Beyond Scandal and Desire is the first book in the new Sins for All Seasons series by Lorraine Heath. This author is one of the very few historical romance authors on my auto-buy list, so I didn’t even read the blurb when I added it to my TBR list.
But then I read the summary and was like OH HECK YES.
At birth, Mick Trewlove, the illegitimate son of a duke, was handed over to a commoner. Despite his lowly upbringing, Mick has become a successful businessman, but all his wealth hasn’t satisfied his need for revenge against the man who still won’t acknowledge him. What else can Mick do but destroy the duke’s legitimate son—and woo the heir’s betrothed into his own unloving arms . . .
Orphaned and sheltered, Lady Aslyn Hastings longs for a bit of adventure. With her intended often preoccupied, Aslyn finds herself drawn to a darkly handsome entrepreneur who seems to understand her so well. Surely a lady of her station should avoid Mick Trewlove. If only he weren’t so irresistible . . .
As secrets are about to be exposed, Mick must decide if his plan for vengeance is worth risking what his heart truly desires.
I am here for bastard heroes who succeed on their own and are out for a bit of revenge. Totally here for it.
This romance starts out slow. Very, very slow. I almost put this book down and picked up something else so many times. This being the first book in a series I understood that the author had to do a lot of set up, character development and so on, but that didn’t stop me from getting bored during the first 40% or so.
Mick is out for revenge against the father who gave him away on the day of his birth. Just gave him to a poor widow not knowing if she would care for him or let him die. He’ll do what ever he can to get his father to acknowledge his bastard, even ruin his half-brother, the heir to the dukedom, and steal away from him the woman who is his presumed betrothed. He will use his brother’s gambling and alcohol addictions against him and gradually move in and woo Lady Aslyn.
Aslyn is a sheltered young woman who isn’t allowed out of the house unless she is accompanied by two maids and two footmen.She longs for a little freedom and adventure, but would never worry the couple who have cared for her since her parent’s death. She’s always assumed that she would marry and settle down with her guardian’s son, her childhood friend Kip, but since running into the mysterious Mick Trewlove and his sister she is suddenly seeing a side of Kip that she knows she’ll never be able to live with. And it’s Mick who she can’t help thinking about. Mick who fascinates her and makes her want to break rules of propriety she’s adhered to all her life.
I liked the thought of Mick and Aslyn’s romance more than the actual romance. The bad boy hero from the wrong side of the blanket falling for a woman who has been sheltered all her life, sounds good right? It was, the problem was nothing happens between them until after the 60% mark. Mitch inserts himself in Aslyn’s life by running into her ‘accidentally’ during shopping excursions and finding out what time she generally takes walks in the park, and by using Kip’s addictions against him by making bets that will ensure he brings Aslyn to events she wouldn’t normally attend. It was slow going and I understood why, I was just impatient with the process. Once they do finally connect emotionally and intimately I became a bit more invested in them as a couple.
I will say that I am captivated by Mick’s family. Four men and two women, raised by a widow who took in unwanted babies and raised them as her own. They are loyal to each other, and have a strong bond that has carried through from childhood into their adult lives. They are a family by choice, not blood, and I loved that. It’s obvious that each of these characters will in time get their own stories and that makes me very happy.
I was also intrigued by the mystery of why Mick’s father would sire a bastard child and then abandon him, especially since it was shown time and again that the Duke and Duchess of Hedley were incredibly devoted to each other. Aslyn repeatedly spoke highly of her guardian’s so I knew all wasn’t as it appeared to be. Once the truth came out I was surprised, and saddened. It was an ending I did not see coming, and it makes me wonder what other surprises this author has in store for the rest of the series.
I didn’t end up enjoying Beyond Scandal and Desire as much as I hoped I would, but I am looking forward to the next book in the series. Final Grade- C
Kissing her was the best decision he’d ever made in his life. Kissing her was the worst decision he’d ever made in his life.