Not Proper Enough  - Carolyn Jewel My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts as I went with the book...

Caution: More rants, disjointed ones at best. If you don’t like rants and snarky reviews, don’t proceed and all that...

I’m disappointed. Yes. So, I’ll just get to the point and my review. I was kind of enjoying Not Proper Enough, until about into 60% of the book. Then it started going downhill. I started hating Ginny and wanted to shake Fox, asking him to ditch her and come get me!!! I thought some of the stuffs in the end the convoluted the plot, made it boring. Dragging. Gosh, I really wanted to love this book because I LOVE a good love/hate theme. *sigh*

From book 1, Not Wicked Enough, we knew that Eugenia or Ginny lost her husband, Robert, a few years earlier. She’s Duke of Mountjoy’s younger sister. She also has another brother, Nigel. In book 1, Ginny’s friend Lily came to visit her and in the course of a few weeks ‘fell in love’ with Mountjoy (vice versa). Mountjoy was almost engaged to a local girl Jane at that time. FYI: if you don’t know already, I hated that book. It was also revealed that Jane and Nigel had ‘a thang’ for each-other and she already got pregnant by him. So, both pairs are married for some months now when this story starts.

We knew that Fox, the Marquess of Fenris, the heir to the Duke of Camber, was Robert’s best friend. But Fox is said to be a prude and very aware of his nobility. Ginny and her brothers were living in a farm with their aunt’s family when Mountjoy was sought out by the lawyers and given the title because he was the only remaining heir to a dying line. Fox and his noble father, the Duke, took a note of this and so, Fox didn’t think Ginny was a good enough for his best friend. He was vehemently against this match, and with that, his enmity, sort of, started with the Hamptons (Mountjoy’s family name). At least that was on the outside. In reality, Fox fell for Ginny from the first moment. But he was a confused young man, and angry that she, the most beautiful girl he’d ever met, chose his deformed friend and fell in love with, instead of him. But of course, Ginny doesn’t know any of this and still hates Fox from the bottom of her heart.

We don’t know much about Robert, but that he was soooo nice that Ginny can’t but mention him always. I understand that she was in love with her husband and it was reciprocated. It was also said that even though he was physically somewhat deformed, Robert was otherwise functional. Robert wasn’t good looking but he made it up with his genius mind. Everyone loved him. Ginny’s life with Robert or Robert himself was never explored well, unless from Fox and Ginny’s musings, so I felt that I didn’t know this man who was such a center of Ginny’s life that she tormented Fox about this until the very end. Thus, I’m not sure how much of the torment Fox went through was valid and how much of it was b*tching on Ginny’s part.

(I mean C’MON!!! He’s been dead for over 4 years. Isn’t that time to move on???? But, Ginny obviously didn’t.)

From book 1, it was pretty clear that Fox was determined to put all sorts of enmity behind. There is a bitter family history between his and Lily’s. I won’t waste my time on that (explained the my review of book 1) but Lily is actually his cousin. He made amends with her. Now, he’s determined to make amends with Ginny and possibly, convince her to become a part of his life. Most certainly he wants her in his bed, at any cost. When the story starts, we find Fox having an erotic dream about Ginny (proves just how much he was into her as dreams about Ginny were common to him) and afterwards, Robert coming to visit him, asking him to take care of ‘the love of his life’. Fox, the poor sod, agrees to his ghostly best friend’s orders. Their relationship fell apart after that debacle, so how can he say no?

Easier said than done! But, Fox is determined.

Then, we come to Ginny POV about Fox and it’s revealed that she was actually fascinated by Fox’s good looks, his perfect carriage and lifestyle, fastidiousness etc. She still is attracted to him, which makes her uncomfortable. With her brothers and their wives away, Ginny was helping this young girl, the sister of a friend of Robert’s, Hester, into the society. Ginny’s backing would really help the girl to get a husband, who is not the most good looking or graceful girl in the world. Hester might have her foibles but she’s smart and loves anything and everything about botany and gardening. But, alas! Botany and gardening isn’t the most interesting topic for the young beaus. So, Ginny is kind of worried about it. Then there are some who’d always try to disgrace Hester because she’s a country bred girl and doesn’t belong here. I really loved Hester. Anyway, along with her social schedules, that more often than not involved Hester, Ginny was also dodging Fox’s ‘unwanted’ attentions. He’d sought her out a lot. In book 1, the level of hatred Ginny harbored for Fox was revealed when she out and out cut him in front of everyone more than once. But here, in one of the balls, when someone was pestering Hester, Fox comes to her rescues, totally surprising Ginny. He was also genuinely glad to have met her when he learns of her identity. Hester’s brother was also Fox’s old friend. Ginny was scared that Fox would also cut Hester because of her background, and so, his defense of her impressed Ginny.

From there, Fox invites them both to Bouverie, Camber’s mansion-like townhouse. Ginny was very reluctant but Hester was not. She is a very open and artless girl. Her meeting with the fifty-something Duke becomes a hit. Yes, the Duke apparently is another connoisseur of anything botany and gardening! Both Fox and Ginny is surprised by the usually gloomy and cranky Duke’s change of demeanor where Hester was concerned. But they both (mostly Ginny) took it as if the Duke saw Hester as the daughter he never had. But I felt that his changes weren’t due to fatherly affection. It wasn’t out and out lust, because none was shown in that sense but he was nevertheless fascinated by Hester on an odd level. Even I, for the most part of the book, felt the suspense about what will happen to this relationship. Will it be someone else? Or will it be the Duke for Hester?

These meetings at Bouverie and other outings, bring Ginny and Fox somewhat close. They have their usual banters, with cutting remarks from Ginny and Fox trying to smooth it up. But Ginny was appreciative because she knew Camber and Fenris’s endorsement would help Hester in the society. One day at Bouverie, while Camber and Hester is busy with their discussions about plants, soils and temperature, Fox takes Ginny to these secret apartments of the house called the Turkish house. It was built by Fox’s grandfather and was used as his tryst spot. The apartments were consist of a Turkish bath and a big room full of Turkish harem setting, pillows and silk curtains (duh, so typical) and... mirrors! In almost every wall. (Don’t even ask!! The old man was a pervert!!) The room even had a secret doorway that led to the back alleyway to conveniently smuggle women through it. *shakes her head* Fox was trying to shock Ginny, who in his eyes is a proper young widow, with these details and blah-di-blah when Ginny suddenly realized that even though Camber, Fox’s father disapproves of this, Fox doesn’t. Instead, it was pretty sure from his obsession about the rooms that he shares his grandfather’s proclivities! (and CJ’s obvious attempt to prove us that Fox, indeed, isn’t as ‘prudish’ as we were led to believe. I wasn’t amused BTW.) But the scene was started out to be something sexy as Fox didn’t deny or confirm anything. He was focused on Ginny and yes, at one point they kiss and almost ended up having sex. Just when I thought OMG this is so freakin’ hot, Fox’s musing confirms that yep, he’s had whores in here. It felt like I was doused with ice-cold water.

(WHY OH WHY??? WHY do I have to know that? OH WHY, F*CK WHY??? *barf*)

But the ‘fun’ of proving us that Fox isn’t the prude (I believe proper is the word) we thought him to be continued, making me cranky as hell. There was nothing subtle about the whole process, just as book 1. In one of the outings with Fox and Camber, we were forced to endure a scene with one of Fox’s ex-mistresses. We are also forced to learn of the whole sordid details of his liaison with this widow older than him. I wasn’t amused, at all. It was said that he started the affair with her when he was quite young. He was so enamored of her that he even proposed to her but she turned him down. He never really broke off with her entirely and has had on and off sex with her, even when they were with other people. The last time he’s f*cked her was about a year ago, my guessing, just before we see him in book 1.

This scene was ENTIRELY UNNECESSARY, as was the whole not-so-amusing details of this liaison. Why on earth would I want to know about all these crap? She wasn’t even seen anywhere ever after that scene... No, actually she was, when Fox and Ginny would so cozily discuss Fox’s ex-lovers and whatever the f*ck he did with them (just like book 1 and other CJ HRs). Ginny was soooooooooo interested to know what he did, she’d ask him questions like ‘Did you ever do ‘it’ against the wall before?’ Or, ‘Have your lovers ever told you how beautiful your c*ck is?... I assure you they weren’t lying!’

(HOLY F*CK!! Someone hold me while I barf a bit more!!!!! I HATE this trend of CJ’s vehemently, as I’d do in any other novel. I don’t care to see or read or hear about H’s OWs, any sex scene, so help me God, if the H is discussing them with the h as if it’s a fun subject!!!)

The only thing that kept me going is the fact that whatever Fox felt for Ginny was very genuine. His musings would tell you so. His vulnerability about if he’ll have Ginny in his life or not, and then the fear of losing her once he did, would make you ache for him. More than once, he proved that he’s crazy, insane for her. Even when I was annoyed by the talks of his mistresses, his vulnerabilities that he won’t be able to live up to Ginny’s expectations tore at my heart.

But what did Ginny do? She kept on telling him she’d NEVER love him or care for him like her one true love, Robert. She kept it up until the very last chapter of the book. She didn’t like Fox calling her Ginny at first, even rudely said that to him. Come to think of it, she was rude to him or pushing him away almost always.

As Fox and Ginny’s relationship starts to improve (if I can call it that), she begins to like him and next would contradict herself by thinking how she could like this man whom she hated so loudly for such a long time. She was forever riddled with this confusion. (My reaction: GROW THE F*CK UP, B*TCH!!) Ginny was, at first, unsure. She even gave Fox that medallion, which is supposed to have magical powers. Lovers uniting with each-other or some such thing. Lily passed it on to her and I was instantly scared about this book. I must say, rightly so! The medallion is pure evil I tell you!!!! Of course, Ginny wanted a d*ck and Fox was a great candidate. He was just there, panting endlessly, wanting to give it to her (if it sounds familiar to my review of book 1, not my fault). Their ‘dance of seduction’ kept going with kisses and fondlings. Fox kept on seducing her with his words. Ginny can’t think of anything but having sex. Why not when he’s so willing? After all, no one will know. It’ll be just a secret affair. But Fox, the poor moron, he’d have Ginny in any term. He has a plan of his own. Ginny very plainly tells him their affair would go nowhere but sex, and would end as any affair does. Fox knew he’d never tire of her. Hell, he had springs on his step thinking about it, that at last he’d have his Ginny.

They visit the opera, courtesy of Camber and there is this odd incident, which was vague at best because I don’t know why Ginny was so mad at Fox. I just felt she wanted to blame someone for her stupidity and Fox was, again, the best candidate for it. Anyway, when she’s outside, trying to take fresh air, Ginny’s accosted by this drunkard, who confused her with a courtesan. Then suddenly, Fox to the rescue!! After that, they decide to have sex. I was glad that Fox didn’t take her to Bouverie and that freakin’ Turkish house. Personally, I would’ve ordered to have it tore down. Instead, he took her to his own bachelor quarters. And, boy oh boy, when they get down to the business, it was hot. Hands down, I give credit to Fox. He was sexy, really sexy and demonstrated his affections well. But, I didn’t like the forced f-words from him. He was this perfect Marquess, who’s suddenly spewing f-words almost like Colin Ferrell (not amusing at all!!). Once or twice, I did find it sexy but most of the times, not... I felt that CJ was still trying so hard to prove that Fox is not proper. Ugh!

(Damn it to hell!!! I get that already! If his sordid liaisons, crappy details and discussions didn’t prove it well enough, the sex scenes did. He did f*ck good as per his words! I bow down to his superiority... I might’ve even begun wanting his d*ck for myself and kick Ginny out of the story but enough was enough!!!!!)

The next parts of the story were full of sex scenes, quite a few back to back. Here and there, everywhere, wherever Fox could get his hands on Ginny. Can’t blame the man, he couldn’t get enough of his Ginny. He was already a fool in love and he expressed his feelings through his dirty words, his body... his d*ck for crying out loud, if not with out and out ILU. No, wait a minute, he actually said ‘my love’ to Ginny at one point, who was, at first surprised, and then just dismissed it. Fox’s feelings never really mattered to her IMO, or else she couldn’t have played with his emotions in such a way. She turned out to be this eeevail b*tch and robbed me off my speech! Whenever Fox tried to get into a deeper level of their relationship, Ginny would dodge his words. I HATED it! They would have this silly banter of ‘Ihateyou’s from Ginny, even when they were going at ‘it’ like bunnies.

It grew old and tiresome and started pissing me off even more.

We meet another of Fox’s close friends, a Lord Aigen. He’s a Scot by birth, a charming fellow. Ginny was hopeful at first that he’d be a good husband material for Hester. But Hester was totally into her gardening and by now, Camber. That’s what she called the Duke already. I wasn’t still sure what’s going to happen. We meet a few other candidates for Hester’s hands but she, apparently, isn’t really interested in any of them in that way. Confusing but at least, I liked her throughout.

Then some moron said something horrible about Ginny and Fox is mad as a hell cat. A duel ensued pronto. Ginny tries to make him stop, mostly because she couldn’t take it on her conscience if Fox or the other man die in the duel. Note, by now, Ginny was beginning to feel something for Fox and it was looking something horribly close to love. She still won’t come out and say it out loud, let alone consider marriage. I mean, of course she’d never love anyone like Robert. Yes, the sex is hot and Fox is a God in bed but OMFG, love him, marry him??? Impossible!! She can’t love or marry Fenris! I mean its FENRIS FFS. That FENRIS whom she hated with a vengeance! It’s not only impossible but abnormal!! <-- I’m not repeating myself but only stating Ginny’s thoughts plainly. When I said she kept this up till the end, I meant it. She ruthlessly mowed down anything that came close to <i>love for Fox and might’ve ‘challenged’ her devotion to Robert.

(So b*tch, you can f*ck him all you like but you wouldn’t even relent and confess that you feel something for him, when he’s simply crazy for your affections and acceptance?? And I thought you were nice and smart. More fool me!)

God, I don’t know how I kept on reading, but I did. The story began to drag too. It should’ve ended after that duel IMO. When Aigen comes with the news that Fox is unharmed, she goes to him. Right now, Fox is thinking about pregnancy, something Ginny really didn’t care about. Not sure why. Fox wanted Ginny so much, if a pregnancy brought them together, he’ll have that too. But Ginny was not that sure. She kept dodging with ifs and whens. Poor Fox, I really begin to feel for him. Then there is a fire at Mountjoy’s townhouse... Ginny and Hester takes shelter in Bouverie. Ginny can’t but run to Fox when she’s distressed (and end up having sex). Somehow, in the all the hullaballoo, Fox convinced her to marry him. They did pronto, with a special license. You know what Ginny’s thoughts were? Read the paragraph just above this where I stated her thoughts for the whole book. She was again, like, ‘what the hell did I just do? I married Fenris????’

(Kill me, someone. I was speechless. Fuming. Mad and just............. mad!!!)

I was never convinced she EVER loved Fox. No, just NO!! When she finally said ILU, it was after the consummation sex, felt forced, nonchalant... just a cue to end the story. Hester did end up with Camber, which was another mess. The story ended with the general idea that Aigen and Jane’s younger sister, Caroline would have the next book. By that time, I didn’t care and heaved a sigh of relief. The medallion has inevitably been passed on to Aigen by Fox. I’m scared, again... Would I read the later installments? Call me a glutton for punishment but yes, I probably will.

3.5 stars ONLY for Fox. I loved him and I stand by it. I’m ashamed that CJ paired him with that emotionally stunted b*tch.