Written by Loretta Chase, Lord of Scoundrels is an engaging romance novel, recently recommended to non-romance reading NPR host Rebecca Roberts by the Smart Bitches (authors of Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches' Guide to Romance Novels, coming soon to a Western Massachusetts library near you). I got it yesterday, started it at 6 PM, and was done in time for the 11 o'clock news. Of course, I also barely paused for dinner and civilized conversation with my spouse. Despite some strange conventions (the capitalization of Male and Female also noted by Cassandra), a somewhat tedious subplot, and a heroine with the name "Jessica" Lord of Scoundrels is quite delightful.
Sebastian, Marquess of Dain, is a notorious rake. However, rather than make us guess what prompts his devastatingly awful behavior, Chase gives the reader a thoughtful back story and only gradually reveals it to her female protagonist, Jessica Trent. Also unlike some reformed rake stories, the novel is equally strong from both Dain and Jessica's viewpoints. The humor and electricity between the lead characters as they have increasingly heated encounters is admirably well orchestrated, and the final impediment between the lovers doesn't seem overly contrived. A light, fluffy read, perfect for a rainy day or beach vacation.
Oh, and Rebecca Roberts liked it as well. Also, I don't care if Shakespeare used Jessica in The Merchant of Venice. I still don't like it as a Regency heroine's name.