Series: The Duke's Men #3
Also in this series: If the Viscount Falls
Genres: Historical, Historical Romance, Romance
Investigator Tristan Bonnaud has one aim in life— to make sure that his half-brother George can't ever ruin his life again. So when the pesky Lady Zoe Keane, the daughter of the Earl of Olivier, shows up demanding that the Duke's Men find a mysterious gypsy woman, he seizes the opportunity to also hunt for a gypsy friend who knows secrets about George. Tristan doesn't expect to uncover Lady Zoe's family secrets, as well... or end up falling for the woman who will risk all to discover the truth.
You get intrigue! Romance! Steamy scenes!
My Thoughts on How the Scoundrel Seduces
I had a brief moment of “Wait a second, I KNOW THIS STORY!” then realized (after a quick Goodreads check to confirm) that I read the first book in the series and the hero of THIS book and the heroine of the first book are siblings.
That made a lot of sense. It also made me more excited for Tristan’s story, because the way he was portrayed was kind of… hardheaded? Driven to revenge? The down side: Zoe and Tristan met in book 2 (which I did not read) and there was some obvious history I missed.
I never felt lost in this story, but I did feel like something was missing for me. It was mostly the initial build up of tension because Tristan and Zoe when they first met (in book 2), they don’t like each other — and that doesn’t change for this book. (They don’t end up that way, though, and that’s the way we like it.)
This was actually the third book I picked up to read when I read it. The first one had too many -ly adverbs with dialogue tags (which ACK! got on my nerves), the second one was too difficult to get into, so I landed on this one, kind of by default. Like the other book I’ve read by Sabrina Jeffries, it was a solid historical romance.
Tristan’s driven to get revenge on his half-brother (because his half-brother is an ass and deserves it) to save his own family. Like Lisette, his sister, says, he blusters when he doesn’t want people to get close. He doesn’t believe in love — or if he does, he sees only its destructive power.
Zoe’s family has a deep, dark secret that messes with her inheritance. She wants to marry for love (who doesn’t?!), but also wants to make sure she secures her inheritance and is able to take care of the people who depend on her. (And now that I type that out, it sounds like a lot of historical romance heroines. Like, a lot.) Tristan takes on her case and BOOM! her carefully orchestrated life unravels.
I like when lives unravel. You get INTRIGUE! and ROMANCE! and STEAMY SCENES! All good things. Zoe’s deep, dark secret was well-done, especially since it kept me guessing until it was revealed, though certain parts of it seemed convenient as how it intersected with Tristan’s goal.
Still, the ultimate showdown between bad guys was excellent, and I was satisfied with the ending. Curious what does down between Dom and Jane, though. Thirteen years of awkward history? That’ll be fun to read about. Probably.