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Hello sassy people! Today’s post is about The Rake by L.J. Shen! Thank you, L.J. Shen and Social Butterfly PR for providing this copy in exchange for an honest review!

Escaping Christmas by Marie Landry

The Rake

(Boston Belles #4)

by L.J. Shen


Boston’s most infamous femme fatale meets her match in a dangerously mild Englishman who has vowed to never marry in this romantic standalone from Washington Post bestselling author L.J. Shen
Emmabelle Penrose has cruised through life never needing a man, a plan that has worked stunningly well until about five minutes ago, when she decided she must have a baby.
Devon Whitehall is 6’2” of premium DNA, financial security, and British royal titles. Best of all, he fears the one thing she dreads the most: getting hitched.
Emmabelle figures it’s a no-brainer when Devon offers his services—sperm and involvement in her future child’s life.
What begins as an innocent, modern-family arrangement, quickly erodes into a web of lies, dark pasts, and unfurled secrets.
Inside this chaos, Emmabelle and Devon are forced to face the awful truth—they are capable of love.
Even worse, they might feel it toward each other.

Genre: Romance, ARC

Publisher: Indie

Year: 2022

Nº of pages: 467

Goodreads rate: 4,13

Is it on KU?: Yes

Subgenres: Contemporary Romance

Tropes: Billionaire Romance, Pregnancy, Royal Romance

Smut factor: 🔥 🔥 🔥 🔥 4/5 (steamy)

Spice scale: 3/5 🌶️🌶️🌶️

POP (Put Out Percentage): 20%

TRIGGER WARNINGS (Based on StoryGraphs): Child Abuse, Grooming, Infertility, Miscarriage, Pregnancy, Sexual Abuse/Rape


Main characters: Belle and Devon

Main conflicts: Huge trust issues and childhood trauma

Hero: Book Boyfriend, Delicious Hero, Sturn Brunch Daddy

Heroine: Boss Lady, Amazon

Pacing: Medium

Mood: Deep, Delicious, Heavy, Hot and complicated

Plot or character-driven: Mixed

P.O.V.: Double

Character development: Very deep

Diverse Cast: Nope

Read in: 2022


My Rate: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4/5 

TW According to the author: This story contains subject matters some may find triggering, including child abuse and grooming. This book is not meant to make you feel comfortable and fuzzy inside. Please take this into consideration before starting it.


This was the best book I have ever read by L.J. Shen, and I’ve read many of them. This had the perfect balance between sweet, heavy, complicated, and delicious.

The author is a very good writer, and the way she built her characters in this book was amazing. They feel multilayered. They feel like real people, with real feelings and even more real pasts. And that is one thing I love about this author, how deep her character development is.

I LOVE Devon and his personality. He manages to be closed off and private, while also being funny and sarcastic, and not grumpy. I expected him to be super grumpy because of the prologue, but he has an amazing sense of humor and I love how he aligns with Belle and her sense of humor. Their private jokes and games are delightful and they deepen their relationship and connection, in the eyes of the reader.

And I love Belle, being strong, powerful, and stubborn, but also learning how to be vulnerable. I have to say that sometimes (actually many times), she makes dumb decisions, but I love that she is like that, wants to be the person to solve all her problems by herself.

The plot was a mix of action and character evolution and I always appreciate that, and all the mystery and plot twists made this reading experience even better.


Equality rate: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4/5 

This book brings up very important and heavy topics, such as Child Abuse, Miscarriage, Sexual Abuse/Rape, Infertility, and Grooming. I truly believe these are important subjects that need to be talked about, not only in romance but everywhere.

To me, the most important part seems to be the Grooming narrative. The signs, the internal battle, the consequences. I had never read a book with this TW and it was mind-opening to see some things that might happen with girls and boys everywhere, but we don’t hear about it.

This book had many positive aspects like talking about Mental Health, Independence, Gender Roles, and Trauma.

My favorite parts of this book (and any book that deals with trauma survivors) are the reactions and reflections of the main characters to their trauma. Devon becomes claustrophobic, Belle has massive trust issues. I love how deep the author takes us into their mental health and their trauma.

I also love how independent she makes Belle, how “modern” their arrangement is, how mature and bold these two need to be, to admit and take action on the fact that they both want a child. (The fact that Devon really wants a baby makes me love him even more).

I love how they challenge gender roles by co-parenting (even if we all know that they will end up together), and how Belle is a powerful woman, with her own business and her own success, with no shame about her sexuality and she won’t give that up to be a mom.


Now, there are a few red flags here, that need to be addressed.

Like jealousy, from both sides, but especially Belle’s.

No communication between the couple.

How Devon tracks Belle down at some points of the book and forces her to have a bodyguard, without her permission (I know that it is to protect her, but it is still not great behavior)

And last, but definitely not least, how Devon is “cured” of his claustrophobia because of Belle and their baby. I kinda hate the narrative that the heroine is going to “heal” the hero, so I could be without that little tidbit.

But overall an amazing book, with very important and heavy topics, that I absolutely love.

Adjectives and general thoughts: Heavy and angsty, but that is L.J. Shen. But it was surprisingly not angsty between the couple and I loved that, they are fairly honest with each other and I appreciate that. 

Recommend this to people who have no Triggers, who enjoy a book that is heavy but delicious. And if you’ve read a book by L.J. Shen, you already know what to expect, in terms of angst. 


Fall in love with Emmabelle and Devon FREE in Kindle Unlimited today!


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About LJ Shen

L.J. Shen is a USA Today, Washington Post and Amazon #1 best-selling author of contemporary, New Adult and YA romance. Her books have been sold to nineteen different countries.

She lives in California with her husband, son, cat and eccentric fashion choices, and enjoys good wine, bad reality TV shows and catching sun rays with her lazy cat.

Connect with L.J. Shen

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Well, that is all for today, I hope you like this post, hope you enjoy this book as much as I did. Feel free to leave your opinion about it in the comments and I will see you next time! 

Bye sassy people! 


  • I know that some comments I make about decent guys on my posts are the bare minimum a guy should do, so no, they don’t deserve to be treated like gods for doing the minimum, but at the same time, I’ve read a lot of sexist books and I appreciate authors who make characters that can serve as role models and examples of how a decent guy acts and what a loving and respectful relationship looks like. I believe we should always encourage these authors and bring attention to the ones that still write sexist characters and stories. 
  • I make a lot of comments about sexism and healthy role models in books, but a lot of times these characteristics don’t make the book a bad book and definitely don’t make the author a bad author. Please never shame these authors and these books for these comments, I simply feel that we need to have awareness of the less than ideal situations some books bring us, and not use the romanticized problem as examples of what a relationship should be. Most of these authors are still amazing, and the content they write doesn’t reflect directly with their personal views and opinions. Always make sure to respect and be kind to everyone, even while criticizing their content. 

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