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A Rake's Guide To Pleasure (Zebra Historical Romance) Mass Market Paperback – August 1, 2008

30 customer reviews
Book 2 of 3 in the Huntington Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Emma, Lady Denmore, is the talk of London’s ton. Always in the middle of a game of chance, the young widow flouts convention by betting on anything. Emma’s plan is to win enough money and then disappear from London before anyone who can unmask her charade arrives in town for the season. Growing up with her debauched father, Emma never entered society and wants nothing to do with it; she only wants enough money to live a simple life in a small cottage. She is well on her way to achieving her goal when Hart, Duke of Sommerhart, appears. When she was a child, he allayed her fears concerning her father’s degenerate guests, and she remembers him as her knight in shining armor. But now he is an obstacle, blocking her way to independence. Dahl is a new author who will soon be a favorite among fans of sensual historical romances, given her intriguing and dynamic characters. --Patty Engelmann


"Dahl brings a highly sensual, emotional and moving story to the pages with aplomb. Her clever plotting and engaging characters drive the story forward at a fast clip, and the depth of emotions will keep you enthralled." -- Romantic Times BOOKreviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Zebra (August 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1420100165
  • ISBN-13: 978-1420100167
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 0.9 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,616,548 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Victoria Dahl lives with her family in a small town high in the Utah mountains. During the summer, she hikes and drinks margaritas (usually not at the same time.) During the winter she likes to curl up with a book and a cup of hot cocoa and think about all those poor, freezing skiers working so hard out in the snow. Victoria has published over eighteen books and novellas, including three USA Today bestsellers, and several of her books have been nominated for the prestigious RITA® Award for excellence in the romance genre.

Find out more about Victoria and her books at or write to her at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Victoria Dahl's historical series:

To Tempt a Scotsman

A Scotsman's Surrender (short story)

A Rake's Guide to Pleasure

I really enjoyed Dahl's first in this series, so I was definitely looking forward to "A Rake's Guide...". The first 20 chapters did not disappoint. The story moved well with both main and side characters I found easy to like. (And not like when appropriate.) The villain was more of a lost soul with mental infirmity than a truly villainous man, which made it possible to sympathize with his plight. "Wicked" is the absolute perfect way to describe the love scenes. The leading couple was perfectly matched.

Emma's whole family has died and left her destitute. A neighbor family kindly took her in as a teen, with hopes she would marry their son. When Emma learned that the son was not mentally stable, she ran and hid from everyone who knew her. In order to support herself, she has disguised herself as the widow of her late uncle. On the London scene, she frequents gambling tables to earn money. Once she has saved enough, she will flee London and find herself a quiet cottage by the sea where she can live without fear.

Hart, the Duke of Somerhart, is known for being cold as ice. Many jokingly call him "Winterhart". London society is shocked to see him showing emotion where the young widow Emma is concerned. Emma is finding Hart hard to resist, but she refuses to become his next mistress. Although her mind is filled with naughty thoughts of what she would love to do with him, she knows he could find out the truth of her identity and end her dreams of freedom. Hart wants Emma. He knows she wants him, too. He is delighted to find her weakness: Emma wants a man who takes control during intimacy.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jane VINE VOICE on December 4, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Emily's family has died. She has no money, so she pretends to be a titled widow so she can attend London parties and gamble with men. She is a skilled gambler and plans to earn enough money so she can support herself with the interest income without getting married. Hart is a Duke planning never to marry. He sees Emily gambling and is attracted to her. She doesn't want a relationship and is planning on leaving within about a month. Her fear is that someone may find out that she is not who she says she is.

I like strong, independent, smart women, and I enjoyed the way Emily bested men at gambling. But for some reason I did not enjoy the rest of the story around her. I did not like some of her choices. In addition, she must lie throughout the book to keep her secret, but even in the end, she continues lying - to herself and to Hart. Hart realizes this and knows he just needs to see through her to the truth and pay no attention to her words. It was ok as a typical romance novel, but it didn't hold my interest as well as other books have. I wasn't surprised or delighted, and a couple of times, I wanted it to be over.

Story length: 289 pages. Sexual language: moderate. Number of sex scenes: 4. Length of sex scenes; 1 to 15 pages. Total number of sex scene pages: 25. Setting: 1844 England. Copyright: 2008. Genre: historical romance.

For a list of my reviews of other books by this author, see my 4 star review of "Lead Me On" posted 3-23-10.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By AnnaB on April 3, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
An arrogant, entittled duke seduces a nineteen year old young woman posing as a widow while gambing to avoid poverty.

Hart seems to think Emma owes him sex from their first meeting. Emma has been abused as a child, is without funds to care for herself and currently has a stalker. The Duke is much older than Emma, and even though she does express some attraction to him and has a bold attitude, the way he dominates such a vulnerable young woman turned my stomach. In fact, she continues to tell Hart to leave her alone, but he ignores her attempts at boundaries. For me, his behvior seemed abusive and was recreating some of Emma's earlier childhood trauma. I am very surprised at this book's current 4 star rating.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Romanceaholic on June 21, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Wow I hate this book - I love Victoria Dahl - I read To Tempt a Scotsman and Talk Me Down - loved both of those stories and read the reviews of this one before buying and knew this was going to be a great read - I didn't finish this book - as reviewer stated, which is true there is no romance in this story, the heroine, Emma fought so hard to stay independent, which I respect in a character, but prevented her from ever forming a real connection with the hero, Hart. She seemed closer to another gentlemen in the story,Lancaster. I tried to finish this book , but all I wanted it to be is done - the last straw was her having her stalker thrown in jail with the help of Lancaster not the hero, Hart - the secondary story didn't bother me so much - although it was ridiculous - It was the waiting for the emotional connection to Hart and honestly I didn't like Emma
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 22, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Yes, I agree, this book has its faults not least the sub plot which is distracting and an ending that sort of fizzles out but...I still love it. I think what Victoria Dahl has to realise is that a book can rest alone on the relationship between a man and woman without any so-called action that distracts and detracts from the main story. Some of my favorite books are those of Mary Balogh who just focuses on relationships - no spies, psychopaths or werewolves - just human frailties and triumph.
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