MY REGELENCE RAKE by JL Langley
My Regelence Rake by JL Langley
Sci-Regency, Book 3
Gay Alternate Worlds
Reviewed by Cassie
Prince Colton Townshend has been in love with Lord Sebastian Hastings, Captain of the Royal Guard, for years, but after an unfortunate incident, Colton decides it’s time he stopped mooning over Sebastian. Instead, he plans to focus on his plans to build and run a racing stable. To do so, he needs to scout out some good horses. Unfortunately for Colton, Sebastian is worried about the safety of the royal family due to some suspicious goings-on. For that reason, Sebastian accompanies Colton to an auction. At the auction, Colton steps up to save a horse that is being abused. Sebastian gets involved as well. The resulting firestorm of rumors and innuendo can have only one solution…
Sebastian, Lord Wentworth, was burned by marriage once. He never intends to go through that again. He spends his working hours seeing to the safety of the royal family, and his nights with a string of meaningless lovers. Despite being drawn to Colton, he refuses to act on his attraction. He’s got too many secrets to share his life with someone again. Then society’s censure forces him to make a choice he never wanted to have to make. Can a marriage built on secrets and duty have any future?
I’ve been waiting for the next installment of the Sci-Regency series since 2008, and My Regelence Rake did not disappoint (although I hope I don’t have to wait 4 years for the next book!). Like other members of the royal family, Colton is independent, headstrong, and determined to marry for love rather than duty. Seeing Sebastian in the middle of a garden tryst at a ball crushes Colton, but he’s determined not to mope. He’s good with horses, so setting up a racing stable seems to be a great way for him to do something he loves and get his mind off Sebastian. Of course, no matter how independent and sensible Colton may be, he’s still young and unmarried. In his society, he isn’t allowed to go anywhere without chaperones, and he has to be concerned with propriety at all times. The strained situation between Regelence and the Intergalactic Navy, and a stranger who seems to be following the King, only constrain Colton further. Sebastian insists no member of the royal family be out without a guard at any time. Colton ends up stuck with Sebastian at every turn. I liked the way Colton actually followed Sebastian’s instructions regarding safety (for the most part), no matter how much they chafed. There were no TSTL moments from Colton. He’s a romantic at heart, and he wants to do things his own way, but he’s not too headstrong to be sensible when it’s needed. He’s also fiercely loyal. When he gives his heart, he gives it without reservation.
In many ways, Sebastian is the opposite of Colton. He didn’t have a privileged upbringing. In fact, a great deal of his past is a source of shame and anger for him. He came into society through military service and an ill-advised marriage to a man who couldn’t handle his secrets. He might be secure in his position now, both in his work and in society, but he’s determined not to open himself up to any emotional risk. He knows Colton is a forever kind of man, which is why he tries to stay away. Unfortunately for Sebastian, his job throws them together often. The more he’s around Colton, the more he wants him. When the scandal that erupts after he steps in to help Colton save the abused horse pushes him back toward marriage once more, he’s both pleased and worried. The idea of Colton finding out about his past horrifies him to the point that he’ll do almost anything to prevent it. I admit to being a sucker for the reformed rake as hero, and Sebastian certainly fits that bill. He’s strong, protective, stubborn, and feels things more deeply than he wants to acknowledge. I couldn’t help rooting for him.
Fans of Regencies and light scifi will find a lot to like in My Regelence Rake. I highly recommend reading My Fair Captain and The Englor Affair first, as this book references a lot of events and an ongoing conflict from those books but doesn’t go back over them that much (plus, they are awesome books!). The worldbuilding is good, with a lot of great historical and technological/scifi details, but not so many that the story bogs down. An over-arching conflict, that of the mystery involving the Intergalactic Navy, is expanded upon here, but there are plenty of other internal and external conflicts for Colton and Sebastian to deal with as well. The members of the Townshend family play a large role in the story, and it was great to see them again. Colton’s sire, Raleigh (aka Cony), plays matchmaker for Colton and Sebastian, with varying amounts of success. Brothers, brothers-in-law, and a cousin also figure into the story. Silly, romantic Tarren had better be getting a story soon. Sebastian’s funny, sarcastic friend Rourke also cries out for a story of his own.
On the whole, My Regelence Rake is an emotional and enjoyable read. Likeable heroes, secondary characters I knew and loved (as well as some new ones I either loved or loved to hate), interesting conflicts, and a sweet romance combine to make an excellent installment in the Sci-Regency series. All I can say is that the next one had better be on the way soon!