Mellie Smithson and Trevor Anaedsley both have problems. One is a woman with a brilliant intellect too far from society to have any suitors on the horizon. At least, except for her overly dramatic and poetic cousin. Trevor Anaedsley is the grandson of a duke, one who has cut off all of his funds until Trevor finds a bride. When Trevor goes to visit his mentor seeking at least temporary residence, if not aid, he realizes that another option exists, one that benefits both himself and Mellie in the short term, and allows them both to go their own ways later without any messy emotional entanglements. Of course, as they come closer they learn maybe there's more to their relationship than fighting like cats and dogs.
Overall, a fun and naughty historical romance. Mellie is intelligent, Trevor isn't a complete domineering asshat (actually, he's really not your usual historical romance duke at all), and things get hot and heavy (explicitly so, not just alluded to).
While 50 Ways to Ruin a Rake is the first book in a new series, it is not Jade Lee's first rodeo, she has an extensive backlist of romance and paranormal romance novels, and she seems to do pretty well. However, this book reads to me like a second book in a series, with a well established network of friends that include a couple with a story. And dear lord the manly response to insults of honor were a bit over the top (to be honest, Mellie was pretty damn fed up with them too).
Mostly the characters are well done (but I can't condone cousin Ronnie at all, but maybe that means she wrote the obnoxious and unwanted love interest well?), with good setting flavor. A good read for fans of erotic historical romance.