Format: .mobi (purchased)
Release Date: July 31, 2012
Simon Jefferes, the Marquess of Sainthill, has done the unthinkable—he’s fallen in love. The so-called “Saint” has spent his life gambling, dallying with women, and satisfying his every whim. And he fully intended to continue his wicked ways, until he met the mysterious, exotic, and irresistible Madame Venna—the one woman he can’t have…and the only one he’s ever wanted for more than an evening.
The proprietress of the Golden Pearl, one of London’s most exclusive brothels, Madame Venna takes pride in the lush, decadent club she’s created. With a half-mask to conceal her identity, she’s careful to safeguard something even more valuable—her heart. But Saint is determined to tear down the walls she’s built around herself, and to finally expose the truth—that Madame Venna is a woman very much in love…with him.
I liked this book a lot, it's not my favorite of the series but I enjoyed it and didn't put it down until I was dead tired each night. There were a few issues I had with the storyline, most of them towards the end of the book but they didn't diminish my overall enjoyment of All Afternoon with a Scandalous Marquess.
The Marquess of Sainthill, or "Saint" as he is known to his friends, The Lords of Vice, is obsessed with a woman. Unfortunately for him, she is entirely unsuitable to be anything more than a mistress because she is the owner of an exclusive brothel. After spending one night with Madame Venna, six years earlier Saint found himself tossed out of her bed and her life seemingly for good. Now Saint has resumed pursuing the elusive Madam and discovers there is more to her than meets the eye and there is a startling reason why she hides her face behind a half-mask.
Madame Venna has many secrets, she was an innocent girl once and that innocence was brutally taken from her. Now she hides in plain sight, making money off of the gentlemen of the ton. She's content until Saint shakes things up by relentlessly pursuing her and forcing her to trust someone other than herself for the first time in her life.
I love the Lords of Vice and frankly it surprises me that I do. These are men who at times straddle the line between hero and villain, some even gleefully jump back and forth between sides *cough * Frost *cough* and I think that's what makes them so interesting.
Saint is no exception. His nickname definitely doesn't describe him, in fact he's the total opposite: Arrogant, seductive, bull headed and bossy. So when he finds those same qualities in the woman who captured his attention, he's not exactly sure how to handle her and he makes all sorts of bad decisions regarding the woman. Saint and Madame Venna spend a lot of time circling each other like boxers, each waiting for the other to strike so that they can block the attack.
Shockingly, though a lot of the scenes with Saint and Madame Venna take place in a brothel, there isn't much sexy time in All Afternoon with a Scandalous Marquess, but when there is, it's pretty intense. I did feel that there was an emotional connection from the first time Saint and Madame Venna were together, though neither one was aware of it. Each time they were together tore down part of the barriers between them and made room for something better.
My biggest issue with All Afternoon with a Scandalous Marquess was the rushed ending. I felt that the ending was incomplete and left me with several questions, the biggest one being: What happened to the villains? Why doesn't the reader get to see that end tied up? I'm assuming that Saint and the other Lords of Vice didn't let them walk away from what they did to Madame Venna, yet it seemed like Saint just shrugged it off once he got the woman he wanted. That's a pretty big loose end to leave dangling there. I would have liked a slower pace towards the end, with more development and possibly one or two chapters showing Saint and Madame Venna working out their remaining issues because "I love you" doesn't magically solve everything and they had a lot to go over and get over before they moved on and built a life together.
Other than the rushed ending, All Afternoon with a Scandalous Marquess is still very much a Lords of Vice novel and I enjoyed it. Now I'm off to pick up the next book in the series and revel in the fact that after Hunter's book is Frost's.