ARC Review: Never Marry a Viscount by Anne Stuart

Format: E-booknevermarryaviscount
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Scandal at the House of Russell, #3
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Hero: Alexander Montgomery Griffiths
Heroine: Sophia Eulalie Russell
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: September 23, 2014
Started On: September 23, 2014
Finished On: September 25, 2014

I’ve been an avid fan of the Scandal at the House of Russell series ever since the first book was published in 2013. Well, lets face it. I am an avid fan of Anne Stuart regardless. The House of Russell series follows in the wake of the three girls left orphaned by the death of their father, a death that the girls believe was murder. One by one, they set out on a quest to find the truth and end up finding the love of their lives and then some in each of these deliciously spun stories.

Never Marry a Viscount is the third and final book in the series, the story of the youngest of the three, Sophia Eulalie Russell. Left behind at home while the other two sisters had ventured out, Sophia is determined to have her own adventure and takes a bold step towards finding a place for herself in the home from which she and her sisters were removed upon the death of her father, a property now under the ownership of Viscount Griffiths; Alexander Montgomery Griffiths.

Sophia is determined to find out whether the man with the body of a semi-god that she had been spying on for weeks had anything to do with the death of her father and proceed on her way. Alexander is a man as bored and cynical with his life as most come. Guarded with his heart and emotions, Alexander believes Sophia to be the mistress that he ordered from London while Sophia believes she has been hired on as replacement of the cook that was fired from the household.

Though the initial start to the book was a bit slow, the pace and the trademark Anne Stuart banter between the hero and heroine picked up towards the second half of the book. And I loved every single bit of it. Sophia, the woman who believes herself to be stronger than those that succumb to a pretty face finds herself doing just that every single time Alexander steals a kiss from her, taking away her very breathe and sliding over senses making her falter in her determination to seek the truth.

Not much gets done in the way of finding out whether Alexander had anything to do with the death of their father as Sophia makes up her mind to escape from the clutches of Alexander before its too late for her heart and soul. But then again, where would the fun in that be? Alexander’s passion for Sophia is one that unnerves him, though he would rather die than admit to the fact. Sophia charms his jaded heart, makes him possessive in an almost animalistic manner and makes him conjure up fanciful notions of a life with her that he’d have believed his first marriage had cured him of.

There is this particular bit in the story where Sophia’s thoughts had a profound effect on me. Before she had totally succumbed to the power of the heady physical attraction between her and Alexander; and I just had to go and include that bit in the review itself because I think as women, we have all been cautioned against men who would try and get in our pants just for the sake of it. But no one ever tells us or can really describe to us what it is that makes us abandon every reasoning power that we have and just give in, because sexual attraction and desire is that powerful. And I quote:

“Her sisters hadn’t told her about this. No one had. She’d been advised on the technical details of mating, which was far more warning than most girls received, but she had two older sisters to fill her in, though to her knowledge neither of them had firsthand experience. And they’d talked about love, and shared interests, and companionship, and comfort.
But no one had said anything about a fire in your blood that burns away any common sense you might have once possessed. No one said you could want a man’s touch so much that your body was in an uproar, parts that you didn’t even name seemed to be aching with longing. No one had said you would throw everything away for a man who mocked you and teased you and then spoke to you in clipped tones like you were a servant, and yet all he had to do was touch you . . .”

Anne Stuart has a formula that works beautifully in each of her novels. And it never gets old.  Though Alexander turned out to be quite a milder version of her usual fanfare for bad boy, ruthless heroes, he nevertheless managed to charm the socks off of me and then some. Fans like myself, who read Anne Stuart because of her ruthless heroes might be just a tad disappointed that Alexander didn’t offer some of that. Sophia bears the hallmark characteristics of the usual Stuart heroines. Headstrong, stubborn and determined, Sophia remained resolute against the web of desire that she had been ensnared in until every time Alexander proceeds to take her in his arms and shows her just how good they are together.

Never Marry a Viscount ties up all the loose ends in the trilogy and gives fans the closure they need. Recommended for fans of the series, fans of Anne Stuart and fans of historical romances with heroes who can make you swoon.

Final Verdict: Formulaic Anne Stuart. Recommended!

Favorite Quotes

Each time he kissed her she seemed to go a little farther on the road to inescapable madness. This one was a little rough, a demand rather than a question, his hands hard on her, but, instead of freezing, her heart leapt in immediate response. She didn’t even want to think about what she was doing—she pulled at her hands that were locked between their bodies, and slid them around his waist, holding on as he ravished her mouth.
It was hypnotizing, it was heartbreaking, it was everything she wanted and nothing she could ever have, and she deserved it.

“You are a beast,” she said in a low, furious voice.
“And as you’ve pointed out to me numerous times, you are a beauty. See how well matched we are.” He put his finger under her stubborn chin, lifting her face to his. “So let’s see how easy you are to train.”
She tried to elbow him in the ribs for that one, and he swallowed his laughter. There were times when he was his own worst enemy, but she was just so delicious. He lowered his mouth to hers, half expecting her to bash him in the head, or at least bite him, but the moment his lips touched hers she stilled, like a startled woodland creature confronted by danger, and all his humor fled.

He lifted his head and looked down at her, bemused. He knew the answer to the question she kept asking, and he was damned if he would tell her. He was marrying her because she made him feel alive, he was marrying her because he’d never wanted a woman so much in his life, he was marrying her because in her arms he felt like he’d finally come home for the first time in his life.

He rubbed again, just enough for another small climax to hit her, and he pulled back. She made a soft cry of need, and a fierce possessiveness washed over him, one he didn’t want to consider or question. Mine roared through his blood, and he pumped his fingers into her, feeling the start of another climax. He wanted more from her, he wanted to make her cry and scream with pleasure, he wanted to give her such pleasure she could never forget it no matter how far she tried to run.

It was his kisses, she decided. She gave him a disgruntled look, calming down a bit. “Do you put some kind of poison on your lips?”
He raised both eyebrows this time. “I beg your pardon?” “Every time you kiss me, my wits desert me.”
She expected mockery, but after a startled moment he simply smiled. “Well, that’s a start.”

“Let it come,” he whispered. “Scream as loud as you can.” He slid his fingers through her wetness, up to the top, rubbing her, and watched her as everything left her and she did scream, a hoarse, sobbing sound of such wild pleasure that he could have come from watching her.
He pushed her up on the bed, following her and wrapping her in his arms as she shuddered and trembled, errant stray convulsions still rippling through her. She hid her face against him now, suddenly shy, and he smiled when she couldn’t see it. Mine, he thought. He’d claimed her, and he would never let her go. Mine.

He had his hands on her hips, holding her still as he sank into her, and his pace was driving her mad. “Do it,” she said hoarsely. “Now.”
It seemed to break whatever hold he had on himself. He thrust all the way into her, deep and hard, and it felt so good, so necessary, and she exploded once more, her body clamping down around that part that she’d taken into her mouth so lovingly, ripples of reaction shaking her.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

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