Thursday, May 10, 2012

Historical ARC Review: Invitation to Scandal by Bronwen Evans

Series: Invitation to Romance #2
Format: ARC
Genre: Historical
Length: 320 pages
Publisher: Kensington Brava (April 24,2012)

Her secrets are coming undone...
Plagued by scandalous rumors, Rheda Kerrich will stop at nothing to restore her reputation and make an honest living for herself-and she's determined to do it without a husband. But times are hard, and smuggling is a risky though profitable trade. So when a dashing agent for the English government catches her in the act, she desperately resists his charms and conceals her illicit profession. Until she realizes he may be the key to her ultimate freedom-and unbridled passion.

Rufus Knight, Viscount Strathmore, has never had trouble beguiling the ladies of Kent. When his search for "Dark Shadow," a cunningly elusive smuggler, leads him to alluring and headstrong Rhe, her objections to his amorous advances merely incite a tantalizing game of cat and mouse. Soon, they'll find the very secrets driving them apart could ensnare them in a love they can't escape…
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Rheda Kerrich has been keeping her family and the town of Deal afloat with a bit of smuggling. She refuses to marry even though a friend has asked a few times. Independence, a horse breeding business and making sure poor people of Deal have enough to get by are her top priorities. She will stop at nothing and bend to no one to get all of it accomplished.

Enter, one dashing, Rufus Knight. Since his father's death, he's been chasing leads trying to clear his father's name. His father was thought to have sold secrets to France and paid for it with his life. His quest brings him to Deal and he's on the hunt for the Dark Shadow. Somehow this man, who is a known smuggler, is connected with the mystery of his father's death.

Temptation comes in the form of one golden-haired angel who sets his blood on fire. Finding her pinned to a tree by a barrel, he's intrigued. Both with the lady and her barrel. No slip of a woman could have moved it but somehow she did. Until it backfired on her. The attraction is instant on both sides. Rufus is intent on seducing the information out of this mysterious woman after finding out she is the sister to a baron. Seduce her discreetly of course.

Rheda will have none of this. Between trying to mate her mares in the dead of night with Rufus' studly stallion, trying to deny her primal and carnal attraction to Rufus and keeping the secret of Dark Shadow safe, Rheda isn't ready for this onslaught of feelings for this randy rake.

Rufus was betrayed by a woman he once loved and he vows it will never happen again. The lovely Rheda is starting to get under his skin and worm her way into his heart. Denial, thy name is Rufus.

The question becomes: Will Rufus and Rheda allow themselves to push aside their fear of falling in love because of events in the past before something keeps them apart or will secrets fester to the point both of them live unhappily ever after? And who IS Dark Shadow?

Favorite Quote:
No, he did not physically frighten her. Her fear of him was seated on a deeper, more personal level. He tempted her. His aura of masculinity seduced her. She could feel her body succumbing to his presence as easily as a drunkard succumbed to free brandy.
Overall: A woman with an independent streak, a man on a quest to clear his father's name and an attraction that sizzles and steams the pages with danger lurking where you least expect it make Invitation To Scandal a must read. This book is dark, dangerous, erotic and kept me reading from the first page until the last. This was my first Bronwen Evans book but it certainly won't be my last.

***review copy provided by publisher***

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