Series: The Rules of Scoundrels #1
Published by Avon on February 28, 2012
A ROGUE BY ANY OTHER NAME is the first book of Sarah MacLean’s Rules of Scoundrels series. The four books of the series tell the stories of four partner who have been exiled from society. The four are partners in a fabulous gaming hell known as the Fallen Angel.
Each book begins with the story of the fall from grace of each of the partners. In A ROGUE BY ANY OTHER NAME, we learn the story of Michael Lawler, Marquess of Bourne, who was orphaned at the age of 16. At the age of 21, he lost everything on a turn of the cards at vingt et un. Exiled from society, he has built a new life for himself as the games manager at the Fallen Angel.
The heroine of the story is Lady Penelope Marbury, who was the ex-fiancé of the Duke of Leighton from ELEVEN SCANDALS TO START TO WIN A DUKE’S HEART. Penelope has spent the eight years since her broken engagement searching for the kind of love that the Duke found in that book. She and Michael were friends when they were growing up, but she hasn’t seen him in 16 years.
“[T]hey’d been friends once. Long ago, before he’d become handsome as the devil and twice as cold.”
The two meet again because Penelope’s father has acquired a portion of Bourne’s family estate and Bourne wants it. He compromises her and forces their marriage.
This book is much darker than MacLean’s previous Love By Numbers Series. Bourne is a dark, cold man when the book begins. He doesn’t try to disguise his motives but rather takes what he wants. What he wants is his land and revenge on the man who took everything from him. Bourne is obsessed with revenge and doesn’t really care who gets hurt in the process. I confess that I like dark, sexy, tortured heroes. Bourne is definitely of the dark and tortured variety and he is a jerk a lot in this book. I like that though because I love that he is redeemed by his love for Penelope.
Penelope has grown and changed in the eight years since ELEVEN SCANDALS TO START TO WIN A DUKE’S HEART. I found it very interesting that it was the love story in that book that changed Penelope. It made her dissatisfied with the unemotional life that she had expected to live. It made her want love. I also really liked how strong Penelope is. Bourne tries to intimidate her and yet she refused to yield. Even when she cannot win against him, she is strong and makes the best deal she can.
I also really like that it is Penelope that is the heroine in the story. She is the one who takes the actions to help Bourne. She is the instigator of much of the movement in their relationship. She is the powerful one.
The secondary characters are strong and pull at the reader to know what their stories are. I also really enjoy that MacLean uses secondary characters from her other novels. It is always a nice surprise for a small character to make an appearance. The book also leaves small questions about the other partners in the series which makes me want to read the next book.
And speaking of the next book….This book has a fantastic epilogue that is really a prologue for ONE GOOD EARL DESERVES A LOVER.