Title: When the Scoundrel Sins Author: Anna Harrington
On Sale: August 29, 2017 Series: Capturing the Carlisles: Book 2
Publisher: Forever Format: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.99 USD Add to Goodreads
Six years ago, a childish prank perpetrated by the reckless Quinton Carlisle ruined Annabelle Greene’s reputation and any chance she had at securing a successful marriage. Incensed, she moved to her beloved estate on the Scottish border and has reveled in the solitude…until now when the contents of a family will are revealed. Suddenly, Belle’s single status may cost her the only home she’s ever known. Now, with her only marital prospect a horribly greedy and completely undesirable man, Belle knows just the person to rescue her-the one person who owes her for his bad behavior…
There’s nothing Quinn Carlisle wants more than to get out from his older brother’s shadow and make a name for himself abroad. So when a mysterious letter arrives, promising adventure, he rushes to the Scottish border…only to find that Belle laid a trap for him. The awkward, shy bluestocking whom he so enjoyed tormenting is gone, replaced by a graceful, elegant woman who ignites a desire in him he can’t resist. Can Quinn help her save her home-and win her heart in the process?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anna Harrington fell in love with historical romances–and all those dashing Regency heroes–while living in London, where she studied literature and theatre. She loves to travel, fly airplanes, and hike, and when she isn’t busy writing her next novel, she loves fussing over her roses in her garden.
READ AN EXCERPT:
“You look much more like your father now,” she commented, nervously licking her suddenly dry lips but only serving to draw his attention to her mouth. Which made her even more nervous, so nervous that she couldn’t stop the trembling of her fingertips as they wrapped into the skirt of her night rail. “But you’re still a troublemaker.”
A faint smile played at his mouth. “And you’re still a bluestocking,” he countered. Unintentionally simmering a slow heat low in her belly, he reached up to tuck a stray curl behind her ear. “Still retreating to the sanctuary of your library.”
“Because books are usually more pleasant than most people,” she answered, swallowing hard when he trailed his fingers down the side of her neck. She forced out, not at all as firmly as she’d hoped beneath the soft touch of his fingers,
“And more trustworthy.”
Ignoring that jab, he slid his hand lower to let his fingers play at the edge of her shawl. “Yet there are things that people can do that books can’t.” His fingers tugged gently at the shawl and pulled it down her shoulder to reveal the scooped neck of the nightdress beneath. His gaze flicked to the small patch of revealed skin at the base of her throat, then back to her eyes. “All kinds of interesting things.”
She should stop him, swat his hand away, shove him back—but she couldn’t bring herself to do it. Just as she couldn’t hold back the hot shiver that swept through her or the gooseflesh that formed on her skin. His touch was proving to be as equally intoxicating now as that night six years ago.
“Then I have no interest in learning them,” she countered, although from the way her blood hummed, her body was very interested.
Madness—that after what he’d done to her, she could ever want to be in his arms again. Yet she desired just that, although that could never happen. Kissing him once had ruined her reputation. Kissing him again might destroy her entire future.
She thrust her chin into the air. “I know of your reputation.”
“Thank you,” he half purred.
His finger hooked beneath the wide shoulder strap of her sleeveless nightgown and slid it slowly down her arm. But this time, with a stretch of bare shoulder revealed to his eyes, he didn’t bother feigning propriety by looking away and instead flamed a prickling heat beneath her skin everywhere he gazed.
She pulled in a deep breath to steady herself. Oh, why did she always go light-headed when she was alone with him?
“That was not meant as a compliment.”
Annabelle “Belle” Green is the daughter of a housekeeper and a thieving wastrel who eventually ended up in prison, leaving them penniless. Fortunately, they are brought into the household of Lord and Lady Ainsley, a kind and caring couple, who keep Belle on as a companion after her mother dies. They love Belle and treat her like a daughter, even going so far as to provide a season for her. But Lady Ainsley’s nephew, Quinton Carlisle, continues his teasing and tormenting of Belle at her first ball, stealing a kiss, then getting into a fight over her. Belle’s position in society had been precarious, at best, but now she’s ignored by everyone due to the ensuing scandal.
Quinton has always loved teasing Belle, nicknaming her “Bluebell,” because she has bluestocking tendencies and always had her nose in a book. When he sees her grown up, he can’t resist stealing a kiss, not realizing the repercussions that his actions would cause. Now, six years later, he’s summoned by his aunt to Glenavon Castle, one of the late Lord Ainsley’s estates. It seems that Lord Ainsley bequeathed the estate to Belle, but only on condition that she marry by age twenty-five or it will be given to the church. Lord Ainsley’s intention was solely to protect Belle from her crooked father, but now she’s rapidly approaching her birthday, and has a decided lack of suitors. Lady Ainsley’s hope is that Quinton will marry Belle, but she tells him that she needs his help to weed out unsuitable prospective husbands. Quinton is on the brink of traveling to America to start a new life, but he agrees to his aunt’s request to stay.
Belle and Quinton immediately feel the same attraction that caused all the trouble six years ago, and Quinton still acts like a naughty schoolboy who never grew up, teasing and annoying and tempting Belle. Quinton’s plans to go to America are actually his first steps toward maturity. He’s the third son of a duke, and wants to distance himself from his father’s name and make it on his own. There is an estate waiting for him, where he can succeed or fail on his own merit. When Belle learns his plans, she decides to propose to him. He could run Glenavon Castle with her, still fulfilling his dream, or, if he wants, she’s even agreeable to his going to America. She is crushed when Quinton turns her down, emphasizing that he will never marry.
Although I can understand both Belle’s and Quinton’s motivations and reasoning, their stubbornness did become tedious. Quinton refuses to marry, even though he greatly desires Belle, and this marriage will give him a home and estate. He fears love may come intruding, and he’s seen how losing a loved one can hurt. Also, the estate would really be Belle’s – never his. So he continues to drive away all prospective suitors before Belle even has a chance to meet them. As for Belle, she finally decides to give in and marry a fortune hunter, a man she feels no liking or respect for, just so that she will have a home, even though it would be under her husband’s control.
As Belle’s birthday draws closer, it feels impossible that this couple will ever be together, other than for a temporary, passionate affair. Will a dramatic event be enough to shake them up, and open their hearts to what they truly feel and what’s really important? WHEN THE SCOUNDREL SINS concludes with a resolution that I found satisfying, and which gives both Belle and Quinton what they each need, and so much more.
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