Never Kiss a Rakeby Anne Stuart, Xe Sands
Anguished by death. Driven by revenge.
Bryony Russell and her two sisters are left destitute by the disgrace and unexpected death of their father, a wealthy shipping magnate. He left a cryptic note, and Bryony is determined to find the real villain and clear her father’s name. In disguise as a servant, Bryony infiltrates the home of her/b>
Anguished by death. Driven by revenge.
Bryony Russell and her two sisters are left destitute by the disgrace and unexpected death of their father, a wealthy shipping magnate. He left a cryptic note, and Bryony is determined to find the real villain and clear her father’s name. In disguise as a servant, Bryony infiltrates the home of her father’s business partner to find proof of his guilt…or innocence. It’s not just clues that Bryony finds, but temptation too.…
Adrian Bruton, Earl of Kilmartyn, immediately suspects there is something not quite right about his new housekeeper. The brooding, irresistible rake plays along because he has his own guilty secrets, and his venal, scheming wife holds the key to them, trapping him in a hate-filled marriage. But against his will he’s fascinated by Bryony, seeing past the scars on her face to show her the beauty she never knew she had. Bryony must uncover the truth and attempt to preserve her father’s legacy before things go too far and she falls in love with a man who might very well be her worst enemy.
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When I first received this book last year I tried picking it up and I just couldn't get into it. So I decided to put it down and try it again another time. Unfortunately, it just kept getting pushed back further and further on my reading list because I was really kind of dreading picking it up again. What happened if it was just not a book for me? What if I wasted my time on it? Well, thank the heavens, that isn't what happened. I ended up really enjoying this novel and I'm so happy that I picked it up again. And I'm even happier that my views had changed! Right from the beginning (my second time around), Never Kiss a Rake grabbed my attention and held it. I read it in only two days and I had to force myself to put it down or I wouldn't have gotten anything accomplished at home. The characters are really well written and I can guarantee that you'll fall in love with Bryony as quickly as the Earl did. Anne Stuart wrote the main character as a spunky, entirely too independent for her time, gutsy woman who isn't afraid to speak her mind and has a bit of a hard time playing the servant. I became pretty empathetic to her plight right off the bat and couldn't wait to see what she had to say next. All of the characters were written with a lot of forethought as to their histories and you can tell that they are all well loved by the author because she put so much into each of them. The story had quite a few twists and turns that I hadn't counted on but was pleasantly surprised with. Now, I love historical romance novels. I've often thought that maybe in a previous life I was in London in the 1800's since I enjoy the stories so much. Anyway, I love historical romances and I REALLY love mysterious historical romances. Such a great surprise at the end ... it's worth reading just to see what happens! I'm pretty interested in getting my hands on the next novel in the series and I hope that I can squeeze it in sometime in the future. I really like the idea of the mystery of this first novel spilling over into the next. I was surprised that everything wasn't all buttoned up and I love the idea of the continuation.
~Reviewed by SUZANNE & posted at Under the Covers Book Blog Miss Bryony Russell is determined to clear her disgraced father’s name and proof that his carriage accident was no accident at all but murder. Left with only a cryptic note from her father, she decides to infiltrate the house of his business partner, Adrian Bruton, Earl of Kilmartyn, the only person who wasn’t left penniless from her father’s supposed fraud. But posing as his housekeeper is harder than she expected, especially when she feels a helpless attraction and connection, one he seems to reciprocate. A wickedly sensual hero, a sensible practical heroine; I love that combination and Anne Stuart does it really well, Adrian is naughty enough to ping on the bad boy radar, but with enough sweetness in him to get us girls melting at his beautiful feet. And Bryony was great in her practical glory, and watching helplessly throw sense out the window to fall in love with the wicked Earl was fun to read. But she did all this and more a lot better in her Wicked House of Rohan series, that didn’t stop me from enjoying this book though; the characters were interesting, the sexual tension and connection between Adrian and Bryony was good and Never Kiss a Rake was definitely a page turner. What has stopped me from giving this book a higher rating even though I did like the characters, story and the writing, is that I had a sense of deja vu whilst I was reading it. There are a lot of books like this one out there in historical romance and there was nothing about Never Kiss a Rake that stood out amoungst the crowd. Like I said above her Wicked House of Rohan series has the same kind of dynamic as this book, only I felt the characters and the romance had much more depth and feeling then this did. Anne Stuart is a fantastic writer so although I have read better before that didn’t stop me from enjoying Never Kiss a Rake and it certainly won’t stop me from reading the next book in this series. *ARC provided by publisher