Escape with a Rogue - Sharon Page Fair Warning: Spoilers, GIFs, and Profanity Ahead. You may not want to read the excerpts on an empty (or full) stomach, either. Long line of disclaimers fin.

This book. You guys, this book is something special. It changed reading for me forever.

Not in a good way, of course. To suggest that this story did anything other than turn my eyeballs into warrior pugilists who punched my brain into incoherent submission would be ludicrous. By the end of Escape with a Rogue (Regency Prison Break #1), my once carefree enjoyment of cray-cray HR wallpapers had transformed into something different. Something ugly. I was promised a Regency Prison Break, goddamnit! Have YOU ever read an HR series based on a prison break? Probably not because it didn't exist until now. And when I came across this little gem on my friend's to-read shelf, I wanted IN on this jelly. I wanted the lowdown on this shit. I wanted to be up with what's cool and happenin' in the Regency genre. REGENCY. PRISON. BREAK. You come across a series like that and think, "Well, even if the grammar sucks and the characters communicate by bopping each other on the head, at least I'll be entertained." Right? RIGHT?

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Did I just foreshadow a book review? Why, yes. Yes, I most certainly did.

You're smart, Reader. I think you can surmise from the visual illustration and my rating that things did not go quite as planned. Granted, the sex scenes entertained me immensely, but that was only because I read with one eye closed, the other squinted nervously, to see how fucking strange and smelly the sex would get. Yes, you read that right. Strange and smelly.

But calm your little butts down first, perverts. I have some plot and characterization to briefly cover before we get to the good/horrendously bad stuff.

The Story:
Two years ago, ex-gaming hell owner living the "simple life" as a groom on an earl's estate Jack Travers was framed and imprisoned for the murders of two little ladies in a hedge maze. Although Jack's done a lot of bad things in his life, he's never killed a lady. Men? Yes. Ladies? HELL TO THE NO. So, now that Jack's been rotting in jail for a crime he didn't commit, his old gal-pal from back on the earl's estate Lady Madeline decides that she's going to bust him out with her wits alone. Alas, Madeline apparently showed up late on the day God was distributing wit, so Jack has to bust himself out of jail with a team of rag-tag criminals. With lawmen and bad guys on their tails, Jack and Madeline have to team up to keep him from going back to the prison.

Now, Jack's had a boner for Madeline ever since she took to ogling him while he played with horses in her father's stable. Madeline, in turn, has always had the hots for the handsome, sexy, smelly groom that her parents would TOTALLY not approve of as boyfriend material. How are they supposed to bump uglies when Jack's a scoundrel and Madeline's a fucking lady? Don't worry. They make it happen.

The first half of the book follows Jack and Madeline hilariously failing at every point while they're on the run. They get stuck in bogs. They touch each other's filthy, bog-covered bodies. They fight with bad guys and often lose. The second half of the book takes us back to Madeline's family's estate, where Madeline goes all Regency Nancy Drew and questions all of the lovely people she's invited for a house party like she's the fucking police or something. Of course, Jack ingratiates himself back into the estate's graces by getting a job (AGAIN!) as a groom (ONLY A DIFFERENT ONE!) because he somehow manages to dye his black hair auburn.

Bitch, please. Did anyone fill Jack in on how HARD it is to dye one's hair red? Holy fuck, I'm a natural blonde, and it took at least 3 professional dyes to get my hair to hold a reddish tone for more than a couple days. I don't know why this is the moment when my suspension of disbelief broke down like a one-wheeled carriage, but that's how my mind works.

*Back to regularly scheduled programming* So now Jack and Madeline are traipsing around the estate together, sexing each other up while pretending they've never met. Thus begins the most convoluted, meandering, boring as hell mystery plot I've read in a long time. And it just wouldn't end.

An Illustration of the Stupid Mystery Plot in this Book
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FOREVER. It never stopped. An infinite mystery in an infinite stew of suck.


What was wrong with the plot, Rachel?
Oh, so kind of you to ask! The plot of this story reminded me of what happens when you give a 3-year-old one piece of poster board and a table full of art supplies. Instead of choosing which art supplies and colors would work best, 9 times out of 10, the 3-year-old will glob a little bit of everything on that poor piece of poster board until it's drippy, torn in all sorts of places, and resembling vomit more than art. That's how the plot of Escape with a Rogue plays out. Instead of establishing certain facts and character traits in the beginning and letting the action progress from there, the action depends on completely random new things being heaped atop other completely random new things that never came with a full explanation.

There are bastard plots, mothers with dementia, borderline rapist brothers, secondary love stories involving dead girls, slutty companions, 18 marriage proposals, radicals who want to overthrow the king, dudes from prison who just disappear because they have their own books, very irresponsible horseback riding, and a SHIT-TON of sex. And do any of these things make the plot even a tiny bit more coherent?

Did you READ them? Of course, they do!

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Damn it. No. No, they don't. Not even a little. To make matters worse, just when this book could have ended, it became apparent that Page intended to wrap up just about all of the silly plot tumors regardless of their necessity. Once the Big Bad was handled, I was ready to check out of this "adventure." Unfortunately, Escape with a Rogue held me around the neck like a vice until it squeezed out EVERY LAST WORD.

Speaking of the Big Bad:
My reading buddy Karla identified the murderer very early. It was incredibly obvious. For the record, I don't know how this person over-powered anyone, especially to the point of strangling two women. There was a great WTF moment when Jack recalled breaking a grown man's neck at the age of eight, too. What kind of Wheaties did that kid's mom feed him? Is Jack Superman, Hercules, or the Incredible Hulk? A good editor would have caught that and made the kid use a weapon.

Speaking of Good Editors:
I'm not sure if this book had one. I realized after reading that this is a self-pub, so all respect where it's due to Sharon Page for keeping grammar and continuity errors low. The book is readable and the writing is decent if you manage to get past the trainwreck plot. Sadly, this book needed a major clean-up. Less characters. More primary character development. Cleaner sex. Near the end, the story-telling gets sloppier. The text starts explaining things to us that anyone reading the book wouldn't need to have explained.

For example, after Madeline gets whacked in the head with something heavy and solid, she looks down at the ground and realizes this: A pair of shears lay on the ground. That had been what had struck her.

ORLY? You're implying that the shears are what struck her? I never would have guessed that on my own! This happens several other times. I refuse to look them all up because then I'll have to re-read chunks of the story AGAIN.

Sometimes the characters mull over really dumb thoughts, too. Madeline's the worst, considering that she doesn't fault Jack for being a murderer but can't find peace with the fact that he ran a gaming hell. One of these things is not like the other, Madeline! Ugh. Madeline makes a lot of horrible decisions. When she gets her boots stuck in the bog, instead of listening to Jack's CORRECT instructions to stay still, she starts struggling and nattering on like an idiot until it nearly swallows them both whole. When everyone's like, "Madeline, you aren't the police. Stop pursuing a murderer who has strangled women JUST LIKE YOU and has already made an attempt on your life," she just keeps running off alone into the forest and questioning people. Yes, Madeline is TSTL. Throughout the story, we're told otherwise. She's apparently the only one her grandfather trusted enough to leave the family fortune to, so Madeline manages the family's purse strings and estate. This just leaves me to wonder how bloody stupid the rest of her family is.

Jack isn't safe from the stupid stick, either. First, he hooks up with Madeline. Then he has thoughts like this while tearing through the forest on horseback in the rain to save Madeline's life for the billionth time: One thing about being wet-he didn't give a damn if he got wetter.

You don't say, Einstein. You don't say.

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As Promised: Dirty, Grimy, Smelly SexorzTime!
Oh, bless this book's perverted little heart. I finally found my SQUICK limit for sex scenes, and that is a relentless concentration on hair and body scents. No, I don't expect sex in romance to always be stars and sunshine and flowery petals and moonbeams shining out of asses. But please, I don't want to cringe and dry heave throughout a love scene. Not exactly to my tastes, thanks very much. But since you asked for it in my reading updates, enjoy some stomach-turning sex excerpts. You can be the judge.

Oh, and I must establish that while Madeline sniffs around Jack in prison, she often describes his scent as musky, salty, sweaty, earthy, and ripe. So, basically, he smells like sweaty balls and gym socks soaked in brine. But even after he escapes from prison, these descriptors are used to describe their various scents multiple times. Bathing changes NOTHING.

Page 83: Softening her mouth, she kissed him there, tasting sweat. Heady with the daring risk of it, she stuck out her tongue and licked him.


Does Madeline also lick her own armpit when it gets sweaty? Well, from the looks of this next excerpt, I wouldn't be surprised ...

Page 117: He ran his tongue through her nether curls and she squeaked in shock. He didn't stop. No, he tugged a few curls with his teeth and made her moan. She could smell her most intimate scents, and his mouth was moving down to her most private place ...

... What was he thinking? She smelled so earthy and salty and ripe, what would she taste like?


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Madeline also has a very endearing Big O-Sound! You've been warned.

Page 116: "Lie back," Jack murmured. She did and he slid her drawers off her, exposing her completely, at the exact moment he flicked his tongue in her navel.

"Erk."


Page 118: She was coming apart. Flying to pieces. "God ... oh, God," she cried, saying things she never should. "Yes, yes. Oh, more. More. Oh ... oh, erk!"


Charming, huh? The passion really turns me on, too. >:D

Let's focus on a little sexy sexy talk:

Page 176: "Is that good?"

"Beautiful. My cock likes to be rubbed."

"Mmm. Your cock."


And now, just to leave you feeling happy, I'll leave you with descriptions of Jack's magical wang of love and furry ass:

Page 216: She managed to get his underclothes down to the large bollocks resting at the base, then she took him in her mouth. She tasted the salty flavor of his skin. Ripe and earthy, tempting and delicious. Her tongue brushed the firm head, which was soft and tight. Fluid bubbled up. Salty, sour juices that tickled her tongue. Sucking harder, she swallowed them.

Page 219: His rear end was rock solid and surprisingly furry in the valley between his firm cheeks.


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After reading these scenes, I think I've lost my sex drive.

So, dear friends, read this if you dare. Just don't expect to have a particularly good time.

Escape with a Rogue has the honor of being my end-of-summer Buddy Read with the delightful Karla. You can read her review here, which is guaranteed to be hilarious and insightful.