What a scoundrel wants, a scoundrel gets...
A decade ago, the Marquess of Bourne was cast from society with nothing but his title. Now a partner in London’s most exclusive gaming hell, the cold, ruthless Bourne will do whatever it takes to regain his inheritance—including marrying perfect, proper Lady Penelope Marbury.
A broken engagement and years of disappointing courtships have left Penelope with little interest in a quiet, comfortable marriage, and a longing for something more. How lucky that her new husband has access to such unexplored pleasures.
Bourne may be a prince of London’s underworld, but he vows to keep Penelope untouched by its wickedness—a challenge indeed as the lady discovers her own desires, and her willingness to wager anything for them... even her heart.
I have Ms. MacLean's previous trilogy on my TBR pile, but I am so glad I picked A Rogue by Any Other Name from the library. I could not put it down! I never expected to love it so much or to rush through it so quickly.
A Rogue by Any Other Name has everything I like in a historical romance: childhood friends to lovers, rogues/bad boys, sequel bait. Bourne's motives are just, I think, though he does use rogue-like tactics to obtain them, such as keeping Penelope prisoner, thereby ruining her and forcing him to marry her. Their marriage ensures Bourne will receive the childhood home he lost in a game of cards as it has been attached to Penelope's dowry.
But there was one thing of which Penelope was certain. Eldest daughters of good breed did not inspect strange lights in the middle of the night.
What Bourne doesn't expect when he marries Penelope, I imagine, is a wife who's very interested in what goes on at The Fallen, a well-known gaming hall in London which is co-owned by Bourne and three other rogue-like peers (all four men have fallen from their stature as members of the ton, hence the name of their club).
Because Bourne's primary motive for success is revenge, he is quite cruel to Penelope, despite their share childhood past. However, as more layers open and Bourne allows himself to become vulnerable, particularly about Penelope, that he begins to appreciate what he already has and his need for revenge lessens.
All in all, A Rogue by Any Other Name is a great start to a series I'm very much looking forward to reading.