Today I am so pleased to welcome Allie Therin to Joyfully Jay. Allie has come to talk to us about her latest release, Proper Scoundrels. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!


A Very Villainous Romance: How Two Villains Became the Heroes of Their Own Romance Novel

If ever I’ve had a year where it felt right to work on a villain’s story, it was 2021. As the world dealt with a second year of a global pandemic, so many of us juggling work, caretaking, disabilities, illness, financial difficulties and so many more challenges, I was so grateful to be able to escape into the romance of two of the antagonists from my previous novels, Lord Fine and Sebastian de Leon—complicated characters with difficult backstories who both desperately needed hope and healing. A reader recently asked me how I ended up writing a happy ending for two villains, so I thought I’d share the story!

Lord Fine (Wesley) was initially referenced in bits of dialogue in the first Magic in Manhattan book. A posh but cold English viscount, Wesley was main character Arthur’s ex-lover, set up to be antithetical to Arthur’s scrappy, warm-hearted new love interest, Rory. When the first book, Spellbound, sold as a trilogy, Wesley came to America for the sequel, Starcrossed, where he caused nothing but trouble for the main characters.

I’d initially thought Wesley would be somber and reticent—a plan which immediately flew out the window when I actually started drafting Starcrossed. Arthur had been inspired in part by Ace Rimmer, the heroic alter ego of the smarmy, love-to-hate-him Arnold Rimmer in the BBC sci-fi comedy, Red Dwarf. Wesley, then, came to life for me with a personality inspired in part by insufferable original Rimmer, and by the time the first draft was done, Wesley had crystallized as a cynical, rude, and deeply jaded WWI veteran with emotional scars of his own, one who spends most of Starcrossed unapologetically keeping the MCs apart. I turned in my draft, proud I had created this flawed, unlikeable villain—and then my editor loved him, haha. She pointed out that Wesley might make a great hero of his own romance, and reader emails agreed.

At the same time, another complicated villain seemed perfect as a future match for Wesley—Sebastian, a so-called “dangerous marshmallow” and another reader favorite from Starcrossed. Sebastian has a legacy tied to the main magical plots that run through all the Magic in Manhattan novels, and his villainy is eventually revealed to be the result of enslavement under blood magic. When Proper Scoundrels starts, he’s still blaming himself while suffering emotionally and physically from the aftermath of that magic—and bitter, cranky Wesley ends up being exactly what he needs, even as Sebastian’s sweetness turns out to be exactly what Wesley needs, too.

“Look,” Lord Fine went on gruffly. “You know what the war was like. Whatever badness you think you’ve done, you did it under blood magic. I’ve done plenty without that excuse.”

Sebastian half glanced over his shoulder, seeing only the edge of Lord Fine’s back. “Are we actually going to compete over who is the bigger scoundrel?”

“I would win,” Lord Fine said decisively. “Because you’re an angel, while I’m an actual beast.”

Sebastian pursed his lips. “You’re really not so bad, you know.”

“Ugh, you are such a menace with those rose-colored glasses,” said Lord Fine.

For these hurt and battle-scarred villains, both of whom have written themselves off as scoundrels unworthy of love, they find healing and reasons to feel hope again in each other. It’s my fervent wish that after so many difficult months, that all of us who need it have hope and healing to come!


Don’t miss this spin-off from Allie Therin’s acclaimed Magic in Manhattan universe!

Their scandalous pasts have left them wounded and unworthy—and hopelessly perfect together.

London, 1925

Sebastian de Leon is adjusting to life after three years spent enthralled by blood magic. The atrocities he committed under its control still weigh heavily on his conscience, but when he’s asked to investigate a series of mysterious murders, it feels like an opportunity to make amends. Until he realizes the killer’s next likely target is a man who witnessed Sebastian at his worst—the Viscount Fine.

Lord Fine—known as Wesley to his friends, if he had any—is haunted by ghosts of his own after serving as a British army captain during the Great War. Jaded and untrusting, he’s tempted to turn Sebastian in, but there’s something undeniably captivating about the reformed paranormal, and after Sebastian risks his own life to save Wesley’s, they find common ground.

Seeking sanctuary together at Wesley’s country estate in Yorkshire, the unlikely pair begins to unravel a mystery steeped in legend and folklore, the close quarters emboldening them to see past the other’s trauma to the person worth loving beneath. But with growing targets on their backs, they’ll have to move quickly if they want to catch a killer—and discover whether two wounded souls can help each other heal.

Magic in Manhattan
Book 1: Spellbound
Book 2: Starcrossed
Book 3: Wonderstruck


Allie Therin is a writer and avid reader of sci-fi, fantasy, and romance. She also is, or has been, a bookseller, an attorney, a parks & rec assistant, a boom operator, and a barista for one (embarrassing) day. Allie grew up in a tiny Pacific Northwest town with more bears than people, although the bears sadly would not practice Spanish with her.