Lady Emma Avery has accidentally announced her engagement–to the most eligible man in England. As soon as it’s discovered that Emma has never actually met the infamously attractive Duke of Ashbrooke, she’ll no longer be a wallflower; she’ll be a laughingstock. And then Ashbrooke does something Emma never expected. He plays along with her charade.
A temporary betrothal to the irreproachable Lady Avery could be just the thing to repair Ashbrooke’s tattered reputation. Seducing her is simply a bonus. And then Emma does what he never expected: she refuses his advances. It’s unprecedented. Inconceivable. Quite damnably alluring.
London’s Least Likely to Misbehave has aroused the curiosity–among other things–of London’s most notorious rogue. Now nothing will suffice but to uncover Emma’s wanton side and prove there’s nothing so satisfying as two perfect strangers . . .being perfectly scandalous together.
Publisher and release date: Avon, October 29, 2013
Time and setting: England, 1821
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat level: 2
Reviewer Rating: 4.5
Review by Maria Almaguer
This is a charming, sparkling, and very funny story, the first in Maya Rodale’s newest concurrent historical and contemporary romance series, Bad Boys and Wallflowers.
Lady Emma Avery, known as London’s Least Likely to Misbehave is a wallflower. She’s “not quite.” She also has a wry sense of humor and faces her fears despite many challenges. Emma and her best friends, Olivia and Prudence, graduates of Lady Penelope’s Finishing School for Young Ladies, are facing their fourth season on the London marriage mart and have yet to make a match. Emma has been mildly courted by Benedict, an impoverished second son who won’t commit – he reminded me of Edmund Bertram in Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park. Basically, he seemed to be waiting to see if another better match would come along.
Against Emma’s wishes, Olivia and Prudence concoct a scheme to send a letter to The London Weekly, a local scandal sheet, announcing Emma’s engagement to the dreamy and unattainable Duke of Ashbrooke, “London’s Most Eligible Bachelor of All Time Ever.” A fire diverts their plans, much to Emma’s relief; but imagine her surprise when the announcement appears in the paper the very next day, much to her mother’s delight and the gossips’ hateful envy.
But Ashbrooke (Blake) isn’t all that he seems. He is a clever inventor trying to raise funds to finance his ingenious Difference Engine (a more precise calculating device based on Charles Babbage’s future computer), but his wild reputation as a womanizer, drinker, and gambler have worked against him. Blake’s beloved aunt, the eccentric and rich Agatha, holds a crazy annual “Fortune Games” contest in which her heirs compete to inherit her wealth. Blake figures that he and Emma, with their fake betrothal, can win the money. If they do, they’ll split the cash and he’ll have the money for his Difference Engine while she will then have money to marry Benedict.
But things don’t quite work out that way.
Instead, Blake falls hard for Emma while she – having always had a crush on him – refuses to believe his feelings are sincere. This is a game after all. To his chagrin and amazement, Blake falls for Emma’s crooked smile, her beautiful blue eyes, and her spirited assertiveness in standing up to gossip as well as his feisty aunt. He is used to women falling at his feet so he’s surprised when Emma does not.
This was a very funny book that made me laugh and smile. The scene where they made up their first meeting was hilarious and the letter writing scene describing their made up courtship was sweet. I enjoyed the little details of bits of gossip, quotes from scandal sheets, and the horrid novels that Emma reads preceding each chapter. In fact, Rodale polled her fans on Facebook to come up with wildly creative book titles such as Miss Darling and the Dreadful Duke and The Mad Baron.
As a wallflower myself, I could relate to much of what Emma was feeling. The mortification and hopelessness at secretly loving someone who doesn’t know you’re alive, fading into the woodwork at a dance, or just feeling plain compared to the beautiful girls.
I highly recommended this book for a fun and witty read. I look forward to reading more in this series.