Simply Scandalous (Zebra Debut)

Simply Scandalous - Tamara Lejeune I bought this book entirely on a whim. I needed like $2 more to get free shipping and tossed this $3.99 book in with an "Eh, why not?"Best. Whim. Evar.The book opens with Juliet Wayborn's brother getting the ever living snot beat out of him on the eve of a carriage race with Geoffrey Swale. Under the impression Lord Swale ordered the hit on her brother so he'd win the race, Juliet dons a man's hat and coat and races Swale herself. Embarrassed by losing to a woman and further scandalized by the spreading rumor that he paid to have Cary Wayborn attacked, Geoffrey finds himself in hot water with his duke father. The duke decides it's in the family's best interests that Geoffrey marry the very Miss Wayborn he finds so ridiculous. Thus begins an amusing battle of wits between two strong-willed characters. Juliet's older brother, Benedict, turns down the marriage proposal, but Geoffrey goes off after Juliet to give her a piece of his mind, and to let her know he didn't want to marry her anyway. While visiting her at her aunt and uncle's home, the sparks fly. Swale breaks a glass display case full of porcelain figurines in a pique of anger. Juliet creates an inedible meal Swale can't avoid eating and calls him by the hated nickname Ginger. He's hot-headed and immature, she's strong-willed and impossible to cow, and both seem to enjoy playing this game, not that they'd admit that to anyone.The book's strong point is its dialog. The banter between the protagonists by turns hilarious and achingly romantic. Juliet's conversations with her stern older brother show us a loving relationship more akin to father and daughter than one of a pair of siblings (I have a soft spot for older brother guardians). Most importantly, the dialog gives us a great picture of who these characters are. When Swale grudgingly tells his friend "The thing is, Alex...The thing is, I didn't mind being caught. I mean, I'm going to be caught one day. Why not by her?" it shows us volumes about Swale and his attraction to Juliet in a way a bunch of POV prose never could. I could happily quote half the book, and have gone back to reread especially touching or amusing passages.Simply Scandalous is an incredibly fun read. Watching these two figure out that they want the same thing, and the trouble they generate in the process, makes for a satisfying read. I think this book might especially appeal to those who loved Lord of Scoundrels.