The Spinster's Guide to Scandalous Behavior (Seduction Diaries #2)
Author: Jennifer McQuiston
Release Date: 24 November 2015
In New York Times bestselling author Jennifer McQuiston's enticing new Seduction Diaries entry, a mysterious journal may provide a potential spinster with instruction—or lead her to her heart's desire...
Free-spirited Lucy Westmore isn't yet a spinster, although she fully intends to be. Fortunately, an eccentric aunt has left her both a diary detailing the secrets to spinsterhood and a cottage in Cornwall. Unfortunately, an insufferable marquess is angling for her prize! Turning Lord Thomas Branston down flat should be easy. So why does this man who won't take no for an answer make Lucy's body and soul sigh yes?
Thomas knows the real value of Heathmore Cottage, and he has no intention of letting some silly Society miss get her hands on it. He'll simply have to charm Lucy into selling. But the clever young woman he encounters, first in London, then en route to Cornwall, stands stubbornly on her own two (quite lovely) feet. And now, Thomas can think only of sweeping her off them.
“Lord Branston,” Lydia mused from the sofa. Her tears were gone, though her eyes still bore traces of redness. “Isn’t that—”
“Yes.” Lucy knocked her head once, twice, against the door frame, but the violence did little to clear her thoughts. If anything, it muddled them further. She dug at the unholy itch that had sprung up beneath the collar of her shirt, almost as though her skin were telling her to run far and fast. She turned around to face her sister. “It’s the man who tried to buy Heathmore.”
Lydia’s forehead wrinkled. “Lucy, what else have you done besides cut your hair?”
“I may have sent him a letter demanding he vacate the premises,” Lucy admitted. She blew wisps of hair out of her eyes. “And accused him of trespass.”
And threatened to summon the authorities.
What was the bounder doing here? Why would he have come all the way from Cornwall, especially given the tone of her letter?
Not to thank her for her good manners, or to compliment her on her penmanship.
Oh, God, she needed a solid plan. And apparently an entire army of hairpins.
Unfortunately, neither were in ready reach.
“Are you really going to meet Lord Branston dressed like that?” Lydia asked, sounding horrified by the notion.
Lucy looked down at her clothing. Though she wore trousers when digging in the dirt, it had been years since she’d truly dressed as a boy, and then she most often pretended to be a groom to climb trees in Hyde Park. The subterfuge no longer came easily. She would have preferred to be dressed in her own clothes for this meeting, especially given how Geoffrey’s waistcoat bunched in the wrong places and strained in others.
And good God, how this shirt made her itch.
But as awkward as she felt, she refused to give Lord Branston the pleasure of dressing properly for his company. The man was trying to force her hand in a direction she refused to go, and she would see this to an end, once and for all.
Hopefully, before her father found out.
I hardly recognised Lucy Westmore now she's all grown up. We first meet Lucy in Diary of an Accidental Wallflower, where she was the wild younger sister of the book's heroine. Lucy still has that wild streak and a distinct disregard for society's rules. This is only a small part of her charm and I thought she was a thoroughly lovable heroine. She seems very confident and self-assured but she has a vulnerable, insecure side that makes you root for her all the way. She's the type to act first and ask questions later which is fun to read, even if she does get herself into a spot of bother now and then. I liked that she admits when she's wrong as well, she doesn't let pride get the better of her. I loved Lucy's determination to take control of her cottage inherited from her aunt, Miss E, and her quest to get to know her aunt better through her diaries.
Thomas has hidden himself away from the temptations of London after the scandalous death of his sister. He arrived in Cornwall after drowning his sorrows in a bottle for a long time before Miss E takes him under her wing. Now Thomas avoids the vices of Town and spends his days in Lizard Bay, a small rural Cornish town. Thomas is such a sweetheart, even if Lucy is reluctant to see it at first. He's a true gentleman and very honourable. He wants to protect the treasures of Miss E's cottage for unselfish reasons and just wants to make sure it's in the right hands.
I loved watching Lucy and Thomas butt heads again and again in this story. They have an obvious chemistry from the beginning which Lucy works very hard to ignore. She believes he tried to swindle her inheritance from her and so is disposed to think the worst of him. This definitely made for some banter.
Their spark is there straight away and I loved the way their romance grew. Lucy is determined to be a spinster but she starts to see that maybe that isn't the path meant for her, and that she could be truly happy with the right husband. Thomas loves Lucy for all her quirks and wouldn't try to change her.
Overall, this is a very sweet and fun romance. I loved getting to know Miss E through her diary snippets, and how she seemed to bring together Thomas and Lucy from the grave. Thomas and Lucy are perfect together and I loved how the ending brought everything together. This is a truly charming story that kept me reading into the wee hours and smiling at every page. I'm excited to read the next book in the series!
*I received a review copy for my honest review. Thank you!
About the Author
A veterinarian and infectious disease researcher by training, Jennifer McQuiston has always preferred reading romance to scientific textbooks. She resides in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, their two girls, and an odd assortment of pets, including the pony she promised her children if mommy ever got a book deal. Jennifer can be reached via her website at www.jenmcquiston.com or followed on Twitter @jenmcqwrites.
Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
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