Monday, August 31, 2009
When the intriguing Comte d'Esmond enters a room, women swoon and men gnash their teeth. The count is fully accustomed to this reaction and brilliant at exploiting it. What he isn't prepared for is Leila Beaumont. One look from her tawny eyes is dangerously captivating. How troublesome. Edmond can't afford the distraction of an entanglement, however passionate it promises to be. He's supposed to be working for the government and his employers want Liela's corrupt and treacherous husband brought to justice. When the spouse, unsurprisingly and conveniently, gets himself murdered, all Esmond has to do is clear Leila of suspicion and proceed to the next assignment. But not being hanged for her husband's murder isn't enough for Leila. She wants to learn the truth - all of it - from Esmond, a man who's been lying all his life.
I was 2 for 2 with romances while in Las Vegas for the past few days on vacation. This was another winner of a book that I enjoyed, the 2nd in the Scoundrel series by Loretta Chase. This one takes place ten years after the last one, The Lion's Daughter, and centers on Ismal, who was a handsome villain in the last book, and now appropriately so - the hero in this one. He's a very interesting man, now thirty-two, older, wiser and more honest, he's kind of a spy for various governments. An intimate of Kings and Tsars, he is Albanian by birth, but can pass as a Frenchman, British, Italian - whatever, he speaks 12 languages and is genius material when it comes to solving intrigues, mysteries, murders - you name it. Set in post Regency England, he is now the Compte d'Esmond, a man about town who has a casual noble exterior with piercing blue eyes. He takes a liking (aka instant lust) towards Leila Beaumont, an artist with a husband who is a degenerate. She has no love for him, but has to put up with him for her career. Luckily someone murders him and so follows the whole murder mystery of who murdered Beaumont and why.
It's a twisty turny tale with many suspects and false leads and unexpected revelations - I enjoyed it immensely! I'm not usually a murder mystery reader, so I found the plot refreshing and different for me! Simultaneously, it's a romance between Leila and Ismal. He harbors a huge secret that he cannot reveal to her and she resists her attraction to him at first, but ultimately they give in to each other and begin a much needed affair (for both of them). Sexy, sensual, erotic, Loretta Chase did a great job in building up their sexual tension and the inevitable consummation was not a let down - more like a tour de force! The chemistry between Leila and Ismal was great, much better than between the hero and heroine in the last book in the series (I really wasn't crazy about it, to tell you the truth), but this one more than makes up for it in spades!
To sum it all up, if you like mysteries, sexy romance, hot fair haired heroes and intelligent heroines give this one a chance, I thought it was great and am eager to read the next in the series, which I hear is one of the all time greatest romances out there, Lord of Scoundrels. I can't wait to read who is in this one!