09 December 2012
A Rogue by Any Other Name (The Rules of Scoundrels #1)
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 haven't read the last two "Love by Numbers" books by MacLean - the heroine of this book is apparently the jilted fiancee of the hero in Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart so I'd like to read that just to see a different character's perspective of Penelope.
Because I like her - she wants more out of her life than just the proper, polite existence as the wife of an aristocrat who married her because of her father's title/her dowry and when she let Leighton go in Eleven everyone assumed there was something wrong with her because she couldn't hold his interest. Bourne (Michael) basically kidnaps her (because her father appends the estate land that Bourne lost/got cheated out of by his guardian - and subsequently won by Penny's father in a card game...the "evil guardian" plot of the novel got a bit convoluted and unclear, imo) she manages to negotiate some good behavior out of him to help her sisters. And then she decides to stop being quite to meek and proper - she doesn't go nuts, she just decides not to be a doormat for men.
Michael, on the other hand, is truly an awful piece of crap at the beginning of the book. He has some bad history. He isn't very nice to Penny even though he can seduce her right out of her socks when she's mad at him (which makes him doubly not nice for that reason). What really made this book for me is that the "falling in love" trope is laid in the characters' backstories - they were best friends as children, and loved each other, so once the revenge plot/forced to marry plot is worked out before the love plot just happens. It's nice. And when Michael gets his head out of his arse it's lovely.
Also: "Sixpence" is the greatest nickname ever. Read the book to find out why. (Sarah MacLean does great nicknames.)