on May 28th 2017
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
If Lady Arabella Winslett was left to her own devices, she would happily paint each day away and want for nothing else. Unfortunately, her grandfather has other plans for her future, plans that involve marrying her off to her horrid cousin and sending Bella far away. Only a quick betrothal to someone else will save her from that unhappy fate. But with time ticking by, it would take a miracle to bring anyone up to scratch...If only someone could be convinced to play the role of her intended for just a little while.
Jaded Gregory, Baron Avery, lives with more than a few regrets and no way to atone for his past. Though, when his sister stumbles upon a lady in desperate need of a temporary fiancé, she suggests that Greg play the part in an attempt to help him find the peace he's been missing. However, once the beautiful Bella enters his life, peace is the furthest thing from Greg's mind. But their betrothal wasn't supposed to be permanent, and she deserves someone much more honorable than him.
~~Reviewed by AnnMarie~~
A Scandalous Ruse is the sixth book in the Scandalous series by Ava Stone. Although part of a series it can easily be read as a stand alone book.
Lady Arabella Winslett (Bella) has no real desire to marry, she is content with spending time with her friends, and also painting which she loves. She lives with her brother, her younger sister, her father and grandfather. The latter has never had time for her, says she is too much like her mother who left her when she was a baby to go to Europe for her ‘art’. Her father tries to smooth things over so that there isn’t too much animosity in the home, but he never stands up to his father, so life isn’t always pleasant. What’s worse now is that Bella’s brother seems to have become a drunk, one who gambles so much he is in debt everywhere, and is slowly being banned from all the gaming hells. With him being an embarrassment to the family, and Bella supposedly being ‘odd’ according to her grandfather, he puts his foot down. He demands that Bella marry her Prussian cousin and move to Prussia with him, out of his, and everybody else’s sight. Her father manages to persuade her grandfather to allow Bella two weeks to find a husband, if she can, then she doesn’t have to marry her cousin. Bella overhears that conversation, so her father doesn’t know that she knows. But where is she to find a husband so quickly?
Baron Avery, Gregory, lives in the country. He lives a quiet life, and hasn’t any inclination to find a girlfriend, let alone a bride. He’s done things in his past that he regrets, he’s also grieving for the loss of a child and it’s mother. It’s a kind of self imposed punishment that he stays alone. His sister’s husband visits him and convinces him to come to London for the season. She has recently had a miscarriage and Greg is made to believe that she needs his company to help overcome her loss. In actual fact she wants to help Greg get over his past, and find a bride, somebody to make him happy.
Before too long, Bella’s situation is discovered by Greg’s sister, and she convinces Greg to take part in a ruse where he will pretend to be smitten with Bella and will become her fiancée. He had previously noticed her and thought her quite beautiful. It would be no hardship pretending to be her betrothed, plus it would stop his sister match making, and him having to go to all the balls to keep her happy. It would be a win win situation for him, and Bella.
Of course her Grandfather is fuming when he finds out, he wants her living in Prussia, far away from London and him. Will the ruse be enough to hold him off, will her father be able to for once stay strong and not cow-tow to his father? Or will Bella end up with her cousin after all? Certainly not if Greg has anything to do with it, especially as he realises that he could happily make the betrothal real if only he was good enough for Bella. He knows he isn’t though, and he keeps convincing himself of that. Bella too has genuine feelings for Greg, and there are some quite passionate moments between them, all for the benefit of the ruse of course (not really).
So will our couple get their happy ever after, or will the horrid grandfather have his way?
I adored this book and could not read it fast enough. Greg is such a wonderful man, despite what has happened in his past. He’s the perfect hero, and he has been punished enough for things gone by. It was more than time for him to start living his life. And poor Bella, having to live with her horrid grandfather, then having the worry about her brother on top of that, then knowing she could have to marry her horrid cousin…things couldn’t get any worse, or could they? There were laugh out load moments, and also some very emotional scenes that brought a tear to my eyes. Not only scenes with Bella, but also her brother! There was never a dull moment in the book and I can’t wait to read more of the series.
I voluntarily reviewed an advanced readers’ copy of this book.