A long string of tragic loves haunts Viscount Benedick Francis Alistair Rohan. Cool and cynical, he's weary of life's fickle games and wants a prim and proper wife he can ignore while indulging his sensual appetites.My Thoughts: Oh, Anne Stuart, thank you so much for giving us this fun, fun book. It was delicious and decadent and I'm kinda in love with all your characters. All of them. Especially the broken ones.
Lady Melisande Carstairs is nothing less than a tornado storming into Benedick's measured life. Possessed of boundless energy and the soul of a reformer, Melisande always conquers, whether it's saving the souls of soiled doves or seducing the man she's inconveniently fallen for. When she informs Benedick that his brother's newly revived Heavenly Host has graduated from simple carnal debauchery to sadistic violence, he's compelled to investigate, undercover. Under those covers, however, is Melisande herself, playing a dangerous game in the name of justice.
And the Heavenly Host has just seen her hand, and more…
First things first, despite being the 4th book in the series I had no problems at all jumping into the lives of the characters. I have read the free prequel (The Wicked House of Rohan - available here) and enjoyed it immensely, but seeing as the prequel deals with the current Viscount's great-uncle (I think, maybe it was his great, great... no, I'm pretty sure there was only one great in there) reading it isn't strictly necessary. Although it does give backstory on the whole Heavenly Host thing. Heck, just go read the freebie first. You know, because it's good and sexy and you'll thank me in the morning. The point I'm trying to make here is that if you haven't read the previous books you won't be going crazy trying to figure out what's going on. Benedick's sister and her husband (the main characters from book 3) are introduced in a humorous way and you find out the particulars of their romance from Benedick's rather biased version of events.
Meanwhile, we're drawn into the lives of Benedick, who's decided it's high time he got himself a biddable wife to get a few heirs on while he continues carousing with the less respectable women of London, and Melisande, who's made it her mission to save and rehabilitate the soiled doves of London and give them a life that doesn't involve selling themselves for sex. As you can imagine, their goals are at odds with one another.
Melisande was so much fun. For a widow who's experienced sex before, she was sweetly innocent about the pleasure that can be found between and man and a woman. Her soiled doves (I'm sorry, I think that phrase is so wonderfully evocative. I can see those damn dirty doves every time I read it) have done their best to educate her, but her sexual experience involves a man several decades older than her who was on his deathbed and a man who didn't appear to have any particular skill between the sheets. She thinks that she's simply one of those women who don't find pleasure with a man. Until, that is, Benedick shows her the error of her ways.
Strongly written with characters that have distinct and powerful voices, Shameless is a historical romance with a strong-willed woman, a dangerously sexy rake and villains who delight in causing mayhem and destruction.
More books by Anne Stuart
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Shameless was provided for review by Harlequin through NetGalley.