This book, and the spunky character of Lady Justine, hooked me from page one. With interspersed quotes from the guidebook How To Avoid a Scandal, Marvelle transports you back in time to witness first hand the blooming romance between Lady Justine and her dark, scarred husband Radcliffe, the Duke of Bradford. And it’s not as easy as it sounds for them to get together.
Justine grew up in South Africa, where her father studied the sexual habits of animals in the wild to better understand human relations. Now in London, she’s awkward and outcast, clinging to her etiquette book to fit into the ton society. The Duke, on the other hand, is quickly fascinated by her and offers his hand to Justine (there are some political moves happening here as well, but all in the background.) So now they’re married and it turns out he’s a sex addict with a torrid history of love ’em and leave ’ems. Oh yeah, he’s also afraid he’s going to hurt her so… he’s afraid to have sex with her and lose control.
She wants it bad, obviously, but her lord’s dark past threatens to get between them. His evil brother, his discarded (and pregnant!) mistress, and the suffocating memory of his own mother’s betrayal haunt him, driving him toward this addiction. Justine wants more than just lust from him, so there’s some repair work needed. Can they be honest with themselves and let their true feelings out?
The journey there is well told, gripping at times, and filled with sexually charged flirtations. And oh, the love scenes will make you drop the book by accident. Seriously.
So if you’re in the mood for an historical (and erotic) romance that’s more than light and playful banter, something that tackles heavy issues and the political climate of the times, pick up this book. It’s the first in Marvelle’s three-part Scandal series, and I already can’t wait to crack open #2.
The Three R’s
Rating: XX. This gets hot and heavy. You’ll be wishing for your own sex addict Duke by page 100.
Recommendation: Read this for something to warm you up during the cold winter months. You probably won’t want to tote something around with a cover like that… but I guess that’s why man invented the eReader. So we can read our smut in private while in public. Genius.
Re-Read: I’m not getting rid of this any time soon. You want one, get your own copy.