cover image Once a Scoundrel

Once a Scoundrel

Mary Jo Putney. Zebra, $7.99 mass market (325p) ISBN 978-1-4201-4096-5

Putney’s third Regency Rogues Redeemed historical (after Once a Rebel) sizzles with passion and adventure. Gabriel Hawkins Vance is dismissed from the Royal Navy after abandoning his post to rescue a midshipman, but he continues his seafaring career, eventually captaining his own ship and earning a living as a blockade runner. He sails to the Barbary Coast to rescue Lady Aurora “Rory” Lawrence and her companion and cousin, Constance. They are being held by pirate Malek Reis for a ransom of £50,000—money that Malek needs to ransom his own wife and children from his ruthless cousin, Gürkan. Though Malek is unwilling to release the women for less than £50,000, he agrees to let Gabriel take Malek, Rory, and Constance to Constantinople, where Gürkan awaits them. As Gabriel and Rory fall in love, they share the fear that Gabriel’s plan will fail. Despite the clichéd threat that Malek will sell Rory and Constance into harems, Putney takes care to respectfully portray her Turkis characters. Subtle yet sensuous romance keeps the pages turning. (Oct.)