Justin Trentham, third son of the Earl of Billington, is determined to get himself disowned from his cold and unloving family. Despite his numerous affairs with questionable women of the ton, his parents continue to be dismissive of his ploys, but Justin spots the perfect scandal in the form of a beautiful, exotic Italian opera singer...
Carmalina Belluccini refuses to become his mistress, despite being tempted by his charms. But after losing her singing voice, she finds herself destitute. She agrees to be Justin's mistress for one month, until she has enough money to return to her beloved Italy.
She intends to keep their arrangement strictly business, but after witnessing Justin's vulnerable side, she finds herself falling more in love than in lust with him. Carmalina is having second thoughts about leaving England...but is their love strong enough to survive the scandal of the season?
Scandal's Mistress was a brilliant book. Everything about it, from the characters, to the plot, was perfection.
The idea of a deal that involves the lady to become temporary mistress to a gentleman isn't new, but the author does her own spin that makes this book unique.
Carmalina was a strong character. I liked that she held on to her morals, even when she was a singer. She has done her best to remain independent, but, after losing her voice, her options become limited. But she doesn't let that get her down. No, instead she marches to Justin's house and accepts the position of his mistress. And things really start from there. I really liked how loyal she was to Justin after getting to know him. She even slaps his mother after the witch said some awful things about him. In the face of all the scandal, she stands by Justin and turns her chin up. She was wonderful, a really good character.
Justin was a complicated character. Sometimes he could be so blind and oblivious that I just wanted to shake some sense into him. But then he would do something sweet and I fell in love with him again. He doesn't have the greatest past. His family either ignored him or was outright mean to him, so he's been trying his best to distance himself from them. That is, of course, what started the whole affair. But after a few blind moments, he finally realizes his love for Carmalina and from then, he's just the sweetest. I adored him, blind moments and all.
The other character were well done. From Justin's parents, to his uncle, all were dynamic. Justin's parents were awful people. There is really no redeeming quality to them and I was glad when they got their set down. Justin's uncle was a little more complicated. He was kind of the voice of reason throughout the book. His ending was...unexpected. I really want to say more on that, but I don't want to give the plot away.
The plot was fast, no dull moments. There's a twist at the end that I didn't see coming, and what a twist it was. The ending was perfect. A happily ever after for the two beloved characters.
Scandal's Mistress was wonderful, a perfect romance.