Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed by Anna Campbell
ORDER A COPY: Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed (Sons of Sin)
Publishing Date: September 25, 2012
Paperback: 384 pages
Rating: 5 stars
Desperate to save her sister’s life, Sidonie Forsythe has agreed to submit herself to a terrible fate: Beyond the foreboding walls of Castle Craven, a notorious, hideously scarred scoundrel will take her virtue over the course of seven sinful nights. Yet instead of a monster, she encounters a man like no other. And during this week, she comes to care for Jonas Merrick in ways that defy all logic—even as a dark secret she carries threatens them both.
Ruthless loner Jonas knows exactly who he is. Should he forget, even for a moment, the curse he bears, a mere glance in the mirror serves as an agonizing reminder. So when the lovely Sidonie turns up on his doorstep, her seduction is an even more delicious prospect than he originally planned. But the hardened outcast is soon moved by her innocent beauty, sharp wit, and surprising courage. Now as dangerous enemies gather at the gate to destroy them, can their new, fragile love survive?
Jonas Merrick is a bitter, angry man. When his father’s marriage to his mother could not be proven, he lost his right to inherit his father’s title of Viscount Hillbrook, but that was only beginning of life’s punishments. Others wanted to punish the bastard son and carved up his face. The remaining scars are a hideous and constant reminder of this status as a bastard. Not only does Jonas feel betrayed by the world, but his cousin William, the current Viscount Hillbrook, is the embodiment of all the evil done to Jonas and the hatred between the two fuels them both.
Jonas has seen William’s wife, Roberta, at the gaming tables and gets her to bet larger and larger sums until he holds notes that he knows she has no way of paying. His solution to her dilemma is to sleep with him for a week and he will not tell William of her debts. Jonas is enjoying the thought of defiling his cousin’s wife, a woman who often shows her disgust of his scared face.
At first he is unhappy when it is not Roberta who shows up at his doorstep as arranged, but he soon decides that spending a week bedding Robert’s sister, the beautiful Sidonie Forsythe, is so much more interesting then bedding the pompous Roberta. The longer Jonas spends with Sidonie, the more impressed he is with her strength and her kindness, and he finds himself jealous of the unflinching loyalty Sidonie shows to her sister. He also realizes he doesn’t want to do anything to destroy the purity and spirit of the beautiful woman.
Sidonie knows that her brother-in-law William has a violent temper and if he were to find out about Roberta sleeping with his enemy, his usual beatings would turn deadly. Sidonie is willing to exchange her innocence for her sister’s safety, a sister who was always like a mother to her.
Sidonie very soon looks past Jonas’s scars to see the true man before her. She learns that there is a thoughtful, caring man underneath his cool, aloof behavior, and that he merely uses his mockery to keep the world away, a world that has shown him nothing but pain. She is torn between her growing feelings and her burning desire for the beautiful man beneath the scars, and how society’s dictates a proper woman should act. She also doesn’t want Jonas to think that her compliance is only to settle her sister’s debts.
As desires flame hot between the two, the question we want to answer is: can beauty win the heart of the beast?
As you can guess, this is a beauty and the beast story. I really enjoyed the characters in this story. Jonas comes off at the beginning of the story as very heartless and cold, but we quickly see that he does have a conscience although he denies it, and that his coldness is a defense to people who have mistreated him either for his bastard status or his scars.
Sidonie is very brave to step forward to take her sister’s place. Living in a house with William and her sister, she has only heard horror stories about Jonas’s character, which was portrayed as terrifying as his disfigured face. To step into a house expecting to be defiled and used by man who is supposed to be a monster in all ways would require a great deal of courage, and to see past his scars and his bitter attitude to see the true person before her, makes her a wonderful character.
There is some false advertising in the name since there wasn’t really 7 nights as the title suggestions, as it takes a few days for Jonas to talk Sidonie into bed, but once they get there it is quite sensual and you better have a magazine handy to fan yourself with.
You should also have a hankie close by since it does get very tear-jerky at the end when misunderstandings and betrayals come into play. Of course, (thankfully) everything gets worked out for our HEA.
I would highly recommend this novel. The characters were sympathetic and wonderfully written, and the storyline took me in directions I wasn’t expecting. This was the first book in a new series by Anna Campbell, and I will be putting the next book on my list.
Received digital ARC from netgalley.com courtesy of the publisher. Thank you.
Tensing, she glared at him. “Don’t you like my dress?” she asked sharply, lifting her chin.
“I’ve never had clothes like this in my life.” At some point since her arrival, he’d ordered some gowns from Sidmouth. She wore a dark green dress Mrs. Beven had altered to fit.
“You could thank me.”
She surveyed him without favor. “I assume a verbal expression of gratitude will suffice.”
He winced theatrically. “Why, Miss Forsythe, you suspect ulterior motives?”
She stood in quivering stillness while he prowled toward her. “Turn around.”
“I’m not a toy in your playbox.”
His smile held a hint of wickedness. “Oh, yes, you are, carissima.”
“This toy has spikes,” she growled, not shifting.
“I’ll handle you with care.” He wandered around her in a leisurely inspection that seemed to endure an hour. Devil take him, he set the very air vibrating.
“Very nice.” He stepped forward to straighten the blond lace trimming the disgracefully low bodice. With mortifying swiftness her nipple hardened. She hoped to heaven he didn’t notice.
“The dresses are indecent,” she said stiffly, the rich silk flowing against her body like water.
She shot him another fulminating glance. His eyes lit with that unholy glint she’d learned to mistrust. “Admit it. It’s a gorgeous dress and you look gorgeous in it.”
“It’s made for a courtesan.”
He snorted. “What do you know about courtesans, sweet little lamb?”
She narrowed her eyes. “Knowing about courtesans is no character recommendation.”
“Cutting.” His smile reeked satisfaction. “Yet still you wear the gown.”
“Mrs. Bevan took away my muslin.”
“She must need a dishclout.”
She didn’t know why she argued. Who could object to wearing something so stylish? While the silk might cling to her body, it wouldn’t raise an eyebrow in any London salon. Especially on a lady no longer an ingénue. “No respectable woman would wear this dress.”
He trailed one finger down her cheek, tracing a prickling path of awareness. “But, amore mio, you’re no longer a respectable woman. You’re a monster’s paramour.”
Heat flared in her face and she jerked away. “Not yet.”
The fascinating lines around his eyes deepened with the laughter that always warmed her to her bones, in sprite of everything she knew about him. “Not yet? By Jove, you offer hope.”