Title:Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Rules of Scoundrels (Book 4)
Format: Paperback; 384 pages
Publisher: Avon (November 25, 2014)
Author's Website: http://www.sarahmaclean.net/
Notes: Received an eARC loan of the book from the publisher.
Once upon a time a young woman had the world at her beck and call. She was beautiful, wealthy, and came from a family of privilege. It was predicted she'd make the match of the century, but that was not to be. For the girl was lonely and did the unthinkable--she thought herself in love and fell for the wrong man. Abandoned and with child, she became a pariah of society, an outcast looking into the world that once held her in such high esteem. With the world no longer at her feet, she vowed to get her own form of vengeance and did. For out of the ashes she rose, building a new life for herself where she lived on her own terms, not those of society. She reinvented herself into someone who was rich and powerful, who knows almost all of the tons dirty little secrets and isn't afraid to use them. With a mere word, she can ruin a man. Only a trusted few know she is the woman behind the man known to London society as Chase, the mysterious club owner who has never been seen, but whose presence is always felt. But every day has its dawn, and Lady Georgiana Pearson has decided its time to put an end to her wayward ways and find a man to make an honorable woman of her.
She's about to do what no one has ever done before--rise from the dead of elite society. And if anyone can do it, she can.
This is the fourth and, sadly, last book of The Rules of Scoundrels quartet, and let me just say, Ms. MacLean saved the best for last. If you were disappointed to find out Chase wasn't a man, I think after reading this book you'll be glad he wasn't. Finally, Chase's identity is revealed and he is a she. Lady Georgiana Pearson, Simon's strong but ruined sister in Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart, is Chase. We finally get the full story of what happened to her over the years and she's been quite busy. London society still remains clueless to her connection to Chase and Lady Georgiana intends to keep it that way. She's prepared to give up her share of the Fallen Angel, one of London's most lucrative gaming hells, in order to secure a match for herself to a titled gentleman which will, thereby, shield and protect her daughter, Caroline, from the scandal associated with her birth.
Georgiana doesn't believe in love and is not in search of a happily-ever-after for herself, but she's going to make sure that her past does not rob Caroline, her daughter, of a shot at one. Georgiana's a smart woman who's managed to survive and thrive in a male dominated world. She's no wilting violet, and instead of being devastated by her fall from grace, she sees her ruination as something that has liberated her from society's rules. After all one can only truly be ruined once. She's determined to make a better life for her daughter and that makes her quite dangerous to anyone who stands in her way. For everyone knows if you cross the path of a lioness trying to protect her cub, the outcome could be fatal.
Duncan West is devilishly handsome, rich, smart, and Georgiana's male equal in power. He owns 5 newspapers and his stories can make or break a man or woman's reputation. He's also the first man that Georgiana has been attracted to since Caroline's father, and we all know how well that went. Georgiana has only three requirements for a husband--that he have a title, that he be a decent man, and that he be good to Caroline. While Duncan meets two out of the three requirements, the main one, having a title to shield and protect her daughter from the viciousness of the ton, is the one he lacks. Georgiana will need to decide if she's willing to take another chance at love and trust Duncan with her deepest and darkest secret, or stick with her plan to marry an aristocrat. For as Duncan uncovers some of her secrets, she realizes that once he finds out she's Chase, he'll have the power to ultimately save or destroy her. After the betrayal she experienced at the hands of the last man she trusted, it may be too great a leap of faith for her to take.
I couldn't help but give this one 5 out of 5 roses. The story was fun and exciting with plenty of drama as well as humor and smooching. *grin* I loved Duncan's back story and the way he was with Georgiana and Caroline. Georgiana and Duncan, as a couple, were well matched and fun to watch. The chemistry between them was undeniable. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one gets a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed. I highly recommend reading this one. Ms. MacLean did a fabulous job of capturing the emotions of the characters on paper, and her novels are always highly entertaining, well thought out, and make you feel like you got your money's worth. I'll definitely be purchasing a copy of this one to add to my keeper shelf.