If He's Dangerous - Hannah Howell ** WARNING: PROFANITY FOLLOWS **

As many of my "real life" acquaintances would attest to, I'm not often given to profanity and obscenities. Given that fact, I was a little taken aback by how often I heard myself saying "WHAT THE FUCK??" "YOU'VE GOT TO BE FUCKING KIDDING ME!!" and "THIS IS FUCKING RIDICULOUS." throughout this book.

This book was a lesson in "don't judge a book by its cover." The dude on the cover was hot; hence, when I saw this book at the library, I checked it out "blind" (i.e., without considering reviews or blurbs). *slaps her own hand* Bad, Audrey, bad! Oh, how I wish I had refrained.

Our plot: Sir Argus Wherlocke (the "H") is held captive by a man (the "villain") determined to steal the H's special gifts. The H appears (naked, of course) before Lady Lorelei Sundun (the "h") in her father's garden when the H sets his spirit "roaming" in a search for aid. Basically, h helps H and brings him back to her father's ducal estate to recover. There's a huge cast of familial characters, including the Duke's seventeen - that's right, seventeen - children, and many of H's relatives, who are also blessed with special "gifts." H and h fall in lust during his recovery and throughout the time H spends plotting how to rid himself of the villain. Shenanigans ensue with the villain, and the H finally wises up to the fact that he's in LURVE when the h is lying there, bleeding from a knife wound to the back.

Oh, where to start???

Heroine: Let me get it out of the way that the h, Lorelei, was...SOMETIMES...okay. She's obviously headstrong and willful and there are any number of examples: she traipses across the countryside to rescue our hero; she becomes his lover on a "gamble" that she can get him to love her back; she taunts the villain when he's holding her captive, even though it's probably not the smartest thing to do when there's threat of rape and murder, and I could go on and on. Some of these things seemed in keeping with her intended "headstrong and smart" character; others seemed TSTL.

Hero: Or should I say..."hero." *rolls eyes* I want a hero who is honorable, at the very least in his own way and with his own moral code of conduct. Argus was just plain dishonorable in my eyes. He waffles over his burning need to kiss the virginal duke's daughter...then he can't resist kissing her...then he flat out seduces her...WITHOUT intending to marry her, even though he knows he should. I just can't get behind that - he KNOWS he should do it, he KNOWS she wants it, he KNOWS it's expected of him, but he refuses to do so. Why? Because of what he believes to be the "Wherlocke and Vaughn marriage curse." *rolls eyes* Really now. REALLY. The H thinks he's doomed to a failed marriage, based on his family's marital history. He believes with an unerring certainty that he and Wife He Will Never Acquire would be doomed. DOOMED, I SAY.

Oh, but that doesn't stop him from getting busy with our lil not-so-virginal-any-longer h, the duke's daughter. While he's a guest on the duke's estate. On the duke's estate. As in...they have their trysts outdoors...under an apple tree...behind an oak tree...etc. He can't resist her, but he will not marry her - for her own good, of course. Wherlocke marriages are doomed to fail, not to mention that, as a mere knight, he's SO far beneath her in station. Oh no, he'll just take her virginity and enjoy the ride (pun intended).

And, boy, do they get busy. There are a few sexytimes scenes, but there are more that are just mentioned in passing as having occurred. And (ANOTHER PET PEEVE) the H and h never...NEVER...think about possible unplanned pregnancy. Really now. REALLY. He already has TWO illegitimate children. And he doesn't even think of the damning possibility that the duke's daughter could get knocked up?? PULL OUT, I say, PULL OUT! Jesus H. Christ and what the fuck, while I'm at it.

Oh, and he also doesn't tell her he has two sons. Nope. Isn't that something people usually talk about before becoming lovers? Nope, apparently not. Imagine the fireworks if the shoe had been on the other foot and SHE hadn't told him about her two wrong-side-o'-the-blanket kiddos. But no, instead...she's the one who finds out, not when he tells her, but when the two kids show up on her doorstep, looking for their pops. Classy. Real classy.

He holds onto his belief in their doomed marital fate for SO FARKING LONG that I wanted to hit him over the head (both heads). Yes, even after the h has professed her love for him, even after they've knocked boots who knows how many times, even after his own sister, cousin, random family members have told him he's an idiot for stringing her along, he STILL thinks he's not good enough for her and won't be able to make a successful marriage. *slaps forehead* Really now. REALLY. And the fact that it's "for her own good" is just fucking ridiculous.

Basically, nothing he could do would redeem him in my eyes.

That was further reinforced when, of course, the h's being in mortal danger finally (FINALLY) makes the H realize he loves her and needs her. Really now. REALLY?????? Holy shite. Sure, sometimes (rarely?) this works. In this case, er...NO.

**Edited to add: OH OH!! Aaaaaaand, it's not over there, folks. No, after the h recovers from her backstabbing (yup), on her first day up and about after a fortnight, she finds that the H has left the ducal estate on "pressing business." Yup, homeboy is nowhere to be seen now that she's mobile, even though he'd been by her side during her recovery. And what does she discover on her first day up and about? Oh, that she and the H SHOULD have been thinking about some birth control earlier because...wowsers! She's preggers! With twins! Who would've thunk it?? Oh, and of course the H doesn't know. But now she has a whole other aspect of her unrequited love to marinate on: What's she going to do if her pops, the duke, tries to force her beloved H to marry her? She won't have him if he's unwilling, no she won't!And this goes on...for a FARKING MONTH. Yup, she was left hanging, thinking he STILL felt like marriage would be all DOOM AND GLOOM. No word. No clue. No hope. Then he rides in on his white charger *insert eye roll* and says "guess what? I was off doing manly man things with my estate so that we'd have money and a future together. I know you don't care about shite like that because you totally love me already, but my pride cares, so that's why I left you for a farking month with absolutely no word!" Yes, people, this is how it ends. Really now. REALLY.**

Quote time: Totally fucking ridiculous supposed "introspection" by the H -

"He did not like to think about how long he had clung to the idea of a curse. It was embarrassing now that he sat and actually thought it out. Worse, he had left Lorelei to think that he saw what they shared as no more than an affair. (Um, that's what you did see it as, buddy.) That was something he would have to deeply apologize for. It was also embarrassing to think he had to see her on the ground bleeding before he understood what she meant to him. He had even just silently accepted her words of love when they had made love, as if somehow they were his due. Something else he would have to apologize deeply for, as it must have hurt her."


General commentary, especially about the "special gift" and magic-y stuff: We NEVER get an explanation beyond "she's good at finding things" for how the h is able to find the H based on the very limited and vague "wherever I'm being held smells of lavender and sweet pea" clue that he gave her when he appeared in the garden. He could've been anywhere in the countryside, yet we go from Chapter 1's H-stuck-in-an-imprisoned-state to Chapter 2's opening with the h and her cousins hiding in the bushes, absolutely positive that they have found the H's place of captivity. Really now. REALLY.

Also, Argus's "special gift" is the ability to plant ideas and actions into people's minds. Creeeepy. This just brought to mind the (forbidden) Imperius Curse. (Harry Potter, woop woop!) I can see how it could be useful for his work with the government (useful and...unfair?), and the author conveniently works it out so that our h isn't vulnerable to his "gift," but it still struck me as wrong...and reminded me way too much of the Imperius Curse. WAY too much.

Overall: It's hard to find something redeeming about a romance when the H makes you want to throw things and shout "THIS IS FUCKING RIDICULOUS" on almost every page. And, yeah...that's what I was doing.