Douglas Bennet can’t resist a good wager, especially not one that involves a beautiful woman. When a friend proposes an audacious plan to expose the most notorious woman in England, Douglas agrees at once. After all, it would be quite a coup to discover the true identity of Lady Constance, author of the infamous erotic serial scandalizing the ton, 50 Ways to Sin.
Madeline Wilde is used to being pursued. For years she’s cultivated a reputation for being unattainable and mysterious, and for good reason: her livelihood depends on discretion. When Douglas turns his legendary charm on her, she dismisses him as just another rake. But he surprises her—instead of merely trying to seduce her, he becomes her friend…her confidant…and her lover. But can it really lead to happily-ever-after…or are they about to become the biggest scandal London has ever seen?
FIVE GLORIOUS STARS!!
The plot of ‘All’s Fair in Love and Scandal’ reminds me of Lisa Kleypas’ Suddenly You, where the heroine has a secret identity and the hero is dying to find out what that secret was. But as I continue reading, this prose by Linden is absolutely different from Kleypas. In fact, ‘All’s Fair in Love and Scandal’ is more riveting with an original plot that keeps you guessing every turn of the page! Romance, humor, and mystery all brilliantly sculpted into one prose that will result in conflating emotions.
The story starts with Douglas Bennett, notorious for his pranks and wagers, conversing with William Spence goading him into doing a wager to get Madeline Wilde, a widower, infamous in rejecting every offer of a dance. This then started a wager among the men on who could start a dance with the widower, but none has succeeded. And because Douglas loves a contest, he wagers he could persuade her to dance with him. But Madeline Wilde was not a daft woman, she could see right through Douglas scheme and his motive for his approach. Madeline knew how to play the game, so she beat him to it by exposing his motive and leaving Douglas Bennett awestruck and partner less in a crowded ball. This has made Mr. Bennett determined to know the mysterious Mrs. Wilde.
“Every day I scheme for some excuse to call on you. I look forward to tedious balls and soirees because I know you’ll be there. You enchant me, Madeline, and while I want to be your friend… Yes, I also want much more.” -Douglas Bennett
The clash between two strong characters of the opposite sex is a breath of fresh air in my book! Both are intelligent, quick with facetious retort, but highly attracted to each other. I especially love the self-dialogues they have where they try to figure out each other, their feelings for the other, and the consequences their actions may lead to.
Madeline is not the kind of woman to be trifled with. Although, she had not been with a man after her husband’s demise, she is not so easily charmed by any available gentleman. She is smart, independent, and quick-witted. A feminist is her time, I should say. And as for Douglas Bennett, whom I admire for his perseverance, charm, and patience in gaining Madeline’s trust, is the perfect partner! He knows that his charm could only go so far, and befriending her is the only way to actually know who this woman is. Reading Douglas Bennett inner struggle is very amusing! Whenever he’s around her, his rogue-like defenses starts to crumble and he’s very unsure what to do with it. He completely has lost his mojo (if you like to put it that way)!
“I’m sorry I was an ass when we first met. I’m sorry I upset you so much that you made that wager to get rid of me. And I’m desperately sorry this is all I’ll have to remember you by, because I think I’ve lost my heart to you, Madeline.” -Douglas Bennett.
An absolutely entertaining story guaranteed to make you swoon and giggle.
Caroline Linden was born a reader, not a writer. She earned a math degree from Harvard University and wrote computer software before turning to writing fiction. Ten years, twelve books, three Red Sox championships, and one dog later, she has never been happier with her decision. Her books have won the NEC Reader’s Choice Beanpot Award, the Daphne du Maurier Award, and RWA’s RITA Award. Since she never won any prizes in math, she takes this as a sign that her decision was also a smart one. Visit her online at http://www.carolinelinden.com
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