Jessica Trent and Sebastian Leslie Guy de Ath Ballister, Earl of Blackmoor, Marquess of Dain "Dain"
Lord of Scoundrels
By Loretta Chase
Sebastian Ballister, the notorious Marquess of Dain, is big, bad, and dangerous to know. No respectable woman would have anything to do with the "Band and Blight of the Ballisters" - and he wants nothing to do with respectable women. He's determined to continue doing what he does best - sin and sin again - and all that's going swimmingly, thank you... until the day a shop door opens and she walks in.
She's too intelligent to fall for the worst man in the world...
Jessica Trent is a determined young woman, and she's going to drag her imbecile brother off the road to ruin, no matter what it takes. If saving him - and with him, her family and future - means taking on the devil himself, she won't back down. The trouble is, the devil in question is so shockingly irresistible, and the person who needs the most saving is - herself!
Lord of Scoundrels was one of those books that people had expected I had already read since I love historical romance. It was on my "To Be Read" list for what seemed like forever. Then a few months ago, this classic went on sale for only an amazing .99. Problem was, you had to live in the US to get that deal. Darn it! Then I really really wanted it. I visited a few used book stores to find a gently loved copy but I never did. My friend told me it was because Lord of Scoundrels is one of those "keeper" books. Eventually I just broke down and ordered it via my Kindle. I'm so glad I did!
Lady Jessica Trent in comparison is respected and beautiful. Even though she is well past the age of marriage material, she continues to decline about 6 offers of marriage a year. She is extremely smart, cunning and very witty. She delivers some of the best lines in Lord of Scoundrels. Her only fault it seems is her brother has created a bit of a hero worship towards Dain and it is draining their trust fund.
Jessica (Jess) has this uncanny abilty to turn the tables on Dain. He sets out to seduce her and then she flips the situation and it is he that seduced. This ability to have two views on the same situation was a frequent occurrence and allowed for wonderful scenes between the pair. This table turning eventually lead to their agreed upon marriage and awesome conversations. If you didn't already adore Jess by the time this marriage occurred, you have no choice but to madly adore her once they are actually married. Loved. Every. Minute. Of. It.
Although Loretta Chase goes to great lengths at the beginning of the book to set up Dain as unattractive in appearance, I couldn't help but wonder if it was grossly exaggerated. I wonder if Dain grew into his looks, big nose and was actually handsome. Certainly Jess was besotted with his Roman God size, large hands, olive skin and dark hair. I wonder if by Italian standards he was an Italian Stallion but by English gentlemen standards he was large and awkward.
I loved that the conflict of the story was similar to a beauty and the beast theme and then a few interesting sub plots were tossed in for good measure. As Dain started to actually believe Jess was falling truly in love with him, it was wonderful to read about his heart of ice melt. The conversations were funny to read about. He held none of his opinions back and she was solid enough to take it. It was different reading a story when the male protagonists calls his wife a "nitwit" and it suited them. Truly great writing and I loved to experience it again. Lord of Scoundrels makes my re-read shelf.
There were a few things I didn't care for in Lord of Scoundrels. I don't see how they didn't have a deeper conversation about all the tarts he had slept with and she seemed to ignore that part of his scoundrel past.
Also, I wished Loretta Chase did a bit more to make me like his unclaimed son. Just wasn't feeling the love there for the child. Sad I know!
Teasers - portrait treasures, name calling swooning, Jess is a great shot, Italian love words