|AMAZON | KINDLE|
Heroine: Mara Lowe – Presumed dead, Strong
Hero: Temple – Killer Duke, Boxer
It’s no secret how much I love The Rules of Scoundrels series. It’s one of my utmost favorite historical romance series to date. Sarah MacLean truly excels at writing original, seductive, and emotionally driven stories with clever and bold characters, steamy sexual tension, and passionate loves scenes. If you’ve been waiting on pins and needles like I have for Temple’s book, it was well worth the wait. This might be the darkest in the series so far, but absolutely brilliant.
William Harrow, the Duke of Lamont, falls hard from grace on the eve of his father’s wedding when he was seduced by a beautiful woman, who he later learns was Mara Lowe, his stepmother-to-be. The next morning he woke up in a bed of blood, with no memory of what happened. When a body isn’t recovered, he’s accused of murder, disowned by his father, and shunned to live on the streets of London. He eventually builds a life for himself by opening up a gaming hell, called The Fallen Angel, with three other fallen men. Together they rule the underworld of London. Now William goes by Temple and is notoriously known as the Killer Duke and a magnificent boxer. Every time a man loses his fortunes at the table, the club gives them the chance to win back their money if they fight Temple. But Temple never loses.
Mara Lowe has been on the run for twelve years since that scandalous night. She grew up with an abusive, nightmare of a father and felt like she had no choice but to escape his control and an arranged marriage to a man twice her age. Mara had hoped to fool people into thinking William ruined her, not ruin his life. She now runs an orphanage for young boys and needs money to keep things running since her brother, Christopher Lowe, lost everything they own at The Fallen Angel. He tried to win back his money by challenging Temple to a fight, but Temple refused this challenge. Mara had no choice but to reveal herself to Temple, hoping he would be willing to bargain with her. But things don’t go as planned for Mara when Temple is shocked then fiercely angry to learn she is indeed alive. He wants her to pay for destroying his life. He wants absolution and retribution. Temple’s plan is to ruin Mara, which she is more than willing to sacrifice herself to protect her boy’s, but she will not give up everything he wants in return that easily. She has her own plan too. Let the battle begin.
Temple has been on my radar since the first book in this series. I knew he would steal my heart, he’s so beautifully damaged and utterly sexy with his bad ass alpha ways. I love that big ole brute of a man. For years he’s lived with the guilt and shame of Mara’s death. His bitterness at Mara’s deception not only consumed him but hurt him in a way that he couldn’t see himself ever forgiving her. He didn’t want to hear Mara’s pleas or make any bargains with her. He wanted revenge. What he didn’t expect is to fall for this beautiful and spit-fire of a woman, who stood her ground against him and put his emotions through the wringer. Will he let go of his chance for absolution for the woman he loves?
Mara was not an easy character to like at first. I loathed her for what she did to Temple and she came across as unapologetic at first. As Mara’s back story is revealed, MacLean changes my mind as I start to empathize with her. I admire her strength and determination. And I love her quick-wit and compassion. The fact that she persevered and survived such a hard life tugged on my heart strings. She truly never meant to hurt Temple and wanted him to forgive her, but she also understood that may not be possible. So she accepted Temple’s terms with grace and courage. The things she sacrifices for Temple by the end truly made her a redeemable heroine in my eyes.
Their electrifying attraction for each other was not so easily accepted. There is blazing anger, regrets, vengeful thoughts, heartache, fears, doubts, and guilt which made for a very complicated romance. But it also made for a very clever sparring match. It was very entertaining to watch them outwit and outplay each other time and again. The sexual tension between them was always simmering on the surface as they duke it out and then crash into each other with smoldering, fiery kisses.
He kissed her again and again, his hands coming to cup her face and hold her still as he claimed her with lips and tongue and teeth until the whole world had disappeared and there was nothing but her. And him. And this moment. And the way they matched.
The way she saw him.
The way he saw her.
When they finally do see each other truly and admit to themselves they have fallen in love, they both get redemption and forgiveness and love. It wasn’t hard for me to root for Mara and Temple’s happy ending. These two highly flawed and deeply layered characters richly deserved happiness.
Absolutely I loved everything about this book. The writing is exceptional. The emotions are tumultuous. The love story is beautiful. I always love revisiting with the other fallen men in this series that I’ve fallen in lust with. And now I’m anxiously awaiting the next book. Chase is the last Scoundrel to find love in this series and I’m dying to know all of this mysterious man’s secrets.