The Scoundrel & I by Katharine Ashe
Publisher: Billet-Doux Books
Publication Date: August 7, 2016
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC sent by the author
***Warning: this is an adult book, and for the eyes of mature readers***
Summary (from Goodreads):
A sexy, heartwarming novella from the USA Today bestselling author of RITA® Award Finalists My Lady, My Lord and How to Marry a Highlander...
Printer's assistant Gabrielle Flood just made the worst mistake of her life.
Then handsome, dashing Captain Anthony Masinter came along...
And made it even worse.
And he's the last man on earth who can help her fix it.
Sometimes a disaster is exactly what two people need to fall in love.
* * *
The Scoundrel & I is a standalone spin-off novella from Katharine Ashe's acclaimed Falcon Club Series, with special BONUS MATERIAL: the complete correspondence of Lady Justice and Peregrine, including never-before-published letters. The publication sale price of 99¢ is for a limited time only.
What I Liked:
This. THIS is the classic Katharine Ashe that I absolutely love. Her Prince Catchers series was SO good, and I enjoyed each one. I didn't love her latest novel, The Rogue, which surprised me! It had been one of my most anticipated adult romance novels of 2016. But this novella seemed more like classic Ashe! I was enthralled by this story.
Please note -- I received an electronic advanced reader's copy of this book from the author. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.
Gabrielle Flood has done a terrible thing - she took the printing type set (whatever it's called) from her place of work without permission, and on her way home, she drops it when a horse and rider startled her. Now Elle is ruined, because her employer will let her go, because she was not supposed to touch the machine. She took it because her dying grandmother loves printing and the press, and it makes her happy to touch it. Elle doesn't expect to see the handsome stranger who nearly ran her over with his horse, but she does. Captain Anthony Masinter didn't know that he ruined Elle's life that night, and when he finds out, he is quick to try and help. Finding the missing pieces proves difficult, and so he gets creative. As the pair rush to find the pieces before the Brittle family get back.
I adored both Elle and Anthony! Elle is an intelligent woman who corrects Anthony's grammar all the time, which is cute (not annoying). She proofreads publications, including Lady Justice's publications, which are very popular. Elle is a no-nonsense type of woman, especially after having her heart broken by Jo Junior (one of Mr. Brittle's sons). She's closed off her heart to love. But she doesn't expect Captain Anthony Masinter to breeze into her life.
Anthony... oh Anthony. I think he's one of my favorite male protagonists of the adult romance novels I've read this year. Swoony does not cover how sigh-worthy he really is. Yes, he's handsome and he fills his Navy uniform really nicely and he's just nice to look at in general. What's more, he's incredibly honorable, determined, and a little stubborn. He wants to help Elle, even though it's pretty much her fault for taking the type setter in the first place. Anthony has a tough backstory, and he joined the Navy as a result, at age twelve. Twenty years later, he's back in England after he inherits property and a hefty amount of money.
The romance is SO wonderful! I loved seeing these two fall for each. With this being a novella, you'd think the romance would seem fast and instant. But Ashe crafts the romance beautifully, taking these two from a terrible start to a swoony end. There are bumps in the road, especially with Anthony's honor getting in the way, but I liked how things worked out. These two have great chemistry, and share some steamy moments (though there is only one sex scene). They also have a lot of fun together, with several great adventures and a lot of cute scenes. There is a tiny bit of drama and heartbreak at the climax of the book, but it's handled well and there isn't unnecessary drama associated with it.
Aaaaand, I *love* that Elle fights for Anthony! She is the one that messes up and creates that small drama at the climax, and she is the one that fixes things and fights for her man. I love seeing this! I love when a woman messes up, she takes responsibility and makes it right and fights. Good for her!
I haven't read any of Ashe's Falcon Club books, but I think fans of that series will love this book especially, because there are Lady Justice and Peregrine mentions all over this book! Including letters and such.
I feel like I can't express just how much I adored this book! The romance was great, and I really liked Anthony, and I liked Elle a lot too. In Ashe's last book, I struggled to like the heroine. But in this book, I liked Elle and I loved Anthony. Ashe writes wonderful historical romance stories with strong heroines and swoony, respectful alpha heroes, and this novella does not disappoint.
What I Did Not Like:
More steamy scenes? Not a dislike, but more of a wish! Ashe's books are pretty steamy, and this one is, but I would have loved more than one sex scene!
Would I Recommend It:
While this is a novella, it's pretty lengthy! The story feels very complete and the relationships and characters are well-developed and well-written. And I loved the romance! So much that I want to reread this story and experience it all over again.
4.5 stars -> rounded down to 4 stars. I'm not sure I'd rate this 5 stars (it doesn't quite *feel* like 5 stars to me, and I usually reserve that rating for all-time favorites), but I think this book is better than 4 stars. This story was much more like I'm used to from Ashe, and I loved it!
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