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.
The Marquess of Bourne wants 2 things. He wants to get his family land back from the man who basically scammed him out of it and he wants revenge on that man. You see when he was just 21 Bourne’s guardian and Bourne gambled together. Bourne lost everything to his guardian – which was exactly what said guardian wanted.
Bourne pulled himself up by his bootstraps and eventually became one of four owners in a gambling hell called The Fallen Angel. He has wealth but he isn’t a happy man. He wants his land back! When he finds that his childhood friend, Penelope, has had the land attached to her dowry he’ll stop at nothing to marry her. He doesn’t want Penelope, although he’s had feelings for her in the past (which he won’t admit to), but he’ll do anything to get what he wants. He basically kidnaps Penelope and convinces her to marry him if he can find good matches for her sisters as well. He agrees but he doesn’t want any kind of marriage with Penelope…he just doesn’t truly explain that to her.
Penelope has one night of passion with her new husband and then is left to her own devices. She is ignored and when Bourne does come around he is disdainful and wants Penelope to stay far away from him. Now he does have his reasons…he thinks he’s not good enough for his wife and doesn’t want to take her down to the level he feels he’s at and is going down further once he gets his revenge. Now I know that Bourne is tormented by his past but I really thought he was pretty brutal with Penelope at times. It truly didn’t endear the man to me at all.
Penelope is left to think on matters and knows that if Bourne follows through with his revenge he will not be the happy man that he believes he will be. Penelope tries to get Bourne to see things from her point of view but it takes quite a lot to get through Bourne’s thick skull.
I gotta tell you I did not like Bourne throughout most of the book. It was pretty hard for me to even think about or hope for an HEA for Penelope with man who was so nasty to her. I obviously read his thoughts and he was as torn as she was for most of it but he was still an ass to her feeling that it was for her own good. Now, he started to grow on me about ¾ of the way through the story and eventually had his brain kick in. When that happened I wanted nothing more than for him to profess his love to Penelope and have them become the couple they should be.
Penelope was sweet and innocent at the beginning of the book. She’s had a tough time of it with a broken engagement by a man who was in love with someone else (Leighton from Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart) and then the scandal that followed. Her sisters’ marital matches were her parents’ priority and it made my heart hurt that they just weren’t thinking of her and her feelings at all. Her sisters were – but her parents? Not so much. During the course of the book Penelope grew into an incredibly strong woman who could stand up for herself and give as well as she got. I really admired her by the end of the book and loved reading about her.
Throughout the book we get to see correspondence that Penelope and Bourne (Michael) wrote back and forth but after Bourne’s gamble it was only Penelope who wrote to Bourne with no replies. I thought this was heartwrenching as she was trying to share he life with a man who couldn’t be bothered to reply. I loved the letters though and thought they added much to the story.
I love MacLean’s writing and this book was no different. She has a great way with words and makes the pages come alive with characters. She definitely had me pulling for the couple near the end. Now I can’t wait to read the next book as MacLean tempted us beyond all else with the what might happen in the next book.
Rating: 4.25 out of 5