Sunday, August 22, 2010
Legend says that whomever possesses the St. John talisman ring will find their one true love. Now that the ring rests in the pocket of renowned scoundrel Brandon St. John, the dashing rake must decide whether it is a blessing ... or a curse.
Never has the irresistible rogue, Brandon St. John, pursued a woman with more fervor - but his ardent suit of Lady Verena Westforth has a different purpose. The delectable blond lovely is indeed enticing, but Brandon suspects her of hiding a valuable missive that he has sworn to recover. With a sensuous kiss and a passionate caress he intends to lower Verena's guard ... and then discover where she's hidden "the goods."
Without the missive, Verena stands to lose the one thing dearest to her heart. And now an extraordinary man has entered her life ... at the worst possible time! Vulnerable though she may be, Verena vows she will not be just another of Brandon's "conquests," even as she aches to melt in his arms. But is he a needed friend or a foe in alluring disguise ... and will she be able to prove to him that love is their true destiny?
I loved this romance! Original plot and terrific chemistry between the hero and heroine. A perfect combo that made this a delightful read! Handsome Regency man about town Brandon St. John finally meets his match, albeit reluctantly, in the form of Verena, Lady Wentworth, a widow of dubious reputation. Brandon first meets Verena when he is instructed (by his brothers) to pay her a visit. Their youngest brother has been involved with her and the rest of the St. Johns want her paid off to let him go. Brandon is instantly smitten by her himself and she plays him like a violin. But when he offers to pay her off, she tricks him and vows to make him regret he ever met her - brilliantly! She resents the implication that she can be bought off and goes out of her way to humiliate him in front of the ton. She's not the little minx he thinks she is, although she's probably more clever than he's comfortable with. She's actually more honorable than most believe, she just needs to gamble (and cheat once in a while though she doesn't like to) to pay her bills.
Brandon tries to resist her feminine wiles and allurements, but it's a losing battle. One thing leads to another and it turns out a murder has taken place, her brother is being blackmailed and while trying to resist their mutual attraction, Verena and Brandon team up to find a mysterious list that was lost somewhere in her house that belonged to the dead man before he was murdered. Danger, mystery and passion abound! I loved it!
As far as the title goes, I wondered "Who's the scoundrel here, Verena or Brandon?" Verena's past catches up with her. As she and Brandon get closer to who the murderer is and their passion heats up, she worries about what will Brandon think of her when he learns that her parents are con artists who pass themselves off as European royals? She's tried to distance herself from that side of her childhood, but will Brandon think she's nothing more than a devious little con artist herself? A scoundrel? Or is he the scoundrel?
There are so many good parts to this book, the banter and playfulness between them is priceless, they're good together! One particularly funny moment is when Verena gets conked on the head after an intruder breaks into her London townhouse. Fortunately, Brandon is close at hand to come to her rescue. She's all woozy and drowsy from a laudanum induced daze and what does she crave? Chocolate! Such a woman! :D After the chocolate, it's Brandon she wants. I loved it how in her wooziness she thinks Brandon is the most handsome man in the world! I would too if I were in her place!
This is a really fun romance, good plot, great dialogue and Verena and Brandon make a terrific team! The side characters are fun too, including her brother who Brandon is jealous of at first, having no idea he's her brother and her over protective pickpocket butler. You're rooting for everybody and can't wait to find out how it all turns out - a real keeper! Second in the Talisman Ring series, I can't wait to read them all!