Review: Shameless by Anne Stuart

Shameless by Anne Stuart
Series: The House of Rohan (#4)
Publication Date: June 21, 2011
Publisher: Mira
Page Count: 400
Source: NetGalley (reposted from Shannon’s website, with permission)

A long string of tragic loves haunts Viscount Benedick Francis Alistair Rohan. Cool and cynical, he’s weary of life’s fickle games and wants a prim and proper wife he can ignore while indulging his sensual appetites.

Lady Melisande Carstairs is nothing less than a tornado storming into Benedick’s measured life. Possessed of boundless energy and the soul of a reformer, Melisande always conquers, whether it’s saving the souls of soiled doves or seducing the man she’s inconveniently fallen for. When she informs Benedick that his brother’s newly revived Heavenly Host has graduated from simple carnal debauchery to sadistic violence, he’s compelled to investigate, undercover. Under those covers, however, is Melisande herself, playing a dangerous game in the name of justice.

And the Heavenly Host has just seen her hand, and more…

Review: Benedick Rohan has to find another wife and produce an heir or two. To most people, these 2 things might be fairly easy to do. For Benedick, it seems that every time he thinks he’s going to get everything required of him, they are taken away…be it the wife or his heir. So it’s with very callus requirements that he begins his search for a wife. One that will obey him in all things, provide him his heir and then live secluded in the country while he leads his life in London. First and foremost though, was finding one of those marvelous lady’s of the night to help slack the lust that has building during his year of mourning.

Melisande Carstairs has made it her life’s work to remove the girls working in houses of ill repute and teaching them there is more to life than lying on their backs and hopefully finding gainful employment. She never enjoyed sex during her marriage to her very elderly husband or the one other man she attempted relations with, so she figures it must be like that with all men, therefore something she should save these woman from. She’s even managed to take the best known madame, Mrs. Cadbury, and encouraged her to close her doors and come to help her manage her house, aka Dovecote.

Unfortunately for Melisande, Mrs. Cadbury happened to employee a certain girl who was quite skilled and has been requested to visit one Viscount Rohan. Said girl decided that performing her special skill for the Viscount (who all the girls thinks is dreamy) is better than doing what’s she’s currently doing, so she takes off. Melisande is hot on her heels and comes face to face with Benedick.

Of course, Benedick is a complete ass and Melisande is up really high on her high horse, but the match has been set….and what a match it is.

Melisande wants to help save everyone. No matter how dangerous the situation or how damaging to her reputation, she wants to make someone else’s life better. After all, what is she going to do with all the money her late husband left her? So when she finds out that the Heavenly Host has been taking innocent girls and performing vile things on them, she’s determined to help. She figures to enlist Benedick, seeing as his younger brother is involved. She never expected to actual fall for the condescending ass.

For Benedick, Melisande was the last thing he wanted to deal with. He wanted someone to slack his lust and then find the wife he can ignore. What he didn’t need was this meddlesome woman poking her noise where it didn’t belong, especially the Heavenly Host and their sexual exploits. Unfortunately, Melisande was the one woman that wouldn’t bend to Benedick’s whim and could verbally spare with him where no one else could. When he started to find himself thinking of her non-stop, he knew he was in trouble.

The story started out slow, but about a quarter of the way through started to pick up steam. I enjoyed the altercations between Benedick and Melisande, especially how despite themselves they couldn’t seem to stay away from each other or their stance on the other person. This was a good read that will entertain you and keep you wondering what could happen next.

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