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Lord of Scoundrels

Lord of Scoundrels

4.2 520
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


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!

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

A young woman sets out to save her brother from the influence of the wicked Marquess of Dain and falls under the "Devil's" spell herself in this classic Regency-set historical, first published in 1995, from one of the genre's best-loved authors.

—Kristin Ramsdell

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Scoundrels Series , #3
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1 MB

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.

Meet the Author

Loretta Chase has worked in academe, retail, and the visual arts, as well as on the street—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®.

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Lord of Scoundrels 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 520 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...
Anonymous 9 months ago
Characters have depth and the plot is good. Not often you find books like this one that has some substance.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Likable characters, good storyline. Very entertaining.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An OK read
Bigedsgirl1 More than 1 year ago
One of the best historical romances I have ever read! The dialog between hero and heroine is deliciously droll and highlights the unique personality traits of each. Dain and Jessica's first meeting sets the stage for their unconventional relationship and this is one couple whose love story is one to be savored and read again and again. Keep a handkerchief near because parts of Dain's past can bring forth tears, but as a whole, this story is an amazing tribute to the awesome power of love and acceptance.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Out of control and badliy behaved leading characters make gor a dingularly unpleasant book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
And heroines that are smart and understanding. Oh how I wish that I were as smart as Jessica. I love this book. I read it at least once a year, and laugh every time.
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