Jade Lee always has me up all night reading but Wedded in Scandal had me wanting to call in late to work as well!
Due to a terrible scandal with her father, Lady Helaine Talbott was forced to become the seamstress Mrs. Mortimer to stay out of debtor's prison. Now she's the proud owner of her own dress shop, but she's still struggling with the finances. Luckily for her, she has a wealthy patron in Lady Gwen who may be willing to pay for her gowns in cash upon ordering and not on credit until delivery as most people do. The only things that stands in her way is Lord Robert Percy, Viscount Redhill, Gwen's overly responsible brother.
Robert took on a lot of responsibility for his family at a young age. His father is known to buy failing businesses on a whim and give them to Robert to fix up, figure out, and make profitable. So when he meets Helaine he sees a stunning mix of beauty and a business-like kindred soul. It doesn't seem to matter to him that she doesn't want to be his mistress, and that making advances on his sister's dressmaker is beyond the pale. All he knows is that he's drawn to her humor, wit, and steadfastness. With her he can open up and be himself, and not just the responsible son who fixes everything.
Robert and Helaine are such wonderfully full and layered characters that I could have read about their pasts and the inner workings of their minds for days. The plot of this book is pretty meaty as well, but never once detracted from the two being together. I'm usually bored at some point with a book that has the hero and heroine separated by social class since I'm not a fan of the mistress-to-marriage plot, but Jade Lee proves that their are exceptions to every rule because I LOVED how Robert thought he could only make her his mistress and yet still wanted her as a wife.
The two are only half a person until they meet one another. Robert has passions and hobbies that he can't share with anyone. If Helaine hadn't fallen on hard times her passion for fashion design would have never been a reality. Together they make each other whole as very few hero and heroines do in romance novels anymore.
My only complaint, and it's a very minor one, is that usually Lee brings rocking hot sex scenes. With this book I enjoyed the seduction far more than the final coupling. The chase was so much hotter because the two had such wanting of each other on a mental level more than a physical one. And with any other author I wouldn't have even noticed, but as a Lee fan I've come to expect a certain level of heat.
Bottom Line: You'll stay up all night and want to miss work in the morning.