Scoundrel is the second book in a stand-alone adventure/romance series with heavy treasure hunting vibes about The Blades of the Rose, men and women who protect magical artifacts from those (mostly British imperialists) that would use them to harm people. It is the sequel to Warrior and some characters/plots from that book does make an appearance.
It was then that she realized something. All this time, he had been speaking to her as his equal. Granted, he was a devil of a flirt, but he did not seem to consider her female sex a liability. He talked truthfully, openly, without the polite phrases or evasions so common to the speech of every other man she knew. And when she answered him, it was as if she’d unlatched a little door inside herself and could meet him on the level ground, confident in herself.
Bennett Day is a charmer, libertine and flirt. He has probably bedded his way through most continents. While using his allure to track down a manuscript important to the Blades, he comes across London Harcourt.
Recently widowed, London is the daughter of one of Bennett’s most powerful enemies – a chairman of the Heir’s of Albion, a group determined to see British supremacy rule the day. London, while she is helping her father translate an inscription on ancient ruins, has no idea that he’s not a simple archeologist.
A chance meeting sends Bennett’s and London’s lives careening towards each other, but will a secret kill their romance before it even gets started?
Just let me say, I adore this series. I bought Warrior a couple years ago on a whim, never expecting to like it as much as I did, and then put off reading this book because I was worried it wouldn’t hold up.
I needn’t have worried.
Bennett was introduced briefly in the previous book and I knew from it that I would kind of adore him. He’s charming and always complements women and it seems like he can’t help but flirt with every woman he meets. However, Bennett is also aware of what he is and makes sure that the women he’s with know what he is. He isn’t the sort of man to stick around. (He’s also the sort to use words before fists, but he is quite apt at both, so, yeah.)
At least, until he meets London.
London is … hmm. Honestly, she reminds me quite a bit of Evelyn from The Mummy movies. She’s smart, more book smart than street smart, but she has little experience in the world. She’s lived her entire life under the thumb of a man, (her father, her husband, then her father again) never really making choices for herself. Never being able to make choices for herself.
And that’s the thing that makes me love this series. Okay, I’m also a huge fan of the treasure hunter-esque (almost Indiana Jones) story line and wish I could find more books like this. But, really, what makes me love this book and the series and what made me excited/nervous after the first book is how equal the romance is.
London has been repressed her entire life and part of the reason she falls for Bennett is because he represents freedom. (That and his physique because, hello, lust at first sight. It’s not been long enough.) Often Bennett makes a remark and London can’t help but compare what he said to the things she’s heard from other men, the life he offers – one of her choice – versus what’s she’s lived before.
And, for me, that’s what I love in M/F historical romances and don’t find often enough. (This one takes place in 1875 on the Greek isles, btw.) I love the equality that Bennett offers London, the choices he represents and the fact that he only pushes her once but when he’s called on it, he immediately retreats. And I love watching London grow into her own, from someone that wants adventure desperately but thinks she’ll never get it, to a truly competent woman.
That being said, London’s father and her self-proclaimed suitor make me so angry because they are the sort to think that women are worth less than men, that women have to be protected from the world and themselves and – they’re sexist bigots and very much the sort that if you aren’t just like them (white British straight cis men) then you are less. I had to laugh at most of their scenes because you just know they will get their comeuppance from a woman (or two – the secondary romance was so cute) and a man (or two) that disagrees with their whole belief system.
Content Advisory: A few scattered curse words. Consensual sex. Sexist bigots being sexist bigots. (And one of them thinking rape-y thoughts.)