ARC-Review: THE DISGRACED PLAYBOY by Caitlin Crews

Lucas…Playboy. Rebel. Rogue.

No one denies Lucas anything. Women fall at his feet and into his bed at the click of his fingers. His life is charmed, reckless and carefree. He is definitely a bad boy.

Grace Carter knows uncontrollable Lucas could ruin her career, and she won’t tolerate his wayward behavior, despite their chemistry. But working with Lucas is thrilling, and after just a small dose of his magic, even Grace’s prim and proper shell begins to splinter.

Title: THE DISGRACED PLAYBOY (In the UK it was released under the title SHAMELESS PLAYBOY)
Author: Caitlin Crews
Series: The Notorious Wolfes, book 2 (In the UK the series name is Bad Blood Collection)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Harlequin Publishing, Harlequin Presents line (In UK published by Mills And Boon, Modern line)
Year of release: 2011 July, 19 (UK: May 2011)
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Source: Received an ARC from author for review

First line:
Grace Carter glanced up from her computer, frowning at the figure that sauntered so confidently into her office high above the cold, wet February streets of London, without so much as a knock on her door as warning.

Memorable Scenes:
– Lucas and Grace’s first kiss > explosive culmination of the built-up sexual tension between them
– the last chapter > an awesome ending and one of the best I’ve read in the Harlequin Presents line to-date

Grace Carter is an events manager at department store Hartington who has left her troublesome past behind and is determined not to let any man turn her head anymore. She’s polite and levelheaded but underneath that unflappable and seemingly rigid exterior is a passionate woman waiting to be let loose.

Lucas Wolfe is a shameless flirt and playboy. He’s quick-witted and wears sarcasm like a well-fitted coat. Lucas is a hero you would love to dislike because he’s just that tad bit too cocky and self-assured but you can’t because you see where his attitude comes from and you feel his pain and his need to act like he does. However there were moments where I wanted him to lower his guard and trust Grace a little more.

The build-up of the sexual tension between Lucas and Carter is subtle and excellently done. I was eagerly waiting for that tension to break and the chemistry between them to come to combustion. I loved the verbal banter and battle of wits between Lucas and Grace.

What I also liked was that both of them are complex characters that are so much more than meets the eye. Lucas isn’t the useless, devil-may-care playboy persona he shows the world and Grace is not the starchy, proper, all-work-no-play ice queen she wants the world to see her as. Caitlin Crews had this uncanny way to show the reader her characters in a certain way and by making you privy to their thoughts and inner turmoil you see so much more of them than the story tells you.

There aren’t many secondary characters but Jacob, the eldest Wolfe sibling, makes another crucial appearance. Other than him and some co-workers at Hartington, who are more walk-ons than true secondary characters, the book is primarily focused on Grace and Lucas.

The first installment of The Notorious Wolfes had me hooked already and THE DISGRACED PLAYBOY drove that hook a little bit further in. With a complex couple whose characterization was sublimely done, a sizzling romance and an ending that made me tear up I find it hard to be patient for the next book in this multi-authored series. Beware, Abby Green I’m coming for you next!

Favorite Quotes:
“Lucas Wolfe,” she said, as a gesture toward good manners, though her voice was flat.
“All six resplendent feet and then some,” he drawled, his dark brows arching high above his wicked green eyes. “At your service.”

Lucas realized, belatedly, what a powerful asset she had in that voice of hers, so soft and sugary and deadly all at once. A rapier-sharp blade sheathed in honey and cream. It was impressive.

“You can look at me directly,” he said in that low, insinuating, endlessly amused voice, far too close to her ear. “I can’t imagine why you would fight the urge. I am , after all, quite marvelously handsome.”
“I believe the word you’re looking for is conceited,” Grace replied (…)
He laughed, completely unfazed, as ever. “Conceit cannot possibly be the right word, (…) I’ve had independent confirmation in the press for years. I am a glorious male animal. You may as well simply admit the truth.”

“I don’t know who I am!” The words seemed almost torn from him. He pulled back and stared down at her. “Don’t you understand? I want to give you the world, Grace, but I have no idea how to do it.”
“I do not want the world,” she simply said, sliding her hands up to hold his beautiful face between them. “I can get that for myself, if I wish it. I only want you.”
“I am yours,” he said, his words ringing through her, around her, with the force of a vow. “In every way.”


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