Hayden Milton, Earl of Westfield, has a terrible reputation as a philanderer - a reputation he cultivated after mistakenly believing that his wife cheated on him prior to their marriage since she gave birth to a child less than nine months after the nuptials. (I won't spoil the shocking truth by explaining what really happened; you'll just have to read it for yourself.) Hayden's last conquest was a mentally unstable woman who didn't quite handle the breakup very well and wound up shooting him in the leg in retaliation.
Enter Sophia Camden - Hayden's nurse and his new love interest. Hayden knows Sophia deserves a better man than him, and he tries to chase her away before to save her from him. Unfortunately (or fortunately) Sophia doesn't scare easily, and she accepts Hayden's dare to stick around as his nurse despite the fact that he is tormenting her and trying to frighten her off. And when Hayden isn't trying to scare away Sophia, he's trying to protect her. Oh, and he's also trying not to fall in love with her while she's trying not to fall in love with him. The sexual tension and witty banter between Hayden and Sophia keeps the reader engaged in the story. And the misunderstandings and outside factors interfering with the budding relationship cause the reader to keep turning the page to see what happens next. Sophia finds herself as a damsel in distress in need of saving from her white knight - you didn't think Hayden's crazy ex-girlfriend just rode off into the sunset after shooting him, did you? - and Hayden comes through not once, but twice! Eventually Hayden and Sophia marry, misunderstanding are cleared up, and their love blossoms.
NEVER DARE A WICKED EARL (the first novel in the Infamous Lords series) is a charming debut romance novel by Renee Ann Miller. Both of the main characters are engaging and well developed, as are the secondary characters. Hayden is a brooding, irredeemable rogue on the surface, but, underneath the wicked mask he has created, Hayden is a decent man with a good heart. And Sophia is an independent woman who is determined to hold on to her career as a nurse despite her marriage and new obligations to her family and position in Victoria society. Aside from the well-rounded characters, Miller also brings Victorian England to life in her descriptions.