How the Scoundrel Seduces by Sabrina Jeffries

October 17, 2014
Let's be honest ladies...

and gents. Whenever I come across a romance novel in which our hero has big thighs which all the ladies are ogling, my eyes roll to the back of my head. Puleese, I say to myself.  Let me get this straight!  The hero saunters into the room with his tight white britches - or - he's lounging in a chair in the library with his ankles crossed and our intrepid heroine stumbles into the room. Oh dear!  Where does our heroines eyes flit to?  To the thighs.  Pffffft - sure they do.  Oh honesty, where art thou?  In my experience, when I was younger and as I advanced in age - when my eyes land on a guy with tight pants they do not go to the thighs - they go to the big ol' bulge between those manly thighs.  I suspect if all of us ladies and gents were honest that ol’ lump is where all of our eyes focus.  The air circulation from all the fluttering fans must had been enormous in the 19th century, to say nothing of all the tittering behind those fans when confronted with men in short jackets and tight white britches/breeches/trousers/pants. So, what's your point SidneyKay?  Well, I don't know if I really have a point, it’s just that big thighs turned up again in this book and triggered a ponder moment.  Why do authors continue to disguise sexual interest in a hero’s anatomy under the guise of big thighs? I think it's time to make a stand - it's not the thighs, it's the bulging package between we are interested in! Be brave, just say it!

Now, on to How the Scoundrel Seduces by Sabrina Jeffries, the third in The Duke's Men series. While this was a pleasant book, a comfort read of sorts, there were a number of unbelievable coincidences that made it impossible for me to say this story is a “must read.”  Let's examine some of these.

Our main characters are Tristan and Zoe and they have both been introduced in previous books, which may be a good thing seeing as how they quickly fall into lust. Having this couple quickly fall into the romance groping syndrome so soon also left the book without any romantic/sexual tension. That meant that the story basically depended on the plot, which in my opinion was trite. Here's what we have, we have Zoe, who happens to be one of those English women who can inherit a title/estate. Which is all well and good, however, her aunt has accidentally revealed to Zoe that Zoe was purchased from a Gypsy/Romany woman by the name of Drina. Because Zoe has a conscious (sort of) she decides to hire an investigator (instead of asking her father.) So, Zoe with the sort-of conscious goes to Tristan, who is partners with his half-brother in an investigating firm. Well, it seems that our Zoe is holding a sword over Tristan’s head because she saw something in the previous book that Tristan or his brother doesn't want anyone to know.

Tristan, as you may guess, has a problem with aristocrats. He's one of those heroes who because his father and half-brother were worthless he believes alllll aristocrats are worthless, hence he thinks Zoe is a silly woman who only likes clothes. He doesn't know she cares for her downtrodden people who live and work on her estate. But none of that aristocrat stuff matters because his Timothy Toad is directing his actions and her Victoria Valley is responding. But wait! Tristan is also doing some personal investigating that requires him to go north and ask questions of the Romany. Mmmmm, the Romany. He's looking for a man by the name of  Milosh. Remember that name, it comes up later. Now all Zoe and Tristan have to do is come up with some logical reasons for them to meet without chaperone, which they do. Well, I don’t know how logical their reasons are, but in no time they are meeting in secluded corners and table tops.  In the meantime, Zoe's father/maybe father is trying to get her interested in her American artist cousin Jeremy. All through the book Jeremy seemed to me to be hiding something, so I don't know if he's showing up again in another book or not, but he had the feel of a future hero about him.

After questioning people and pondering, Zoe jumps to the conclusion that maybe her adopted father is really her biological father and maybe he had a Romany mistress. Tristan, who is knowledgeable in the ways of the Romany (what hero isn't) says…no, that cannot be - the Romany people are very moral and that just wouldn't happen. Anyway, Zoe and Tristan are off questioning people again. Zoe, by the way has to go with Tristan everywhere he goes, I guess he just can't handle all that investigating on his own. Remember Milosh, the Romany who Tristan is looking for?  Well, he finds him and guess what? Milosh had a sister named Drina! OMG, what a coincidence! Could it be? Is Milosh's sister Zoe's mother? What do you think? Now Milosh is Uncle Milosh! But wait! There's more! We still don't know who Zoe's father is and what about the evvviillll half-brother of Tristan's, George? What about Zoe's adopted father? What about her goofy aunt? And what about Tristan's busybody sister? And will Zoe continue to fib so she can save her downtrodden people? There’s still more to the story before all the ends are finally tied...but you'll have to read it to fine out.

Ponder moments. While reading this story I ran into some "please-come-up-with-something-different" moments. Why do we continue to read about heroines who are tired of waiting...those poor unfortunates who just want to do "it" once before they die - before they marry - before they go to Europe - before they are released from the dungeon?  Another ponder moment.  What about those heroines who are better than any other woman our hero as ever had…ever?  They are more responsive, even though they don’t know what they are doing. They are just flapping around there on the bed. It’s never been like this for our hero before, these women are special. She is unlike any other woman before. Why? Sometimes I would actually like to know why she is so different from other women.  Another ponder moment.  Oh, those poor heroes who don’t think they can last if the heroine touches him.  His poor little Timothy Toad just might explode if she lays one of her digits on his – oh I don’t know – his collar-bone.  You know, just once I’d like to see a hero that loses control before he unbuttons his trousers.  Don’t get me wrong, this book is not the only one that has these moments.  No, they abound in lots and lots of romance stories. I think it’s time to find some new romance trope before they become trite.   

In the end, this book was a pleasant read, nothing earth-shaking. We didn't get to see Tristan and Zoe grow in their relationship, because it seemed to be formed almost immediately. There was some interesting information about the Romary people, but nothing that I haven't read before. However, if you don't want to lose touch with what is going on with this series, I suggest you read this book - just so ya know.

Time/Place: England 1816

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