Classic Romance Review: Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase

I've mentioned before that I didn't grow up reading romance. In my high school years, I spent most of my time reading horror and suspense. I don't think I even realized romance novels existed since my mom didn't read them. So I missed a lot of the 80s and 90s romance novels that people consider classics. So I've been trying to weave those into my reading life.

One that I kept seeing mentioned and recommended as one of the romance cannon was Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase. I bought it a while back and it's been sitting there staring at me on my Kindle, so I finally decided to pick it up. I'm so glad I did.

 

First, here's the blurb:

They call him many names, but Angelic isn't one of them . . . 

Sebastian Ballister, the notorious Marquess of Dain, is big, bad, and dangerous to know. No respectable woman would have anything to do with the "Bane and Blight of the Ballisters"—and he wants nothing to do with respectable women. He's determined to continue doing what he does best—sin and sin again—and all that's going swimmingly, thank you . . . until the day a shop door opens and she walks in.

She's too intelligent to fall for the worst man in the world . . . 

Jessica Trent is a determined young woman, and she's going to drag her imbecile brother off the road to ruin, no matter what it takes. If saving him—and with him, her family and future—means taking on the devil himself, she won't back down. The trouble is, the devil in question is so shockingly irresistible, and the person who needs the most saving is—herself!

 

So I loved this book for a lot of reasons, but one main aspect stood out the most for me. It's a common thing in romance-reader land to pick our favorites because the hero is so swoony. I know as a writer that the hero can make or break a book. If you don't love the hero I write, I'm toast. In the same vein, we're often more critical of the heroines. (Like a hero who acts like a jerk gets a pass if he's redeemed, but a heroine who acts like a jerk is often labeled a bitch. I had to be very aware of this in By the Hour because I have quite a jerk of a heroine to start.) There are all kinds of reasons and theories about this I'm sure, but I'm just pointing it out because in Lord of Scoundrels, I loved the book because of the heroine. 

Now, I'm not saying the hero wasn't worth swooning over. Sebastian/Dain was confident, commanding, angst-ridden, and devilish. He was also maddening because he was so damn stubborn, hard-headed, and high-handed. But that's why Jessica was such a fantastic heroine. She was having NONE OF IT. She did not cower or give in or take any of his crap. She gets pissed and doesn't just hold her own, but goes on the offensive often. In fact, she gets so mad that she (mild spoiler warning) shoots the hero. And not in a fit of rage but in a calculated act of payback. It was hilarious. In fact, I found myself laughing at many points in this book because she often handles him as if he's a petulant child. And he is just confounded by a) how this woman is treating him and b) why he can't seem to resist her. So there's a lot of that love/hate dynamic going on, which I love.

Also, one thing I adore about the old school historical romances is that they're in no rush. You often get a full story, including seeing some of the hero and/or heroine's childhood. So even though this book isn't longer than a normal book, you feel like you really know the characters and have spent a lifetime with them. You feel like you've gone on a real journey.

So if you're looking for a sexy read with a lot of laughs, witty banter, and a heroine who is someone you'd want to have a drink with, grab this one

Who's read this one? What did you think?

I'm a Double RITA Award Finalist!!!

Just popping in to share my good news. Today is the day romance writers wait by their phones with bated breath, hoping to get a call from the Romance Writers of America (RWA) because today is RITA call day. The RITA is the romance community's equivalent to an Oscar.

I was lucky enough to win one last year for NICE GIRLS DON'T RIDE and this year, I've had two books final!!!! I'm super excited. This never, ever gets old. I'm over the moon.

Off the Clock is a finalist for the Best Erotic Romance of 2016

and 

Wanderlust is a finalist for the Best Mid-Length Contemporary Romance of 2016

I'm so beyond thrilled. And the Wanderlust nomination is extra special to me because Wanderlust is the first romance I ever wrote. I wrote it before I had an agent or book deal, before I wrote Crash Into You (my debut novel) and it lived "under my bed" for years. When I revamped it and Berkley decided to put it out last year, I was so happy to finally see my first book baby out there. I never expected it to get a RITA nomination on top of that. :)

The awards will be given out in July at the RWA national conference so I'll keep you posted. But for now, go check all the finalists. If you're looking to add new books to your TBR pile, this is a great place to start. RITA finalists are judged by other romance writers and we're a picky bunch, so this is a good list to find your new favorite read. I know I'll be buying a bunch of these. :)

Happy reading!

 

It's Release Day! The Loving on the Edge Bundle

It's release day! Woo-hoo!

This is my first boxed set and gathers together all four Loving on the Edge novellas, including the RITA-nominated BREAK ME DOWN, in one nice place with one sexy cover. That's almost 500 pages worth of smexiness, y'all. ;)

About the set:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Crash Into You comes four previously published Loving on the Edge novellas, together for the first time...

In Still Into You, married couple Seth and Leila head to The Ranch, a resort where any sexual fantasy can be had. Seth hopes to put the spark back in their marriage and to show Leila why he’s the only man for her...

In Forever Starts Tonight, two Dominant men and one submissive woman attempt to jumpstart their relationship with a getaway at a mountain cabin. When they get snowed in, however, the heat between them reaches a fever pitch, and secrets come out...

In Yours All Along, two men, Devon and Hunter, shared a hot night in college, but an accident tore their relationship apart. Four years later, Hunter is a professional baseball player, engaged to a woman, and in Devon’s bar. Neither man can get that one night off their minds...

In Break Me Down, Samantha Dunbar and sexy executive Gibson Andrews are Dominants, and according to Gibson, that makes them incompatible. But after an attack shakes Sam to her core, Gibson finds himself unable to let her go...

Grab your copy:  Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

And for those of you who've already read the novellas (thank you!), I'd be forever grateful if you could leave a review on the boxed set. Reviews help tremendously with visibility in Amazon search and such, so I'm sending you all the heart eyes if you're so inclined. :)

Happy reading!