No Good Duke Goes Unpunished

Sarah MacLean
No Good Duke Goes Unpunished
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Release Date
November 2013
Book 3 of Rule of Scoundrels
Historical Romance

A rogue ruined . . .

He is the Killer Duke, accused of murdering Mara Lowe on the eve of her wedding. With no memory of that fateful night, Temple has reigned over the darkest of London's corners for twelve years, wealthy and powerful, but beyond redemption. Until one night, Mara resurfaces, offering the one thing he's dreamed of . . . absolution.

A lady returned . . .

Mara planned never to return to the world from which she'd run, but when her brother falls deep into debt at Temple's exclusive casino, she has no choice but to offer Temple a trade that ends in her returning to society and proving to the world what only she knows...that he is no killer.

A scandal revealed . . .

It's a fine trade, until Temple realizes that the lady—and her past—are more than they seem. It will take every bit of his strength to resist the pull of this mysterious, maddening woman who seems willing to risk everything for honor . . . and to keep from putting himself on the line for love.

Book Review by debra taylor (reviewer)
Nov 02, 2013   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
279 people found the following review helpful
Sarah MacLean has done it again! This book was absolute perfection. I knew it would be a book I could sink my teeth into, and it was. I loved it.

Temple, the killer Duke, long ago grabbed my attention. I had waited so long for his story, intrigued by the mighty Temple and the ghosts of his past. I had wanted to take my sweet time with it, but Sarah MacLean's seductive writing swept me along and too soon it was over. So then I had to take that ride again...and yet again. A rare thing when I get that caught up in a book. I found myself consumed by the characters, caught up in the drama, passion and angst of their romance.

The story was a compelling one. Would love overcome betrayal this time? The author kept me on the edge of suspense with that question. As I read along, my heart was racing, wondering what would happen next.

The characters were so dynamic, and their every emotion was brought forth in this story. Temple's anger, his need for absolution and revenge. His emerging feelings for the woman who betrayed him. How far would he take things? You have to know that this was a man who had lost everything. He's mad as hell, so yeah, he does some things. I was afraid that happy-ever-after might not happen this time.

My emotions ran wild as I read this one. At first I was enraged at Mara for her reckless folly the left Temple's life in ruin. Then as the story unfolded and I learned things about her past and her situation, my heart started to go out to her. She had some weaknesses, made some stupid choices, but she learned from her mistakes. Even as she recognizes her feelings for Temple, she knows what needs to be done and she does it. Right or wrong. She grows from being a scared little girl who threw an innocent man under the bus. Now she is a woman willing to sacrifice everything to right the wrong she has done.

Could love overcome a pain of this magnitude? Could the author make me believe it?

The answer is, yes she did. Because of Temple's actions, his anger, the things he did in this story. He lashed out at times, even as he struggled with the consequences of his plan. His loyal friends and the way they reacted to Mara. His bond with Bourne shone brightly throughout the story, and we find out some of the things that forged their friendship. We get some tantalizing hints about the mysterious Chase, whose book is up next.

No doubt about it, Sarah MacLean is an outstanding author. Always giving this reader a story to remember, and leaving me looking forward to the next one. So I am eager for Chase and the secrets his book is sure to reveal.

I recommend this book to all historical romance readers.
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Book Review by Ashia (reviewer)
Nov 22, 2013   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
258 people found the following review helpful
Captivating from the first page to the last!

The woman that Temple supposedly murdered twelve years ago is alive. Temple wanted retribution for the life he had lived because of that lie--for being stripped of his title, for being exiled, for not having the life that was his by right. And he meant to get it from Mara Lowe, until she was ruined as he had been ruined, suffered as he had suffered. But Mara affected him like no other woman; she challenged him with her beauty, her quick mind, her boldness and her strength. Could he engineer her downfall and push through with the plan?

Mara is a wonderful heroine. She's the strongest heroine I've met; she goes toe to toe with the hero; she does the unexpected things to gain the upper hand or to protect the people she loves. A worthy match for the hero. I was prepared to hate her for the things she did to Temple twelve years ago, but it is to the author's credit that Mara comes across as a sympathetic heroine right from the start. You feel for her, you root for her, you hope she gets her HEA.

Temple does not come across as alpha as other heroes, but you have to love that time in history when men protect their women and their women's honor at all costs. And when he goes into the ring or fights Mara's assailants...just bone-melting! He's been wronged and he's out for blood, and I get that. What's worse is that he has no memory of what happened that night, so he didn't know if he really is a killer or not. So, I get how he would feel toward Mara, especially when she could've come out and restore his reputation any time. Then he wouldn't have to live with the guilt all these years. That, for me, is the worst--the guilt on the conscience and the uncertainty of one's character. I would've thought those more important than losing my entitlement to privilege. That's why, I find Temple a bit shallow when he said the reason he wanted retribution was so that he could go back to the life to which he was entitled--the land, the title (he's a duke), the perfect aristocratic family, the acceptance of Society that was his due.

That said, the story was written well, with great dialogue and narration, sometimes making me laugh out loud. A wonderful cast of secondary characters adds color to the tale, especially Lydia, Mara's friend, in her conversations with the duke. Couples of previous books also make cameo appearances, and it was great to see what was happening in their lives after their books ended. Some mystery was hinted at concerning Chase's identity, and I can't wait to read his book!
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Book Review by Mary Chen (reviewer)
Apr 17, 2014   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
256 people found the following review helpful
What an amazing book! Sarah MacLean's eloquent, powerful language reverberated within my heart; it transformed sympathy to empathy, thoughts and feelings to a canvas of emotions, and even when I hated the heroine, I understood her perfectly. It takes an astounding raw talent to center a hero who had been hurt so much by the heroine, inspiring in the readers a dislike for the heroine, yet make her just as lovable as he in the end, a wonderfully moving ending of a perfectly matched couple.

William Harrow, heir to the Duke of Lamont, had awoken naked and in a bed of blood on the wedding date of his father's fourth marriage. His stepmother-to-be, heiress Mara Lowe, had disappeared without a trace, and he was presumed to be her killer. From that day onward, he became The Killer Duke, and soon, Temple. Temple was the champion gladiator, the guardian at the Fallen Angel, a gambling club formed by four fallen gentlemen to fleece the greedy of their wealth, the losers' last chance at redemption, of winning back their debts. And through blood and sweat, he never lost for twelve years, because in his bones he believed in redemption least of all. He did not look down on others' weakness, but that thing called hope which caused them to challenge him again and again, to only be crushed down because Temple symbolized violence in its truest form – elemental, focused, and holiness in its purity of heart. It was all that he had left of himself after that fateful day, the manifestation of unmitigated self-misery. Fate overtook his world that day, when he was accused of taking a life, and now he works through taking men's livelihoods.

On the eve of her wedding, Mara planned a reckless escape and never looked back. She took on the role of Mrs. MacIntyre, widowed proprietress of an orphanage. But when her brother gambled away their funds, she needed to reclaim her money for the orphanage. To resurface in twelve years, she sought the only person with whom she can bargain--Temple. Her truth for canceling her brother's debt. But Temple is looking for more than that; he wants retribution.

He hadn't killed her.

The realization remained a shock.

He hadn't known. All those years--he'd lived with the idea that he might have been a killer. All those years

She'd stolen them from him.

To live with the idea that one is a killer is a frightening thing, and to do so for years is even more. Mara did not give a thought to Temple during her foolish "escape." She claims to feel no remorse due to her self-interest. Her selfishness made me question whether I can like her for causing Temple so much misery, or appreciate that she did what she believed was right, because she is imperfect, as are all of us. Her conviction and determination are admirable, but are they worthy of praise when they have ruined another? I could not understand how given her compassion for the poor and needy that she did not care as a happy lord was relegated into a fighter of the underworld. It is true that Mara chose the path that benefited her, which trapped an innocent man in the darkness. However, the pieces of her puzzle slowly merges together to reveal the depth of complexity of her character--that of someone so perfectly imperfect who, armed with immature confidence, had simply made a vast mistake. That was when I realized this tale, while focusing on Temple, has a deeper layer of intricacy centered on Mara's redemption.

As Mara strove to keep her secrets, she was caught between remorse and fear, fear of letting anyone in, of knowing her heart. Her independence and steely determination drew Temple in. Even when he planned for retribution, Temple fell in love with her, and sacrificed himself yet again. He unknowingly protected her once, and knowingly did so again; yet his inward gentleness only caused himself more grief as Mara's secrets and untrusting heart endangered him. This is where the book has been neatly juxtaposed; while Temple had only been the victim in the first half, his sacrifice for Mara awakened in her a protectiveness towards him, which turned her into his protector in the second half. This seamlessly balanced reversal of roles carried with it a visceral, heart wrenching love that blossomed between Temple and Mara, two of the most unlikeliest characters you'll ever meet (because of what Mara did), and there is no word but beautiful to describe their connection.

By the end of the book, Sarah MacLean proved to be a true storyteller as Temple's faith was restored, along with Mara's trust. The belief that fighting for a purpose was strength, not a weakness. Hope was no longer a danger, nor was trust. Instead, both were strands that unified his claim on love and solidified Mara's need for him in her life. The gentle giant was protected by the very same woman who sent him to hell. On that journey, Temple realized that inwardly, a part of him was "fallen" to begin with, and through Mara's reflective journey, she came to see atonement as doing her best to love the man who, in spite of all odds, fell in love with her. Is there anything to be said of this book other than that Sarah MacLean's skillful pen brilliantly perfected a love story to rival the ages? I think not. But if you do doubt, pick this up and be warned that you'll be immersed in the story for hours.

Beginning from the first book in the series, Sarah MacLean had started to leave subtle clues regarding the founder of the Fallen Angel, Chase. By this book, the clues have become more obvious to the more discriminating readers. But only in the epilogue is Chase's identity revealed...which is, without a doubt, a revelation. I was left plagued by questions, which will finally be answered in the 2014, with the highly anticipated release of Chase's book that will explain how everything came together.
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