For the ladies and lords of the ton, London Society is a place of rules. No one speaks aloud of the dark gaming hells, where sin and debauchery beckon. Those who run these exclusive clubs live and die by the dangerous rules of the streets, shunning the very nobility who fill their coffers. This is certainly no place for matchmaking, proper marriage contracts, or any kind of propriety. Indeed, these men may run the most notorious gaming hell in London, but even the wickedest of gentlemen aren’t immune to the greatest vice of all—love.
About The Scoundrel’s Honor Thanks to her older siblings, Lady Penelope Tidemore is no stranger to scandal. In order for her to make a good match, her secret longings for intrigue and romance must be quelled. Yet it is through terrible mischance that Penelope is caught in a compromising position—however innocent—with the darkly enigmatic viscount Ryker Black.
Mr. Black is no gentleman. Raised from the streets and proprietor of the most notorious gaming hell in London, Black lives in a world filled with debauchery and danger. Taking a Society wife from the very ton he despises is not part of his plan, even if the innocent Penelope turns his blood hot with desire. But Penelope isn’t afraid of Mr. Black, and she soon discovers that his reputation as a scoundrel may be designed to hide a surprising vulnerability. As this unlikely husband and wife grow closer, they learn that what started as chance could end up sealing their fates.
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The Scoundrel’s Honor (Sinful Brides)
Lady Penelope Tidemore has just make her debut in society, and is determined to behave with the utmost decorum, and not add to her family’s already scandalous reputation. When some intentionally hateful remarks are made within her earshot, she escapes outside for some solitude. As she hears another set of footsteps approach, Penny knows she can’t be caught alone with a man, so she proceeds to hide under a bench.
Ryker Banbury (who goes by the last name of Black) was recently awarded the title of Viscount Chatham, but he is no gentleman. He is the bastard son of a duke, who was raised in the slums of the city by a cruel criminal. As he got older, he formed a “family” with four other street children, and they own a gaming hell. Ryker is only at this event because one of his siblings has now married into society, and he feels that the connection will benefit his club. His life is one of constant danger from rivals, and when Penny unfortunately makes a noise and becomes partially visible, Ryker pounces on her, fearing an enemy attack. Of course, it’s at that moment that several people come outside and witness this, causing a scandal.
There is no doubt that Penny is now ruined. Though her brother assures her she does not have to marry, Penny knows that her younger sister, who hasn’t yet made her debut, will not stand a chance in society if she doesn’t. So Penny puts aside her lifelong dream of marrying for love, and weds the cold, hard man who has only scorn for nobles, and goes off to live with him in his gaming hell.
Though many novels have used this trope, I have to say that Ryker is about the most distant, unsmiling, cold man I’ve read about. His brothers are the same way – there are no friends for Penny in her new home. Everyone has an intense hatred for the ton and resents her intrusion into their world. Penny even has to endure the indignity of having Ryker’s former mistress in the house.
Yet, Penny has an unworldly maturity for someone only eighteen years old. She takes the barbs and arrows directed at her with dignity, and treats Ryker and his brothers like family. While Ryker unbends enough to share passion with his new wife, whenever she makes a slight inroad into learning about him personally, he beats a hasty retreat.
THE SCOUNDREL’S HONOR is my first experience with author Christi Caldwell, and she writes very, very well. There are previous books which tell the stories of Penny’s three older siblings, but I didn’t feel lost for not having read them. This book placed two polar opposite characters together in a seemingly impossible situation, yet let them grow toward each other to form a strong union and love. The romantic and tender hearted Penelope develops strength and determination, while the self contained Ryker finally allows himself to show some vulnerability and admit that he needs help. Their growth made for a most enjoyable read, and while their relationship solidified, there are many loose ends left dangling. I expect this will lead to upcoming books in this series, which I am definitely anticipating.