Published on October 31, 2017 by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Genres: Historical Romance, Romance
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Scandal begins with just one kiss. . .
Aurora Paxton was once the belle of the ball, the most sought-after debutante of the season―until a scandalous mistake ruined her. Shunned by her family, Rory was banished to the country to live in disgrace. Now she’s been summoned back to London by her stepmother, who is being blackmailed by the least likely person Rory can imagine: Lucas Vale, Marquess of Dashell.
Lucas is someone Rory’s known for years―a man as devastatingly handsome as he is coldly disapproving of her. What in the world could he want from her or her family? Rory intends to find out as soon as she comes face to face with her old foe. What she never expects, however, is that the icy aristocrat has a soft spot for her―and a secret plan to redeem her status. Could it be that Lucas has been in love with Rory all along. . .and has finally found a way to win her heart?
I’m starting to sense a theme with these Cinderella Sisterhood novels. The Scandalous Flirt is not the first I’ve read in the series (that would be the fourth book, Bella and the Beast) and in both I found that while the books as a whole are enjoyable reads, there were issues with the romances.
Specifically the leading gentlemen.
This time around, I’m not actually sure which fairy tale (if any) this book was based around, though Sleeping Beauty is mentioned very briefly at the beginning. Our heroine, Rory, fell from the graces of society 8 years before and has been living in the countryside with her aunt only to return when a blackmailer threatens her half-sister’s chances at a good marriage. She was, by far, my favorite character in this book. Rory may not have always made the best decisions but she learned from them and changed as a person. She’s strong willed and won’t let someone else put her or her opinions down which I loved. She wanted to be treated like an equal which was something I don’t see a lot of in romance (generally it’s more husband hunting or societal structures).
But what I will never understand is the romance. Again. She’s working for the potential blackmailer, the Marquess of Dashell, Lucas, and he’s just not very nice at all. Obviously this all comes out as a front to ward off people but it doesn’t make up for the fact that he’s a jerk to her for a good bit of the book. There are moments where he acts like a decent human being but not enough of them, especially early on, to warrant the “I love you” statements thrown out at the end.
Also, he claims to have loved Rory for 8 years, since her debut and subsequent fall in society’s eyes but certainly doesn’t act like it. He danced with her one time those years before but then. . . nothing. I just never got the sense that he was pining over her for that many years only to be awful to her when she reappears in London.
At least the rest of the story was good. The blackmail plot continues with several situations where Rory forces Lucas to recognize that she’s just as capable as him when it comes to solving the mystery. I’m glad she had the chance to stand up for herself and her beliefs because the way Lucas was portrayed made me think that he’d have walked all over her otherwise and that just doesn’t sit well with me.
The Scandalous Flirt is a quick, light romance. Despite the issues that seem to plague the men of this series, the women are strong characters who carry their own and the writing keeps the story from growing dull. I’m not sure if I would recommend these books anymore having seen the same issue in two of the same series so far but I did enjoy this one and finished it in one sitting. There’s a good story there if you can ignore the leading gentleman.