Tristan Bonnaud is a man with a mission--to dig up some dirt on his half brother, George, the Viscount Rathmoor, and drag his name through the mud. The feud between the two has been going on for years and came to a head thirteen years ago when George deprived his siblings, both legitimate and illegitimate, of their rightful inheritance when he burnt the codicil their father had written on his deathbed. The only thing that might stand in Tristan's way of getting his revenge is Lady Zoe Keane and her silly quest to find a gypsy woman named Drina who may hold the key to the family's skeleton in the closet. A man used to having women fall for him, the fact that Zoe show's no sign of doing so unsettles him.Working for her is not something he is looking forward to. While his view of London society, with their better than everyone else attitude, is not a high one, he soon realizes her case may be the perfect guise to hide his own inquiries from his family.
Sabrina Jeffries has created another wonderful romance that left me smiling and wanting more. Thank goodness the next book is scheduled to come out in January. While you could probably get by with diving directly into this, the third book of the series, I highly recommend you don't and read the books in their proper order. The growth in Tristan's character is more apparent if you start with the first. Additionally, you'll miss out on Lady Zoe's and Tristan's first meeting if you don't read the second book in the series.
Tristan Bonnaud is from the wrong side of the tracks. A bastard by birth accused of horse thievery with a reputation of being a scoundrel with the ladies. In a nutshell, he's a father's worst nightmare. However, not everything is as it appears and that is certainly the case with Tristan. He's truly a complicated and misunderstood individual with family issues that need to be resolved. Years ago he did what he needed to to survive and keep his family (mother and sister) from being homeless and left to starve. As his father had meant for him to have the thoroughbred named Blue Blazes (the horse had been left to him in the codicil his brother burnt), he sold the horse and used the money to get his mother, sister, and himself to France where his mother's family resided. While we've heard of the events which transpired that fateful night when their father Ambrose Manton, the former Viscount Rathmoor, died, we finally get to see exactly what happened and I rather enjoyed this.
Zoe is an interesting character. She's grown up knowing her place in society was secure. Because of this, she's colorful, outspoken, and surprisingly well respected among her peers. All that could change if what her aunt told her turns out to be true. Instead of marrying whom she wants, to keep her standing in society she may need to marry her cousin who is next in line after her to inherit the family title and whom she's never met. Not one to wait in the wings, she expects Tristan to take her with when he does his investigating. What ensues is a delightfully fun situation where Tristan attempts to seduce Zoe only to show his true colors and have the tables turned on him. I simply adored this.
I couldn't help but give this one 5 out of 5 roses. It was fun and smartly written with a dramatic ending. I loved the sexual tension between Zoe and Tristan. Each was attracted to each other, but knew giving into that desire could have major consequences. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one gets a STEAM rating leaning toward a SHOWER--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed.