The Rogue Not Taken (Scandal and Scoundrel #1)
Avon / December 29, 2015 / $7.99 print, $6.99 digital
Lady Sophie's Society Splash!
When Sophie, the least interesting of the Talbot sisters, lands her philandering brother-in-law backside-first in a goldfish pond in front of all society, she becomes the target of very public aristocratic scorn. Her only choice is to flee London, vowing to start a new life far from the aristocacy. Unfortunately, the carriage in which she stows away isn't saving her from ruin . . . it's filled with it.
Rogue's Reign of Ravishment!
Kingscote, “King,” the Marquess of Eversley, has never met a woman he couldn't charm, resulting in a reputation far worse than the truth, a general sense that he's more pretty face than proper gentleman, and an irate summons home to the Scottish border. When King discovers stowaway Sophie, however, the journey becomes anything but boring.
War? Or More?
He thinks she's trying to trick him into marriage. She wouldn't have him if he were the last man on earth. But carriages bring close quarters, dark secrets, and unbearable temptation, making opposites altogether too attractive...
Sarah MacLean is an automatic buy for me when it comes to historical romance. If I even smell the slightest hint that she has a new book coming out? I am pre-ordering that sucker faster than you can say pre-order. Because her stories are like crack, where I feel so emotionally attached to the characters and can’t seem to pull myself away in order to do basic necessities like sleeping, eating…you get the drift. The Rogue Not Taken is probably my next favorite of hers besides my first love, Nine Rules. The writing is so clever and the story felt like a play, unfolding in three acts.
Act 1 – The Scandal: Lady Sophie Talbot, daughter to the recently anointed Earl of Wight, is most definitely not a descendant of blue blood. Everywhere the Soiled S’s or the Dangerous Daughters appear, as Sophie and her sisters are known for, scandal erupts. Usually the one who remains in the background, we learn that Sophie has backbone and a fierce loyalty to her family. Enter the scandal. She pushes her brother-in-law, the Duke of Haven, into a fish pond in front of the ton, after she finds him in an assignation with a young woman demonstrably not her 9 months pregnant sister. You go girlfriend.
As you can imagine, the Duke vows to make her entire family pay for the monstrosity. So she asks for transport back to Mayfair from none other than Kingscote, Marquess of Eversley, aka, the Royal Rogue. When he refuses, she stows away on his carriage, only to learn too late, that the last place he was headed was Mayfair. This first act is filled with banter between Sophie and King that is laced with anger about everything they both dislike about the ton, directed at one another.
No one else in the family seemed to have any trouble at all adjusting to this world that Sophie had never wanted. For which she’d never asked.
And so it was that there, in the gardens of the Liverpool estate, with all of London looking on, that Sophie grew tired of pretending that she was one of these people. That she belonged in this place. That she needed its acceptance…
“Take me with you.”
He barked a single expression of shock. “Ah. No.”
“So many reasons, poppet. Not the least of which is this – I’ve no intention of being saddled with one of the Soiled S’s.”
She stiffened at the moniker. Most people did not call them such to their faces. She supposed she should expect nothing less from this horrible man. “I do not intend to ensnare you, Lord Eversley. I assure you, even if I had had such an idea, this interaction” – she waved a hand back and forth between them – “would have cured me of such an affliction.”
…She was beginning to hate him.
She nodded. “Fine. You leave me no choice but to resort to extreme measures.” His brows rose. “Take me, or lose your boot.”
Act 2 – The Stowaway: In which our Marquess and Lady Sophie begin to peel away the outside layers that are used to protect their true selves from society. Forced to travel together, they begin to realize that the other is not what they originally thought. That Lady Sophie wasn’t actually unfun, but rather fun and adventurous, independent and compassionate. That the Marquess did care for others than himself, even if he keeps mentioning the opposite. We see how they both try not to fall for one another and begrudgingly admit that maybe first impressions aren’t always the most accurate.
She lifted one shoulder. “As we’ve established, I don’t value the gossip pages.”
He watched her for a long moment before he said, “That’s not why you mind it.”
“No,” she said, “I mind it because it devalues us. They’re my sisters. We are people. With feelings. We exist. And it seems that the world fails to see that. Fails to see them.”
“Fails to see you,” he said.
“I don’t wish to be seen,” she lied. “I just wish to be free of it.”
His green gaze consumed her. “I see you, Sophie.”
…It was useful to have the break to remind himself of all the reasons why he didn’t want her. Why he didn’t even enjoy her.
She was the very opposite of women he enjoyed.
Except she wasn’t.
Act 3 – The Seduction: Our fated lovers finally realize they are falling in love. And the falling is heavenly.
“What is it?” She couldn’t meet his eyes, her gaze falling to his hand, where it was fisted at his thigh, knuckles white, as though he was holding something tightly.
She spoke to that hand, beginning again. “I wished to say…”
I wished to say that I am not sure I can live without you.
I wished to say that I will always be yours.
I wished to say…
“Sophie…” Her name was more than a prompt and less than a question.
She looked up at him then, his green eyes utterly focused on her. “I wished to say that I love you.”
Of course, a major snafu must occur in Act 3. Enter the tears that I tried wiping away so the words on the page didn’t blur. And King handles the misunderstanding (no spoilers here!) like a first rate ass. However, he’s not too much of a numb-nut that he can’t make amends. And amends he does make. Which leaves me a very satisfied reader. Sigh.
All’s well that ends well with this book gracing the shelves with my most beloved romances. The second in this new series can’t come fast enough.
Learn more about or order a copy of The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean, available on December 29, 2015:
Tanya is a fanatic of all things romance and teaches sociology part time. You can follow her on twitter @tamushamu