What a scoundrel wants, a scoundrel gets…
A decade ago, the Marquess of Bourne was cast from society with nothing but his title. Now a partner in London’s most exclusive gaming hell, the cold, ruthless Bourne will do whatever it takes to regain his inheritance—including marrying perfect, proper Lady Penelope Marbury.
A broken engagement and years of disappointing courtships have left Penelope with little interest in a quiet, comfortable marriage, and a longing for something more. How lucky that her new husband has access to such unexplored pleasures.
Bourne may be a prince of London’s underworld, but he vows to keep Penelope untouched by its wickedness—a challenge indeed as the lady discovers her own desires, and her willingness to wager anything for them… even her heart
I was spoiled. I picked up this book because of the huge secret in the fourth Rule of Scoundrels book—don’t look if you don’t know already—and it’ll probably keep me reading despite my disappointment with this book.
MacLean writes well enough to spin an entertaining tale. She does have a horrible smut vocabulary, although I have small hope that she was using characterisation appropriate word choices. I liked that the heroine, Penelope, was smart enough to usually figure out whatever Bourne was trying to hide and I liked that he never lied when directly confronted with a question, but that’s about the extent of their characterisations I liked.
I’m not going to complain about her virginity at the age of twenty-eight (or maybe a little) but I am going to complain about her constant vacillation between adoring her husband of convenience and being utterly disappointed in him. He too, went back and forth between being starstruck with her and wallowing in self-pity while simultaneously pushing her away. Instead of showing why these people should be together, the author mostly spent her time in description, focusing on the inarticulated pining and introspection for introspection’s sake.
Neither character properly grew up on the page to believably accept each other as is, and they apparently fell in love in a single afternoon. There were some childhood letters littered between the chapters but they mostly distracted me from the actual story rather than affirmed the couple’s childhood sweethearts status.
The pacing was a problem too. Having a genuine rogue as a protagonist helped to add two explicit sex scenes before the 50% mark and push this book over to the oversexed historicals category.