Book #1 in The House of Rohan trilogy, Ruthless is a dark, Georgian romance set in France, set around a secret society for aristocrats. At the head of all this is the wicked Viscount Rohan, a man with a mysterious past.
Poor Elinor Harriman finds herself unwillingly thrown into the world of The Heavenly Host when she comes after her mother, hoping to catch her before she gambles away the rest of their money. In doing so, Elinor finds herself directly in the path of the Viscount.
Francis Rohan finds himself intrigued by the innocent young lady and is even more drawn to her when he realizes just how much she detests him. He finds the banter between them charming and finds ways of keeping her close to him.
There is also a side romance, that of Elinor's younger sister Lydia and Rohan's closest friend Charles Reading, who is permanently scarred on one side of his face due to a duel. I found this relationship absolutely endearing.
I loved the setting and the time period. And I love dark romances. Rohan, I admit, got on my nerves a bit. I get that he was suppose to be wicked and without a conscious, but sometimes it was a bit much. However, the character of Elinor I thought was perfect. Despite her curiosities, she stuck to her guns and didn't let temptation blind her.
I was surprised at the lack of sensuous scenes. There were maybe a couple of those. What made this book was tension. Lots and lots of tension. I was starting to wonder if anything was going to happen.
Nevertheless, a great first book in what should be a wickedly good series.