It is whispered behind the fans of London's dowagers and in the corners of fashionable ballrooms that scandal follows willfully wild Lady Beatrix Lennox wherever she goes.
Three years before, the debutante created a sensation by being found in a distinctly compromising position. Now, the ton has branded her as unmarriageable, her family has called her a vixen, and Beatrix sees no reason not to go after what and who she wishes.
And she wants Stephen Fairfax-Lacy, the handsome Earl of Spade. Beatrix, with her brazen suggestions and irresistibly sensuous allure, couldn't be more different from the earl's ideal future bride. Yet Beatrix brings out a wildness in the earl he has tried to deny far too long. Still, he's not about to play love's game by Lady Beatrix's rules. She may be used to being on top in affairs of the heart, but that will soon change.
Lady Beatrix Lennox is now the companion to the aunt of Esme Rawlings who we met in the previous two books in this series. When Esme is approaching her time of confinement her aunt descends on her with all her people, and there is aimpromptutu house party. For all that Esme is trying to live a scandal free life for a change, having a house party during confinement is not really the done thing in the ton.
One of the people that Esme's aunt has invited is MP Stephen Fairfax-Lacy, with a view to marrying Esme off to him. There are, however, others who have ideas in relation to Mr Fairfax- Lacy, and before he knows it, he finds himself engaged to one woman, supposedly having an affair with another married woman, and desperately attracted to Beatrix. As for Beatrix, she is willing to have a short fling with him, but when he wants more from her, she is not sure that she can do that.
I had a few issues with this book. The first and most pressing is that I didn't really care about Stephen and Bea. I didn't really get the attraction between them, or feel it when they decided that they could have a HEA only with each other, although I did like the epilogue that had him defending her long lost honour. Strangely enough there were two epilogues in this book...something I don't think I have seen before. Anyway, I digress. The main reason why I didn't really care for Stephen and Bea was that I really wanted to read Esme and Sebastian's story. Their story has been interwoven in the three books of this series so far, and yet it is the story that has most captured my imagination and felt emotionally attached to.
The second issue I had relates to the virginity question.
Beatrix had been compromised at a very young age, and had gone on to be a scandalous persona within the ton, openly flaunting her body, and supposedly her affairs. For all that, she had only had 3 lovers which is fine, and with each of those it only happened once and she had never enjoyed the experience. However, when she finally makes love to Stephen Fairfax-Lacy, his heart sings because she really is a virgin in every sense of the word. HUH? Why would it be so bad for her not to be a virgin. I know that it is important at that time, but he knew that she had been compromised, and this time it was an opportunity for the female equivalent of a rake to be reformed by the love of a good man. Why couldn't it just have been left at that.
I would have loved to have a book just for Sebastian and Esme. Sebastian's devotion to Esme was so heart rending, and for me I would have enjoyed this book much more if that had of been the main story. As it is, I have to take marks off because of Stephen and Bea and the virginity thing.