by Sarah MacLean
Series: Scandal and Scoundrel #1
Genres: Historical Romance
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LADY SOPHIE'S SOCIETY SPLASHThe youngest of the infamous Talbot sisters scandalized society at the Liverpool Summer Soiree, striking her sister’s notoriously philandering husband and landing him backside-first in a goldfish pond. And we thought Sophie was the quiet one… When she finds herself the target of very public aristocratic scorn, Sophie Talbot does what she must to escape the city and its judgment—she flees on the back of a carriage, vowing never to return to London…or to society. But the carriage isn’t saving her from ruin. It’s filled with it. ROYAL ROGUE'S REIGN OF RAVISHMENT! The Marquess of Eversley was espied descending a rose trellis—escaping an irate Earl and his once-future countess. No lady is safe from Eversley’s Engagement Ending Escapades! Kingscote, the Marquess of Eversley, has never met a woman he couldn’t charm, a quality that results in a reputation far worse than the truth, a furious summons home, and a long, boring trip to the Scottish border. When King discovers stowaway Sophie, however, the trip becomes anything but boring. WAR? OR MORE? He thinks she’s trying to trick him into marriage. She wouldn’t have him if he were the last man on earth. But carriages bring close quarters, dark secrets, and unbearable temptation, and suddenly opposites are altogether too attractive…
There is nothing I love more than snuggling by the fire with a Sarah MacLean novel. That is exactly what I did with her newest novel The Rogue Not Taken. The first in her new Scandal & Scoundrels series, The Rogue Not Taken was filled with banter, mischief, angst and two flawed characters I fell in love with.
The Talbot sisters are the talk of the ton, but the youngest Sophie has managed to avoid scandal, mostly because she detests the aristocratic snobs. She is not interested in the tabloids and much prefers to lose herself within a book. While attending the Liverpool Summer Soiree she stumbles upon her pregnant sister’s husband having a romp with someone other than his wife. Outraged she lashes out, shoving the Duke into a pond before the ton. He vows to ruin her. Determined to make her escape she flees and finds herself on quite the adventure.
Sophie was a pure joy. She is smart, and mischievous. I found myself giggling aloud and wondered what she would do next. She is also brave, a little naïve and has a knack for getting herself into trouble. She is not without flaws and MacLean did a wonderful job of allowing her to grow.
At first glance Kingscote, the Marquess of Eversley is a dirty scoundrel, racing about the countryside in his carriage and deflowering engaged woman. We soon discover his flaws and the past that has affected him. He seems carefree and selfish but as MacLean peeled back, his layers I slowly fell for this sensitive man. The rode was a rough one, as I sometimes wanted to give him a sound smack on the back of the head but alas, he wooed me with his charms.
Sophie began her journey seeking to reach her home in Mayfair, and ends up instead traveling to the town she and her family left some ten years ago. She plans to build a life far from the ton and open a bookstore. She wants to open a bookstore!! How could I not connect and adore her?
The romance was slow building and began with each being annoyed by the other. The banter and witty dialogue was delicious and I soon became caught up in the adventure. Danger, tender moments and conflict soon led to passion and painful moments as these two had to overcome their own issues. Once we reached the midway point of the book, it was painful to set it down despite wanting to savoir it.
The families, servants, and folks we met along the way all added to the story while helping us both understand and connect to our characters.
We do experience some angst as we enter the final stages of The Rogue Not Taken, but it was well done and made the road to our HEA all the sweeter. The story wrapped up wonderfully and MacLean even provided a lovely epilogue.
Fans of delicious banter, adventure and swoon-worthy historical romance will delight in The Rogue Not Taken. We get a tiny sneak peek at book two, A Scot in the Dark set to release in 2016 and I myself cannot wait for this delicious tale!
Read an Excerpt
King could see it, the life she wanted. The line of little girls, blue-eyed and brown-haired, in love with books and strawberry tarts. For a moment, he imagined them smiling at him the way their mother did, filled with happiness and hope.
For a moment, he let himself believe he might be able to give it to her.
But she would want love, and he would never be able to give it.
He didn’t have it to give anymore. And those children, they would never be his.
He set her down on the edge of the fountain, coming to his knees, as though she was Ariadne and he the Minotaur, worshipping at her feet, adoring her even as he knew she could not survive in the labyrinth, and he could not survive beyond it.
“Tell me about last night,” he said softly, looking up at her, his hands at the hem of her skirts.
“What—” She caught her breath as his fingers explored the skin of her ankles. “What about it?”
“I hated it,” he said. “I hated stopping.”
She pressed her lips into a thin, straight line. “I hated that you stopped.”
His hands were beneath her skirts, pushing them back, farther and farther, up and over her knees. He pressed his lips to the inside of her knee, swirling his tongue there, loving the little gasp of surprised pleasure that came at the touch.
“I hate that I will have to stop today, as well.”