From the BLURB:
Katherine Fleming has lived her life without even a hint of indiscretion. So she is devastated to discover the nobleman she's engaged to has a secret he's kept from her: a wife! Suddenly Katherine's enmeshed in a scandal that has the ton buzzing -- and forced to accept a most unconventional proposal from the notorious seducer Dominic Mallory, her faithless fiance's brother… and precisely the sort of rake she has sworn to avoid!
Charming and dangerously sensual, Dominic has desired the stunning beauty from the first moment he spied her. Now, with Katherine's reputation in tatters, it's the ideal opportunity to bed her -- though it will take wedding vows to do so. But can a rogue be reformed by the unleashed passion of a normally reserved lady? And can a marriage made for all the wrong reasons flame into the love match of the season?
This was Jenna Petersen’s debut novel, published in 2005.
I really quite liked ‘Scandalous’. I borrowed it from the library on a whim, drawn by the ‘bodice ripping’ cover and the promise of a smutty historical romance. I was just in the mood for this kind of a read.
I was really surprised that I liked this book so much, especially considering the fact that Petersen uses a plot ploy that I normally despise. She has the hero and heroine, Katherine and Dominic, fall for one another instantaneously – a case of love at first sight. I normally like a bit more conflict, an element of ‘will they or won’t they’? But Petersen makes up for an initially easy coupling by exploring what comes after the happy ending. Both Katherine and Dominic have issues they bring into the marriage. As a young girl Katherine watched her parents volatile relationship; her mother’s neediness versus her father’s womanizing, and as a result Katherine has vowed to guard her heart. Dominic grew up as his family’s black sheep – at the age of thirteen he was indelicately told he was a bastard, the result of his mother’s extramarital affair – and ever since he has felt abandoned and unwanted.
‘Scandalous’ isn’t what you’d expect –the book delves deeper than typical romances, and instead of being about ‘boy meets girl’ it’s more a tale of what happens after the boy gets the girl and the two have to hash out their relative neurosis.
‘Scandalous’ also delivers on the ‘bodice ripping’, just as the cover promises. Dominic and Katherine are scorching – and since they are married early on in the book there’s no need to wait-out their courtship, they happily consummate their shotgun wedding and smuttiness ensues;
Another button slid through his fingers and his mouth followed the trail with a whisper of breath against her spine. She tried not to arch with pleasure and failed. He smiled against her skin.
“Hmmm. So you don’t want me to do this?” He slipped the last button of her gown open and bared her back to the heat of the fire and his equally burning touch.
I only have two complaints about the book. The first is a rather rushed conclusion – it all comes down to a long-winded monologue that deflates the action up to that point. And the second is Petersen not utilizing a fantastic villainess – she introduces a real bitch of a character that could have stirred up so much trouble and made things really interesting, but she only drags her out for a quick appearance in the beginning and end.
I didn’t expect much from ‘Scandalous’, but I was pleasantly surprised. I will definitely be checking out Jenna Petersen’s other books.