Review & Giveaway: The Ruin of a Rake by Cat Sebastian

Friday, July 7, 2017

Together, they must decide what they’re willing to risk for love. 

Cat Sebastian
Releasing July 4, 2017
Avon Impulse

Rogue. Libertine. Rake. Lord Courtenay has been called many things and has never much cared. But after the publication of a salacious novel supposedly based on his exploits, he finds himself shunned from society. Unable to see his nephew, he is willing to do anything to improve his reputation, even if that means spending time with the most proper man in London.

Julian Medlock has spent years becoming the epitome of correct behavior. As far as he cares, if Courtenay finds himself in hot water, it’s his own fault for behaving so badly—and being so blasted irresistible. But when Julian’s sister asks him to rehabilitate Courtenay’s image, Julian is forced to spend time with the man he loathes—and lusts after—most.

As Courtenay begins to yearn for a love he fears he doesn’t deserve, Julian starts to understand how desire can drive a man to abandon all sense of propriety. But he has secrets he’s determined to keep, because if the truth came out, it would ruin everyone he loves. Together, they must decide what they’re willing to risk for love. 

London, 1817
Julian pursed his lips as he gazed at the symmetrical brick façade of his sister’s house. It was every bit as bad as he had feared. He could hear the racket from the street, for God’s sake. He pulled the brim of his hat lower on his forehead, as if concealing his face would go any distance toward mitigating the damage done by his sister having turned her house into a veritable brothel. Right in the middle of Mayfair, and at eleven in the morning, when the entire ton was on hand to bear witness to her degradation, no less. Say what one wanted about Eleanor—and at this moment Julian could only imagine what was being said—but she did not do things by halves.
As he climbed the steps to her door, the low rumble of masculine voices drifted from an open second story window. Somebody was playing a pianoforte—badly—and a lady was singing out of key.
No, not a lady. Julian suppressed a sigh. Whoever these women were in his sister’s house, they were not ladies. No lady in her right mind would consort with the sort of men Eleanor had been entertaining lately. Every young buck with a taste for vice had made his way to her house over these last weeks, along with their mistresses or courtesans or whatever one was meant to call them. And the worst of them, the blackguard who had started Eleanor on her path to becoming a byword for scandal, was Lord Courtenay.
A shiver trickled down Julian’s spine at the thought of encountering the man, and he could not decide whether it was from simple, honest loathing or something much, much worse.
The door swung open before Julian had raised his hand to the knocker.
“Mr. Medlock, thank goodness.” The look of abject relief on the face of Eleanor’s butler might have struck Julian as vaguely inappropriate under any other circumstance. But considering the tableau that presented itself in Eleanor’s vestibule, the butler’s informality hardly registered.
Propped against the elegantly papered wall, a man in full evening dress snored peacefully, a bottle of brandy cradled in his arms and a swath of bright crimson silk draped across his leg. A lady’s gown, Julian gathered. The original wearer of the garment was, mercifully, not present.
“I came as soon as I received your message.” Julian had not been best pleased to receive a letter from his sister’s butler, of all people, begging that he return to London ahead of schedule. Having secured a coveted invitation to a very promising house party, he was loath to leave early in order to evict a set of bohemians and reprobates from his sister’s house.
“The cook is threatening to quit, sir,” said the butler. Tilbury, a man of over fifty who had been with Eleanor since she and Julian had arrived in England, had gray circles under his eyes. No doubt the revels had interrupted his sleep. “And I’ve already sent all but the—ah—hardiest of the housemaids to the country. It wouldn’t do for them to be imposed upon. I’d never forgive myself.”
Julian nodded. “You were quite right to send for me. Where is my sister?” Several unmatched slippers were scattered along the stairs that led toward the drawing room and bedchambers. He gritted his teeth.
“Lady Standish is in her study, sir.”
Julian’s eyebrows shot up. “Her study,” he repeated. Eleanor was hosting an orgy—really, there was no use in pretending it was anything else—but ducked out to conduct an experiment. Truly, the experiments were bad enough, but Julian had always managed to conceal their existence. But to combine scientific pursuits with actual orgies struck Julian as excessive in all directions.
“You,” he said, nudging the sleeping man with the toe of his boot. He was not climbing over drunken bodies, not today, not any day. “Wake up.” The man opened his eyes with what seemed a great deal of effort. “Who are you? No, never mind, I can’t be bothered to care.” The man wasn’t any older than Julian himself, certainly not yet five and twenty, but Julian felt as old as time and as irritable as a school mistress compared to this specimen of self-indulgence. “Get up, restore that gown to its owner, and be gone before I decide to let your father know what you’ve been up to.” As so often happened when Julian ordered people about, this fellow complied.
Julian made his way to Eleanor’s study, and found her furiously scribbling at her writing table, a mass of wires and tubes arranged before her. She didn’t look up at the sound of the door opening, nor when he pointedly closed it behind him. Eleanor, once she was busy working, was utterly unreachable. She had been like this since they were children. He felt a rush of affection for her despite how much trouble she was causing him.
“Eleanor?” Nothing. He stooped to gather an empty wine bottle and a few abandoned goblets, letting them clink noisily together as he deposited them onto a table. Still no response. “Nora?” It almost physically hurt to say his childhood name for her when things felt so awkward and strained between them.
“It won’t work,” came a low drawl. “I’ve been sitting here these past two hours and I haven’t gotten a response.”
Banishing any evidence of surprise from his countenance, Julian turned to see Lord Courtenay himself sprawled in a low chair in a shadowy corner. There oughtn’t to have been any shadows in the middle of the day in a bright room, but trust Lord Courtenay to find one to lurk in.
Julian quickly schooled his face into some semblance of indifference. No, that was a reach; his face was simply not going to let him pretend indifference to Courtenay. He doubted whether anyone had ever shared space with Lord Courtenay without being very much aware of that fact. And it wasn’t only his preposterous good looks that made him so . . . noticeable. The man served as a sort of magnet for other people’s attention, and Julian hated himself for being one of those people. As far as he could tell, the man’s entire problem was that people paid a good deal too much attention to him. But one could hardly help it, not when he looked like that.

The Ruin of a Rake is actually the first book from Cat Sebastian that I've ever read, and after reading this one I am going to have to go back and read the first two books. I ended up really enjoying this one. I have a habit of avoiding historical romances because I am worried that I will get bored, (that sounds really awful but it's just not my thing normally) but this one kept me engaged the entire time. I ended up reading this one in one sitting. I couldn't get enough of these two. The two MCs in this book, I believe, have made appearances in the previous books in this series, but I still felt as if it read as a stand alone. It did make me extremely curious about the previous couples tho, so I'm glad I bought the first two so I can catch up!

I really enjoyed this rake vs. wallflower trope because it was a little different than you would expect. In this one, the wallflower is the more "hard-hearted" man and the rake is the more emotional of the two. I thought that was a fun twist on the usual. This was also a bit of a hate to love kind of romance too. Courtenay didn't like Julian because he's so uptight and acts as if he is better than everyone. Julian didn't like Courtenay for the sole reason that he was attracted to him, I think. lol!

I couldn't help but love Courtenay's character. He lived a wild life, but now he's realized that the way he was living doesn't make him happy anymore. He's ready to turn things around and dispel the rumors about him so he is fit to see his nephew again. He had such a heart of gold. I felt so bad about the way people treated him and the things that were said about him. Julian took a little longer for me to warm up to, but I ended up really liking him too. They were polar opposites but it worked for them. Julian always had to be perfectly polished and Courtenay helped him loosen up a bit, whereas, Julian helped Courtenay become more responsible. They were a good match together, and had great chemistry. There are a few steamy scenes but they don't overwhelm the story.

*I received a free ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. *

Cat Sebastian lives in a swampy part of the South with her husband, three kids, and two dogs. Before her kids were born, she practiced law and taught high school and college writing. When she isn't reading or writing, she's doing crossword puzzles, bird watching, and wondering where she put her coffee cup.


  1. I'm in a historical romance mood these days so I think this would be the perfect book for me! :)

    1. I really enjoyed this one a lot! I hope you love it when you get a chance to check it out!

  2. I'm so glad you gave this one a try and loved it even though you tend to avoid historical romance. I think it's really cool that Cat Sebastian writes M/M in a historical setting. I'm obviously going to need to try something by her because this sounds amazing. I love how the rake is the more emotional one too. And I'm always up for an opposites attract romance.
    Wonderful review! :)

    1. If you get to read this one, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I'm really excited to give more of her books a try soon. I've been getting back into historical romances lately. I go through phases. lol. Thanks so much, Nick!

  3. I'm definitely intrigued now! I haven't read any Sebastian yet but this sounds like a fun read. I'm glad you're checking Historical romances! Lovely review, Julia!

    1. Thanks so much, Cyn! I've slowly been getting back into historical romances. I forgot how much I used to love them.

  4. I loved this one - and The Lawrence Browne Affair was wonderful too! Thanks for hosting today ~ gaele for Tasty Book Tours

    1. I own The Lawrence Browne Affair too, and I can't wait to check it out. I really enjoyed this one. Thanks for stopping by, Gaele!

  5. A hate to love romance theme is a hit or miss kind of read to me but I'm always curious and can't help go read it whenever I see one. Hehe.. This sounds so entertaining. Glad that you enjoyed it. :)

    1. I really enjoy hate-to-love romance but only when they are done right. Sometimes the characters are just too cruel and it doesn't work. I'm really glad that wasn't the case here. Thanks so much!

  6. I'm kind of obsessed with hate to love romances right now lol

    I have you read any of K.J. Charles M/M historical romances yet? I looooove them.

    For What It's Worth

    1. hate to love romances are a big favorite of mine when they are done right. This one definitely was. I've only read two of K.J. Charles' romances so far. I really loved one but didn't love the other one so much. I own another one and I'm excited to give that one a try one day

    2. My favorite is A Seditious Affair but I didn't like The Magpie series. I like her hate to love ones most. She does that REALLY well! lol

    3. A Gentleman's Position is the one that I read and really loved. I own the other two in the series but haven't gotten to read them yet. The one that I didn't love was An Unseen Attraction. I couldn't get into that one at all.

  7. This sounds like a great series! I will have to check out this series. Great review!

    1. Thanks so much! I'm excited to check out the other two books in this series. I own them both so I just have to work them into my reading schedule.


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