The title: Lord of Scoundrels
The authors: Loretta Chase
Publication: Avon, 1995
Got it from: Kobo, 2010
It's your typical romance novel. Boy is abandoned by mother. Boy's titled father is cruel and sends his son to boarding school. Boy is tormented by bullies and grows up to be a complete wastrel and whoremonger. Boy meets girl in Paris. Boy gets shot by girl, then gets blackmailed into marrying her. Boy's bastard son shows up to make life complicated. Boy learns to love and finds peace with himself and his past. Did I mention this book is widely considered to be the best modern romance novel ever written? The End.
Of course there's much more to this story than this simplistic plot summary, I'm only being silly. I can tell you this: even though this "beauty and the beast" trope has been done a million times, even though I have a particular loathing for romance heroes who visit whores, and Dain has got to be the biggest whoremonger ever written, I enjoyed this book. I enjoyed it so much that when I woke up two nights in a row with a terrible cold and couldn't sleep, this book entertained me for hours until my cold medicine kicked in. Any book that can distract me when I'm exhausted and miserable is worth a few brownie points.
There are some genuine laugh-out-loud moments in the book. I particularly loved a scene at a ball when Dain asks Jessica to dance, and she shows him her fan with all her dance partners on it and asks him, "do you see Beelzebub written on there?" And he proceeds to break every single fold and says, "now you're dancing with me." The infamous scene where Jessica shoots him isn't as memorable as everybody says, I actually prefer the scene in The Devil's Delilah when Jack wrestles the gun from Delilah. One of my other favourite bits is when Jessica drags Dain to Stonehenge on their honeymoon trip en route to his estates in Cornwall.
I can see why this book has so many fans. I wouldn't say it was my favourite but it was very amusing.