Favorite Lines: “The old ring of standing stones at the crumbling Foxe ruin was rumored to be a magic place. Men and women throughout the land had used the mysterious circle for generations in order to find a mate. The legend was unlikely, yes, but Alys had gone, and Piers had found her in the midst of a very unlikely set of circumstances. Perhaps…perhaps Hallowshire wasn’t Cecily’s true vocation, which might explain her sudden, fierce reluctance. Perhaps she, too, should visit the Foxe Ring. Perhaps–” (p. 15, ARC)
Even a cloistered young heiress in medieval England has her reckless moments. . .
Lord Oliver Bellecote has a way of bringing out the vixen in any woman. Any woman, that is, but Cecily Foxe, an innocent flower destined for the abbey who seems utterly immune to his charms. Or so he believes until the night they accidentally meet in the pagan ruins of Foxe Ring, and Oliver discovers that “Saint Cecily” is actually as tempting as sin. . .
Cecily would like nothing more than to forget her night of heated passion with the dangerously handsome Lord Bellecote. But denial proves quite impossible when she is charged with tending his every need during his stay at Fallstowe Castle. For only in his arms does she feel truly alive, despite the deadly secrets that surround his past—and threaten their tenuous future. . .
Before commenting on the actual story I need to address the cover. The cover made me think I was picking up book with Scottish lairds. I know the back of the book never stated Scotland, but with that plaid I assumed Scotland would be worked into the story. It is not. I kind of feel tricked.
Never Seduce a Scoundrel is book two in Grothaus’ Foxe sister’s trilogy. The main characters from book one, Alys and Piers, make cameo appearances. Despite never reading Never Kiss a Stranger–book one–I got the gist of it with the bits and pieces Heather Grothaus included in Never Seduce a Scoundrel. Grothaus has created a story set in medieval England (in the year 1277) with a hint of the paranormal. It doesn’t involve zombies, vampires or werewolves, but it does involve the unexplainable.
Lady Cecily, the heroine, is considered saintly by all around her, but at the point the reader is introduced to her she is feeling less and less saintly by the minute. She is beginning to question her decision to enter the nunnery. One of things that bothers her is her attraction to bad boy/womanizer Lord Oliver Bellecote. He runs through women like ale, but still holds Cecily’s attention though she dare not show it.
Not long after the reader is introduced to Cecily she makes a decision which is totally out of character; she gave her virginity to Lord Oliver. This was hard for me to swallow because in the 1200s the repercussions would have been deadly, her reputation would have been in the dirt. You can guess where the story goes from here. Really, don’t work to hard. It’s a normal OMG moment in a romance heroine’s life and not at all surprising.
I got to tell ya, I wasn’t taken with the hero. Oliver is a reprobate who eventually wants to become a better man for his heroine. The sad part is that he constantly acts out like a child. He is a spoiled member of the aristocracy that I often associate with Regency romance novels as opposed to those set in the medieval times. He was a reprobate who met his match with a woman who didn’t fawn at his feet. I never felt the alpha that I associate with romance books set in medieval times.
The story itself was mainly about the romance/dating dance being performed by the hero and heroine. Mixed-in were the machinations of Cecily’s older sister and the mysterious death of Oliver’s older brother. The ruthlessness of Cecily’s eldest sibling (Sybilla) was a major contrast to Cecily’s character and that of the youngest Foxe sister who came across as a weakling. (I couldn’t believe such a wimpy woman was given her own book.)
If you’re knowledgeable about women’s roles in medieval England or have the medieval England of other romance writers in your mind, you need to set it aside. Grothaus has her own take on it, and while the actions of the characters made me think of Regency England, it was still an enjoyable book. There’s action from the beginning to the happily ever after ending. The paranormal aspects are very light and the story itself is sensual. It also sets up the events for the final installment of the trilogy–Sybilla Foxe’s story. While I won’t be re-reading Never Seduce a Scoundrel, there was nothing that makes me say, “don’t read this.” It’s one of those books you borrow from the library or a friend.