Maiden Lane #9
Grand Central Publishing
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
SHE'S TAKING CHARGE
Prim, proper, and thrifty, Eve Dinwoody is all business when it comes to protecting her brother's investment. But when she agrees to control the purse strings of London's premier pleasure garden, Harte's Folly, she finds herself butting heads with an infuriating scoundrel who can't be controlled.
HE'S RUNNING THE SHOW
Bawdy and bold, Asa Makepeace doesn't have time for a penny-pinching prude like Eve. As the garden's larger-than-life owner, he's already dealing with self-centered sopranos and temperamental tenors. He's not about to let an aristocratic woman boss him around . . . no matter how enticing she is.
BUT LOVE CONQUERS ALL
In spite of her lack of theatrical experience—and her fiery clashes with Asa—Eve is determined to turn Harte's Folly into a smashing success. But the harder she tries to manage the stubborn rake, the harder it is to ignore his seductive charm and raw magnetism. There's no denying the smoldering fire between them—and trying to put it out would be the greatest folly of all.
Despite being the 9th installment of the Maiden Lane series, Sweetest Scoundrel easily stands on its own, giving us a damaged fighter of a heroine and a powerfully intense hero who together keep us riveted as they walk a long, slow path to the bedroom.
Eve is a young woman with baggage, fearful of dogs and even the barest of touches from a man she doesn’t know for reasons we can only guess for most of the book, but even at her lowest point she never appears weak. She goes toe to toe with Asa from the beginning, her position as her brother’s man of business when it comes to Asa's loan giving her the opportunity to show that he can neither charm nor strong arm her into seeing things his way. When things start to shift in a romantic direction, her innocent curiosity is nothing short of adorable, proving there is strength to be found in allowing someone else to guide you.
Asa is the type of man not as commonly found in historical romances in terms of his aptitude for protective violence and his filthy mouth, and he’s nothing short of swoon-worthy as a result. He’s rough around the edges in more ways than simply being a "rogue", completely dedicated to getting his theater reopened after it burned down and not above putting the fear of God in those around him in order to see the work gets done. While he doesn’t necessarily rein himself in with Eve, he does show a great deal of patience, recognizing the markers of past damage and respecting them while still pushing her to see that he’s a man she can trust with her mind and body. He never promises her heart is safe with him however, but the drama between them in the concluding chapters is just enough to give our hearts a painful twinge before our happy ending arrives right on cue.
Overall, Sweetest Scoundrel is everything we could want in a romance–no matter the genre–with Eve and Asa being the kind of couple we want to revisit again and again just for the flush they bring to our cheeks and the smile to our faces.
This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review.
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.