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Taming an Impossible Rogue
by Suzannne Enoch
(St. Martin's, $7.99, R)  ISBN 978-0-312-53452-3
Not living up to the first title in the series at all, Suzanne Enoch's latest Tantalus Club novel, Taming an Impossible Rogue, takes on the story of one of the most noticeable secondary characters from A Beginner's Guide to Rakes, Camille Pryce.

Camille, readers may remember, was engaged to a marquess and left him at the altar.  Now, after a year, she still remains hidden inside the grounds of the Tantalus Club, where she is a ranking member of Lady Haybury's staff.  Being an employee of the club – which is for gambling and staffed entirely by women – doesn't do any more wonders for her than running out on her fiancé did.

Unfortunately for Camille, there are games afoot that have nothing to do with Tantalus.  The marquess, still shamed by the tales that followed his runaway bride out the door, has recruited his cousin Keating Blackwood to fetch Camille back.

Keating is a close cousin of Fenton's who ceased to be important to the man when Fenton came into the title of Marquess – but he's in it for the money.  He's called Bloody Blackwood in London, and for good reason: eight years ago he killed the husband of a woman with whom he was found in an ... ah, awkward ... situation.  He's been gone from Town for six years now and, though he remains as charming and debauched as ever, has never developed the urge to return to city life and all of the innuendo and flat-out scorn that would accompany it.

Of course leaving out the true reason behind his sudden appearance at the Tantalus Club and his equally sudden interest in her, Keating begins visiting Camille at the club and even escorting her away from the premises, using his own black-marked reputation as influence.

Certainly, Fenton did not expect his cousin to fall in love with his fiancée.  And certainly, gun-shy Camille did not intend to fall in love with a roguish murderer.  Regardless, as these two things did occur, it would have been a good idea for Keating to mention his original purpose in visiting her— if for no other reason than to forestall a second wedding to the marquess.

Don't expect to like Camille, she's quite a sniveling ninny, though her hero, Keating, is a good deal of fun.  It's Keating's interactions with the other men (who one supposes will show up later in the series) that are the entertainment in this not flawed but certainly not flawless second book.  As a whole it is lackluster, and readers will just have to hope that the third in the series reverts to something more resembling A Beginner's Guide to Rakes and leaves Taming an Impossible Rogue in its dust.

--Sarrah Knight

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