The Scandalous Flirt
In The Scandalous Flirt, we meet Aurora Paxton, a disgraced debutante who is summoned back to London to help her aunt escape a mysterious potential scandal. Lucas Vale, the Marquess of Dashell, is involved as well, for solving the mystery will be advantageous to his pursuit of an heiress for his bride. Aurora has known Lucas for years, but he’s always been cold to her and she was confident in his hatred of her, but perhaps she was wrong. Is it possible he’s loved her all along and has finally found a way to show it?
Olivia Drake’s Cinderella Sisterhood series falls at the ‘lighter’ end of the regency romance spectrum, and readers looking for historical accuracy and period appropriateness are not going to find it in The Scandalous Flirt. Thus, be aware before embarking on this journey what you’re getting into. I’m no expert, but there were a few moments at which even I found myself raising an eyebrow. Combine that with a thoroughly unlikeable hero and a mercurial heroine and the whole thing was… meh? Meh with a dash of ugh? Can I just submit sounds as my review?
The plot is Sleeping Beauty for the first bit – complete with spinning wheel at one point and a finger prick – and then turns into a caper of sorts as Lucas and Aurora team up to find out who is blackmailing Aurora’s aunt. As they get closer to finding the villain, Aurora falls in love with Lucas but he clings steadfastly to his plan to marry for money. His father was a profligate and the family is deeply in debt, so he needs his bride’s money to shore them up. In the end, of course, they solve the mystery and all is set to rights, including their happily ever after.
Lucas is one of those heroes that I’m supposed to forgive being a jerk because he’s shy or serious or some other something that excuses his behavior. He’s the kid on the playground who pulls a girl’s pigtails to show her he likes her and I, personally, have ZERO time for that. I don’t find brooding to this degree to be sexy or charming; I find it to be the main behavior of an asshat. Mix this tendency with his determination to marry for mercenary reasons, and we spend about ninety-five percent of the book believing that Aurora will simply be Lucas’ mistress. He finally completely falls for her in the last handful of pages and wow, was that not enough to make me turn around on him.
I couldn’t really get a read on Aurora, especially as we’re led to believe she was sassy enough to be “too spirited” for Lucas when they were growing up, but she’s also willing to be his bit on the side? We spend a lot of pages being told she’s self-sufficient and all, and while she wasn’t prepared to be his mistress in order to scratch an itch, she is willing to do it because she’s madly in love with him. Those two things are hard to believe in one person – too spirited for the ton and being a secret lover. This major inconsistency isn’t helped by the odd pacing of the book, particularly of the romance portion.
Overall, The Scandalous Flirt was not a winner. If you’re cool with the mistress-to-wife swaperoo then this may be your bag, but otherwise, I’d give it a pass.