Veena’s review of No Good Duke Goes Unpunished: The Third Rule of Scoundrels (Rules of Scoundrels, Book 3) by Sarah MacLean
Historical Romance published by Avon 26 Nov 13
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the previous two books in this series and couldn’t wait to get to Temple’s story. Accused of a crime that he has no recollection of committing and awarded the nom de plum Killer Duke, Temple uses his pugilistic skills to give gamblers at the Fallen Angel a second chance to win back their losses. He seeks absolution with no expectation of finding it and uses the boxing matches as a way of providing to others what he doesn’t expect to be granted for himself. But fate is finally ready to prove him wrong and provide him his absolution in a completely unexpected way.
Sixteen-year-old Mara Lowe was engaged to marry the Duke of Lamont when she disappeared on her wedding day, presumed dead, murdered by none other than her future stepson (Temple). Tossed out of the only home and lifestyle he’s known, he’s forced to survive on the streets where he finally learns to fight and use his brute strength to carve out a life for himself. He meets up with the other fallen angels and ultimately becomes one of a tight set of aristocrats who’ve walked away from the wealth and privilege that they were born into to make their own.
As he walks home one night, he encounters none other than Mara Lowe, mysteriously restored to life. Apparently she wasn’t willing to be sold into marriage to an old man, so she arranged to disappear. She never expected that Temple would be accused in having a hand in her disappearance, let alone being accused of her murder. Tough luck that, but she’s back and she’s willing to prove his innocence for a price.
As Temple prepares to get his pound of flesh, he and Mara spend time together out of necessity. He’s curious about her and uses his network of spies to find out more. She has a lot of secrets she’s keeping and, most importantly, she’s fighting to save the lives of the innocents in her care whose future her brother has gambled away. Hiding her vulnerability under a tough skin, she negotiates with Temple for every penny she can.
Temple has no clue what happened that night and imagines the worst. Apparently he was drugged and had no recollections of meeting an enchanting young lady in the garden and waking up in the bed where he retired with her, covered in blood, then only to find that the lady in question was to have been his step-mama. Except she’s disappeared. She’s willing to supply the details, doling them out a little at a time for a negotiated fee.
Both of them have so much darkness that they are battling against and yet they are so well suited to each other. The relationship building is superb and there are surprises lurking behind unexpected corners as the story unfolds.
Ms. MacLean turns out consistently good stories, and this one is no exception and adds to her well-deserved reputation. Frankly, I am having a hard time waiting for the fourth scoundrel to get his comeuppance. He seems to be the most mysterious of them all, based on the few glimpses we get of him in this book.
A rogue ruined . . .
He is the Killer Duke, accused of murdering Mara Lowe on the eve of her wedding. With no memory of that fateful night, Temple has reigned over the darkest of London’s corners for twelve years, wealthy and powerful, but beyond redemption. Until one night, Mara resurfaces, offering the one thing he’s dreamed of . . . absolution.
A lady returned . . .
Mara planned never to return to the world from which she’d run, but when her brother falls deep into debt at Temple’s exclusive casino, she has no choice but to offer Temple a trade that ends in her returning to society and proving to the world what only she knows…that he is no killer.
A scandal revealed . . .
It’s a fine trade, until Temple realizes that the lady—and her past—are more than they seem. It will take every bit of his strength to resist the pull of this mysterious, maddening woman who seems willing to risk everything for honor . . . and to keep from putting himself on the line for love.
No excerpt available.