Monday, September 8, 2014

A Rogue by Any Other Name (The Rules of Scoundrels #1) by Sarah MacLean

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.

Type: Historical Romance
Heat: 3 out of 5
Rating: 4 out of 5

Amazon | All Romance | Book Depository | BAM | Goodreads

Oh, man. I've never wanted to de-ball a hero quite as much as Michael Lawler. Holy hell. A Rogue by Any Other Name was...quite the experience as a ruthless and determined Bourne makes a play to get back something he lost...and uses his former best friends as a means to an end to get what he thinks he needs and wants.

Okay so the quick of it is that right after inheriting his title Michael lost everything to someone he thought he could trust and he's spent a decade cut off from everything in his past, building himself back up and trying to get back his inheritance. An inheritance that's found it's way into another's hands and is being used as a dowry for his former best friend--Penelope. If he lands a marriage to her...he gets everything back again. And by damn he's going to make this happen even if he has to compromise her and force her hand.

Whew boy. Like I said. This man was an absolute prick and had being a jerk down to a freaking science! I love a bad boy, but damn me. I wanted to lay a hurting on him most of the book as he ruthlessly took what he wanted no matter who he hurt. I struggled a lot with Michael. The book had little flashbacks--in the form of letters between the two--where you saw a sweet side of him and lordy he totally grabbed my heart. And he could have his moments in present life too that made me want to swoon a little. He'd totally pull me in then BAM he'd pull another dick move and made me want to smack him about. lol He was a definite work in progress
"Why are you traipsing through the darkness in the dead of night in the middle of nowhere?"

He'd avoided her question, yes, but Penelope didn't care. "It's not the middle of nowhere. We're no more than a half a mile from either of our houses."

"You could have been set upon by a highwayman, or a thief, or a kidnapper, or--"

"A pirate. Or a bear. I've already considered all the options."

The Michael she had once known would have smiled. This one did not. "There are no bears in Surrey."

"Pirates would be rather a surprise, too, don't you think?"
“I’ll ask you one more time. Why are you here?”

She did not think of ignoring the question. “I saw your lantern; I came to investigate.”

“You came, in the middle of the night, to investigate a strange light in the woods of a house that has been uninhabited for sixteen years.”

“It’s only been uninhabited for nine years.”

He paused. “I don’t remember your being so exasperating.”

“Then you don’t remember me very well..."
Penelope, though, was wonderful heroine and absolutely stole my heart. She wants more from life than a loveless marriage and having to be perfect and proper. It was so hard watching everyone--Michael and her family--trample all over her and not realize how much they hurt her feelings time and time again. She was so strong though. I loved her whit and her determination to do something about her situation and seeing her take her life in her own hands. She was just a great heroine that had the mama bear in me coming out full force wanting to protect her.

The two together were interesting. I spent so much time frustrated on her behalf and the other half wanting them to work it out. I loved seeing their early years together via the letters they wrote back and forth before his path got so derailed. Seeing Michael start to slowly change and woo his wife all proper. Seeing Penelope just being her. It was frustrating and wonderful all kinda mixed up together.

Even though A Rogue by Any Other Name wasn't at all what I was expecting--it wasn't nearly as light hearted as previous books I've read of hers--it was a wonderful experience. I love when an author can really make me feel...something so strongly like I did with these two. With wonderful writing, flawed and interesting characters and a heart-tugging story of redemption MacLean won me over once again.

Have you read Sarah MacLean?
Do you like bad boy heroes? Ones that really, really have to redeem themselves? 
Do you have a favorite "forced to marry" story? 

More MacLean on herding cats!

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