Help A Bitch Out

HaBO: Cheating Hero with a Possible Drinking Problem

Help a Bitch OutTime for Help a Bitch Out, aka HaBO! Someone remembers the details of a book, but not the author or title. And nearly every time, you in your wisdom can identify the book with ease and accuracy. It's amazing. 

This request is from Shari, who writes: 

I've been trying to remember the name of a book for several years.  I was certain I had the book on my shelf, but I finally got around to looking at all of them (then let my mild OCD kick in and organized them alphabetically), and I can't find it.  I have no doubt that the bitchery can help.  My memory is horrible, but here's what I do remember:

It was a historical and I read it before 2004

The hero is rich and powerful

The hero married the heroine, then ends up leaving her at their house to go have sex with someone else, and I'm pretty sure she knows where he's going and why

He really does cheat on her (I'm not sure, but it may have been with a mistress or at a brothel)

I think he does this out of self-loathing (I'm a horrible person, so I'll save her from the heartache of loving me 'cause I don't deserve it, so I'll cheat on her to save her)

He may have had a drinking problem

He may have been described as lion like in his appearance

Anyone recall a self-loathing cheating hero with a drinking problem? 


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  1. 1
    Lizzie says:

    Could it be The Rake by Mary Jo Putney?

    I remember the hero had a deep loathing for himself, on top of a drinking problem. He wouldn’t sleep with his wife because he had so many hangups, but I don’t remember their wedding night.

  2. 2
    Begum says:

    Is it quite possibly: ‘Prince of Dreams’ by Lisa Kleypas?
    – He’s unfaithful
    – He has a drinking problem
    – He seems golden enough (skin/hair/eyes)

    Anyway this book first came to mind with your description.
    Hope this helps.

  3. 3
    Cate says:

    I’m thinking Mary Jo Putney, but definitely not The Rake ( shagging someone else is not Reggie’s problem)… more like The Spiral Path, one of her contemporaries,which always seem to be issue led books.

  4. 4
    Shari says:

    It wasn’t The Rake, but it was historical.

  5. 5
    Michelle G. says:

    Was it Never a Gentleman by Eileen Dreyer?

  6. 6
    Olivia says:

    Uh oh, I can think of several historical romances where the hero just dumps the new wifey off with the servants, but no specifics come to mind. I’m thinking maybe part of a series/trilogy/quartet/whatever, one of those about man friends, who are each tortured on the inside…

  7. 7
    Qualisign says:

    I agree with @Begum about Prince of Dreams. There was an actual large cat (jaguar?) in the story and the (*ahem*) hero’s infidelity and then refidelity were remarkably ick and have stuck (= stayed ick) in my memory. (Faithful in the end because of his love for another in a previous life? Ick.)

  8. 8
    Shari says:

    I checked Prince of Dreams, and that’s not it either.

  9. 9
    Shari says:

    It’s not the Eileen Dryer book either.  It’s too recent.

  10. 10
    laj says:

    An Arranged Marriage by Jo Beverley comes to mind, but I don’t remember the hero having a drinking problem. He “faked” a lot of behavior to root out a spy’s secrets.

  11. 11
    Shari says:

    I checked it out, but it’s not An Arranged Marriage either.

  12. 12
    Rebecca (another one) says:

    Wasn’t there a Mary Balogh book where the heroine has a limp and thinks she will never marry. So she proposed to the hero who needed money, knowing he would play around, but said it was okay.

  13. 13
    Rebecca (another one) says:

    Dancing with Clara by Mary Balogh

  14. 14
    Raven Ames says:

    This plot-line sounds vaguely familiar – maybe Upon a Wicked Time by Karen Ranney?

  15. 15
    Me, myself, and I says:

    What comes to mind first for me is “Prince of dreams” by Lisa Kleypas- I seem to remember the hero basically forcing the heroine into marriage with him and then immediately taking off on their wedding night.

  16. 16
    Bzangl says:

    Candace Camp – So Wild A Heart, I can’t remember if he actually sleeps with the mistress or not

  17. 17
    Shari says:

    It’s not Dancing with Clara.  The heroine didn’t have any physical challenges that I recall.  I started to get excited when I read some of the descriptions of Upon a Wicked Time, but as I read more, it became clear that wasn’t it either.  I remember the scene where he leaves her.  They’re in their house & he tells her that he’s leaving her to go have meaningless sex with someone else.  Then he walks out the front door & down the steps, leaving her standing in the hall.  I think he stays gone for awhile.

  18. 18
    Shari says:

    I checked the Candace Camp book, and that’s not it either.  Maybe I dreamed this book.
    I don’t know if this helps, but I read this during a time I was going through Iris Johansen’s historicals.  I still have all of those, but when I checked every one on my shelf, none fit the bill.

  19. 19
    Llaph says:

    It sounds familiar to me too. I was thinking Lisa Kleypas also, but was thinking of Because of You. I remember the hero being really reluctant and a douche to the heroine who was escaping the possibility of an arranged marriage and the hero gut wrangled into marrying her by her father. I could be remembering wrong though, it’s been a while since I read it.

  20. 20
    Patricia M. says:

    That is the kind of thing Catherine Coulter put in her historicals.  I think The Offer had a scene like that where the new husband goes off to his mistress on his wedding night.

  21. 21
    Lucina says:

    I was thinking of “Once and Always” by Judith McNaught, because this is the only historical I remember, where the hero actually cheats on the heroine after the wedding. But I don’t remember him to have a drinking problem or don’t know how he was described…

    Wait, I remember a Johanna Lindsey book I read in german, but I don’t know which one… I think she wrote a lot of books with this kind auf heros…

  22. 22
    Jenny says:

    Could it be Jo Beverley’s An Arranged Marriage?
    Good luck with your search.

  23. 23
    Olivia says:

    Do you remember any other details, like younger siblings or hero at war? Those are the usual suspects that lead the hero to being internally tortured… Madeline Hunter or Mary Balogh have some tortured heroes.

  24. 24
    Olivia says:

    What about Mallory Series by Johanna Lindsey, “Love Only Once” hero is described as golden-haired seducer in synopsis.

  25. 25
    Shari says:

    Does the hero in The Offer or Once and Always leave her on their wedding night because he thinks she deserves better?  The reviews I read didn’t indicate that.  I don’t see any references in the Love Only Once reviews to self loathing or an alcohol problem for the hero.  Is that right?

  26. 26
    Shari says:

    @Olivia, unfortunately I don’t remember any other details about the story except the scene where he leaves.  I do remember that you got to see the thoughts of self-loathing the hero had.

  27. 27
    Celia Marsh says:

    Heroes with questionable fidelity that I can remember off the top of my head:
    Jennifer Ashley’s 2nd McKenzie novel (about the artists) (too recent)
    Eloisa James’s Duchess series had some questionable heroes (probably as well)

    OH, thank you good reads:

  28. 28
    Algae says:

    @Celia Marsh – there really is a Goodreads list for everything!

  29. 29
    Celia Marsh says:

    @Algae There are 3 lists with alcohol in the tag, and a handful more that are addiction/recovery based. :)  So if it’s not on that list, we still have options!!!

  30. 30
    Katie Lynn says:

    It sounds a lot like Her Husband’s Harlot by Grace Calloway, but it doesn’t fit your timeline. The husband is in some sort of trouble because of his past (he was raised on the streets and then either became rich or was actually the heir to someone) and is afraid of getting attached to his wife so they can’t use her against him. He also might want to do things he doesn’t feel a gently bred lady would want to do? I can’t quite recall everything, but I know that he hates himself for going to the brothel.

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