Tuesday, December 13, 2011
There was no doubt about it. What Miss Harriet Pomeroy needed was a man. Someone powerful and clever who could help her rout the unscrupulous thieves who were using her beloved caves to hide their loot. But when Harriet summoned Gideon Westbrook Viscount St. Justin to her aid, she could not know that she was summoning the devil himself…
Dubbed the Beast of Blackthorne Hall for his scarred face and lecherous past, Gideon was strong and fierce and notoriously menacing. Yet Harriet could not find it in her heart to fear him. For in his tawny gaze she sensed a savage pain she longed to soothe…and a searing passion she yearned to answer. Now, caught up in the beast's clutches, Harriet must find a way to win his heart — and evade the deadly trap of a scheming villain who would see them parted for all time.
My first romance by Amanda Quick, this has been on my TBR list for a long time. I found it to be a pretty good romance but not as great as I thought it would be, considering it's #42 on the Top 100 Romance list at AAR. I will admit, it had it's good points, the heroine was deliciously ditzy, so preoccupied with her fossil hunting. Living along the coast of England, Harriet spends a lot of time in the underground caves nearby her home. Upon discovering the caves are being used for illicit smuggling, she contacts Viscount St. Justin, the owner of the land, to rub out the criminals. Her primary concern is not so much that smuggling is illegal, but she's worried the smugglers may discover her fossils and her latest find "a tooth."
As she tells Gideon, the Viscount, when she first meets him, "there are unscrupulous rogues lurking everywhere!" Apparantly fossil hunters have no reservations in stealing other people's finds and laying claim to them as their own. Gideon is struck by this charming beauty and fossil loving heroine. For one thing, she doesn't even bat an eye at his disfigured face which is marred by a long scar down it's side. He's also amazed at her complete disregard towards her own safety which leads to a night together in one of the caves. A night that compromises her by Society's standards and in reality. Gideon, notorious and much maligned as the Beast of Blackthorne Hall due to a previous scandal, makes love to her in the cave and a forced marriage is soon in the works.
Harriet tries to avoid marriage, but finally relents when she realizes she must do as her aunt and sister insist upon. We're led on a merry ride to London where Harriet is taken to acquire a bit of "polish." Some parts were very funny and Harriet is an orginal. I laughed aloud many times, particularly in regard to her precious "tooth." Not surprisingly, she becomes the target of a scheming former friend of Gideon's who's after revenge, but she holds her own and clobbers him over the head, running to Gideon and explaining to him how she "accidentally" killed him. She didn't actually, but the whole thing, which could have been a nasty affair is smoothed over by Gideon, who is soon realizing his future wife is a handful!
I liked Gideon's side of the story too. Accused of ravishing a young woman and then refusing to marry her, he is castigized for her resulting suicide. He has spent the last several years trying to overcome the scandal and lost respect and admiration - from his father. A hopeless case - until Harriet comes on the scene. His situation with Harriet and the circumstances of their impending nuptials are eerily familiar, but Harriet wins his parents over. Their first meeting is indeed memorable! I loved it!
This really was a fun story! My one gripe - the tepid love scenes, but overall, I recommend it!