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The Rules of Scoundrels #3

No Good Duke Goes Unpunished

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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.

384 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published November 26, 2013

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About the author

Sarah MacLean

63 books12.8k followers
New York Times, Washington Post & USA Today bestseller Sarah MacLean is the author of historical romance novels. Translated into more than twenty-five languages, the books that make up “The MacLeaniverse” are beloved by readers worldwide.

In addition to her novels, Sarah is a leading advocate for the romance genre, speaking widely on its place as a feminist text and a cultural bellwether. A columnist for the New York Times, the Washington Post and Bustle, she is the co-host of the weekly romance podcast, Fated Mates. Her work in support of romance and those who read it earned her a place on Jezebel.com's Sheroes list and led Entertainment Weekly to call her "the elegantly fuming, utterly intoxicating queen of historical romance."

Sarah is a graduate of Smith College & Harvard University. She lives in New York City.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,921 reviews
January 25, 2014
Warning: a whole lot of rage ahead. I am absolutely livid with anger.

Absolution? Revenge? Retribution? You've got to be fucking kidding me. I am fuming with fury. This book was a waste of my time. Revenge? What fucking revenge? This is a poor excuse of a love story, with two of the most addle-brained fucking excuse of a human being I have ever met. There is the main character, an irredeemable bitch of a woman, the sort who darkens the name of womanhood, the "Love is never having to say you're sorry" type of fucking bullshit. What the fuck does that even MEAN?

When a person is wrong, they apologize. When a person knowingly, willingly destroys a person's life, they should apologize. They should fucking grovel, they should beg for forgiveness, they should not be able to fucking barter for forgiveness, spouting defiant fucking sorry-ass excuses while being dragged unwillingly every fucking step of the way. I have zero sympathy for the main character in this book.

This is the sorriest fucking excuse of a revenge novel that I have ever read. The whole thing is a fucking mating dance.

There is a way of exacting retribution, and it is nowhere to be found in this book. You could search over this book with a fine-tooth comb. You could examine every inch with the most powerful of electron microscope, but the point is that there's nary a iota of revenge-exacting in this novel. It is a cookie cutter romance novel with the slightest hint of wrongdoing and a promise of revenge and nothing more than that.

The Summary: Let's keep the summary short so I can get on with my rant. 12 years ago, 16-year old heiress Mara disappeared. The bad news is that the future Duke of Lamont was accused of her murder.
He was naked. In a bed that was not his own.
And he was covered in blood.
His memory of the night before is completely gone. He cannot remember a single thing. Without a body, he cannot be convicted, but his name and his family name has been dragged through the mud. He may be a Duke in title, but he and his family's name is blacklisted. Society will never, ever accept him. He was sent into exile by his father. A promising young man with his life ahead of him, sent into the streets. He adopted the name Temple, he begins fighting as a boxer, and made his reputation as the Killer Duke. 12 years later, he has made his own fortune, but society will never forget that he is a killer. But then Mara appears, with a deal. She will clear her name.

He just wants his revenge. Does Temple fucking go for the throat? Hang her out to dry for the years of torment he has caused her? Does Temple get his retribution? Only if retribution is a fucking synonym for "falling in love."

I hate, hate, HATE people who make false accusations. People who bear false witness on the stand who cause an innocent person to be imprisoned for decades. People who falsely accuse another of rape. People who falsely accuse another of defamation. The sight of the newly freed as they see their families again, the knowledge of the years of their lives lost due to a false accusation, all the pain and misery that they must have undergone in prison---it just breaks my heart.

Fucking cow.

I Destroyed Your Life: Now What?: A false accusation destroys lives. A false accusation destroys a person. Have you ever been falsely accused of something you have not done? It is not pleasant. I have. I have never, ever felt so much anger and helplessness and frustration as when I had been falsely accused of something I did not do.

I have a very limited amount of sympathy for someone who willingly destroys someone's life. Spare me your fucking excuses, you monster of a woman. Yeah, the heroine has a sad backstory, wah wah wah. Boo fucking hoo. Cry me a motherfucking river, because gues what? I don't give a fucking crap. Play me your very tiniest of violins because I have had it up to here with your fucking bullshit, you miserable excuse for a woman.

Mara is the type of woman who give womanhood a bad reputation. She shirks her duties. She makes wrongs and sticks her fucking head in the sand (for 12 years! 12 FUCKING YEARS!)

From the beginning of this book, Mara has an uphill battle to fight for my approval. She never, ever once comes close to winning over my heart.

I'm So Sorry I Ruined Your Life, Would You Like Some More?: The main character is set up to be a sympathetic anti-heroine. Mara is not sympathetic. I never, ever once felt anything for her but complete, utter loathing. She committed a wrong, and she ended up making a man pay for it not with his life, but his reputation, his dignity, without his heritage, a disgrace to his family name. She has taken everything from him. She is a fucking cunt. She is a self-righteous twat. She deserve to be ostracized from society. Were this medieval times, Mara deserves to be pilloried with rotten eggs and fruit thrown at her, and I would gladly chuck a putrid basket of rotten papaya, a few coconuts, and several bricks shaped as fruits at her self-professedly saintly fucking head.

Fucking trollop.

This is Mara's fucking version of repaying all the bad, bad things she's ever done.

Mara: Waaaaaah. WAAAAAH! I am so sorry that I've ruined your life. I am so sorry that for the past 12 years, I've let you lived with a blank memory of the night in which you've killed me. I am so sorry about what happened that night that I won't fucking tell you anything about what happened, leaving you in complete, utter anguish, leaving you to torment yourself with doubt until the very end.
She should tell him.
The whole story.
The money, the debt, the reason she’d run. She should lay herself at his feet and give him the chance to forgive her. To believe her. To believe in her.
Yes, the very fucking end, after which I will give you Ze Grand Reveal, which is as exciting a secret as the fact that I fart 15 times a day under my petticoats.

I'm so sorry that I won't even fucking TELL YOU TO YOUR FUCKING FACE that I'm sorry.
“Do you regret your actions?”
She met his eyes. “Do you wish the truth? Or a platitude?”
I'm so fucking sorry, I really am. I'm so sorry that due to society' false conviction of you as a killer (which was my fault in the first place), you were ostracized and branded the Killer Duke. I'm so sorry that I will equate the fact that I lived for 12 years, fucking scot-free fully in knowledge that I've destroyed an innocent man, because I TOTALLY KNOW HOW YOU FEEL.
“I understand that you are angry.”
The words seemed to call to him, and he came toward her, glass still in hand, stalking her backward, across the too-small room. “You understand, do you?”
“You understand what it is to have lost my name?”
She did, rather. But she knew better than to say it.
He pressed on. “To have lost my title, my land, my life?”
Yes, I am so fucking sorry. I am so sorry that I will extort money out of you in order for me to do what's right and prove to the world that you are innocent.
“I shall tell the truth. Come forward with proof of my birth. And you shall forgive my brother’s debt. I think it’s a fair trade.”
“A fair trade for destroying my life?”
I am so fucking sorry for all the wrongs that I've done to you that I will threaten to escape once again, leaving you fully aware this time that I am alive, but knowing you cannot prove it unless I am here.
“I disappeared once before. I can do it again."
I am so very sorry for drugging you the night that I faked my death, leaving you covered in blood.
He interrupted her thoughts. “You drugged me!”
I am ever so fucking sorry that I drugged you, so sorry that I will express my remorse by---DRUGGING YOU AGAIN.
“Goddammit!” he said, his glass falling from his hand as he lunged toward her, missing his mark, catching himself on the edge of the chair. “You did it...again...”

I am so sorry that your name is ruined in society that I will rectify my error by completely battering your fucking name into the ground. I will publicly challenge you to a boxing duel in front of a full house! Surely that will do the trick.
She was ringside and through the ropes in seconds, and the moment she stood there, in the uneven sawdust, the room began to quiet.
She took a deep breath and spoke, letting her voice run loud and clear in the enormous room. “I, too, have a debt with The Fallen Angel, Duke. So tell me. Will you accept my challenge?”
Because of course, fighting me will completely fucking clear your bloody name in society. Why? Because if you beat me, you will be known as a fucking woman-beater. And if you let me win, you will be known in society as a boxer who fucking lost to a woman. I will let you have your revenge by putting you in a situation in which you cannot fucking possibly win.

I am so fucking sorry that I feel that my life has been destroyed by men, so that I will take it out on a man who has been completely innocent of doing anything to me.
Temple had been collateral damage.
I will acknowledge my wrongdoing internally while doing everything possible to defy the man whom I have wronged. I am so sorry that I was a completely fucking stupid cunt.
“I never meant to hurt you.” She paused, her gaze flickering over his shoulder to the mirror where the women had watched the fight. “It never occurred to me that you would suffer.”
He didn’t say anything. Didn’t have to. The idea that her actions would have no consequences for him was pure idiocy.
I am so sorry that yet again, I will extort money out of you for making love to me.
“I don’t care what your reasons are, or how well you’ve fabricated them. I am done. How much was this worth? This afternoon?”
The words were a blow. He couldn’t believe she would ask to be paid for.
I'm so fucking sorry that I destroyed your life and stabbed you in the back that I will allow my brother to literally stab you.
The knife landed hard and deep in Temple’s chest, blood blooming from it like a perverse blossom.
Some people are emotional vampires. They suck the happiness, the hope, the life out of everyone and everything they touch. Mara is one of them. She is a despicable excuse of a human being. She fills me with anger and hate. There was not a single moment in this book in which I felt a minute substance of sympathy for her. Mara does not deserve a happily ever after, and the fact that she gets one makes me sick to my stomach.

Fucking tramp.

Retribution is a Synonym for Love!: Oh, Temple. Dear, dear angry Temple. He is so filled with hate, so filled with righteous anger! I don't blame him. I have the utmost sympathy for him---until he attempts to get revenge.

The key word is attempt. Because his way of exacting revenge is the equivalent of tickling a little kitten under its chin very, very hard.

Oh, but it's a HARD tickle. Therefore it's acceptable. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? WHERE IS THE RAGE? WHERE IS THE ANGER? Temple gets MAD. Only he doesn't. He gets ANGRY. Until he sniffs Mara's hair. He is FURIOUS! Until he sees how lovely Mara is. He is IRATE. Until he feels bad about Mara and the fact that she has really harsh, dry hands because she hasn't been able to lead the life of a lady IN THE 12 YEARS THAT SHE LET PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT HE WAS A MURDERER.


Mara drugs him! OH NO PEOPLE THINK I'M A MURDERER. I LOST MY NAME, MY FORTUNE, MY REPUTATION. She's back! Oh, how lovely and untouched by time she looks! It's almost as if I didn't fucking kill her!

OH SHIT SHE DRUGGED ME AGAIN. Why, that clever, cunning girl!

Oh, look, she wants to extort money out of me! But that's alright, she's got a fucking orphanage to feed.

Her brother fucking stabbed me! She may have been in on it! But she's so lovely!
...her, with her pretty, soft hair and her strange, irresistible eyes and her strength beyond measure. Thoughts that did not make him question just why she had done what she’d done so many years ago.
Strength beyond measure! Sure! She's got so much backbone, so much strength that she never shows it in any way besides living the kind of hard life that 95% of non-wealthy women live for the rest of their drudge-filled life. Never mind that she's not forced to be a whore, because really, it takes so much fucking strength to fucking run an orphanage. A fishmonger? A tailor? A maid? No such work for our fucking saint of a false speaker, Mara.

STRONG? BULLSHIT. Temple puts fucking Mara on a pedestal when she does not deserve it. He completely forgets about retribution and starts waxing on and off about her beauty and strength every fucking moment. All thoughts of retribution and revenge goes out the fucking window. Seriously, fuck that shit. Oh, she tried to kill him? Noooooo, noooooo she wouldn't. I mean, what evidence is there that Mara might want to hurt him? OH, WAIT, THE FACT THAT SHE LET PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT HE KILLED HER 12 YEARS AGO? And yet...
Temple shook his head. She hadn’t tried to kill him. He couldn’t believe it. He wouldn’t.
Oh fucking Temple, fucking Temple, you fucking birdbrain. Take your fucking brain out of its penis, remove your fucking balls and hand it to Mara already, you fucking doormat. You fucking sorry excuse of a man.

Profile Image for Desiree  C.
247 reviews28 followers
September 16, 2018
I have adored and beyond loved everything I've read by Sarah MacLean, thus far. I usually wait on pins and needles for her books to be published and then devour them as quickly as I can. When I finish, I predictably find my enthusiasm well satisfied, followed by a bittersweet mix of the glow of an amazing story well told, and separation anxiety.

This book, unfortunately, did not continue the trend: I absolutely, without a doubt, loathed the character of Mara. Her attitude and personality pissed me off in a big away, which was a feeling that only deepened and hardened as the novel went on. Simply put: this woman has no conscience, no empathy, and no ability to love anyone but herself.

First things first: we learn Mara ruined Temple's life twelve years prior to this story, by framing him for her murder. Obviously this is something that completely changed the course of his life for the worse, and tanks his reputation and his good name for years after; reputation is a big deal in the Regency period, whereupon a man’s word was as good as his bond, and his name being smeared impacts absolutely everything socially. Things of smaller consequence have ruined people of larger standing.

Secondly, as the story plays out, we find that Mara comes back into Temple’s life with the gall to act like he owes HER something.

She doesn’t come back because she’s so wracked with guilt that he’s a ruined man, at her hands, and she wants to set it right. She didn't reveal herself to him as alive to apologize or try to repent for all the ill she'd caused him – no, she had other shit on her agenda, shit that had nothing to do with him...except using him as a method of fixing her current predicament.

On several occasions, she even has the nerve to get upset with him because he just wasn't playing her game, and wasn't giving her what she wanted. She’s pissy and argumentative, angry that he’s getting in her way of achieving whatever it is her plans are now, and she makes it clear she’s only come back for her own continued, ludicrous selfishness.

Now, yes – her ultimate goal is the orphanage for “her boys” and absolving her brother of his debt, and these might be noble causes….if she had any kind of morals or ethics. However, Mara continually shows no growth, no sympathy, no scruples and no principles. Just like the situation 12 years before, this stuff happens to be important TO HER, and thus it’s perfectly okay to screw over anyone she has to in the process.

To add insult to injury, Mara had Temple by the short and curlies, and kept dangling information he was lacking about the night he was found in a pool of "her" blood (due to his being drugged and remembering very little after he passed out) in front of him, a game that proved profitable for her monetarily. He was repeatedly forced to fork over money for every one of those tidbits of explanation, so he could piece together what actually occurred.

She ALSO kept making hints that she could offer him complete redemption and clear his good name -- but only if he played by her rules, kept out of her way, and helped her get what she wanted.

Talk about kicking a man when he's down. How utterly narcissistic and controlling can one person be? Apparently absolving a man for a crime he didn't commit just isn't worth it unless you can use it as a bribe to get your own ends met (again) as well.

Every other page, I wanted to yell at the book: "You dumb, conniving bitch! You deserve all that and more! You ruined HIS LIFE BEYOND REPAIR! You should be licking his BOOTS asking him to forgive you!".

Thus, gentle reader, Temple is a pawn for a disgusting, manipulative woman, and nothing more. She didn’t deserve him, not even a little bit, and frankly I’m a little appalled that he’d even fall in love with a woman of no honorable character. It's all "congratulations on your face, my penis is hard; let's give it a go" because there's nothing else between them that isn't toxic and ruinous and it's all her fault.

At the end of the novel, Mara’s (long awaited) remorse that things went further off course than she intended 12 years ago came way, way too late and without enough convincing for me. It felt false and had me going, "oh, please", without much sympathy. It was almost as though Temple was now what she wanted and so she was going to say whatever she had to to win him, just as she does everything else in her life.

In truth, if she were smarter, she could have done a zillion other things and handled her situation totally differently than FRAMING A MAN FOR HER MURDER AND THEN COMING BACK TO MANIPULATE HIM TO FIX THE NEW SHIT IN HER LIFE. But she didn't. She got blinded by her own needs (back then and through the current story) and was okay about screwing others over when her ass was on the line -- proving she'd grown and matured not one whit over the time lapse.

So my end feeling: Mara is a complete, monstrous, unrepentant ASSHOLE.

Just ugh.
Profile Image for Baba  .
859 reviews3,809 followers
December 2, 2013
4 redeeming stars.****Review completed December 2, 2013

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For the last twelve years Temple (William Harrow, Marquess of Chapin and heir to the dukedom of Lamont) had lived with the conviction that he killed Mara Lowe on the eve of her wedding with his father. After that fateful night Mara disappeared without trace. But then quite unexpectedly Mara appears at Temple's townhouse, hale and hearty. A myriad of emotions hits him. As a matter of fact, he didn't only feel relief when he knew that she was alive. If anything, Temple felt angry, betrayed and bitter. After all, she'd stolen a major part of his life when she set him up so long ago. Temple wants to know what happened that fateful night at Whitefawn. However, Mara is not willing to tell him anything if Temple won't accept a trade. Even though Temple's reputation had been destroyed twelve years ago, he was one of the wealthiest men in London. And Mara needs money Finally they make a deal and start playing a "game" until Temple decides to reveal Mara's identity, so he can restore his good name in exchange for

"You are angry."
He shook his head. "Angry does not even begin to describe the depths of my emotion."
She nodded, skipping backward across the room once more. "Fair enough. Furious."
He advanced. "That's closer."
"That, too."
She looked behind her, saw the sideboard looming. This wasn't a very large room, after all.
"And that. "

It's time to take responsibility for past transgressions.

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So, while Temple is out for retribution, over time he began to actually like and adore Mara. He wanted her. Though Temple hadn't expected for that to happen.

He was beside her in an instant, collecting her in his arms, pulling her tight to him, and taking her lips. Claiming her in front of God and London. Tasting her sweetness. Her spice. The roar of those assembled faded away as he consumed her, the kiss too rough, too searing, until he realized that she was matching it with her own passion. Her own fervor.

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Lavender was a pure joy, so hilarious! There were a couple adorable scenes that included the two dozen boys, Temple, Mara and
In fact, Temple has a very good hand when it comes to kids and he passed on some pearls of wisdom now and then.

Meet Lavender...

She turned in her chair to look up at him. "It was not meant as one. I was merely pointing out your libidinous ways."
His brows rose. "Libidinous."
"Roguish. Rakish. Scallawaginous. Scoundrelly."
"I'm certain that some of those words are not words."
"Now you're angling for a position as governess?"
"If the boys are learning words like scallawaginous, it might not be the worst idea."

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At 52 % something very tragic happened.

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The Fallen Angel
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There's not much smexyness in this story but what's there was very sensual and beautifully written. This may sound a bit odd to you when I say that I LOVED their sexual tension and titillating chemistry, but I wasn't really able to feel and understand their ILYs. It happened too fast and I just needed…more. I can't even explain what was actually lacking. I just know, however, that something was missing. Maybe I just needed more relationship development because in the end everything felt a little bit too rushed and resolved quite conveniently.

It was a taunt. A challenge.
One he did not refuse. He set his lips to her breast, loving the little cry that escaped her as he worried that sacred skin, sucking low and soft until the cry became a moan in the dark room. He could not stop himself from pulling her closer, lifting her from her feet, wrapping her legs about his waist, worshipping her there in that room that rarely knew pleasure and too often knew pain.
And then she'd released the strap altogether, her weight in his arms and her fingers in his hair, holding him tight against her, encouraging his caress, begging him for more, urging him to give her everything he could.

To me the best aspect of No Good Duke Goes Unpunished is the sexy-as-sin hero Temple. He's incredibly delicious and very sensual. It goes without saying that Temple is a somewhat dark, brooding and broken creature. One could think he lost his ability to smile and laugh. On the other hand, it's not surprising because twelve years marked as a killer will change a man after all. What's even better is the fact that he was a fighter and made good use of his fists in the ring. However, he doesn't only strike with his fists, he's also a ruler over thoughts and words. I think this was a battle of wits because both main protagonists have a sharp tongue and they really know how to use it. Temple repeatedly infuriates Mara with his quick mind and challenging demeanor. And once again the author achieved to write a somewhat different heroine. She might not go down in my book history as one of my favorite heroines, yet I really did like her. Plus, her background story was interesting. All in all the plot is a bit oppressive but the witty and compelling dialogue brightened the overall atmosphere of the story very nicely.

"And here I was, hoping you would give me a token to wear into battle."
Her gaze narrowed. "I ought to have your sabre tempered with."
Temple raised a brow. "Sabre tampering, is that how they refer to it at the MacIntyre Home for Boys?"
Bourne snickered, and Mara cut him a look. "You are a marquess, are you not?
"I am."
"Tell me, do you ever act like it? I only ask because it does not seem that your friend cares much for behaving like a duke. I thought the immaturity was perhaps catching. Like influenza.
Admiration flashed in Bourne's gaze. He turned to Temple. "Charming."
"And she's armed with laudanum."
Bourne nodded. "I shan't drink anything she gives me, then."
"And a she added dryly.
He raised a brow. "And keep a vigilant watch."
"It's an intelligent plan," Temple offered.

"Hebert made you a pocket?"
She narrowed her gaze on him through the mask. "I thought I'd made it clear that I am quite skilled with a needle."
He couldn't stop the laugh that came then. The woman was remarkable. She'd received a dress that cost more than her salary for a year, and immediately installed a pocket to
In more ways than one.

Minor quibbles
I was surprised how fast

I love the author's writing but the more I read the more irritated I became with all those one word, two word or three word sentences, i.e.

He loved her.

Don't get me wrong. Sometimes it works fine but there are situations where it's downright annoying and it threw me out of the story.

The final chapter was too corny for my liking. On the other hand I did enjoy the epilogue and I'm thrilled to read Chase's story Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover, coming in 2014.

Despite my minor issues No Good Duke Goes Unpunished is a great addition to The Rules of Scoundrels series. It's a well-written story about vengeance, redemption and absolution and a must read for every fan of Sarah MacLean. May Temple seduce all of you!

Recommended read.

Profile Image for ♡Karlyn P♡.
605 reviews1,203 followers
September 6, 2016

I love Sarah MacLean, and I really wanted to like this, but the story was a big WTF?!!

Words =/= actions

Oh right... a guy hell bent on revenge and can only see his hate for this woman, buys her a new wardrobe and fusses over non stop?? WTF? Oh, how evil!! (NOT!)

Selfish actions =/= I love you

So for a lady feeling guilty of framing the Duke for murder and causing him so much pain, she proves it by causing more pain and then more pain?

And then everyone lives happily ever after?? WTF?

When pigs fly (yes, they even had a pet pig in this story!)

This was a bummer as I had been enjoying this series, but I am not calling it quits. On the plus side, Sarah MacLean is such a great writer she nearly had me buying this concocted story. Her writing is solid, it is just the absurd story line that I couldn't take.
Profile Image for Fani *loves angst*.
1,630 reviews232 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
December 23, 2014
I reached the middle of the book, when I realized there's no point in my reading any further. Even if I could eventually forgive the heroine's actions in the past, I simply can't forgive what she does now: dangling the truth -to which he's absolutely entitled to- in front of Temple like a carrot, effectively using him once more. Instead, she should be on her knees, begging his forgiveness for ruining his life. However, it's always been about what Mara needs, about her problems, her life, her wants and wishes, but never who she hurts trying to achieve her goals. And if the actions of a sixteen year old girl can be excused, the ones of a twenty-eight year old woman can't; ignorance is not her alibi anymore, nor is the obliviousness of how utterly & completely she ruined an innocent young man's life once. In my opinion, were she a decent person, she would feel obligated to help him restore his name after realizing exactly what she did to him. Temple deserves to know the complete truth and if, after telling him everything, he sees fit to help her, then so be it; if not, she made her own bed and she'd better get used sleeping on it, instead of carrying her mess into other people's lives.

This is the second book of Sarah MacLean's that I failed to finish. Though her writing, especially in this one, is above average, her dialogues witty and her heroes multilayered, I can't seem to stand her heroines. Which means this is probably the last book of hers I'm going to try. But I can see why she's so popular, as her stories are interesting and fresh and emotional and well written, standing out in a genre that has, in my humble opinion, been declining for a while now.
Profile Image for Paula .
704 reviews233 followers
July 29, 2016

Temple's book is here! :)

It’s no secret how much I love The Rules of Scoundrels series. It’s one of my utmost favorite historical romance series to date. Sarah MacLean truly excels at writing original, seductive, and emotionally driven stories with clever and bold characters, steamy sexual tension, and passionate loves scenes. If you’ve been waiting on pins and needles like I have for Temple’s book, it was well worth the wait. This might be the darkest in the series so far, but absolutely brilliant.

Temple has been on my radar since the first book in this series. I knew he would steal my heart, he’s so beautifully damaged and utterly sexy with his bad ass alpha ways. I love that big ole brute of a man. For years he’s lived with the guilt and shame of Mara’s death. His bitterness at Mara’s deception not only consumed him but hurt him in a way that he couldn’t see himself ever forgiving her. He didn’t want to hear Mara’s pleas or make any bargains with her. He wanted revenge. What he didn’t expect is to fall for this beautiful and spit-fire of a woman, who stood her ground against him and put his emotions through the wringer. Will he let go of his chance for absolution for the woman he loves?

Mara was not an easy character to like at first. I loathed her for what she did to Temple and she came across as unapologetic at first. As Mara’s back story is revealed, MacLean changes my mind as I start to empathize with her. I admire her strength and determination. And I love her quick-wit and compassion. The fact that she persevered and survived such a hard life tugged on my heart strings. She truly never meant to hurt Temple and wanted him to forgive her, but she also understood that may not be possible. So she accepted Temple’s terms with grace and courage. The things she sacrifices for Temple by the end truly made her a redeemable heroine in my eyes.

Their electrifying attraction for each other was not so easily accepted. There is blazing anger, regrets, vengeful thoughts, heartache, fears, doubts, and guilt which made for a very complicated romance. But it also made for a very clever sparring match. It was very entertaining to watch them outwit and outplay each other time and again. The sexual tension between them was always simmering on the surface as they duke it out and then crash into each other with smoldering, fiery kisses.

“He kissed her again and again, his hands coming to cup her face and hold her still as he claimed her with lips and tongue and teeth until the whole world had disappeared and there was nothing but her. And him. And this moment. And the way they matched.
The way she saw him.
The way he saw her.”

When they finally do see each other truly and admit to themselves they have fallen in love, they both get redemption and forgiveness and love. It wasn’t hard for me to root for Mara and Temple’s happy ending. These two highly flawed and deeply layered characters richly deserved happiness.

Absolutely I loved everything about this book. The writing is exceptional. The emotions are tumultuous. The love story is beautiful. I always love revisiting with the other fallen men in this series that I’ve fallen in lust with. And now I’m anxiously awaiting the next book. Chase is the last Scoundrel to find love in this series and I’m dying to know all of this mysterious man’s secrets.

Profile Image for Katrina Passick Lumsden.
1,779 reviews12.8k followers
July 29, 2014
I really liked the first two books in this series, and I was greatly looking forward to Temple's story. But after starting it, I became worried. I read the prologue, and the first thing I thought was, "Please, please don't let the girl who framed him for murder be the heroine..."

Because I could already see where this was going. And I could see that Temple was going to look like the biggest idiot on the planet before it was over. He truly believes he murdered someone and just has no memory of it? He passed out after imbibing a drink prepared by someone else, then wakes up in a bed with blood in it? Is there no blood anywhere else? No cast-off? No drag marks? No blood on the door handles? He managed to murder a young girl and dispose of her body in a house full of servants and wedding guests without anyone seeing or hearing anything? While he was in the midst of a blackout? I might mention, blackouts were not something he'd experienced before, and there's no indication he's experienced one since...

Even without Temple's assertions that he had no memory of the night's events, any halfway intelligent traffic cop should be able to pick apart the inconsistencies.

To top it off, he's not only a big enough idiot to believe he did it, he's also deficient enough to fall in love with the unrepentant thunder cunt who ruined his life?

This could have been so much better. The heroine should have been someone else entirely. Someone who helps Temple. Someone with a conscience. Someone who actually deserves his affection. Not some selfish, spoiled little bitch who ruined his life and then comes back to rub his face in it.

This entire premise is ridiculous. Maclean's idea of a worthy heroine is insulting to mankind in general. I don't care how many good works one performs in the years following a betrayal like that, you can't come close to making up for what you did, especially when you attempt to continue the vile manipulation of an innocent man whom you wronged. 12 years she sits on her ass and lets everyone believe an innocent man (a man who's never done anything to her at all) is guilty of her murder... And I'm supposed to sympathize?

I can't read this one. I just can't. Sarah Maclean should be ashamed of herself for this awful bullshit.
Profile Image for Dina.
1,324 reviews1,183 followers
January 5, 2021
3 1/2 stars (rounded down to 3 stars, because there's no amount of groveling and penance that could ever make me forgive what Mara did to Temple - no matter how great Ms. MacLean's writing is)
Profile Image for Warda.
1,121 reviews17.7k followers
November 6, 2020
The first half of the book was great. Felt al the damn feelings. Then things got stupid real quick. It was soooo drawn out and so repetitive. Unnecessary.
Profile Image for ♥ℳelody.
605 reviews605 followers
March 31, 2021
ETA: I'm not entirely sure WTF I was smoking when I initially reviewed this and gave it a 3 stars nor how I found the heroine Mara "redeemable" in the end after everything she did. I know this because it's been a few years since I read this and my lip still curls every time I see this book pop up in my feed so yeah the bad after taste is still there. I was going to edit down my review or delete the whole thing but clearly I felt a certain way about it to write all this mess below so I'll leave it up. But 3 stars? L-O-L. No ma'am.


Oh Sarah MacLean what happened? :( I really don't know how to go about rating this one. I feel like I need to break it down because of my half-crazed ranting status updates which seemed to scare readers off. Was this a favorite? Hhhhell NO. But MacLean still managed to weave a beautifully complicated story with hardships, angst and love intertwined. Repetitive in some areas as usual yes but still angsty and slow burning.

...*sigh* Oh Temple
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My lovely brooding sexy giant.

This summed him up perfectly:

It was strange that the word seemed to so suddenly define this man who was known to much of London as a brutal force, all unyielding muscle and indestructible bone.
But with her, he was somehow hard angles and soft touch.”

I grew very attached to this character since the last book. He seduced me so quickly and had me
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with that towering build and dem muscles. He demanded I read his book. I mean after finding out he's a bare-knuckle prize fighter? Come on. Was this the story I wanted for him per say? No. But he managed to find someone who loved him for him completely and irrevocably and put him first and wanted to protect him. I definitely can't complain about that.

As Mara kept reminding him and readers...
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and I couldn't agree more. *sigh*

Mara Lowe
I made it no secret I wanted to scratch this woman's eyes out a good 50% of this book. Like BITCH I CAN'T STAND YOU hate. I was seething and couldn't wait to gleefully come on here and rip this character apart and rant with a handful of 'how could youuu! to MacLean for doing this to my Temple. But something happened half way in. In typical MacLean fashion she managed to deftly give this character more dimension, growth, redemption and a heap full of introspection and self-recrimination and I found myself not being able to hate Mara any longer. I'm never looking for perfect characters and Mara is a pretty flawed one with a sordid back story. She's kind of an anti-heroine at the start but works her way into a redeemable position. She may not be my favorite MacLean heroine and I don't think I can ever say I love her but her sincerity and honesty saved her. Just barely. I like to give characters second chances no matter how much they piss me off, if they have the decency to show remorse and self awareness of what they did then that shows depth and heart. Mara goes above and beyond righting the wrongs she did to Temple. And nobody coerces her or forces her to do it either. I want to make that clear. Something happens that has her reevaluating everything and makes her wake up to what she truly did. After that moment, she puts him first and wants only his happiness no matter the cost. The lengths she goes to to achieve that in the second act endeared me to her. She has a spine of steel and doesn't let anyone get in the way of what she wants. So brava to SM for doing the impossible. I still chafe at what she did to Temple and the history they share but the humility and strength and selflessness cannot go unchecked. Say what you will about SM's repetitive prose, she really knows how to put her characters through their paces. The slow gradual build up is what is so electric and addictive when reading MacLean's writing.

The reason I struggle to give this a higher rating is the lack of sexy times and tender moments. Shallow of me maybe but this author is usually a master at pulling at reader's heart strings and making us sweat to get to the climactic 'coming together' if you will. The slow burn is what makes it so good. It was glorious and sexy when it happened but a little late and short. The playful sensual moments overall were very brief and sprinkled lightly. It's a layer that's needed to cement the growing tension and chemistry between the pair. I wanted more. There was only one full love scene which surprised me the most. I'm not one who counts the number of sex scenes I take quality over quantity any day of the week but this is Temple we are talking about. Temple is a very raw, earthy sensual brute male who is no prude when it comes to sexual delights. So can you blame me if I was feeling a little bereft in that department? I mean compared to Cross's story which had steam rising off the pages *fans self* this was tame in comparison. I just felt overall this was missing that special something that was so prominent in Michael and Cross's books.

And I liked the little crossover that happened here. The masquerade ball took place at the Duke of Leighton's house. The very Simon and Juliana from Eleven Scandals to start to Win a Duke's Heart. My favs from that trilogy. Nice little nod to her other series. Cute. ;)

All in all decent character development and redemption of a heroine who at first seemed unredeemable--not an easy feat. Take it how you will. If you are a Temple fan, I say give it a try but be warned--it's not easy read, you need patience. If you are new to MacLean's work I'd suggest starting this series from the beginning. This isn't MacLean's best at all. And also, the title of the book? Unbelievably OFF THE MARK and wth? Who is punishing who? Who needs to be punished in this MacLean?? Certainly not Temple. He's the victim in this, NOT Mara. I don't generally pay attention to titles because they can be very tongue and cheek and not always accurate but this one really threw me for a loop since it alludes to the fact that the hero is one who needs to be saved and redeemed for his wrong doings. Not even close.
Profile Image for Mary - Buried Under Romance .
369 reviews162 followers
December 23, 2013
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 the livelihoods of other men.

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 viseral, heartwrenching 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.

*Review copy received from the published via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review

Originally published on Buried Under Romance
Profile Image for Pepa.
929 reviews231 followers
April 11, 2015
Me gusta esta autora y, desde luego recomiendo la novela, porque es una de mis imprescindibles y sé que sus historias me gustan y me entretienen.
Esta empezó muy bien, el argumento es novedoso y los personajes tenían muy buena pinta.
A medida que he ido avanzando se ha ido desinflando. Mara me ha caído bastante mal, no entiendo el planteamiento de víctima cuando realmente se pasó tres pueblos. Temple no defrauda, ya tenía pinta de oso achuchable y durante toda la novela mantiene el estatus, el problema es que al final peca demasiado de bueno y pierde credibilidad.
Mi principal problema ha sido que la autora se pasa toooooda la novela dándole vueltas al mismo tema, muchas de las conversaciones se repiten y sobre todo el papel de víctima de Mara (personaje que no me ha caído nada bien) y de canalla de Temple, cuando lo cierto es que es al revés.
El final se me ha hecho eterno, y la larga coversación que mantienen en una determinada escena ha estado a punto de desquiciarme.
Una lástima porque he disfrutado de la mayor parte de la novela

Reseña completa: http://masromance.blogspot.com.es/201...
Profile Image for KatLynne.
547 reviews555 followers
August 11, 2016
5+ Stars!

Have you ever read a book and enjoyed it so much you hated for it to end? That's exactly how I felt about this book. Sarah MacLean is a master storyteller and readers who have been highly anticipating Temple's story will not be disappointed. I loved it all and highly recommend it to everyone who enjoys this genre. It's one of my favorite reads this year and definitely a keeper!
Profile Image for UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish.
1,166 reviews1,580 followers
November 20, 2015

4 "love forgives all" stars

Sarah MacLean’s Rule of Scoundrels series are some of my very favorite stories ever. I’ve loved each and every one, and am always left dying for more! This third installment, No Good Duke Goes Unpunished, is Temple’s story, one I’ve been waiting for for what seems like forever! I knew it’d be awesome, and I was right.

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.
My review…

As to the plot of the story I’ll only say this; I’m someone who thinks the world would be a much lovelier place if people would just accept responsibility for their actions and not make ridiculous excuses for why they had to steal that car or why they had to tell that lie or why they had to blow up that building… you get the idea… and because I feel this way I love how this story played out. Where I might normally have been unable to forgive certain people for their actions, for the choices they made, I came to adore them because not only did they accept the selfishness of their poorly thought out plans, they set about making restitution – even when it meant losing all they held dear.

The bottom line…

Sarah MacLean is a gifted author and though there were a few spots where the story seemed to drag, I truly enjoyed this tale of restitution, redemption, and a love so strong it was to forgive past wrongs. It's tragic and hopeful and passionate and poignant and romantic … it's Ms. MacLean’s brand of storytelling, her beautiful way of bringing her characters to life and making us fall in love.
Profile Image for PointyEars42.
599 reviews50 followers
August 26, 2016
The heroine is so fundamentally unlikable, so selfish and self-absorbed, so willing to heap current abuse on top of past abuse, that by the time the author tries to give her some redeeming features, it's too late. There should be some quiet little wallflower who stood by Temple through it all who now finally stands up and makes him realise that Mara is still using him and that she's the one who has really always had his best interests at heart. Something, anything, other than expecting us to believe that the hero cannot see what an unrepentant dick the heroine is. I simply do not understand how Mara got to be anything other than the bad guy in this book.

As for the orphan story-line? The "plot moppets" are such an obvious ploy that it makes my head hurt - especially since it doesn't work. The more she learns about Temple and The Fallen Angel, the more obvious it is that the smart thing to do is to just tell him about the funds for the orphanage being part of what Kit gambled away. Of course he or one of the other owners of the club would return the money or use their own rescue network to set the kids up elsewhere. The fact that she runs an orphanage at all speaks very clearly to the shallowness of her character. She's doing it to make herself feel better about her crime, not to atone for her sins. When she found out about what her actions had done to Temple, she could have easily allowed herself to be spotted in another city and then use her famed disappearing powers to escape. She could have written a letter exonerating him and just be seen posting it in a town she was only visiting for the day. She could have gone to the papers and demanded that her location be kept secret. She could have grown a conscience and told the truth upfront to Temple, been revealed, and then the book could have begun.

Maybe we can understand that, as a child, she made a mistake and it spiraled out of control as lies often do, but it really burns me that she never faces the consequences of her actions as an adult.
Profile Image for Floripiquita.
1,353 reviews153 followers
February 20, 2022
3,5 estrellas. Me ha gustado más que el primero, pero menos que el segundo de esta serie, que me encantó. Empieza muy bien, la trama es interesante y los personajes tienen su aquel, pero se vuelve algo repetitivo (sobre todo a la hora de justificar por qué hace Mara lo que hace al inicio de la novela, algo impensable para una dama de la época pero entendible, que no quiere decir aceptable, para una mujer actual) y se acaba desinflando.

Deseando conocer la historia de Chase, por culpa de ese final que se marca la autora.

#Popsugar22 Reto 20: Un libro cuyo título empiece por la última letra de tu última lectura. Lo leí justo después de Un dulce para el corazón, de Maira Varea.
Profile Image for Anne E ♡ emo + OTT Hs.
220 reviews83 followers
April 10, 2022
2.5-star **SPOILERS**

Picked this book among other paperback romance novels @ a public library. I've been in a book slump for weeks & couldn't muster to read a page on my e-reader. Wondered if reading an actual physical book would make a difference. It did.

My sole reason for choosing this book was because of the 1st sentence:
  "He woke with a splitting head and a hard cock."
Unfortunately, that was the most exciting bit in this book. It's not a bad book. Just blah.

MEH or the BAD:
Meh romance/characterization/S chem/detailed S/emo. This book was just too long. About a 100-pages too long of this 384-page novel. If this was written as a novella, the h wouldn't have seemed as selfish & game-playing with H. But dragging on her secret of what really happened between her & H 12 years ago for almost-400 pages didn't make her look good:

1. She didn't have a good reason to withhold info from H about what happened that night between them...which was that they kissed & got partly naked in his bedroom the night before her arranged-marriage to his father. She drugged him with laudanum so he became unconscious & couldn't remember much from that night. Her plan was to make her appear de-virgnized by H & be ruined so H's father would refuse to marry her. Instead, she ran away to Yorkshire & left H to take whatever the fall. H woke up the next morning with a lot of blood on his bed since she also overdid the blood along with the laudanum. A maid comes in to see the bloody sheets with no sign of h and everyone including H believed that he murdered h. So, h withheld this very info from H until the end since H wouldn't promise to not fight her brother & forgive him his debts.

2. She led H to believe that 1 of the boys in her care was possibly his son from their 1 night together. They never had sex in the past & 28yo h was still a virgin. So, nope.

3. Even though she apologized a couple times to H & acknowledged how she ruined him, h was still quite dismissive of H's psychological & social trauma of being viewed as a murderer for 12 years. What's worse is her being dismissive of his trauma, reasoning that she had a hard life by being on the run too. It was only being almost-poor due to her bro gambling away his & her money through fighting that finally drove her to contact H. As a 28yo, she had no excuse to not tell H the complete truth about 12 years ago. It just made her look cruel & selfish to keep with-holding the info from him for money.

Felt sorry for H who became enamored by h's mystery & attractiveness. The fact that she almost became his stepmother wasn't emphasized much. No guilt on either parts for almost smexxing 12 years ago, days before her wedding to his father. Yeah, it was an arranged marriage but still. He did tell her towards the end that he would've waited for her until his dad died to step in to be with her. They probably would've had a secret affair while she was married to his dear old dad. No angsty feels. I somewhat pitied H for what he had to go through coz of h. Only 2 sex scenes & the 1st one (H oraled her) didn't happen until 70%.

Although h's character wasn't the most likable, MacLean was still able to write her as palatable. Knowing her POV helped her not seem so heartless & self-involved. She just didn't show it enough to H. She made foolish but understandable choices when she was a desperate 16-year-old. I understood her fears as a 16yo would-be-child-bride-to-an-old-3x-widowed-Duke as her reason to use H 12 years ago. I even understood her delaying informing H that she was alive & well during the years that her father & H's father were still alive. But after they died, she had no good excuse to still not contact H, even to only inform him that he wasn't a murderer. Her caring for her brother's & the orphans weren't enough to justify her withholding info from H.

Sexual History:
Then-16yo virgin h had a half-naked moment with H 12 years ago when she was about to be married to his father. No mention of her kissing another man before or after H which is likely since she was on the run & was pretending to be a soldier's widow while running a home for bastard sons of royalty. She was devirginized by 30yo H when she was 28yo. H was a charming manwhore in his teen years and didn't seem that disturbed to be flirting & kissing his future-stepmother h. He had casual lovers (likely prostitutes) during the 12 years he was cast off by high society and he became a fighter but no one significant lovers.
Profile Image for Mo.
1,350 reviews2 followers
August 22, 2015
Another good read. It sort of dragged for the first half but I really enjoyed the second half of the book.

I never knew Tom Hardy played Heathcliff!

He woke with a splitting head and a hard cock.

Hard to beat an opening line like that (excuse the pun)!

For a fleeting moment, she wondered how those fingers would feel on her own cheek. And then she realized she was vaguely jealous of a pig.

"Would you like it if I used my mouth?"

Now, what man is going to turn down that offer?

He swore, harsh and dangerous and she took the foul word as a yes, sliding back down the length of his body and considering the length of him ... wondering what might feel best.

"You're burned into me. I could be blind for the rest of my life, and I would still see you."

"Tell me," she shispered to the most private part of him. He did as he was told.
"Suck it."
The instructions were scandalous, utterly improper. And all she wanted.

Fuck Society

The ending was interesting. Set us up nicely for the next book. Although I see that some of my friends did not rate it highly

"Don't you see Ma(u)ra," He leaned in and whispered,
"You're mine now."
Profile Image for Stacia (the 2010 club).
1,045 reviews3,948 followers
November 24, 2013

Revenge. Retribution. Redemption.

Temple is a broken man. Accused of a crime he didn't commit, he adopts the alter-ego of a brawler in order to own the image he didn't create for himself.

Mara is a woman drowning in regret. She is unable to let her hidden truth out, but needs to find a way to pay her debts before she is pulled underneath for good.

Even though No Good Duke was a pretty standard historical romance, there were still a few moments which managed to stand out. The story started with a violent event and progressed into a place that was not as fluffy as expected. And I kind of liked how it unfolded.

Some of the normal witty HR banter was missing, but this story didn't necessarily need it, given the more serious tone. And it never hurts to have a hot scene thrown in which takes place in a boxing ring, right?

If book 1 of The Rules of Scoundrels was the romantic sibling, and book 2 was the quirky younger sibling, this book would be the brooding cousin. I appreciated the progression in tone and how I was taken to a different place from the last couple's story.

While book 2's brand of fun was more to my taste, I think No Good Duke is going to appeal to fans of broken heroes seeking redemption. There's something about watching a person pick up the pieces of their life that is satisfying to read.
"Even absolution?"
He froze. Absolution. How many times had the word whispered through his mind?

This book provided from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All quotes taken from the pre-published copy and may be altered or omitted from the final copy.

My review can also be found on Booklikes
Profile Image for Mei.
1,881 reviews408 followers
October 16, 2015
I don't know why I've waited so long to read this book??!!!

I loved it! It was a strait, good historical romance! :)

At the beginning I didn't like the heroine, Mara, but at the end I loved her! First she appeared as an egoistical, spoilt rich girl who riuned lives just because things were not done her way, but at the end I came to understand the whys and I forgave her, just like the hero, William, aka Temple, did.

It is such a wonderful love story that we live from both their POVs.

The writing is beautiful and every emotion perfectly described.

The dialogue is sparkling and I enjoyed the banter between Mara and Temple, but not only theirs. The banter between Temple and Chase, Bourne and Cross.

This book contain one of the most beautiful love declaration I've ever read:

"I always see you," he said. "You're burned into me. I could be blind for the rest of my life and I would still see you."

Highly recommented!!!!
Profile Image for Ana María.
634 reviews42 followers
February 8, 2020
Lo leí hace tiempo.
Me gustó mucho, aunque tiene sus partes lentas y dale que dale con "me sacrifico por amor..." y esas cosas. Mara es una mujer con personalidad fuerte y que siempre ha tomado el destino en sus manos, aunque se haya equivocado. Y Temple es un tierno, furioso, vengativo pero adorable. Es el libro que más me gustó de la serie.
Profile Image for Maja  - BibliophiliaDK ✨.
1,062 reviews612 followers
June 9, 2022

Actual rating: 2.5⭐

Mara was definitely not my cup of tea. She was manipulative, selfish and kept unnecessary secrets. Furthermore, the plot was super thin, which made the book feel too long.
Profile Image for Sombra.
310 reviews38 followers
February 8, 2020
No sé como calificar este libro.
Siendo sincera, la historia ha estado interesante. No todos los días la persona que supuestamente te hizo tener el colorido mote de Duque Asesino, vuelve de entre los muertos para poner todo patas arriba de nuevo.
Después de tres libros, me da rabia ver que las expectativas que tenía con este libro se han evaporado como un globo.
Mara ha sido un personaje con el que no he podido conectar desde el principio y de hecho, me ha caído bastante mal a lo largo de la historia. No solo hace que Temple sea apartado de la sociedad como si fuera un apestado pensando que la había asesinado años antes, sino que encima cuando vuelve, no le cuenta la verdad y hace todo lo posible por seguir dando por saco.
Con lo fácil que habria sido contar todo...aunque claro, no habría habido historia.

Y Temple...es lo único que salva un poco la historia. Ver todas las fases por las que pasa desde que sabe que no ha sido un asesino hasta que descubre toda la verdad. Pero de nuevo, no me he creído mucho su historia romántica.
Digamos que, en conjunto, me han gustado sus actuaciones, pero si profundizo en el romance, me ha dejado fría. Eso sí, la escena final como siempre con esta autora, el azúcar vuela por los aires.

En definitiva, una historia que hace que pases un rato agradable pero que es bastante olvidable en mi humilde opinión.

El que sí tengo ganas de leer ahora es el de Chase, porque su escena final ha sido de infarto y a sinopsis de su libro me ha hecho darme cuenta de algo que no me esperaba y que me parece un giro de lo más interesante.

En cuanto pueda, voy a por él de cabeza.
Profile Image for Lynsey A.
1,753 reviews
June 30, 2016
Oh how I wished I liked this book better, but I don't. I just couldn't get past how Mara behaved in over half the book. She had a rough life, I get that, she did what she thought she had to do. I'm fine with that. What bothered me was the way she treated Temple after she revealed herself to him. At times she seemed to feel guilt for what she had done but other times she was so mercenary that it took away the guilty feeling. At one point Temple calls her a whore for her behavior. She was pissed and he was shamed by what he said but for me, she was acting that way. She charged him for kissing her for heavens sake! What else was he to think?

Her swift transformation after Temple was stabbed by her brother just didn't come soon enough for me. If she had been more guilty and less mercenary I would have liked her better. I get that she was trying to get money for the orphange but it didn't make me like her. For me, she just wasn't a likable character. I wanted to like her more near the end when she made some sacrifices but it was all too little too late. I just couldn't like her. I hate that because I really enjoy MacLean's books but Mara was just too unlikable.

Perhaps because of the way I felt about Mara I didn't especially warm up to Temple either. I didn't dislike him, he definitely got a raw deal but I couldn't see why he fell for Mara. In the end they try and make it seem like he was always a bad boy but I just didn't buy it.

The surprise reveal at the end regarding Chase was definitely unexpected. I'm intrigued to read that story.

This is the first book of all the MacLean's I've read that I didn't like. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the heroine in the next book is more likeable. ;)
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Carol Storm.
Author 28 books181 followers
December 6, 2014
I totally respect that this is a RITA award winner. Really! It's just like in my favorite flying ace movie, THE BLUE MAX, when George Peppard is talking all about how he just has to shoot down 20 planes and win "The Blue Max." "It's the only medal worth having," he gravely intones. "People respect it." And the jaded aristocrat he's fated to destroy looks at him with sardonic humor and says, "The medal or the man?"

So in our world, the RITA award is "The Blue Max." And this book won the RITA award. And yet, I just couldn't go over two stars on this big, oozing, foot-smelly hunk of cheese.

What really made me grind my teeth was that every single character and plot device was tried and true twenty years ago, when I first started reading historicals. Yet Sarah Maclean keeps slapping you in the face with how "daring" and "innovative" her story is. Just because the heroine is super duper extra snotty and does "daring" stuff like punching her useless, worthless, brother in the nose.

The useless, worthless brother has been Standard Issue in these books for twenty years. Check out TEMPTING FATE by Jaclyn Reding. Or TEMPTING FORTUNE by Jo Beverly. Maybe this book should have been called TEMPTING FORMULA!

So our hero is an urban vigilante. Who fights crime. By night. I hate the way these "modern" romance writers seem to think it's cool to channel goofy out-of-genre stuff. So like the dark hero has to stalk the streets of Gotham -- I mean London -- and slap around generic hoods. And he has to save the heroine from a fate worse than death, and all but tell the hoodlums, "I am the night." Of course there's no sex at that point, because the "Killer Duke" has to answer the Bat Signal!

If I wanted to read super hero comics, I would have snuck into my son's bedroom. I mean, really!

But it got worse. The whole plot of "ooh, Mara ruined this duke's life, and got away with it, cause she's sooooo cool!" just made me roll my eyes. Framing someone for murder and running away, that's not being "in charge" and "with it" and "feminist." Why not a heroine who writes bad checks?

So then, to prove she's an okay girl, for a useless frame-up artist, we have to show her doing Good Deeds. So of course she's running a . . . wait for it . . . wait for it . . . an ORPHANAGE! Gee, no one's ever used this one before! And the orphans are all adorable, Oliver Twist types, too. No LORD OF THE FLIES style bad seeds in this one! (Except Mara's brother, who is shown to be worthless about sixty-five times in a row. Over-compensating much?) So then, the orphans not being enough, Mara has to have a pet, and of course it's a . . . wait for it . . . wait for it . . . PIGLET!!!!

Homer Simpson, take a bow! "Aw, you can't kill him . . . he's wearing PEOPLE CLOTHES!" I miss the days when top, RITA award winning romance authors didn't steal their plot points from THE SIMPSONS. Is this really "innovative?" Or is it just a lazy gesture of contempt directed at the audience and the genre itself?

With the piglet Lavender on deck, I was really looking forward to some hot, LORD OF THE FLIES style action. I wanted no-good brother Christopher to bust in and say, "Ralph, Jack, Piggy, (ha ha) Simon! It's time to find out where bacon comes from!" But (Spoiler Alert) the annoying pig makes it through the book okay. And sure enough, (I've never seen this before) every time Mara wants to cuddle with Temple, but can't, the pig gets in there, nuzzling away, grunting in piggy ecstasy, and really almost daring someone to go all LORD OF THE FLIES on his piggy little butt. Oh, Lavender is a she, actually, but you get the point. "Holy annoying sow, bat man!"

Temple wasn't as obnoxious as Mara. But what's with this weird schizophrenia the new breed of authors have about the aristocracy? Like, he can't just be a duke, he has to be a duke who street fights in the sewer and eats rats. And this proves what again? When Lisa Kleypas wrote the legendary BOW STREET RUNNERS trilogy, she wrote about tough commoners, honestly, and without apology. They weren't "dukes in disguise." The whole thing seems slightly decadent to me, like "I'd like to break the forumula, but I can't, so I'll just give Bruce Wayne . . . I mean Temple the Clown . . a Secret Identity!"

And the whole thing of Temple dissing society just made no sense. He's angry because he was kicked out, right? He wants to get back in, right? But at one point he actually says, "F**k society." Now this is what I read romance novels for. The authentic flavor of Jane Austen's prose!

But this is more than just a matter of style. Temple's 21st century 'tude makes the whole exiled-from-society thing seem pointless. It's like that moment in THE SOPRANOS when Brendan Filone wants Christopher to disobey Tony and hijack Uncle Jun's trucks. And Christopher gets very philosophical and says, "why have a boss? why be in a crew? Isn't the problem with our thing today that guys like you and me won't listen to middle management?" Exactly, Christopher! Why be a duke? Why have a title? Isn't the problem with our genre today that RITA-award winning authors couldn't give two s***s about the values of the period, historical accuracy and common sense?

The ending . . . I don't know how to discuss it without doing massive spoilers. Would you believe the Worthless Brother turns out to be . . . worthless? Who saw that coming! But what I really objected to about the two-fisted ending was not the suffocating predictability, but the cheap, tawdry, air of the thing. It's SMACKDOWN WWF REGENCY!!! I also had the oddest feeling that the author was paying tribute to the surrealistic pugilistic ending of the dark, YA classic THE CHOCOLATE WAR, too. "All right, Christopher. Take a marble from the box and I'll decide whether I want to punch you again!"

If this is feminist empowerment, give me a date with Archie and the Vigils!

And so you see, Stachel, winning the Blue Max isn't everything. Now why don't you take that nice shiny silver monoplane up for a spin? And let's see some real flying!
Profile Image for Lesa Divine.
966 reviews190 followers
November 9, 2020
Interesting start. 2.5 🌟
Duke finds himself being accused of murdering a lady.
But this dead lady's body hasn't come up.
He's tarnish from his own social society.

Running a gambling house he makes his living in fighting.

But soon a mysterious lady shows up wanting his help and she's willing to tell the world who she is.

Wasn't happy with this couple. Mara was a stubborn woman. She didn't know what she wanted.
Temple the Duke kept finding himself deeper in trouble with Mara.
Just okay... No spark no connection here.
Profile Image for Laura.
Author 15 books593 followers
December 9, 2013
Review posted on Got Fiction? Books


“He woke with a splitting head and a hard cock.”

18 year old William Harrow, Marquess of Chapin, heir to the Duke of Lamont, woke up with a headache, no memory of the night before, and an empty bed covered in blood. His father’s bride-to-be was missing, and he was found in her bed. Alone. Covered in blood.

12 years later, he is no longer that boy, he is Temple. He is one of the 4 owners of the Angel gaming club, and wealthy as can be. He may be known as the Killer Duke, but no one calls him Your Grace. Not until one night, when a woman follows him home. and she turns his world upside down.

Mara Lowe didn’t mean to fake her own death, nor did she mean for the young handsome man she’d met before her wedding get caught in the middle of her scheme. 16 year old Mara was frightened of the man she was to marry, and wanted it to look like she’d been ruined the night before and run off. But she used too much blood and too much laudanum. Temple was blamed for her murder. Too scared and too young to come out and tell everyone she was alive (she was still betrothed to his father after all), she hid, placating herself that since Temple was a duke, he’d be fine. Everyone loves a duke after all.

But 12 years later, her brother has gambled away his fortune and her money as well, so Mara comes to Temple hoping he’ll take her trade. Forgive her brother’s debt, and she’ll give him the one thing money can’t buy-absolution.

So she challenges him. She keeps her one bargaining chip just dangling out of reach-information. She doesn’t know he can’t remember that night, and when she does find out, she uses it.

Mara has been running an orphanage under an assumed name. Her brother gambled away her small amount of money for the boys, and she uses tidbits of information to keep Temple interested. She wants money for each thing she tells him, for each interaction, so she can pay for coal, food, clothes for the boys.

Then Mara realized that until she’d shown her face to him, even temple had believed he ‘d killed her. All the little lies she’d told herself about how he was fine, he was wealthy, a duke, and none of this had touched him came crumbling down around her. She finally admitted to herself that while he’d been caught in the crossfire, he was much more than just collateral damage. And all of it, the way everyone saw him as the killer duke, the way he’d not been back to his ancestral home, the way he thought of himself, was all because of her. It was only right that he had his vengeance. She could start over again; she’d done it once before. She could do this for him.

But it may be too late to help him, and the fact that she’s fallen in love with him makes it even harder to leave. But she will, for him. She inadvertently took his life from him, she will give it back, no matter the cost to herself.

I loved this story. I also love how we saw more of the previous couples than we usually do. Mara is a different type of heroine than I’m used to-she’s the villain of the piece. From some of the reviews I’ve read, most didn’t like her. I did. I thought she handled everything in the only way she could. She was young and stupid, and she made a mistake that cost both of them their lives (not in a dead way, but it ruined them). She didn’t know how to mend it, and she wasn’t brave enough once she was old enough to realize how badly she’d hurt Temple.

Temple for his part has convinced himself that having the acceptance of his peers is most important in getting his reputation back. He never thinks beyond the fact that she stole his life, while at the same time he admires her for not backing down from him. He finds he doesn’t necessarily want to ruin her anymore, but he’s already set everything in motion. He’s begun ruining her publicly, and there’s no stopping it.

This book was intense and emotional, and once it hooked me, I couldn’t stop reading. The much talked about epilogue definitely shocked me and I can’t wait for Chase’s book!

***ARC provided by Avon Books and Avon Addicts
Profile Image for Севдалина.
659 reviews48 followers
March 18, 2021
Мара Лоу и Уилям Хароу, херцо�� на Ламонт (Темпъл)

Той се събужда в деня на сватбата на баща му, само за да осъзнае, че лежи гол, в леглото на бъдещата си мащеха, покрит с кръв и без почти никакви спомени от предишната нощ. От този ден животът на Уилям напълно се променя. Той е обвинен в убийството на младата булка на баща си, която дори не е познавал, и макар да няма тяло, доказващо деянието му, той получава прякора Херцога убиец. Сега всички го гледат с пренебрежение от отвращение. Отхвърлен от обществото той приема името Темпъл и скоро се превръща в един от най-влиятелните мъже в подземния свят на Лондон.

Минават дванадесет години и Темпъл, заедно с тримата си съдружници е един от собствениците на най-скандалния игрален клуб в цяла Англия. Подземния боксов ринг е царството на Темпъл. Там загубилите огромни суми, земи, ценности и богатства аристократи могат да получат един единствен шанс да си тръгнат с всичко, което глупаво са проиграли на игралните маси. Единствено трябва да победят в боксов мач Темпъл... който никога не е губил битка.

Живота му е една повтаряща се рутина, битките, са единственото, което му дава стимул да живее, докато една нощ, от тъмнината не се появява една жена... при това, не коя да е жена, а Мара Лоу, момичето за което преди дванадесет години баща му е трябвало да се ожени... момичето, за което всички, дори самия Темпъл, вярват, че е умряло от ръката му в онази съдбовна нощ.

Израснала с баща насилник, шестнайсет годишната Мара търси отчаяно начин да избяга от брака, който е уредил баща й, и в младостта и неопитността си, тя и по-малкият й брат измислят дързък план, който води до свободата й... и до съсипването на живота на един невинен мъж. Сега години по-късно, натоварена с големи отговорности, Мара взима решението да признае пред света, че е жива, и че Темпъл не я е убил... само ако той опрости дълговете на брат й, и върне всичко, което е изгубил на игралните маси в клуба на Темпъл. Младата жена е отчаяна и готова на всичко... дори да се остави в ръцете на един мъж копнеещ за отмъщение.

Ще ми се да кажа, че книгата е била невероятна, вълнуваща, забавна сладка и романтична, и че ми е отвяла главата, но за нещастие не се случи. Беше интересна, до някъде предвидима и на моменти дразнеща. Но си струва да се прочете поне веднъж. От двамата главни, едва ли е изненада, но харесах повече Темпъл. Въпреки гнева, който е таил през всичките години, въпреки мъченията и болките, които е преживял, зад мрачната му намусена фасада се криеше един добър, честен и доблестен мъж, и въпреки, че бе решен да си отмъсти на Мара, всъщност гледаше да се грижи за нея и беше много сладък и забавен. Мара от друга страна... името й е УЖАСНО навпрочем... за мен не беше силна, смела и доблестна героиня. Най-малкото, че беше позволила 12 години един мъж да бъде наказван и измъчван за нещо, което не е сторил, и дори факта, че я е било страх от реакцията на баща й, не я оправдава, защото дори след смъртта му, тя не е дошла, за да избави Темпъл от бремето да е смятан за убиец. Дори напротив, тя няма никакво намерение да поправи несправедливостта, докато нещата не опират до нейните интереси, или в случая нейните пари, които брат й е пропилял на хазарт. Това, че гледаше да издържа няколко момчета, изхвърлени от бащите си, в моите очи не можеше да я направи достатъчно жертвоготовна, нито ми позволи да си кажа, "Ето, тя не е егоист, има си своите причини". Уви, не мисля, че причините й да остави Темпъл да бъде обвиняван за убиец са основателни, и дори щеше да е по-хубаво на края той да й тегли едни майни и да я остави да върви където ще. Както и да е. Като изключим егоизма на главната имаше някои забавни моменти, които дадоха живот на книгата. Авторката ни показа как се развиват двойките от предишните книги, което бе сладко и макар и с егоистка и коза, все пак Темпъл намери своето щастие. Тъй чеее, реално 3 звезди и косур, ама нека сложим 4 за разкош.
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