Tue
Aug 19 2014 8:30am

First Look: Sabrina Jeffries’s How the Scoundrel Seduces (August 19, 2014)

How the Scoundrel Seduces by Sabrina JeffriesSabrina Jeffries
How the Scoundrel Seduces (Duke's Men)
Pocket / August 19, 2014 / $7.99 print & digital

The third deliciously sexy novel in the New York Times bestselling Duke’s Men historical romance series, featuring an investigator who sets out to find gypsies—and unexpectedly finds love.

Investigator Tristan Bonnaud has one aim in life—to make sure that his half-brother George can’t ever ruin his life again. So when the pesky Lady Zoe Keane, the daughter of the Earl of Olivier, shows up demanding that the Duke’s Men find a mysterious gypsy woman, he seizes the opportunity to also hunt for a gypsy friend who knows secrets about George. Tristan doesn’t expect to uncover Lady Zoe’s family secrets, as well…or end up falling for the woman who will risk all to discover the truth.

How does the Scoundrel seduce? First, he’ll bewitch the pesky heroine with his good looks. Then he’ll tell her the news that she needs to hear, even if it makes her pout. (Think Rhett Butler telling Scarlett O’Hara that Ashley isn’t the right man for her.) Next, he’ll convince her with one hot make-out session that he can awaken her sexual desires. Follow this with him looking out for her, protecting her interests, and just being an all-around rugged independent man—and our heroine is successfully seduced!

Sabrina Jeffries’s How the Scoundrel Seduces is the bad boy’s story in The Duke’s Men series. Tristan is not “bad” in a rakish, womanizing way, but he’s done a few illegal things to care of his family, and he’d feel more comfortable hanging out with criminals in a brothel instead of lords and ladies in a parlor room. He’s also a private investigator working for The Duke’s Men, so he doesn’t shy away from danger or breaking societal norms. Tristan and Zoe’s romance has such a captivating introduction that I was compelled to read the first two books in the series. Not only does Sabrina Jeffries write sizzling hot couples, but the rich character history and the charismatic secondary characters that she develops in this series had me enthralled. Tristan is the older brother of the heroine in book #1, and an assisting investigator in book #2. Book #3 is his story, and finally we get a few answers to his family’s mystery.

The overall tone and attitude towards the class divide makes How the Scoundrel Seduces a refreshing read. We’re still in a wealthy setting with high-society standards, but now the characters are savvier, and actively seeking solutions to their issues. Our hero, Tristan, is the bastard son of a Viscount, and he’s although he is amused by Lady Zoe’s dilemma, which could reveal some answers about his own family, he is still holds the belief that Zoe is too haughty and high-born to ever want a real relationship with him. Zoe needs Tristan’s help to uncover her family’s history. Is she really gypsy-born? Is she only a Lady in name? Is she not a true member of the ton? While she frets, and despite oodles of magnetism between the two, Tristan doesn’t feel a fig of remorse or pity for her concerns about status.

God save him from silly young ladies of rank. With nothing better to do than attend balls and flirt, they created dramatic tragedies in their lives to make up for the fact that they were bored.

Zoe could always throw herself at her American cousin, with a marriage to solidify her status within the family ranks, thus keeping her inheritance and estate secure. But Zoe truly doesn’t want a relationship without love. Should she take a gamble for true love and give up worrying over her status? It’s the golden recipe for sexy bantering between the hero and heroine.

“Love?” he said with a roll of his eyes. “Oh, for God’s sake-”
“What? You think it impossible that I might marry for love?”
“Not you specifically. Anyone. It’s naïve to plan ones future around an unattainable dream. You’re begging to be disappointed.”

Ha! Famous last words, Tristan. Although Lady Zoe grew up in a snooty environment, she still has “dash” and enough feistiness to go after what she wants. It’s Lady Zoe’s faith in love and HEA that ultimately seduces Tristan. And she doesn’t want to admit it, but as the romance develops, we see that she really does value being more independent, instead feeling stuffed neatly into the role of Lady of the estate.

By the end of the book, you'll be seduced, too.

Learn more about or order a copy of How the Scoundrel Seduces by Sabrina Jeffries, out now:

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Jena Briars is a California girl living in D.C., feeding her brain one romance novel at a time...When she’s not busy at work, or being distracted (sometimes ambushed) by her cat, she reviews romances on her website Throughout the Pages.

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