Ruby, referred to as Madame Rouge, is the cool, calm manager of the well run, financially successful House for Gentlemen of Taste. There isn’t anything she can’t handle and nothing seems to faze her, except for one man. Despite her rules of never coupling with her patrons, Captain Derek Price is the exception. Or is he? Derek isn’t really a customer, but Ruby’s erstwhile lover. They first met for a passionate evening in the novella Revealing Ruby (Book 1.5 in the Bound and Determined series) and now, three months later, the American sailor has returned. How could he keep away when the two are inexplicably drawn to one another. It is only to Derek that Ruby reveals her true identity, Emma Scanton, the girl she becomes every Sunday when she visits her unsuspecting grandparents. Even though the two lovers exchange their inner most secrets while they engage in exquisite, passionate sex, each holds a little something back. Derek is expected to announce his engagement to Anne, the fiancé selected by his difficult-to-please father to further their business connections, while Emma has an equally stubborn grandfather who expects her to marry within a month or less. Her grandfather, a wealthy merchant, engages in the textile trade with the same sorts of cargo Derek’s ship, the Dawn’s Light, transports back to the family business in Rhode Island. These hidden truths can affect future outcomes, but for seven days the two are only interested in seducing one another through steamy sexual encounters. The plain seaman who wants a simple fuck realizes that the Madame’s game playing can be extremely fascinating. He never knows who he will find in his bed – the pure Emma, the world wise Ruby, perhaps the harem slave girl Afya, or even Rebecca from the novel Ivanhoe.
While Revealing Ruby was just a tease, Ravishing Ruby is a complete story sure to please the romantic side of a Regency novel reader as well as provide some extra titillation through the numerous steamy, sexually explicit encounters. In between the plot develops, providing Kent an opportunity to flesh out the two protagonists and disclose their motivations. Various characters from the previous novels in the series make an appearance, but the main focus is on the two lovebirds who grab the moment and ignore their lack of a future until they finally have no choice but to end their relationship. Yet, can they bear to be apart? And what obstacles must they overcome to reach a happy ending?
If this is the conclusion to the Bound and Determined series, it is done in style, satisfying our curiosity without neglecting the erotica we have come to expect in Kent’s works. Four stars and a thank you to Netgalley for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.