Only Scandal Will Do

Jenna Jaxon
Only Scandal Will Do
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Lyrical Press
Release Date
July 2012
Historical Romance

TAG: He has the woman of his dreams, but what price will he have to pay to win her heart?

Kidnapped and sold at auction in a London brothel, Lady Katarina Fitzwilliam squelches an undeniable attraction to the masked stranger who purchased her, pits her wits against him, and escapes him and the scandal that would ruin her life.

Unable to resist temptation in a London brothel, Duncan Ferrers, Marquess of Dalbury, purchases a fiery beauty. She claims she's a lady, but how can she be? No lady of his acquaintance in polite society is anything like her. Then he discovers she is who she says, and that this latest romp has compromised her reputation. He knows how that is. One more scandal and he'll be cast out of London society, but he needs a wife who'll provide an heir to carry on his illustrious family's name. He seeks out Katarina, intending only to scotch the scandal, but instead finds his heart ensnared. He's betting their future he'll capture her heart, but does he have what it
takes to win the wager?

WARNING: A blade-wielding heroine who crosses swords with a master of sensuality.

Book Review by Victoria Lane (reviewer)
Jul 20, 2012   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
149 people found the following review helpful
ONLY SCANDAL WILL DO by Jenna Jaxon is a refreshing take on the 18th century romance even though it involves a rather horrid social issue (sex trade). I definitely would recommend this book, especially to those who enjoy reading about Georgian England but are tired of the same old story line. I might be persuaded to buy this book if there is a sequel or follow up book that does as well. Standing alone, this book was definitely enjoyable, and I give it 4 stars.

ONLY SCANDAL WILL DO tells the tale of Lady Katarina Fitzwilliam, an American woman, sister to an earl, and recent arrival to England, who is kidnapped on her way to a masquerade ball and sold at auction at a London brothel. Lady Katarina is purchased by Duncan Ferrers, the Marquess of Dalbury, who has just returned to England after a year in Italy, where he was hiding out until some family scandals blew over. Unfortunately, Duncan's penchant for redheads might land him in scandal yet again. He believes Katarina's protestations of innocence and claims of title are part of her character/disguise and so plays along, pretending to comfort her and calm her. She caves in to his attentions for a few moments until she realizes he does not believe her and is just trying to seduce her. Then, Lady Katarina demonstrates her American fortitude and knocks him out…literally.

After making it home without the police knowing the full truth of her experience and dealing with her brother's injuries obtained during her kidnapping, Lady Katarina begins to plan her return to America in order to avoid bringing scandal on the family. Meanwhile, Duncan discovers that Katarina was telling him the truth of her family and status in the ton. Seeking to avoid yet another scandal, he tracks her down and convinces her to marry him. This is not done so easily though, and Katarina truly believes that she is destined to be miserable in her marriage to a rake who only needs her money and an heir.

The relationship between hero and heroine here develops more naturally than is typical in the romance genre, lending it more credibility, and allowing the reader to be drawn in to the characters' lives more completely. The relationship develops over several months during which the hero is more understanding and less demanding than expected. I definitely felt the frustration of the hero and the uncertainty/insecurity of the heroine. The love scenes, although explicit, are appropriate in number and context - not too many and not ridiculous. The only point which strained credulity is when Duncan kisses Katarina full on the mouth after she's been puking her guts out for days. Somehow I really doubt that he would do that - kiss her forehead, her hand, yes, but not her lips.

The conclusion of the book is a total surprise. When the bad guy was revealed, I truly was taken aback, and that rarely happens to me these days. Usually, the ending and the villain are obvious after the first few chapters, but not here. The conclusion of this book also sets the foundation for the next book in the Dalbury family series, but I would have liked to have seen an epilogue that either teases out that potential or shows a more conclusive ending to Katarina and Duncan's story. As it is, the ending of this book is rather abrupt.

On the whole, I definitely enjoyed this book. It mixes a social issue that has been around for some time – the sex-slave trade – with your typical 18th century romance, and does it well. However, there are a few romance genre clichés I could do without, e.g., after the woman suffers a traumatic experience, the man leaves the woman to recover; she gets some notion in her head about what she can do while the man is out investigating, so she goes out without telling anyone or taking anyone with her. DUH! Of course she's going to get herself in hot water! Leave a note, woman! Take a servant. Do something to protect yourself when you leave the safety of your home. This kind of situation occurs all too frequently in the historical romance genre, and I would like to see Katarina stick to how she's been written. Here, Lady Katarina is written as a reasonably intelligent woman, but all sense flies out the window at one point, and there is never any explanation about that divergence of character. A few lines of dialogue could have explained why she acted as she did after the situation was resolved without compromising the tempo of the book. Overall, though, the book exceeded my expectations, and if there is a follow-up book that improves on this one while continuing the Dalbury family saga, I might just add them to my library.

A Note about cover art: The cover art here could have been more indicative of the substance of the book. It is helpful to me as a reader when the cover art is connected to the actual substance of the book. Many books are labeled "bodice rippers" because of the cover art – featuring a half-naked man and a woman whose dress is being ripped off in a moment of passion. I am generally turned off by these books because they seem to indicate that the writing is so lacking in plot that they only way to make a sale is via a scandalous looking cover. Some of these books have much more substance than the typical bodice ripper and feature real people in situations that could actually happen. I have recently stumbled across these books where the cover art was not actually shown until after the book was purchased and downloaded.

Here, the cover art does not really reflect the book. The man could have been dressed in a domino & black mask and the woman in an Athena/Greek goddess inspired white dress and a white mask. This would reflect how the two actually meet in the book and lend more credibility to the writing. I know, I know. The book is categorized as a romance and so the cover art should reflect that. I just think it's possible to have both the substance and the genre represented in the cover art.
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Book Review by Rachel's Willful Thoughts (reviewer)
May 30, 2017   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
47 people found the following review helpful
Lady Katarina Fitzwilliam finds herself abducted and forced into an auction. With her virtue hanging in the balance, she manages to escape the clutches of the man who purchased her.

Little does she know that her masked partner is none other than Duncan Ferrers, the Marquess of Dalbury. With scandal hot on their heels, the two get embroiled in a fencing match with a wager attached. There's no shortage of scandal in author Jenna Jaxon's ONLY SCANDAL WILL DO.

Not only is Katarina a fiery young lady who enjoys wearing pants, but she has no problem challenging the Marquess to a duel. Although honor prevents an actual duel, they opt for a fencing match instead.

From the beginning, the chemistry between the two is solid. While neither one initially intends to settle down, desire proves difficult to resist. There's also a bit of humorous drama on board the ship to Italy.

I found this to be a fun Regency romance with a solid mix of spice.
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July 23, 2018 11:22 AM ( EST )