Friday, May 27, 2011

A Notorious Love by Sabrina Jeffries

Book Description:
A Desperate Measure

Helena Laverick is at her wits end! The only man who can help find her eloping young sister is that scoundrel Daniel Brennan - the man who played with her emotions last year and then left. And he used to be a smuggler! Although Mrs. Nunley's Guide to Etiquette for Young Ladies would never approve, Helena is forced to go after the runaway in Daniel's company. But something about being with him feels oddly freeing - and a delicious tingle warns Helena that more than her reputation may be in danger...

Daniel finds most of the prim and proper lovely's rules ridiculous - but when she insists on masquerading as his wife for the sake of appearances, he immediately envisions the delights of sharing a bedchamber. The unexpected smoldering beneath her straitlaced exterior ignites his desire, and the vulnerability hidden beneath her cool control makes him want her even more. Yet Helena's a lady, and he's the son of a highwayman. How can he ever ask her to share his world?

This is the second in the Swanlea Spinsters Series and focuses on the unlikely courtship between Daniel Brennan and the eldest of the Laverick sisters, Helena.   In the previous, A Dangerous Love, we're introduced to Helena and Daniel.  Lady Helena looks down her nose at him since he's a low born highwayman's son, even though it's apparent they're both attracted to one another.  She's distrustful of all men and their ulterior motives.  Plus, she has an inferiority complex about her lame leg, brought on from a bout of Polio eight years earlier.  Daniel cannot even fathom the idea of courting the icy Lady Helena despite what his heart may feel about her.  He returns to London to start up an investment consulting business.  As expected, their story did not end there and here we get to read of their further adventures!

Helena's youngest sister Juliet has eloped with an unsuitable and questionable gentleman.  With her other sister Rosalind on her honeymoon in Europe, Helena must seek the help of the only man she knows who can assist in the recovery of Juliet before it's too late - Daniel Brennan.  Helena is loathe to seek him out, but she has no choice.  Of course, she'll never admit she'd like to see him again anyway, despite his lowly parentage and background.  She is unaccountably attracted to him, but she'd die rather than let him know.  It doesn't help that when she finds him in London, she is interrupting him with one of his "fancy women!"  Helena gets quite the eyeful, much to Daniel's amusement.  But after much haggling and bartering, he agrees to help her.  Together they try to foil what they now believe is a kidnapping attempt.  They take to the road, tracing Juliet's footsteps.  Helena's icy exterior thaws as she and Daniel get to know one another over the next week. Posing as man and wife, Helena realizes she'd been wrong about Daniel.  He truly is a good man who has tried to distance himself from his notorious upbringing as a smuggler.  Unfortunately, his past comes to haunt him as they discover the real reason for Juliet's kidnapping.   Naturally, they fall in love along the way as well.

I really enjoyed this book, particularly Helena's transformation from an untouchable ice princess to the lusty wife of a smuggler!  As Helena's eyes are opened in regard to Daniel, she soon relishes the role as Daniel's make believe wife.  She can pretend and be as "wanton" as she wants.   He makes her feel free and desirable, the way no man has before.  To Daniel, her lameness is of no concern and Helena realizes he loves her for herself and not her title or money.  They have quite the adventure together traveling throughout the countryside.  I had much sympathy for Daniel due to his sad childhood and the fact he overcame it and was able to make something for himself.  Plus, he's quite the looker - tall, blond and muscular, enough to make a woman swoon. 

Overall, this was a fun romance though not overly memorable.  Still I liked it and it's hero and heroine.  It had a little bit of everything: humor, sex, adventure and not a lot of angst.  We see how two lonely people overcome their preconceived perceptions of what is important in life.  They learn to love one another for themselves and not by what society dictates.  It all wrapped up well and set us up for the next in the series - Juliet's story, which I'm very curious to read about!


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