Rose does *not* need to be found with a large, handsome Scot passed out at her feet, fueling gossips and giving her stepson more ammunition. The Scot is Steven McBride - a decorated soldier who is notorious for heavy gambling and womanizing during his leave time. Steven is happy to open his eyes and find the beautiful woman standing over him, and happy to help spirit her away. He comes up with a ruse to foil the journalists, but Rose will have to go along with his very scandalous proposal.
* * *
Nobody knows who Miss Rose Sweetly is, and she prefers it that way. She’s a shy, mathematically-minded shopkeeper’s daughter who dreams of the stars. Women like her only ever come to attention through scandal. She’ll take obscurity, thank you very much.
All of England knows who Stephen Shaughnessy is. He’s an infamous advice columnist and a known rake. When he moves into the house next door to Rose, she discovers that he’s also wickedly funny, devilishly flirtatious, and heart-stoppingly handsome. But when he takes an interest in her mathematical work, she realizes that Mr. Shaughnessy isn’t just a scandal waiting to happen. He’s waiting to happen to her…and if she’s not careful, she’ll give in to certain ruination.
Comment: Both these novellas have been on my intended reading list for a while. I thought I should read them together because it would suit a mini comment here, with two novellas, something I'll try to keep doing in the future. Then, I found it so funny and surprising that the female protagonists in both short stories are named Rose! This was really not planned but quite the little factoid.
Talk to Me Sweetly seems to be quite the success to many readers but I thought the main couple wasn't that interesting and it felt like their interactions were too meaningful to be explored so easily and so fast. But in reality, I never really warmed up to Rose who, despite a fresh and unique personality, seemed very bland. Or maybe, comparing to Stephan, she seemed like that. I liked the racial differences and the challenges that would ask of the protagonists but being this a small story, it was never addressed properly in my opinion. I've enjoyed other stories by the author more but despite that I still plan to read the next full length novel in the Brothers Sinister series in which this short story is included.
Scandal and the Duchess is another installment in the MacKenzie/McBride historical series by Jennifer Ashley. It's Steven McBride story and how he is tired of war, of being alone and helps a former duchess to fight for what is her due. The plot aspects were very interesting and the best thing was to see so many of the beloved characters of the series coming in to offer help. Being this a short story, the romance happens really fast and despite being cute after they start admitting it, the way it happened was fast and unlikely. I know it's hard to give a small story with all the necessary elements to make it work as a whole, but the romance part was really the least impressive even if sweet. Still, a series to keep reading and being eager for.