him. She was so thoroughly ostracized by society and disowned by her parents that she ended up living in Paris as the paid companion of a childhood friend. Venetia held our hero, Quinn Wilde, Earl of Traherne somewhat responsible because he is the one who delivered the groom to the wedding in that state. While living in Paris, Venetia gets word that Quinn is courting her sister and is ready to propose marriage. Venetia rushes back to London to save her sister. Since her sister won't listen to her warnings because she is afraid of what her parents will do, Venetia goes to a 'gentleman's club' to confront Quinn. The confrontation doesn't go well, and Quinn promises to call on Venetia the next day to explain all. However he doesn't show up, so she goes to his home and confronts him there -- she even pulls a gun on him and threatens to shoot him if he doesn't leave her sister alone. Well -- of course he gets shot and everybody blames her. So, to save her another scandal, they get engaged and married. Someone is trying to kill Quinn and they are quite persistent in it. He narrowly escapes several attempts -- including the shooting (when Venetia was there) where he was wounded. This is a sweet story where the rake is actually not a total rake and has a good reason for being afraid to love and the heroine has a very good reason to distrust men in general and rakes in particular. It is a fast paced page-turner. I couldn't put it down because I just had to see what was going to happen next. I would really have loved to have an epilogue at the end of the book. The book ended okay, but an epilogue to let us see how they were all doing six months or a year later would have been good. I would have given it 6 stars for an epilogue. Great book -- I highly recommend it!
Lashea677 More than 1 year ago
Nicole Jordan's heroes are always suave and mysterious. Relatively good guys that dabble in some questionable behavior. Maybe that is why I enjoy reading her Legendary Lovers series, she shows us flaws, misconceptions and naughty but does in a stylish and pleasurable way. I received an ARC of The Art of Taming a Rake in exchange for an honest review. Quinn brought the dangerous sex appeal with his hidden layers and intricate personality. Venetia's hidden desires and heated temper brought the fire. With this novel Ms. Jordan did what she does best, write stories that are tumultuous and exciting.