In historical romances, reformed rakes always make the best husbands. So, do you believe that’s true of the bad boy heroes in all romance genres? Do you read a book and imagine the wild boy hero tossing off all his bad habits when he meets the perfect heroine?
Think of all the bad boys we love to read about or watch in movies. They always win the girl, don’t they? And the story ends with them living happily ever after with the heroine who capture their hearts. They marry and have children and yet rakes, and bad boys, still manage to look as sexy as sin.
Who wouldn’t want a man like that? ….sigh.
An historical romance rake has that indefinable something that tempts even the most stubborn and straight-laced woman into doing wilder things than they’d ever do normally. Being the object of sexy male attention from a rake, plus the excitement, could become addictive until the heroine realizes that only a true rake can give her the ongoing mix of sex and sin she’s begun to crave.
Ladies of the higher classes in London around 1840 were taught to pretend they knew nothing of the habits of rogues and rakes, or the places the men of their acquaintance visited at night. For women, houses of ill repute supposedly didn’t exist, despite their being a brothel on every second corner in some areas.
A gentlemen never spoke of the lady bird he set up in a cozy little house in a different part of the city to his oh-so-proper family,
and if female family members happened upon the man on Bond Street while he was buying new gowns for his latest high-flying courtesan, the ladies knew to avert their eyes, cross the road, and pretend they didn’t know the man, even if he was their brother or, heaven forbid, their husband.
And it was ill-mannered of a wife to ask their husband if he had a mistress, or perhaps two, in his keeping. But really, how could any inquisitive young lady be expected to avoid looking at the showy entrance to a high class brothel if they passed by in their carriage at the very moment a close male acquaintance was being gushingly greeted by the brothel madam.
What a strange set of morals women were expected to follow throughout history.
My hero in Scenting Scandal is a British earl and experienced rogue whose ‘adventures’ were frequently reported in London’s gossip papers, often enough that Lady Laura Jamison rolls her eyes and swears she wants nothing to do with a man who has first-hand knowledge of half the women’s bedrooms in London.
For his part, Richard avoids wild Laura because he is determined to marry a sweet and compliant girl who will balance out his wildness and give a respectable air to his family name, while leaving him free to continue being a rogue and creating scandals.
Will Richard reform and become a doting and stay-at-home husband for Laura? Only time will tell, but let’s hope so.
But what woman wouldn’t want a man with that sort of bedroom expertise as their husband? Imagine being the focus of a man who’ll do anything to win the heart of the lady he loves.
How about you? Did you marry a bad boy? Would you like to?
More importantly, do you think reformed rakes, rogues, and bad boys make the best husbands, both in bed and out?
Scenting Scandal is the second in my scandal series with heroines whose scientific knowledge and intellect are an affront to early Victorian’s increasingly staid society. The family’s second sister uses her extraordinary olfactory senses to sniff out her perfect match, a husband who fits all her scientific criteria.
Lady Laura Jamison has a gift and she’s not afraid to use it. She’s after a husband, but not just any husband. She wants a man who meets her logical and scientific criteria. Her extraordinary olfactory senses lead her to Richard, the Earl of Winchester. He might not know it-yet-but he’s her perfect match.
Richard has no time for family friend, Laura, the mad scientist. He’s been pursued by many a female, but never on the premise that one sniff can decide your soul mate. Besides, he wants to marry a sweet and docile woman, a socially acceptable young lady, the exact opposite of Laura.
But when he’s tasked with stopping fraudulent trading in Britain’s railways shares, he finds he needs Laura’s help. As they work to expose the culprit, Richard begins to think Laura may be on to something, because when he’s with her, passion and desire explode with one look, one touch, one kiss…
Suzi Love – Making history fun, one year at a time.
Embracing Scandal – The Viscount’s Pleasure House