Title: More Than a Rogue
Series: The Crawfords #2
Author: Sophie Barnes
Format: Paperback/eBook, 259 pages
Publication: June 25 2019 by Sophie Barnes
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 Wine Glasses
All she wanted was a kiss…
What she got, was fiery passion…
Emily Howard knows she is destined to be a spinster. She has accepted this fate, but that doesn't stop her from wanting to experience kissing. What she doesn't expect, is for Griffin Crawford, the handsomest man in the world, to do the honors. Or for all her female relations to discover her in his embrace. Naturally, marriage is instantly mentioned, but since Emily knows this is not what Griffin wants, she tries to escape him, her family and the ensuing scandal.
When Emily flees the Camberly ball in the wake of their kiss, Griffin goes in pursuit. He will not allow his sister-in-law's determined friend to risk her safety for any reason. And risk it she will if she means to return to her countryside home by herself. But the longer he remains in her company, the more he is tempted to kiss her again. If only he could risk falling in love and remain in England forever.
Emily Howard might be considered a spinster but she even though she's never been kissed, it doesn't mean she doesn't want to be.
Griffin Crawford has never been one to think about marriage but when he gets caught kissing Emily by the women of her family, he's prepared to do the right thing.
Except Emily wants nothing to do with a forced marriage and runs to try and escape back to her cottage out of London.
Griffin gives chase fearing for her safety and circumstances have them spending more time together, making it hard to keep certain feelings hidden.
As if reading her mind, he raised his chin a notch. “We’re not so dissimilar, are we? Both running from the mold our parents meant for us to fit into.”
More Than a Rogue is book two in the Crawford's series, the first had Griffin's Duke older brother falling in love with one of Emily's friends. I didn't read the first in the series and while I missed some prior background friendship information between Emily and her two friends and their Clearview home for children, I would still say you could start here. We're thrown right away into the story with Emily discussing with her friends how she wants to be kissed, a little hint that she's liked Griffin from afar, and then they get caught kissing. There's a tiny bit of road romance and then the majority is Emily and Griffin at a cottage liking one another and thinking the other one doesn't like them enough to do anything about it.
His eyes darkened as he took a step forward. The water slid away from the lower part of his chest, revealing his navel. Emily stared even as she took a step back. “I wonder,” Lord Griffin said as another stride offered a view of his hip, “how far this curiosity of yours,” his other hip appeared along with a narrow dart of black hair leading down over his pelvis, “will take you.”
Emily and Griffin do have their cute and steamy moments together but they got buried at times for me with the relentless “doesn't like me enough” angst that could have all been solved with a simple conversation. There was also a lot with the story plot that you'll just have to go along with, how Griffin is the only one to chase after Emily and why, Griffin deciding to pretend to be his brother so he can stay at the cottage with Emily, and all of Emily deciding Griffin doesn't love her enough when he shows and tells her in every possible way but saying the word “love”. The middle dragged out some with how Emily and Griffin went back and forth with their insecurities.
Reaching out, he steadied himself against a bookcase while trying to catch his breath. What the devil had Emily Howard done to him?
Not having read the first in the series, I don't know if the background on these characters was given more there but I would have liked to hear about Griffin's business in Vienna and how he fixes clocks and mechanical things, and definitely more information was needed on Emily's involvement with the home for children called Clearview. I never felt like I really knew these two characters, they and the story came off mostly mundane with little sparks of chemistry a handful of times.
“This is…” her words turned into a sigh when he pulled her to him for added contact “… not very proper.”
He gave a low chuckle and let his hands slide up her arms, over her shoulders, along her neck, and into her hair. “It’s nothing compared with what I am thinking.”
If not completely memorable, this was a standard Regency feeling romance but what had me rounding down instead of up was the last twenty percent. The story at first feels ended and then there was an instance that felt messily tagged on and a completely unnecessary angst moment thrown in that gave the ending a very clunky feel; I wish this last percent had simply been edited out and instead went straight to the epilogue.
The separation between Emily and Griffin hinged on them just not talking to one another and that made a lot of the story frustrating. They had some good moments together but this was more average than memorable. If you read the first in the series, you'll probably enjoy more and want to see Emily and Griffin get their happily ever after and see what is teased ahead for their other friend Cassandra.
Because if there was one truth that rang loud and clear above everything else, it was that he wanted her for himself. Forever.
Suggested Reading Order:
No Ordinary Duke Book #1
More Than a Rogue Book #2