Julianne Gatewick has been in love with her brother's best friend since she was nine years old. When he agrees to act as her guardian and seduces her with a risqu‚ waltz, the ton expects him to claim her as his own. Instead, Marc Darcett, the Earl of Hawkfield, makes his disinterest clear and compares her to a "sister". Refusing to surrender to humiliation, Julianne does what any self respecting, recently rejected young lady with a clever sense of humor would do...she secretly writes a lady's guide to enticing unrepentant rakes..and it becomes the biggest gossip in town.
Every honorable rake knows a friend's sister is off limits. But suddenly "Hawk" can't resist Julianne, especially when she looks at him with a spark of defiance in her eyes. The harder he tries to push her away, the more he looks forward to hearing her laugh and watching her smile. He spends his nights dreaming of kissing her senseless. He's always avoided innocent young women and their marriage minded mothers, but has this rake finally met his match?
How to Seduce a Scoundrel by Vicky Dreiling is a charming and saucy Regency romance with razor sharp dialogue and likeable characters. This book follows in the footsteps of her debut, How to Marry a Duke, and is set in London just one year later. While the story of a man falling in love with his best friend's sister is certainly not new, Ms. Dreiling's voice is fresh and with somewhat liberal thinking characters, I found her story to be lots of fun.
Julianne Gatewick is a young, smart and beautiful woman, who's already had four Seasons in London. With her brother and sister in law, Tristan and Tessa Gatewick, the Duke and Duchess of Shelbourne expecting their first child, Julianne finds her forthcoming Season in jeopardy until Lady Rutledge offers to put her up for the Season. Tristan only agrees because his best friend, Marc Darcett, the Earl of Hawkfield, is her nephew and has reluctantly agreed to act as Julianne's guardian. Neither man is aware Julianne has been in love with "Hawk" since she was nine years old. Dreaming that "Hawk" will ask for her hand in marriage, Julianne is devastated when he declares he cares for her "like a sister" at a ball. Determined to make him pay, Julianne declares her independence by writing a lady's guide on "How to Seduce a Scoundrel".
Marc Darcett, the Earl of Hawkfield, is an unrepentant rake. Reluctantly agreeing to chaperone his best friend's sister during the Season in London, he's had to put his "leisurely pursuits" on the back burner. He's always enjoyed Julianne's company and has just realized what a beauty she's become. He knows she's forbidden because she's an innocent virgin and the sister of a friend, but he can't help the attraction he suddenly feels. Knowing he'll never marry because of a shameful secret in his past, Hawk is determined to keep her at arm's length..at least until he can no longer deny his desire.
The scenes between Julianne and Hawk are lots of fun; they have great physical chemistry and razor sharp dialogue. When Hawk humiliates her by comparing his affection for her to caring for her "like a sister", Julianne decides to make him pay. Ms. Dreiling did a good job developing Julianne's character; knowing men in their society have all the power she quickly realizes women aren't as helpless as they think. Determined to even the playing field, she follows Lady Rutledge's advice and anonymously pens a "guide" to equip young ladies like her to bring an unrepentant rake to heel. Her guide soon becomes a bestseller and Julianne begins to practice her advice on Hawk. He never saw it coming.
The secondary characters in the story are great. I especially liked Lady Rutledge (Hester), Hawk's aunt, who has married and buried five husbands; she's outspoken and tells the truth, something their society barely tolerates. Julianne's best friends and co-conspirators, Georgette and Amy, were also quite fun. While the story really doesn't have an antagonist, Ramsey, Georgette's brother did prove to be an irritating character which Julianne and Hawk have to deal with.
While the romance between Julianne and Hawk is the main focus of the story, Hawk's past was somewhat of a subplot. His feelings of guilt and angst over his youth were one of his constant thoughts and something Ms. Dreiling seemed to focus on. I will admit I was a little frustrated with how often Hawk's dwelt on his secret and on why he used it as an excuse to deny his desire for marriage and a family. When his secret is finally revealed, he discovers it's not as big a deal as he was expecting.
The end of the story gives Julianne and Hawk a happy ending, something I felt they both deserved. I hope Ms. Dreiling's next Regency romance features one of Julianne's friends as I'd like to re-visit these characters again. If you like historical romance, I recommend How to Seduce a Scoundrel, I know I did.
Miss Julianne Gatewick is in a pickle. It started when her brother's best friend-for whom she's long nursed a secret tendre-agreed to act as her guardian for the Season, only to seduce her with a risqué waltz. But when the music stopped and the expectant ton waited for Marc Darcett, Earl of Hawkfield, to claim her as his own, he made his disinterest clear. Rather than succumb to humiliation, Julianne does what any self-respecting, recently discarded young miss with a wicked sense of humor would do. She secretly pens a lady's guide to enticing unrepentant rakes . . . and it becomes the hottest scandal sheet in London.
Every honorable rake knows that friends' sisters are forbidden. But suddenly Julienne has a spark of mischief in her eyes that Hawk can't resist. Try as he might to push her away, he spends his days listening for her laughter and his nights dreaming of kissing her senseless. He's always avoided innocents and their marriage-minded mothers, but has the man least likely to wed finally met his match?