Series: Sons of Sin #1
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Forever on 25 September 2012
Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed is a classic Beauty and the Beast tale. Sidonie Forsythe loves her sister (Roberta) so much she has agreed to pay her debt to the ruthless and scarred Jonas Merrick. Jonas doesn’t want money though, he wants Roberta in his bed for an entire week as part of his scheme to embarrass her husband William (who happens to be his cousin). When sharp tongued and virginal Sidonie shows up instead, Jonas decides to change his game plan.
Jonas bears figurative and literal scars that affect his relationships with everyone – people universally recoil from him. Jonas was declared a bastard by the court system when a judge ruled their was no evidence of his parents’ marriage. Shunned by society until he became too rich for them to ignore, he nursed his hate for William who inherited the title he deserved. Rather than challenge William directly, Jonas has capitalised on Roberta’s gambling habit and ensured the ventures William invested in failed. This falls into the ‘decidedly not cool’ category. He redeems himself however by respecting Sidonie’s boundaries (to an extent) and giving her a feeling of self-worth – ironic really as his self-esteem is so low because of his facial scars.
Sidonie’s scheme to fulfil Roberta’s debt was cooked up as a way to protect Roberta from William’s abuse. Supporting a sibling is admirable but there should be some limits. She’s got brains and her plan to manipulate William was a smart one even though Jonas didn’t view it in that light. I couldn’t fault her for her unwillingness to get married because Roberta and William’s marriage was clearly unsatisfactory. Trusting Jonas didn’t just mean putting her life in his hands but that of her sister and her nephews. I appreciated that she took the time to weigh her options carefully. Her ‘I want you but I don’t want you’ was far more annoying.
The romance was engaging as Jonas struggled to maintain control and Sidonie kept undermining his attempts. She did develop a case of insta-love but what girl wouldn’t with a Byronic hero in a Gothic setting? I loved how she steadily healed his psychological scars bit by bit. The two decide to throw the old bargain out the window and settle on a new one – Jonas has seven days to try to seduce Roberta before he loses her for good. The love scenes were suitably smexy and the almost love scenes were just as good. As is the case with Regency romances, there is a few big secrets that Sidonie and Jonas keep from each other which threaten to tear them apart when they are revealed. Both of the characters temporarily revert to type with Jonas hiding behind his cold mask and Sidonie shunning the support of others.
I had a few quibbles with the plot but nothing overly dramatic. Jonas was bullied throughout his formative years because his parents were inherently stupid. They married abroad and misplaced the documentation even though legitimate succession is a fairly big deal for the aristocracy and according to Jonas, they were deeply in love. I have no idea why his parents didn’t track down the priest that married them to testify a marriage actually took place. I wanted a bit more info on how Jonas bought Roberta’s debt and exactly what was expected of the woman that showed up. Jonas could keep Roberta at his castle for an entire week without touching her and know that William would assume the worst.
Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed is an enjoyable Regency romp and I would happily curl up with another in the series.