Wednesday, February 9, 2011
He was playing a dangerous masquerade...Griff Knighton found the perfect way to avoid being trapped into marriage with one of the Earl of Swanlea′s daughters: he′ll swap identities with his man of affairs during their next visit to Swan Park, and be free to pursue his own desires! After all, he′s not about to marry some homely spinster just to claim his rightful title. But Griff didn′t reckon on the brazen, voluptuous Rosalind, who could tempt even a saint into sinning, and Griff is no saint. She was determined to unmask him...
I enjoyed this regency, which is the first of The Swanlea Spinster Series. In A Dangerous Love we have Rosalind's story. She is the middle daughter, known for her passionate nature. Everything Rosalind does is big, vibrant, dramatic (she secretly longs to be an actress like her mother). With her father, the Earl, on his deathbed, Rosalind is the one that has taken over the running of the family estate which will be entailed away to a distant cousin (similar to the situation in Pride and Prejudice) upon her father's death. Their sickly father has invited the cousin to visit the estate in hopes that he will marry one of his three spinster daughters, thus keeping them safe and protected. The Earl is also ready to right a wrong that had been done a long time ago.
The aforementioned cousin is none other than Griff Knighton, a self made man, known for his nefarious background and early smuggling days. Now, a successful business man he is a force to be reckoned with. Of course, he also happens to be tall dark and handsome - and a bad ass in the business world, not unlike a typical Lisa Kleypas hero. Griff has vengeance on his mind and a major grievance against the Earl who stole the marriage certificate that proved his legitimacy. Without it and due to his own father's early death, he was never able to prove he was legitimate - and the rightful heir to the Earldom. This has been a thorn in Griff's side all his life. Now is his chance to get back the certificate, become the rightful Earl and win a place as part of a delegation to China which will enrich his business and seal his success. He has no intention of marrying one of the earl's daughters - he has just the one mission in mind, gain the respectability he has craved.
That was before he met Rosalind.
Before Griff arrives at Swan Park, he decides to bring his man of business, Daniel, with him. Daniel also happens to be his friend and helped Griff in their early smuggling days with the fledgling company. Griff dreams up the flawed plan of posing as Daniel and Daniel posing as Griff so that Griff will have plenty of time to search for the certificate. Of course, this leads to all sorts of problems because once he meets and falls for Rosalind, she'll realize he's been lying to her from the get go. Even though she thinks he's really his man of business, it doesn't stop her from being attracted to him and they have a few very hot and sensual encounters. She's not a snob in this respect. They have fun sparring with each other and trading barbs and quotes from Shakespeare. Griff takes pleasure in pointing out the racier innuendos by the bard. Many, of which, regard the male anatomy - or one piece of it, in particular. Still, Griff has been lying to Rosalind and she suspects he's up to something, but unaware of what her father had done years ago, she can't quite come up with what Griff is really after - plus, she still things Griff is Daniel! The mixed identity storyline parallels the Shakespeare plays both Rosalind and Griff know so well!
As the two of them become closer, Rosalind is afraid of what her passion for Griff is going to make her do. She decides to marry Daniel (who she thinks is her cousin) to save the estate. It's funny when Daniel "woos" her as Griff and Griff is eaten up by jealousy! (Plus, it doesn't hurt that Daniel throws himself into the part just to get back at Griff for making him go through this masquerade in the first place!) Griff is going to have to make a decision. He's torn, should he tell her the truth about himself and and marry Rosalind or create a scandal by revealing to the world what her father did to him and ruin her family? Can you guess what happens?
I'm eager to read the rest of the series and see if the eldest daughter, Helena, winds up with Daniel - that should be quite a feat, since Helena is not going to be as easy to bring around as Rosalind was. Due to Helena's lameness (from an accident) she is skittish around men - though it's easy to see Daniel has captured her interest. Not a bad story with lots of Shakespearean quotes throughout. Steamy to boot.