I have several go-to historical romance authors. Lisa Kleypas, Anna Campbell, Anne Mallory, and Jennifer Ashley are just a few that I will read without question. Since 2011 Sarah MacLean has made a pretty good push to be added to this list. A Rogue By Any Other Name is the first book in her new series, The Rule of Scoundrels.
Michael Lawler, the Marquess of Bourne, lost everything in a card game at the young age of 21. He lost it to Langford, the man who had been watching over his estate since his parents’ death. Embarrassed and shamed, Bourne left society, never to be seen again. He appears back on the radar as one of the co-owners of The Fallen Angel, a gaming hell. How ironic that he lost everything to a game yet now he owns a gaming hell. To his credit he has not place a wager since that fateful day.
We last saw Penelope in Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart where she broke of her engagement with the Duke of Leighton. Eight years have passed since the broken engagement and her family is still suffering the consequences. Two of her sisters have made good matches but you could easily say they settled and Penelope has turned away a handful of unappealing marriage proposals. Her mother is just as dreadful as ever. When Penelope’s father wins Falcolnwell from Langford and attached those lands to her dowry, Bourne will stop at nothing to marry her and get his property back.
Michael (Bourne), Penelope and Langford (the younger son) were close friends when they were younger. So close that even when Michael went off to school he and Penelope would write back and forth. When the scandal happened, Michael stopped writing and turned on Langford because he was associated with his father. For eight years, Penelope continued to write Michael even though he never responded.
Bourne is my type of historical romance hero. He is a big, fat jerk at the beginning of this book. He lives only for his revenge against Langford. He will stop at nothing to have it. So kidnapping and ruining Penelope so she has to marry him is just another step in the process. The excellent thing about this kind of hero is you know they are going to fall hard and fast. We just get to sit back and enjoy the process. Emotions always get in the way of the revenge plans and this book was no different. I loved watching Bourne tumble.
Penelope is a fantastic heroine. There are several heartbreaking moments where Bourne turns her away because he is trying to resist her pull. Her reaction is very poignant and I like that she followed through with it. There was no wishy-washy on the outside for her. Inside she might want to cave but outside she stuck to her guns. She made Bourne earn his way back to her.
The best part about the book is that there are three other, equally intriguing, partners in The Fallen Angel. Their stories promise to be just as good as Bourne and Penelope especially Cross who is next on the list. I cannot wait to get my hands on that book! Ms. MacLean did not disappoint with the first book in this new series. I was very pleased. Oh and the epilogue is fantastic. I was waiting for that very moment and I am so glad it was added. Final grade- A-
“You cannot simply carry me off like….like….a sheep!”
His stride broke for a split second. “A sheep?”
She paused , obviously rethinking the comparison. “Don’t farmers carry sheep over their shoulders?”
“I have never seen such a thing, but you’ve lived in the country longer than I, so…If you say I am treating you like a sheep, so be it.”
“You evidently do not care that I feel as though I have been ill-treated.”
“If it is any comfort, I do not plan to shear you.”