on February 14th 2017
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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.
~~Reviewed by AnnMarie~~
The Scoundrel’s Honor is the second book in the Sinful Brides series by Christi Caldwell. I haven’t read the first book in the series, and it wasn’t necessary to in order to enjoy this book. I do however think that knowing more about Ryker Black’s enemy would be a bonus if only to know just why he and Ryker are at war. In that regard, reading the first book, first, would be good.
Penelope has seen her brother and sisters before her marry under scandalous circumstances. Now it is her time to look for a husband, and she is determined to not only marry for love, but also for there not to be a hint of scandal surrounding her. She won’t listen to her parents who try to warn her that society will be cruel, she won’t get her choice of men, and the women will all be cutting to her because of the previous scandals in the family. She is determined that they are wrong and looks forward with great excitement to her first proper ball.
Sadly when she is there she overhears women deliberately talking about her so that she can overhear them, saying nasty things about her family and about her. She tries to hold her tongue but in the end she can’t help but to tell the women off before escaping to the garden to calm down. When she hears men approaching she quickly ducks under a stone garden bench. The last thing she needs is to be found in a garden alone with a man. Her reputation would be ruined and scandal would once again be forced upon her family.
Ryker Black is a Viscount, an honorary title more than anything because he was awarded it for an act of bravery. He wasn’t brought up an aristocrat, in fact he was brought up on the streets of the Seven Dials, one of the roughest areas in London. His background is one of thievery, violence, murder and no love. He ignores that he is a Viscount, and focuses on his gambling hell and making sure that his enemies don’t bring him and it down. He is always on his guard and is prepared to protect himself and his brothers. Not brothers by blood, but by being brought up in the same hard way. They are his family.
He is in the gardens talking to one of his brothers, and when he is left alone his senses alert him to danger. It’s then that he notices something/someone under the bench. He yanks her out, believing her to be a spy for his enemy, and in her attempt to escape the front of her dress tears, and tripping on the already torn hem of her dress she trips over, pulling Ryker down with her and on top of her. And yes, of course that is the way they are discovered. All hopes of not causing scandal, no matter how innocent the situation are dashed for Penelope.
Ryker is horrified at the thought of having to do the ‘right thing’ especially as he did nothing wrong. Also he knows that any person brought into his life will also be in danger from his enemies. An innocent miss such as Penelope deserves more. Penelope is also horrified, not because she is at all worried about the fact she could marry a man who lives in and ownes a gambling hell, that actually excited her, but she is horrified that if she doesn’t marry Ryker, the scandal will be overwhelming and her youngest sister will suffer the most. Will Ryker do the right thing even though he knows doing so would put his wife in grave danger? Will Penelope have her eyes rudely awoken again by things she knows nothing about if she does marry him? Her family won’t make her, but surely she can’t damage her sister’s chances at a decent marriage by selfishly not taking responsibility for her own foolish actions?
I absolutely loved this story, Ryker is the ultimate hero and Penelope is perfect for him. He needs her in his life and his fight to stay away from her was nearly painful to read. Poor poor man. I just wanted to reach through the pages and give him a hug. Not that he would accept it of course, but I would feel better for trying.
I loved the set up for the story and reading all about gambling hells, and life in the Seven Dials. We often read about the aristocratic side of London, but to learn about life on the other side made was a nice change. Though nice probably is the wrong word when we are reading about the very poorest of society.
I enjoyed the camaraderie between Ryker and his non blood brothers, how they were there for each other no matter what. I also loved that we are shown the other side of the coin where Penelope’s family by blood are there for her, and make no demands when it comes to whether or not she will marry Ryker.
All in all the book was a real pleasure to read, there was never a dull moment, and the excitement kept me captivated from beginning to end. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.
I voluntarily reviewed an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book.