Three Nights with a Scoundrel by Tessa Dare
Series: Stud Club #3
Also in this series: One Dance with a Duke, Twice Tempted by a Rogue
Published by Random House Publishing Group
Publication Date: July 27th 2010
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Historical, Regency
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In Tessa Dare’s dazzling new trilogy, the men of the Stud Club live and play by their own rules—until passion changes the game.
The bastard son of a nobleman, Julian Bellamy is now polished to perfection, enthralling the ton with wit and charm while clandestinely plotting to ruin the lords, ravish the ladies, and have the last laugh on a society that once spurned him. But after meeting Leo Chatwick, a decent man and founder of an elite gentlemen’s club, and Lily, Leo’s enchanting sister, Julian reconsiders his wild ways. And when Leo’s tragic murder demands that Julian hunt for justice, he vows to see the woman he secretly loves married to a man of her own class.
Lily, however, has a very different husband in mind.
She’s loved Julian forever, adores the man beneath the rakish façade, and wants to savor the delicious attraction they share—as his wife. His insistence on marrying her off only reinforces her intent to prove that he is the only man for her. Obsessed with catching a killer, Julian sinks back to the gutters of his youth, forcing Lily to reach out with a sweet, reckless passion Julian can’t resist. Can her desire for a scoundrel save them both—or will dangerous secrets threaten more than their tender love?
From the Paperback edition.
I wasn’t sure what to think going into this novel. I wasn’t very impressed with Julian in either of the previous two books. He came across as angry, uncaring, selfish, vain and altogether a not-very-likable character. I vowed to have an open mind, but we all know how that is.
So it’s with great pleasure that I say I absolutely adored Julian.
When his best friend Leo was murdered, Julian Bellamy vowed two things; to find the murderers and bring them to justice and to see Leo’s sister, Lady Lily, settled into a good marriage. He loves Lily enough that he wants to see her settled with a man of her own class – something he can never be.
Lily is heartily sick and tired of Julian putting himself in danger by searching out her brother’s killers. No one wants justice for his murder than she, but not if it’s going to cost her Julian. He’s been her best friend as long as she can remember, and she doesn’t want him putting himself in danger. Lately he’s been like a man obsessed. He hardly eats, rarely sleeps and her concern for him grows more every day.
When he insists yet again that she marry, she agrees to return to society, but only if he accompanies her. He must give her three nights – escort her to three events – or she’ll quite happily retire to the country alone. For Julian, spending three nights with Lily is both heaven and hell. He longs for her, but knows he can never have her. It’s the worst sort of torture to be near her and know she can never be his.
Lily is deaf. It’s very hard for her to go out into society. She can read lips very well, but in a social setting it’s very hard for her to keep up. She also has no desire to marry. She’s content with her life. Until she realizes she can have more, that is. Then she decides to risk it all on Julian. I really loved how strong she was. She didn’t shy away from the truth of her feelings and she wasn’t afraid to put herself out there. She was happy to try new things, or go on adventures, or put her heart on the line. She was very refreshing.
Julian is the bastard son of a nobleman. He grew up dirt poor in one of the worst parts of town. He isn’t good enough for Lily. He knows that. I think this was one area where Julian was very honest with himself. He truly wanted to see her settled with someone of her own class. Someone who would treat her well and allow her to attend social functions and be accepted in society. He was very selfless in that area.
One of the things that frustrated me about the previous novel, Twice Tempted by a Rogue was that the class differences between the hero and heroine weren’t fully explored. That wasn’t the case here. Julian really thought about what it would mean for Lily to be with him.
I expected to be annoyed by Julian, or to have his insistence that Lily marry be too much. But instead I sympathized with him and adored him. He really only wanted what was best for her. In so many novels the hero thinks, “Damn the consequences!” and while that can be very exciting, it’s also not very realistic. Dare really showcased just how much Julian truly cared for Lily, in actions rather than words.
“Julian,” she said huskily, “you were right the other morning. You know me so well. I’m not made for illicit affaires, all that sneaking around to avoid discovery.” In the dark, her hands crept up to his shoulders, then his face. Her finger teased through his hair. “Why should we hide at all? Let all London see us together. I don’t care what anyone says or thinks. I love you, and I want the world to know.”
He wanted to weep. For joy, for frustration. She was so brave, his beautiful Lily, and the situation was so damned unfair. It wasn’t her fault that she made these heartrending declarations at a moment when their lives were probably in danger and he couldn’t possibly reciprocate. That fault was his, for choosing to live the way he had and making the decisions he’d made. He didn’t deserve her, didn’t deserve her love. He most certainly didn’t merit those warm brushes of her lips against his skin. But damned if he could bring himself to stop them.
“We’re in love, Julian. Isn’t it wonderful?”
“No,” he murmured as she kissed him again. “It’s not wonderful. It’s a disaster.”
Her lips grazed his jaw, then his throat. “I can feel you speaking, and I know you’re probably making some valiant protest. But you know I can’t hear those words. Your body is making an altogether different argument, and I’m listening to it.” Her fingers crept inside his waistcoat, splaying over the thin lawn of his shirt. “Take your heart, for example.”
Yes, take it. Take it and keep it, always.
The problem wasn’t with them being in love. It’s obvious from the beginning that Julian cares for her and it isn’t long before Lily realizes she loves him as well. The problem is that Julian isn’t good enough.
You see I’ve mentioned this several times. He’s not good enough for her. Though I understand, and appreciate, the class differences between them and why Julian wanted better for Lily, it was harped on a bit too much. Julian constantly pushes Lily away because he isn’t good enough. It became too much for me, especially near the end.
He also had a major secret he kept from her, almost until the last page. Why he kept it from her is beyond me. His insistence that he had to be “Good” for her and that she was “everything” to him frustrated me. The good news is, it also frustrated Lily. She didn’t let him get away with much, including keeping her in the dark.
Despite my frustrations with Julian and his need to protect Lily from herself, I have to say this was my favorite of the trilogy. I adored the overall storyline and the beautiful romance. Each character brought out the best in the other. I was truly wrapped up in them, my heart and mind fully engaged.
4.5 out of 5
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