Thursday, October 13, 2011

Early Review of Desired (The Scandalous Women of the Ton, #5) by Nicola Cornick

Desired (The Scandalous Women of the Ton, #5)
      "What were you doing there, Lady Darent?" His tone was still as courteous as before but that courtesy cloaked an edge of steel.... 
     "Why does anyone visit a brothel, Lord Rothbury?" She said lightly. "If you have an imagination, now would be the time to use it." She arched an ironic brow.  

Teresa, Dowager Marchioness of Darent, has a reputation. She's been widowed three times and is thought to marry those with money and ailing health. She's said to have "the face of an angel and the reputation of a sinner." She's thought to be shallow, a mercenary, feather brained and amoral--none of which is true. That doesn't keep her from taking advantage of that reputation when it suites her, and tonight it definitely suites her. She's associated with the reform party and draws politically charged caricatures. The Home Secretary sees reformers as dangerous criminals who post a threat to public order. Being caught with her latest caricature cartoon could gain her a noose around her pretty little neck. Luckily, she's the last person anyone would suspect of being involved in anything which would require some actual thinking. So when she's found to be escaping from a brothel in clothes that are obviously not her own, no one questions what she was doing. The problem is Lord Rothbury may just be the man who could figure it all out....

I found this an enchanting lighthearted story that engaged me from the very beginning. A very original tale that had a strong and smart female heroine, Teresa. I thought the fact that Teresa was caught up in the reform party as a caricaturist who trounces on political figures was original and fun. I liked the fact she wasn't your typical romance heroine in that she wasn't perfect and had a past she was fighting to come to terms with. I guess you would call her a tortured heroine. I loved that Owen did not try to control her and allowed her to deal with things on her own terms until it looked like her very life might be threatened. That in itself was swoon worthy.

Owen was a fun character. While his past may not have been as dark as Teresa's, he was also haunted by something. They say events can sometime help to shape our personalities, and that seems to be true in Owen's case. He has a bit of a hero complex--he likes to save damsels in distress. I think the fact that his attraction to Teresa began before he knew she was in trouble, was a good thing. It made it so his feelings were above reproach and, although, Teresa did initially question them, it was obvious to me that wasn't what the relationship was based on.     

The attraction between Owen (Lord Rothbury) and Teresa is instantaneous on Owen's part, which could be due to Teresa's reputation. Teresa a bit more hesitant, but feels the pull toward Owen as well. I liked how Owen handled things with Teresa and took things at a pace she could handle. When the background stories of the two are revealed, each gains a better understanding of the other. When the romance truly takes off it sizzles. Example of the steaminess and one of my favorite lines: "I would like to worship every curve and every hollow you possess," Owen whispered, "with the touch of my hands and my lips..." This time his mouth brushed her throat and Tess felt the echo of that touch in the pit of her stomach.   

I would have liked to see more of the relationship between Tom and Emma. We got enough information to have a clue what went on between the couple, but I would have liked to have seen more. I'm unsure if their story started in one of the earlier books of the series, but if not, it might have the makings of a good short story. 

On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one gets a Steam rating - 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. Overall, I gave this one 5 out of 5 roses. 


Order books should be read in the Scandalous Women of the Ton series:

1. Whisper of Scandal
2. One Wicked Sin
3. Mistress by Midnight
4. Notorious 
5. Desired 

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