Wednesday, June 4, 2014

How to School Your Scoundrel (A Princess In Hiding #3) by Juliana Gray

Princess Luisa has devoted her life to duty, quietly preparing to succeed her father as ruler. Nothing, however, primed her to live on the run, disguised as a personal secretary to a notorious English scoundrel. The earl is just the man to help her reclaim her throne, but Luisa is drawn to her powerful employer in ways she never imagined…

Philip, Earl of Somerton, has spent six years married to a woman in love with another man—he refuses to become a fool due to imprudent emotions ever again. Only, as his carefully laid plans for vengeance falter, fate hands him hope for redemption in the form of a beautiful and determined young princess who draws him into a risky game of secrets, seduction, and betrayal. And while his cunning may be enough to save her life, nothing can save him from losing his heart…

Type: Historical Romance
Heat: 2.5 out of 5 (very limited)
Rating: 4 out of 5

Amazon | All Romance | Book Depository | BAM | Goodreads

Have you ever read a book where you sit at the end and are all "omg. I...don't even know what to say about this one."? Welp. That's kinda me. lol How to School Your Scoundrel was so not what I was expecting but dang I loved it for what it was. I enjoyed the characters, the continuation of the secondary storyline--princesses in hiding after an assassination attempt on the royal family in their country--and the romance that was just a touch dreamy. Though it was so not the romance I was expecting as Markham (Princess Louisa) and Somerton head off against each other as employer and secretary and are brought face to face with the revolution set on ending her life. Pretty...damn...awesome. *nods*

So the romance in this one. Why was it different? Well. For starters the hero is married for a good clip of the book. O.o Though his marriage is one of more or less convenience and his wife rather distant and a bit hostile towards him (and in love with someone else). And there's the fact that Louisa spends a good clip of the romance disguised as a man. So the romance is a secondary thing of sorts until way later in the story. But seeing these two together and getting to know each other as employer and employee, testing boundaries, feeling the twinges of attraction was still quite fun.

And then there's the characters. Oh how they made me waffle but made me love them too! I liked Louisa. She's a tough cookie and has so much weight on her shoulders as the eldest of the surviving royal family. She loves her country fiercely and hates being forced to abandon it, has a bit of a smart mouth--okay a lot of a smart mouth- and tries so hard in everything she does.

Now Somerton. Somerton was one I felt like I shouldn't have liked but still managed to enjoy. If that makes sense? He really was a scoundrel. Or rather...was at one point. He'd slept around with married women, had children with multiple mothers, went to brothels. around and really didn't care who with. Which kinda made him an ass. But most of that was in his past and though he saw very little good in himself presently he did have it in there. Even if it was way the hell deep down. He's truly a warrior. Gets his hands dirty and will do whatever it takes to protect what's his. There's something so damn sexy about that. Whewboy. So one of those heroes that really tested my limits morally but won me over in the end.
"I'm sorry." The words were soft, muttered into his shirt, either weakly or reluctantly.

"So you should be, Markham. Very sorry, indeed." He had reached the stairs, he was climbing them, he was cradling her against his chest. She smelled of some sort of feminine soap, floral, quite unlike her, but pleasant nonetheless. "You are a very great deal of trouble to me, you know. You always have been."

She sighed, and the warmth of her breath penetrated his skin and smothered his chest. "I have... always... endeavored... to give satisfaction."

"You are not required to give satisfaction, Markham." There was her door, white and quite at the end of the hall. The northeast corner, overlooking the lake and the sunrise. It had been his own room, after he left the nursery upstairs, before his father had died. "You are only required to recover your strength without doing yourself further injury. Is that so very much to ask?"

"No. It is just so...bloody boring."

God, she would kill him.
I liked them together. They were a good fit for each other and a nice mix of hard and soft. I liked how they slowly fell for each other, resisted and finally gave in (once his marriage wasn't an issue thank goodness). They bettered each other, gave each other hell and were there for one another when things got hard or dangerous. When life was held in the balance or things seemed hopeless. That for me was what totally made this read.

How to School Your Scoundrel was all about betrayals and trust. Fighting those set on destroying the royal family and Louisa claiming her thrown and bringing stability to her people. There are lots of twists and turns and uncertainties which made for an exciting read. This one does cover a large period of time (nearing in on a year) and on occasion the timeline for me was a bit muddled on how things pieced together but overall I liked that things were drawn out and thought it fit the two and their situation. Once again Gray gave a delightfully unique read that left me excited for more!

Have you read Gray? Have a favorite?
Do you enjoy characters that are undercover/in disguise?

More Gray on herding cats!

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