How to Steal a Scoundrel’s Heart by Vivienne Lorret

How to Steal a Scoundrel's Heart (The Mating Habits of Scoundrels, #4)77Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Series: The Mating Habits of Scoundrels #4
Publication Date: 5/24/22
Period: Regency London
Number of Pages: 384

Prue and Leo are the first characters, in a very long time, to reach out, grab me, and pull me right into their world. Their chemistry in this steamy book just sparks right off the page. You have to admire and like both of them because they had so much to overcome. The walls each of them had built around themselves were high-and-tight, so it was heartwarming to see those walls begin to crumble. The pacing is near perfect, and the writing is so well done you actually begin to believe the bad guys could succeed. Of course, there is just the right amount of humor interspersed with the tensions of the villains and the steaminess of the romance.

Prudence Wilhelmina Thorogood is ruined – completely and totally. Her self-esteem is non-existent because her straitlaced, puritanical, judgmental, unforgiving, fault-finding father and stepmother have been pointing out her flaws for years. Now, after her ruination, they packed her off to the country to live with an aunt and uncle who were even worse – they had all of the same character traits as her father and step-mother – but they were stingy old skinflints who used her as a drudge. When she’d had enough, she set out for London – even if she had to walk all the way. Being toyed with and admired by a huge sheepdog in the middle of a rainstorm didn’t make her journey any easier – and then, of course, was the humiliation of being seen in that situation by a gorgeously handsome man (and his mistress).

Leopold Edmund Truman Ramsgate, Marquess of Savage, lives only for himself. He trusts no one, cares for no one, values no one, and will definitely never marry and fall in love. With a mother who walked out and left him when he was a babe, enduring a brutal life with a debauched self-serving father, and being betrayed by someone he should have been able to trust, he had every right to feel that way. Now, he is in control – and I do mean complete control. He leaves nothing to chance. He always keeps a mistress, but even that relationship is regulated; he has written contracts for the relationship spelling out the minutest details, especially the detail that the relationship will end in four months. That is how he came to enjoy watching a huge sheepdog toy with a young woman walking along the roadway – he was conveying his current (ex) mistress to where she wanted to be left.

Leo admired the young lady’s looks – even though she was covered in mud. They finally persuaded the young lady to accept a ride in their carriage so she wouldn’t get any wetter before she reached the coaching station. That same young woman kept turning up in the oddest places – there she was again walking along the road toward London – and then on the street dressed as a maid – and in attendance at an all-male party. What in the world is she up to? Her answer was – Larceny!

Along the way, Leo offers her the position as his mistress – more than once – but she declines, or doesn’t answer at all. Until she shows up at his home one evening and accepts. And then, the fun begins!

These two were so very right for each other and I loved seeing them bring each other’s strengths out. The attraction was there from the beginning and it was lovely to watch the love grow between them. For me, the story was good enough that I didn’t even deduct any stars for the author constantly referring to a Marquess as Mr., etc. Another thing I loved – and got a smile from – was some of the names – the beast of a Marquess was The Marquess of SAVAGE and wrongly ruined debutante was Prudence THOROGOOD. Those and a few others amused me.

I hope you will read this book and enjoy it as much as I did.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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