119 - Scoundrel of My Heart
Griffith Stanwick, the second son of a duke, has never much been noticed by his family as anything more than a spare. They turn a blind eye at his rakish ways and have no expectations for him whatsoever. Lady Kathryn Lambert must marry a titled peer to gain her inheritance, but her heart has always tugged her toward her friend's older brother. Nothing is easy though as these two have to fight off thugs, charges of treason, and a Duke's proposal to find their happily ever after!
Pick up a copy of the book we read this week, Scoundrel of my Heart by Lorraine Heath.
If you'd like to listen to a certain segment of our show, here's our outline this week:
0:00 - 10:05: Intro and History Fact
10:05 - 21:06: Synopsis
21:06 - 22:16: Parlour
22:16 - 55:19: General Discussion
We include 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 :)
Griffith Stanwick has been teasing his sister’s best friend Lady Kathryn Lambert since they met when she was 12 and he 15. The two have always been known for bickering and teasing each other ruthlessly.
Lady Kathryn has always said she would marry a title. This is due to the fact that her Grandmother wanted to safeguard Kathryn’s future so gifted her a cottage in Kent with the stipulation that she marry a title by her 25th birthday. Kathryn, now at almost 24, is faced with finding a man with a title and marrying very soon.
Griffith is the spare heir of the Duke of Wolfford. He is known for going out and carousing because frankly, his father has paid him little attention his entire life. However, Griffith feels called to do more and is actually working towards opening a club, The Fair Ladies and Spare Gentlemen Club. This would be a place where anyone who is not a lord can meet up, chat, find companionship, or in a spinster's case, have a safe place to explore what could ruin them.
At this time, The Duke of Kingsland has put an advert in the paper asking women to write in if they want to be considered for his duchess. Kathryn, who is facing a deadline plans to write to the Duke and asks Griffith to covertly see what the duke is looking for in a wife.
He agrees to continue to help her but she must agree to waltz with him at the Duke’s ball. And when Griffith relays the information he asks if she might be interested in meeting him at midnight for an adventure.
Before that though, Kathryn, Griffith, and his sister take a ride in Hyde Park where they meet the duke. Kathryn, who learned that the duke wants a quiet wife, is anything but. However, the Duke is intrigued and says he’ll be on the lookout for her letter.
That night, Kathryn takes a risk to meet Griffith at midnight. Something about him always makes her want to act a little recklessly. He shows her the building and tells her of his desire to create the Fair and Spare club. She is very impressed.
In fact, Kathryn is becoming much more interested in Griff than Kingsland. The evening is safe though and nothing interesting happens.
At the duke’s ball 2 weeks later, Griff claims his waltz and Kathryn is wrestling with her attraction knowing that she loses her inheritance if she were to marry a second son like Griff. That being said, the Duke is there to announce that he has chosen her out of all the ladies who wrote in and intends to court her. He immediately comes and claims her for a waltz.
She had to admit he was a fine dancer, every step graceful and perfect, as though he would tolerate no less from his person, would not allow any aspect of himself to be found lacking. What would he not tolerate in a wife? How would he react if she failed to meet his expectations? “May I be honest, Your Grace?” “I should hope there would always be honesty between us.” “I’m rather stunned you selected me.” “And why is that, pray tell?” “Because I never sent you a letter.”
She didn’t but Griff did.
After the Duke and Kathryn dance, she tries to get away from the crowd outside.
Griffith follows her and when asking what she’s doing, she quotes the letter he wrote to the Duke.
Griff stands by what he wrote but cannot help but steal a kiss.
This kiss wasn’t the first mistake he’d ever made in his life, but it was the one that would leave in its wake the deepest regret. It would have been better to have never known the taste of her—light as champagne, rich and sweet—and the swiftness with which she melted against him, fit so perfectly, as though their bodies had been designed with each other in mind.
Then he leaves her standing in the garden.
The next morning, Kathryn learns that Griff placed a wager on Kingsland picking her over all others. She’s pissed and assumes that is the reason he wrote the letter.
She goes to confront him and then finds out that he, his father, and brother have been arrested for treason!
10 months later (where the plot of the Beast’s book in the Trewlove’s series takes place)
Griffith’s father was hanged and his family ruined. The crown stripped the titles, land, and money. His mother dies shortly after and the siblings are left destitute. His brother Marcus is determined to find who else was involved in the treasonous plot.
Griffith was helping his brother for a while after his sister married Trewlove but that was not the life for him. He has been able to purchase his building but needs to collect the money from the Kingsland wager to outfit the building.
Kathryn hasn’t seen Griff since their kiss the night of the ball. She also is not yet engaged to the Duke. She hears he’s resurfaced to collect on wages from the bet he placed. She has an idea what he may need the money for.
How he longed for peace. Maybe it was the reason Marcus was obsessed with discovering the truth of their father, because without it, for him, peace could not exist. But Griff was learning that the truth didn’t bring peace. It brought only misery. Because the truth was—and had been for longer than he’d realized—he loved Kathryn. Loved her with a strength of conviction and passion that was terrifying. It had prompted him to write the duke in order to ensure she gained what she desired. The wager had been an afterthought, to provide him with consolation. If he couldn’t have her, he’d have his damned club. But the laughter within its walls had not been hers.
6 weeks later
Kathryn hears of a new club: the fair and spare.
Kathryn finds her way to the club and confronts Griff. After an airing of grievances, she kisses him. Then demands a membership and leaves.
They two meet again at the club, but there is no kiss. They simply talk and Griff shows her the club while they both relish being in each other’s company.
That is until Griff is called away by his brother who sent him a life or death note
Kathryn insists on giving him a ride. Which turns into her being used by toughs trying to kill Marcus. Griff saves the day but is injured. She finds out when she kisses him and feels the wet spot on his side.
Kathryn takes him to her cottage where he is stitched up and allowed to recover. They talk the next day and Griffith just wants to get away from the temptation that is Kathryn. A storm rolls in, keeping them there for an additional night.
That night Griff is awoken by Kathryn having a nightmare about the battle by the Thames. He wakes her and then they have an encounter where he brings her to orgasm with his tongue and hands.
Griff leaves before she wakes up and takes a horse back to London. If he were to stay, he would not be able to stop himself from having all of her.
The indulged second son he’d once been would have done it, would have put his own pleasures and wants and needs ahead of hers. But he no longer was that man. He’d had his sense of privilege slowly ground out of him through toil and labor and deprivation. He’d come to appreciate what he’d had only when he’d no longer had it. To take her would have meant seeing her deprived of what she yearned to possess—and where she was concerned, he refused to be that selfish.
A week later both are at dinner with Althea and all the Trewloves. While at dinner Griffith tells the Duke of K about the deadline of her 25th birthday and asks why he has not yet asked for her hand. The duke ignores the question but thanks him for the information.
Kathryn confronts Griff outside about leaving after their encounter at the cottage, but Griff tells her it had to be that way. She needs to marry the Duke.
On the ride home, that same Duke tells her he’ll speak to her father so she can get her inheritance. Kathryn is now starting to think that it would almost be nice to not have the cottage hanging over her head. And also, Griff really needs to stop pushing her at the Duke.
So she decides to take something for herself before the imminent proposal.
Kathryn finds Griff after his club closes for the night. She tells him they’re to play cards (a variation of strip poker). They do and then of course we have encounter 2, which is a full consummation. However, afterward Kathryn says she could still tell the Duke no, Griff tells her this isn’t love, it’s a fantasy and then watches her leave while his heart is torn in two.
The Duke proposes to Kathryn
“Don’t take offense, but I kneel for no one.” She thought of Griff who had gone to both knees, without hesitation, when it might have meant death.
She turns down the Duke.
That night the Duke tries to get into the Fair and Spare. He is not allowed but Griff meets with him and learns of the failed proposal and that she never sent a letter. The Duke tells him he took the gamble and took so long to propose because he was waiting for her to look at him like she looked at Griffith that day in Hyde Park.
Kathryn for her part went away to her cottage since it won’t be hers for much longer. She’s determined to enjoy her time there and wish it farewell. She’s hoping maybe once she turns 25 and free from this gift that has become a burden, she can convince Griff to have her.
She does not wait long. Griff arrives at the cottage, confronting her on the seashore. They confess love. She asks him to marry her. He says yes and also tells her that her terrible cousin is gifting her the cottage for her birthday. Turns out her cousin had a secret the Griffith was able to bargain for the cottage with.
They marry. On the day of the wedding the duke’s secretary gives her a note from the Duke. It’s the letter Griffith sent to convince the Duke to name Kathryn.
Epilogue: Years later at their cottage by the sea Griffith sees his wife and 3 girls and knows that he is the happiest of men and that life could not be better.
Please consider joining our Patreon at patreon.com/tnstrumpets!