Hattie Sedley is taking life by the horns. It is the Year of Hattie and she is going to finish the year as a woman in charge. However, her plans are briefly derailed when she meets Beast, one of the three Bareknuckle Bastards that run Covent Garden. As their lives and limbs intertwine, Beast does his best to keep his distance to protect his lady love. Hattie calls bull on his antics and tells him that while no man has ever been able to stand their ground against him, this woman fights to win. **We'll only accept all the SPOILERS**
Pick up a copy of this week's book, Brazen and the Beast by Sarah Maclean, here!
Want to listen to a certain segment? Here is our outline this week:
0:00 - 07:50: Intro/History Facts/ Author Facts/Tropes
07:50 - 30:14: Synopsis
30:14 - 34:52: Parlour
34:52 - 54:04: General Discussion
Find out more about The Rebellious Rancher by Kate Pearce and pick up your copy here!
We are now including our synopses as a semi-transcription of the episode in our blog posts. You can learn more about how we compose these by reading this article. As a reminder though, our synopses are FULL of spoilers. Read ahead at your own risk :)
Brazen and the Beast Synopsis:
Quick Background as this is Book #2 in the Bareknuckle Bastards Series.
The Bareknuckle Bastards are Devil, Beast, and Dahlia. They have real names but these are their street names. They were all born on the same day. Devil and Beast are half brothers and Dahlia is their “sister.” Also born on the same day is another half brother, Ewan, the Duke of Marwick. They’ve been hiding the Duke of Marwick since they ran away. The old Duke did some shady shit and was a horrible human, pitting his bastard sons against each other for the honor of being the heir. At first they all banded together to get away from him but suddenly Ewan turned and so he cannot be trusted. He already tried to kill Devil in his book and is now interfering with the Bastards smuggling business in increasingly dangerous ways...which leads us to our story...
Hattie has an appointment. She has plans that she is putting into place on the eve of her 29th birthday.
Plans are disrupted, momentarily, when she finds a man tied up in her carriage. He’s exceedingly large but also the most handsome man she’s ever seen. However, while this is a set back, she needs to get going.
Beast awakens tied up in a moving carriage by the tapping of a Lady on his cheek. She tells him it’s the Year of Hattie and he’s a bit of a bother.
Beast quickly figures out that she was not the one to knock him unconscious and tie him up, however it appears she knows who may be responsible.
Hattie, the very clever girl that she is, steals a kiss before nonchalantly pushing Beast out of the moving carriage.
Luckily, this man is a fierce athlete to quickly tucks into a roll and springs up like a giant cat.
At first he’s worried she’s gotten away with the information he needs, but quickly realizes that he’s been tossed out on his turf, so she cannot hide for long.
He finds her at 72 Shelton Street, a ladies only bordello, operated by his sister. Hattie had gone there to get herself ruined in order to take charge of her life on her terms.
“I’ve a four-point plan to captain my own fate.” His brows rose. “Four points.” She lifted a hand, ticking the answers off on her long, gloved fingers. “Business. Home. Fortune. Future.” She paused.
Whit is very intrigued by Hattie and offers her a deal. He’ll ruin her if she gives him what he wants. The name of whomever attacked his shipment. Hattie refuses to give him that but they do manage to have a fiery kiss which could easily lead to more, when her coach arrives to take her home.
Whit lets her go with the parting words, “I’ll find you.”
Hattie gets home to find her brother suffering from a stab wound in the leg. Upon seeing the throwing knife he’d pulled out of his thigh, Hattie knows Augie is the man Beast is after.
She learns that Beast is part of the group known as the Bareknuckle Bastards, a name she’s heard while helping with her father’s shipping company.
She knows that her brother is in some deep shit, but as Hattie is good at fixing things, she turns the situation to her advantage.
She tells Augie she will clean up his mess, quietly, if he promises to stop immediately and tell her father that the business should go to her instead of him.
The next day, Beast learns from his sister-in-law Felicity, who exactly Hattie is. He assumes that her brother must be behind the hits to their shipment but he’s convinced he was not acting without guidance. No one thinks August Sedly is the brightest crayon in the box.
As he’s learning the information, one of the Bastards rooftop spies comes to tell him there is a lady toff in the Market asking around for information on him...turns out Hattie found him first.
He goes to her only to find her backed in an ally by a couple of thugs and is impressed by her sheer ability to brazen her way through the situation. Instead of being meek and begging to be left alone, she pulls a knife on the guys, one of Beasts knives.
The thugs instantly recognize it, and then Beast himself is there to confirm, they messed with the wrong lady.
Hattie tells him that she has a new deal for him. She’ll return all the money the bastards have lost with interest and Beast will stop looking for the person responsible.
Beast tells her no deal.
She also tells him that he does not need to keep his promise of ruining her. He needn't stoop to that level, they can just deal on the business level.
Now, while they were talking about this deal, they made their way to a tavern and from there into the storeroom, where Beast makes the negotiations a bit more personal.
So personal, we get encounter number one, where Beast shows Hattie exactly where he wants to kiss her.
After giving Hattie an orgasm, Beast leads her out and deposits her in a hack to take her home.
Before she goes though, she asks again for him name (as he’s refused to go by anything except Beast with her)...as he shuts the door of the hack he tells her. “Whit.”
A few nights later, Whit is planning to meet Hattie on her own turf. He has procured an invitation to a ball and put forces into play to make sure she attends. This will also give him a chance to see if the father knows anything about the hijackings.
Hattie is shocking to see him there. Not Beast but Saviour Whittington, a beautiful man in a perfectly tailored set of evening wear.
At first she does her best to avoid him, until she sees him speaking to her father. That man better not be ruining all her plans for the Year of Hattie.
She immediately steals him for a dance, actually surprised when she learns he can dance but the dance quickly takes a negative turn when she asks where he learned to dance and it takes him back to the terrible years spent under the Duke of Marwick.
Hattie, upon seeing his distress, immediately leads him off the dance floor and out into the garden. Which helps Beast but also was an easier way to ruin herself (don’t worry, Whit makes it clear there will be an actual ruination).
In the Garden, while Whit does not go into detail about why he froze on the dance floor, he and Hattie do have a rather vulnerable moment together.
He also tells her that he knows it’s her brother behind all the hijackings and is impressed with Hattie’s loyalty to the family. Even if it’s an idiot brother.
He also clearly gets an idea what Hattie is after.
I am good at it.” He did not hesitate. “I believe it.” She ignored him. “And not just the books. Not just the customers. All of it. The men on the docks need Sedley Shipping to keep their hooks working and pay them well. The men who load the warehouse. The drivers who deliver the cargo. We employ a small army and I know them. To a man. I know their wives. Their children. I—” She hesitated. “I care for them. All of them. All of it.”
He does manage to promise that he’ll help her get control of the business because he believes she can run it, even if her father thinks she won’t be able to without a husband.
Sadly there is no garden encounter and our MCs part ways…
And then Whit must confront the 3rd brother who emerges from the shadows.
There is major history and while both would really like to kill the other they cannot. Whit because of his promise to Grace not to harm him and Ewan, because the brothers are all that is left of her (In the last book Devil was able to convince Ewan that Grace was dead)
Ewan has seen how Whit is enamored with Hattie and he tells him that if he cannot have the woman he loves, then neither can Whit. He can either leave her alone or Ewan will take her from him.
A few days later Hattie is on cloud nine until her father comes to tell her that he sold the business to Beast. Turns out the Bastards have bought all the ships in the harbor so even if her father hadn’t sold the business they would beggar them anyway.
Hattie is confused and furious. Why could her father not have just let her try…
“You shouldn’t have sold. Not to him. Not to anyone.” Silence stretched like an eternity, the only sound the shouts of the men on the ship beyond, unloading what might be the last of the Sedley Shipping freight if the Bareknuckle Bastards had their way. “You were so afraid of letting me try. So terrified that I might fail and shame you—and you lost it all anyway.”
However, Hattie is now furious. Furious with her father for not giving her a chance and furious with Whit for promising her heart's desire and then ripping the rug out from underneath her…
She tells her father that she is not going to give up, she’s going to fight.
“No man has ever gone up against the Bastards and survived.” There might have been a time when she would have heeded that warning. But Hattie found she lacked the patience for warnings just then. What was there to lose? He’d already taken it all. “Then it is time for a woman to do so.”
She and her trusty side-kick Nora go out to find Beast.
First they stop at the tavern where Hattie had her encounter and learn that he’s probably at the fights but you have to be in the know in order to find them.
A little defeated they leave only to encounter a mysterious woman who knows their names and can help them in their quest.
They arrive at the fight to see Beast (as that is a better name for the man in the ring) fight three men at once.
He takes care of two easily but the third lands a solid blow. Hattie immediately tries to go to him, causing a drunk to pick a fight with her. Beast looks up to see this and immediately takes care of the third fighter and goes to “rescue” Hattie.
He knocks her to the ground and gets himself cut with the knife she was about to pull on the guy trying to punch her.
Devil comes through, telling Whit to go to his lady. And boy does his lady have a thing or two to say to him.
Nora leaves with Annika, the Bastards’ #2, and Hattie and Whit head into the night with each other.
Hattie immediately confronts him about his betrayal.
“You understand I shan’t go down without a fight.” “I wouldn’t imagine it any other way.” He imagined the fight she gave him would be the best he’d ever had. But she’d never beat him. This was his world. His game. And he’d never wanted a win the way he wanted the one that kept Hattie safe.
Whit for his part doesn’t regret his actions, just that he’s hurt her. His mission is to protect her at all costs it seems, even if it denies her what she wants most.
They do, however, arrive at his house and his rooms. Even though Whit is determined to give her up, he can keep one part of their bargain. “BODY” (the fifth element of her 4 point plan)
Brief aside to talk about his room. His reading room! For which he needs glasses *sigh*
Once they are in Beast’s lair though, there is no more talk of business. They can discuss that tomorrow.
“And tomorrow, we shall be rivals. But here is the truth; I could not be your rival if I were not your equal. If I were not your . . . match.”
Whit also tells Hattie his story. About his mother, his father, his siblings, and how much he wants her.
So we arrive at encounter #2.
It’s long and steamy with three glorious orgasms for Hattie (one from hand, one from mouth, and one that involved losing her virginity) but then, nothing for Whit.
Hattie notices this and instantly feels like a failure, like he never really wanted her (this is a theme since he’s a gorgeous man and she’s just good old Hattie)
So she gathers her things and storms out with some great parting shots.
Don’t for a second think I pity you, Saviour Whittington.” He stilled. “Don’t ever call me that.” “Why?” she snapped, pulling on the second boot. “Are you afraid you’ll have to come out from behind the Beast and face the world as a man?”
Whit is watching over her. It’s been three days (why is everything happening every three days?) Devil finds him on the rooftops and tells him he should put himself out of his misery and go to the girl. Fuck Ewan and his threats.
Nik finds the brothers as they’re talking and tells them that while their shipment is ready to be moved, there is no one to move it.
Hattie has managed to tie up every available hook in London. She’s shown what a rival she can be.
“Henrietta Sedley might be the best woman the world has ever seen, but don’t for one second believe that you are not her equal.”
Whit goes to find her on a ship. At Devil’s advice he tells Hattie the rest of his story. About the Duke who put them through tests and about Ewan, the brother who betrayed them all and threatens her.
Hattie is fucking furious.
He reached for her. “Love, don’t cry. It’s in the past.” “It’s not,” she said, batting his hand away. “You’ve carried this for years. You’ll carry it forever. And I loathe it. I loathe them. You cannot possibly think I would hear this story, about the man I love and the people he loves, and not wish to do severe bodily harm to everyone who thought to cross him.”
At her words, Whit rocked by the admission changes his game. He remarks about how they’re on a ship called the Siren, and he’s happily under her spell. Can she not tempt him like the siren she is.
And oh boy does she. She gets him all hot and bothered and they make hot, wicked love in encounter #3.
When they are done and in each other’s arms Whit, who has not said I love you yet, says “Marry me.”
Hattie gives him a very solid No.
“Not if you can’t love me back.” She paused. “Not if you can’t love me as your equal. Can you?”
“I deserve that. Partnership. Equality. You taught me that.” She gave him a little smile. “I know that’s impossible. And so, no . . . I won’t marry you.”
Whit tries to tell her she can still marry him but she refuses. She wants it all, including his love, or nothing at all.
He is reeling at her words and trying to find a way to get her to stay, but watching her go to leave, he cannot let it happen. He’s about to say the words that will keep her with him at his side, when suddenly there is an explosion.
The two start to race towards the explosion, Whit knowing that Ewan is behind it. Hattie tells him that they’ll face it together but his desire to protect her rises up and deposits her in hack back to Mayfair.
Hattie, furious and afraid, takes the first opportunity to jump out and make her way back to the docks.
As she’s about to get to Whit, she has a confrontation with Ewan.
“There is nothing cheap about my revenge. They took everything from me.” She scowled at him. “They took nothing from you. They built a kingdom from nothing—a world of good people who know your brothers’ kindness and generosity and loyalty. Loyalty of which you can only dream. And you . . .” she spat. “You have tried to strip them of it. And I won’t have it.”
Ewan sees the strength in her convictions and in her words and he deflates. Promising to leave the Bastards alone from now on.
Hattie makes her way to the ship where men are unloading cargo, when she hears a sound. Ewan is running towards her shouting and suddenly there is a second explosion.
Salvaging the Cargo, Whit hears the explosion but it is reported to be an empty ship so he continues on, thankful he put Hattie in hack, when Devil comes to find him.
As soon as he hears his voice, Whit knows something is wrong.
Hattie was caught in the explosion and has been taken to the surgeon.
Whit immediately leaves the ship and heads to find Hattie, who is unconscious. Unable to believe that he failed to protect her again, he begins promising her everything. He starts with I love you and continues to tell her how if only she’ll wake up they’ll be equals, he will give her the world if only she’ll wake up.
“Open your eyes so I can tell you how much I love you.” And she did.
After the doctor checks in to say that she’s on the mend and the people who have been with Whit watching over her say hello, they are alone. Whit tells her he loves her and that they will have a future, together as equals.
They are happily married with a baby on the way. Their shipping company is the envy of London and there is nothing but a future to look towards.