Series: The Rules of Scoundrels #1
Published by Avon on February 28, 2012
Genres: Adult, Historical, Romance
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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.
Alright. I love Sarah MacLean. This is the second book of hers in two days that I’ve read in one sitting. They’re just so engaging, and I love a story built in the development of a relationship. What can I say? I’m a hopeless romantic.
I wouldn’t say that I liked this one as much as Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake (love love LOVE), but it was still a great read. I would say, however that Rogue was darker than Nine Rules. There’s quite a bit of abuse (verbal) in Rogue, whereas Nine Rules is rather fun and exciting.
We start with two characters who have dark/depressing events in their pasts that they’re still feeling the effects of. Penelope is a spinster, due to a broken engagement from years ago, while Bourne is on a revenge vendetta against the man to whom he lost his land in a gambling mishap. When the land in question is put into Penelope’s dowry, Bourne (a childhood friend of Penelope’s) forces her to marry him, caring little for her feelings, and only about his revenge. Penelope agrees to save her sister’s from ruined prospects, as they are in their first seasons.
I’m sure you can see where this is going. Penelope desperately loves her childhood friend, while Bourne is trying desperately to ignore the same feelings. He’s had to be so cold and calculating for so long that it isn’t too difficult at the start, but the longer they are married, the more he realizes he cares for her.
Bourne is a co-owner of one of the most prosperous gambling hells in the city (the irony is not lost here) and I really enjoyed the witty banter and teasing that Bourne got from his co-owners. As they are the main characters for the rest of the series, I was delighted to already like them all. Penelope’s sisters are mildly important, and I found they were less interesting, though I’m sure they will be more engaging in later books (especially Pippa, who is already more interesting in the next book, Every Good Earl Deserves a Lover).
My one complaint with this book was I wish there had been more of an emotional turning point scene. I wanted Bourne to grovel. To weep. To beg for Penelope’s forgiveness. Because he’s pretty terrible to her and yes there’s obviously guilt and regret when he realizes he loves her, but it wasn’t enough for me.
Otherwise, this romance is a lovely ‘tortured hero rescued by the love of a strong willed heroine’, which is something I’m always happy to read. Great for fans of Regency Romance.
Romance: Sex. Graphic.
Language: Not really.
Violence: Again, not really.