Lord of Scoundrels

Lord of Scoundrels

by Loretta Chase

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They call him many names, but Angelic isn't one of them . . .

Sebastian Ballister, the notorious Marquess of Dain, is big, bad, and dangerous to know. No respectable woman would have anything to do with the "Bane and Blight of the Ballisters"—and he wants nothing to do with respectable women. He's determined to continue doing what he does best—sin and sin again—and all that's going swimmingly, thank you . . . until the day a shop door opens and she walks in.

She's too intelligent to fall for the worst man in the world . . .

Jessica Trent is a determined young woman, and she's going to drag her imbecile brother off the road to ruin, no matter what it takes. If saving him—and with him, her family and future—means taking on the devil himself, she won't back down. The trouble is, the devil in question is so shockingly irresistible, and the person who needs the most saving is—herself!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061753817
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/13/2009
Series: The Scoundrels Series , #3
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 32,747
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Loretta Chase has worked in academe, retail, and the visual arts, as well as on the streets—as a meter maid—and in video, as a scriptwriter. She might have developed an excitingly checkered career had her spouse not nagged her into writing fiction. Her bestselling historical romances, set in the Regency and Romantic eras of the early nineteenth century, have won a number of awards, including the Romance Writers of America’s RITA®. For more about her past, her books, and what she does and doesn’t do on social media, please visit her at LorettaChase.com.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Paris -- March 1828

"No. It can't be," Sir Bertram Trent whispered, aghast. His round blue eyes bulging in horror, he pressed his forehead to the window overlooking the Rue de Provence.

"I believe it is, sir," said his manservant, Withers.Sir Bertram dragged his hand through his tousled brown curls. It was two o'clock in the afternoon and he'd only just changed out of his dressing gown. "Genevieve," he said hollowly. "Oh, Lord, it is her."

"It is your grandmother, Lady Pembury, beyond doubt-and your sister, Miss Jessica, with her." Withers suppressed a smile. He was suppressing a great deal at the moment. The mad urge to dance about the room, shouting hallelujah, for instance.

They were saved, he thought. With Miss Jessica here, matters would soon be put right. He had taken a great risk in writing to her, but it had to be done, for the good of the family.

Sir Bertram had fallen, among Evil Companions. The evilest of companions in all of Christendom, in Wither's opinion: a pack of wastrel degenerates led by that monster, the fourth Marquess of Dain.

But Miss Jessica would soon put a stop to it, the elderly manservant assured himself as he speedily knotted his master's neckcloth.

Sir Bertram's twenty-seven-year-old sister had inherited her widowed grandmother's alluring looks: the silken hair nearly blue-black in color, almond-shaped silver-grey eyes, alabaster complexion, and graceful figure-all of which, in Lady Pembury's case, had proved immune to the ravages of time.

More important, in the practical Withers' view, Miss Jessica had inherited her late father's brains, physical agility,and courage. She could ride, fence, and shoot with the best of them. Actually, when it came to pistols, she was the best of the whole family, and that was saying something. During two brief marriages, her grandmother had borne four sons by her first husband, Sir Edmund Trent, and two by her second, Viscount Pernbury, and daughters and sons alike had bred males in abundance. Yet not a one of those fine fellows could outshoot Miss Jessica. She could pop the cork off a wine bottle at twenty paces-and Withers himself had seen her do it.

He wouldn't mind seeing her pop Lord Dain's cork for him. The great brute was an abomination, a disgrace to his country, an idle reprobate with no more conscience than a dung beetle. He had lured Sir Bertram-who, lamentably, was not the cleverest of gentlemen-into his nefarious circle and down the slippery slope to ruin. Another few months of Lord Dain's company and Sir Bertram would be bankrupt-if the endless round of debauchery didn't kill him first.

But there wouldn't be another few months, Withers reflected happily as he nudged his reluetant master to the door. Miss Jessica would fix everything. She always did.

Bertie had managed a show of surprised delight to see his sister and grandmother. The instant the latter had retired to her bedchamber to rest from the journey, however, he yanked Jessica into what seemed to be the drawing room of the narrow --and much too expensive, she reflected irritably -- appartement.

"Devil take it, Jess, what's this about?" he demanded.

Jessica picked up the mass of sporting papers heaped upon an overstuffed chair by the fire, threw them onto the grate, and sank down with a sigh into the cushioned softness.

The carriage ride from Calais had been long, dusty, and bumpy. She had little doubt that, thanks to the abominable condition of French roads, her bottom was black and blue.

She would very much like to bruise her brother's bottom for him at present. Unfortunately, though two years younger, he was a head taller than she, and several stone heavier. The days of bringing him to his senses via a sturdy birch rod were long past.

"It's a birthday present," she said.

His unhealthily pale countenance brightened for a moment, and his familiar, amiably stupid grin appeared. "I say, Jess, that's awful sweet of --" Then the grin faded and his brow -- furrowed. "But my birthday ain't until July. You can't be meaning to stay until-!'I meant Genevieve's birthday," she said.

One of Lady Pembury's several eccentricities was her insistence that her children and grandchildren address and refer to her by name. I am a woman," she would say to those who protested that such terminology was disrespectful. I have a name. Mama, Grandmama ..." Here she would give a delicate shudder. "So anonymous."

Bertie's expression grew wary. "When's that?"

"Her birthday, as you ought to remember, is the day after tomorrow." Jessica pulled off her grey kid boots, drew the footstool closer, and put her feet up. "I wanted her to have a treat. She hasn't been to Paris in ages, and matters haven't been pleasant at home. Some of the aunts have been muttering about having her locked up in a lunatic asylum. Not that I'm surprised. They've never understood her. Did you know, she had three marriage offers last month alone? I believe Number Three was the straw that broke the camel's back. Lord Fangiers is four and thirty years old. The family says it's embarrassing."

'Well, it ain't exactly dignified, at her age."

"She's not dead, Bertie. I don't see why she should behave as though she were. If she wishes to wed a pot boy, that's her business." Jessica gave her brother a searching look. "Of course, it would mean that her new husband would have charge of her funds. I daresay that worries everybody."

Bertie flushed, "No need to look at me that way."

"Isn't there? You appear rather worried yourself. Maybe you had an idea she'd bail you out of your difficulties.

He tugged at his cravat. "Ain't in difficulties."

"Oh, then I must be the one.

Customer Reviews

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Lord of Scoundrels 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 541 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I chose to read this book because it was presented as a "Beauty & the Beast" type of book which is a favorite plot of mine. It was that and sooo much more. She is almost overpowering in her strength and character. But she is the only one strong enough to deal with our rather unromantic hero, the notorious Marquess of Dain. Wow, what a male leading figure. Rare is the book where you climb into the man's mind and see how he ticks. As rather scandalous things happen...you see why he has become the man he is. Your heart is captured as he rises from his unloving childhood to a ruthless adult, delighting in the downfall of others. Or...have we misread most of his intentions! Dain is one of the most complex male characters I've ever read. Not that he is perfect, no he dealt with his illegitimate son in the typical Victorian way (mainly ignore)...but his marriage to Jessica did change him. He could view things in a different way.
I liked that the main "plot" really was the romance although there is the introduction of Dain's child and a mild sinister plot involving an antique icon.
I was not enamored of any of the secondary characters, though I found the brother funny. I know the Grandmother played a role in this and I am wondering if she has her own story? Well worth reading.
BookaholicTracy More than 1 year ago
This was a great read. The writing is beautiful, the story wonderful. I loved it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I truly loved this story. I loved the fact that he wasn't the typical "perfect man" that most romance novels tend to potray. The story is written in a wonderful non traditional way. Don't let the price deceive you..if you love a good romance story you HAVE to read this book
NavyWave62 More than 1 year ago
OUTSTANDING - I loved how the author started out with a wonderful Prologue about Sebastian as a boy. You really understood how he felt about himself and how he thought others viewed him. I really liked the strength Jess shows, her understanding and patience with Sebastian. This is well worth your time and money. This is my first book by this author and I am so glad she has written many more books that I can enjoy. I didn't find this book at all slow as another reviewer suggested. A MUST READ!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Must read - have read it several times already! Great book, nicely developed characters.
Christine Dohn More than 1 year ago
I puchased this book based on all the reviews. The story line is a take on the classic beauty and the beast and could have made for a wondergul book but i thought the writing could have been better. The first half dragged because there was very little dialogue. I just find it hard to believe that someone like our heroine could fall for a guy like Lord Dain blindly...lots of descriptions of drug use, orgies, drinking...i just dont see how anyone remained sober or awake without hanging out with prostitutes long enough to change so quickly. This book is not worth more than $1.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have put off writing this review for about a month purely because I was not completely sure how I could articulate just how much I loved this book. I had never read a book by Loretta Chase before and if Lord of Scoundrels is any indication of her other books then I am officially hooked. I more than adored the female lead. I wish Jessica Trent were a real person purely so I could have the opportunity to meet her and tell her what a total bad ass she is. If only we all could be so fantastic. The male lead, Sebastian Ballister, (the afore mentioned Lord of Scoundrels) is more than a challenge for Jessica, but also a challenge for the reader. Initially I did not like him because he was so thoroughly an asshole. But unlike most immature alpha male types, Sebastian had depth. He was not just a blundering prick, he was a man truly in need of a strong and understanding woman to help him sort out his inner two year old. I loved this book. I know this 'review' is totally pathetic and does not really encapsulate how incredibly touching (and HOT) this book is. The romance is superb and not overshadowed one bit by the scorching degree of sexual chemistry between Jessica and Sebastian. I LOVE IT!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Had a little difficulty following storyline at first. Not a traditional handsome man meets beautiful lady love story. Highly charged emotions resulting in a true love outcome. Worth reading again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sure, the story is ridiculous and would obviously never happen in real life, and the characters are cliched to the point of almost being stereotypes.... But it's somehow oddly delightful!  The repartee between Dain and Jessica is hilarious and sexy, among Loretta Chase's best, and the first half is amazing, among Loretta's best!  The first time I read this book I felt like I was on fire, and ever since I have found that it's one of the books I compare a lot of the rest of this genre by.  And unfortunately, despite Lord of Scoundrels's flaws, few other books or writers can measure up to Loretta's sense of fun or her knowledge of how to turn the tension between two fictional characters into something you can actually feel.   Highly recommended, especially if you are tired of the same old claptrap Regency novels and are looking for something exciting and funny! :) 
lovelifeva More than 1 year ago
I would have to place this book in the top five of every book I have ever read. I find myself rereading this story every few weeks. I love the characters and feel the author did a great job of letting you see the attraction from the very beginning. A must read if you love regency romance!
Sandra Matthews More than 1 year ago
Very likeable characters. The banter is clever and funny. I didn't want the story to end and had to read it again. Very well wtitten.
RomanceReaderLG More than 1 year ago
Love, love, love this book. The witty banter would have sold it alone, but's it's got it all - sexy scenes, smart, practical, heroine, and vulnerable underneath it all hero. I've read and reread this book many times and it never gets it old. I would say it's my favorite Loretta Chase, but Lord Perfect edges it out just a teensy bit.
all-about-that-fictionCB More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed every page of this book.
Haylie_Hannah More than 1 year ago
This is my first book of Loretta Chase and I have to say that it is one of my top favourites. The story was superb from the beginning to the end. I literally couldn't put it down. I loved the relationship between Sebastian Ballister, the Marquess of Dain, and Jessica Trent. Whenever they were in the same vicinity, sparks would fly and subtle insults and threats would be exchanged. Jessica was extremely intelligent and Dain was surprised that he had to keep up with her. He finally met his match. Even though he was a total shameless rake who never wanted to get involved with any respectable lady, he found himself being "smittened" by Jessica. After the inevitable wedding, they started to fall in love with each other. As their love grew, so did Dain (in a psychological sense). Although he was an adult, he was still incapable of knowing how to fully accept himself, his past, and his unwanted son. Jessica helped him cope with his past/losses and he went through an amazing transformation (especially when he learned to accept and care for his "unwanted" son who looked and behaved just like Dain when he was little). It was an overall beautiful story.
elleOI More than 1 year ago
I thought the book was formulaic, and the characters didnt seem authentic-in fact you dont even feel like you know them or understand what drives them. you feel sorry for sebastian at first but then the rest of the plot becomes so predictable... the heroine seems so very modern i would have thought it to be a time travel story, she is created to be tooo perfect to the point that she everything she does, says, thinks, feels and acts is perfect...its annoying! As it is a historical novel I would have thought/expected the historical setting to affect the behavior of the characters and what drives them, however it seems as the author took two very modern personalities and threw them into the 19th century and tried to make a story out of it. Disappointed...
Zumbanista on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm With the Minority on "Lord of Scoundrels"*******Soft Spoilers*********"Lord of Scoundrels" is a Regency Historical Romance by Loretta Chase. I chose this book based on the high Amazon ratings, $.99 price tag and my love of historical fiction. This book has won a large number of awards as well. The first half of the book appealed more to me than the last half as I found the plot became weaker (perhaps just less interesting to me) towards the end of the story. While the writing was good, and I enjoyed the feisty heroine for the most part, Lord Dain was predictably two-dimensional, more of a stereotype than a real person. There was humour here, but it didn't elicit much response from me. Some of the devices seemed forced or unnecessary to carry the weight of the story along (i.e. the Latin quotations, italicized Italian, size of Dain's nose, the runaway Circus horses, the withered arm [with miraculous recovery explained in modern-day psychological terms], the subplot involving Beaumont which was crucial to the storyline but very thin). Also, there are sex scenes some readers of "traditional Regency novels" might not expect. Hot and steamy, yes, but not overly graphic IMO. Kind of underwhelmed on this one, and I know I'm with the minority here.
Jen7waters on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wow, this was intense.I have to say, the first 100 pages or so were kind of weird, all because of the writing style that for some reason was a bit difficult for me to get used to. I also took my time adjusting to the characters, and getting to know them, for their actions can be confusing at first -- nonetheless this was a good thing because this way some them were actually surprising.Dark & tortured heroes are always my favorite type, and after this book Dain is probably on top of them all for me. I laughed my head off when he was attempting to intimidate Jessica and basically bullying her into marrying him (they bully each other into marriage actually), and thinking something like: Oh, I'll marry her, have my way with her how many times I wish, and then I'll just leave her to rot in the house all by herself while I and go back to my rakish ways, mwahahah! But immediately after she says ¿yes¿ he's all protective of her and starts making plans to buy a new mattress and bed sheets because his lady will not, for the name of all that is sacred, sleep in the same ones that so many other women before her did. Yeah Dain, you really don¿t care about your bride.[image]Jess was a wonderful heroine, bright, passionate, and the complete opposite of the damsel in distress.I really have nothing more to say about this book besides that I liked it a lot and that this couple is a perfect match.
Cynara on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In brief, I enjoyed it, though not as much as some. Heyer does better Regency atmosphere, but Chase's book is a lighter, easier read and the first two thirds of the book were just about perfect. My quibbles with the last third were:a) I wasn't terribly interested in the plot twist that happens in the last bit; it works very well thematically, but I just didn't find it very compelling, andb) our heroine, who really is quite wonderful, becomes a little too relentlessly right and wise for my taste.However, this is an excellent read with intriguing, affecting characters and sharp writing. I might look up more of Chase's books; I loved the way our heroine cut through traditional hero/heroine banter by calmly telling the truth - I'd expect her to take a cheap shot or cover something up, and she'd disarm all of us by being absolutely direct.I'll definitely read it again, and would happily recommend it to a friend. Profoundly mediocre cover, though.
krissa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I am usually not a big lover of historical books at all. I find it especially in the romance genre they can cross the line into incredibly sweet and cheesy. I also find myself getting frustrated with an abundance of description of the surroundings and the clothing and the food etc. and if they slip into a dialect that I have to stop and interpret and as often as not put it down and walk away. Reading romances should be light and fluffy and fun not work. So although I pick this one up with a lot of preconceived notions, I wanted to give it a try as it had made number one on the list. I have to say this book immediately broke through all of them. I like seeing inside the point of view of both main characters. They both have great senses of humor, and I like seeing the manipulation in the game of oneupmanship they were constantly trying to play on one another. I never found myself overwhelmed with description or dialect. The storyline what the push/pull that I think we expect from romances. I like that this one was from two perspectives, and they were both taking part in the push pull dance. The setting I think could have been almost anywhere at anytime. With the exception of when they were at the manor, and he was the lord. Other than references to their dress, or possibly some of the company kept, or where they hung out, I could easily forget that it was historical. The language wasn¿t trying to be to fancy or old-fashioned. For me that is a major turn off. The ending was satisfying, in that everyone got what I think they deserved. I would read other books by this author if the opportunity presented itself. So, am I a convert? Will I read other books that are historical fiction, especially in the romance genre? Probably not. Although this book dispelled many preconceived notions, I am still leery. Am I missing out on many great books? Probably, but unless one of them jumps up and bites me as this one did, it probably isn't going to happen. I will stick to my contemporary romances for now.
rocalisa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a book that is always at the top of "Best Romances" lists, and I suddenly decided I wanted to read it. Hooray for the library, that speedily filled my request.I really liked the book. I think the heroine, Jessica, is the strongest draw for me. She's smart, fun and strong. She stands up to Dain and is willing to take him on, yet she's also vulnerable in her own way. The chemistry between the couple is excellent and the story progresses very nicely.I'm sorry that I don't seem to have lots to say about the book, except that it deserves its place on all those lists and if you haven't read it but want a good historical romance with a great couple, then give this one a try.Lord of ScoundrelsLoretta Chase8/10
ParadigmTree on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As other reviewers have said, this book is continually referred to as one of the best romance novels. I decided to check it out and I was not disappointed. The heroine, Jessica, was endearing and easy to relate to. While she was smart and independent, she also had aspects to her character that made her fragile and, well, more human. The hero is thoroughly debauched and yet is extremely sympathetic. The chemistry between two is apparent almost right away. Chase's writing style is very enjoyable and witty. For the most part, the novel is well paced, however there were a few events that seemed rushed through and could have had more detail. The one other complaint I have is that this story includes an element I really dislike: the "annoying child" character. However, this was minor character and hardly detracted from my overall enjoyment of this novel. Great read.
theshadowknows on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lord of Scoundrels is one of the best romances out there. Anything I say can¿t do justice to this masterpiece, and there¿s not much by way of a review to add to what¿s already been said. It stands the conventions of the genre on its head and left me reeling, dizzy with delight, swept away by emotion, and overcome by sympathy for the characters. The story is so excellently constructed, the prose elegant and sparkling, the characters brilliantly portrayed. Simultaneously hilarious and heartbreaking, it¿s a book to savor ¿ every scene is memorable. Without resorting to ponderous moralizing, unfettered by clichés, it carries a message of healing and love that is uplifting, that makes you think and feel. While remaining grounded in what is human and accessible, Lord of Scoundrel still derives epic proportions from the strengths and struggles of its characters, from the power of the beautiful story it tells. I love everything about this book. It¿s a must read.
kayceel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was charming, fast-paced, witty and I *really* loved the main female character, Jessica. She's smart, feisty and witty. Recommended!
sjmccreary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I got this book as the result of seeing it mentioned several times on LT as being one of the best-ever romance novels. Of course, now I can't find the posts that led me to that conclusion. And I don't think it is. One of the best-ever romance novels. Dain was a troubled boy - physically and emotionally abandoned by his parents - who grew into a troubled man. Jessica was a fiercely independent woman who didn't put up with nonsense from anyone - especially boys, no matter their age, after having raised several brothers and boy cousins. So, while I understand that these two experienced an immediate animal attraction (which was well-written), I didn't buy off on the premise that each so trusted the other that they were willing to forgo their essential natures. Not immediately - I'd have thrown the book at the wall if she'd tried to pull that off - but within mere weeks.The end of the book was better than the beginning. I got a bad taste in my mouth right up front when Dain so blatantly misbehaves every chance he has, from the time he was about 8 years old. He has his first woman on his 13th birthday, and seemingly another one every night since. He matter-of-factly deals with the babies that result, although they are very few since he mostly seeks "professional" women who know how to avoid such complications. His sense of honor was outraged when he discovered a friend spying on him through a peep hole in a brothel. The feeling is that insulting ladies or cheating at cards, though, would not bother him a bit. Only after slogging through all this do we finally get to the part where he's met his match in Jessica.Not a horrible romance - more dated, maybe, than bad - but definitely not the best ever.
gatadelafuente on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite book of all time. Great hero, heroine, story, humor, romance, angst. Perfect except I didn't want it to end. I fell in love with Dain from the moment of his birth. He was an ugly baby, loved only by his dearest mother, who was taken away from him. He was horribly treated by others growing up because of his half-Italian heritage and his large nose and ungainly features. Not knowing love, he felt he was unworthy of being loved. As an adult, he lived a life of selfish pleasure, spending his time with women who he could pay for his pleasure, thinking no woman would want him voluntarily. How could I not know love a hero who is so tortured. Enter Jessica, the best heroine ever written. She is ruthlessly intelligent, and knows just how to handle Dain. And she pretty much loves him the first time she sees him. Although others think he is ugly, he is perfect to her. There's a statement made my Jessica where she thinks or says she cannot resist him, and he is baffled that she would feel that way, used to being considered ugly as sin. I am like Jessica. To me, Dain is gorgeous. The chemistry between Dain and Jessica is better than any other book I've read, and I've read a lot. I've read books that were much more sexually explicit. The love scenes are not at all in this book. But they are incredibly affective, because of the passion between Jessica and Dain, and the deep caring and love they feel for each other. She knows of his flaws, but cares about him anyway, although she doesn't let him get away with anything. She even shoots him when he compromises her in the eyes of the ton but doesn't offer marriage. How cool is that? Dain cannot resist her, even knowing that she is much too good for him, and will change his life irrevocably. The scenes between Dain and Jessica are so delicious, it's like eating a banana split with a cheesecake chaser. And I have read few books that could manage poignancy and humor so well. There are scenes that make me cry every time I read them. Yet other scenes cause the biggest smile to spread over my face. One of my many favorite scenes is when Dain acknowledges his illegitmate son, knowing he loves him, even though he is just as ugly as Dain was as a child, and is filthy and covered in vomit. My heart wept, and tears flowed from my eyes. At the end of the day, it's really hard to describe why I love this book so much. But I do. Yet I have absolutely no reservations in saying, this is my favorite book of all time. If I ever meet Loretta Chase, I will thank her from the bottom of my heart for writing this book that has so enriched my life