Saturday, January 28, 2012

Slightly Scandalous by Mary Balogh

Book Description:
Meet the Bedwyns…six brothers and sisters—men and women of passion and privilege, daring and sensuality.

Enter their dazzling world of high society and breathtaking seduction…where each will seek love, fight temptation, and court scandal…and where Freyja Bedwyn, the wild-hearted daughter, meets her match in a man as passionate, reckless, and scandalous as she.

Growing up with four unruly brothers has made Freyja Bedwyn far bolder than most society ladies. From feisty manner to long, tumbling hair, Lady Freyja is pure fire, a woman who seeks both adventure and freedom.

Adventure soon finds her on a visit to Bath, when a handsome stranger bursts into Freyja's room and entreats her to hide him. His name is Joshua Moore, Marquess of Hallmere, a man with a hell-raising reputation of his own who is quickly intrigued by the independent beauty. So intrigued, in fact, that he makes her a surprising request: to pose as his fiancée and help thwart his family's matchmaking schemes. For two people determined to be free, it's the perfect plan…until passion blindsides them both. For as Joshua sets out to achieve his complete seduction of Freyja, a woman who has sworn off love is in danger of losing the one thing she never expected to give again: her heart…

Quickie Review: 
I didn't think I was going to like this book all that much.  In the previous Bedwyn books, Freyja is hard to like because she's so prickly, but this was terrific! How wrong I was! I loved Freyja's story! I am so pleased that Balogh gave her such a good HEA. Irony of ironies, Lady Freyja Bedwyn winds up in a make believe betrothal, engaged to Josh, the Marquess of Hallmere, a devil-may-care rogue she meets en route to Bath.  Their paths meet again in Bath, and, as only Freyja Bedwyn can do, she renews their acquaintance in front of everyone by accusing him of being a seducer of young housemaids!

Of course, she proves to be irresistible to him, she's so haughty and full of herself at first, he's dying to take her down a peg.  The two are made for one another, but it takes the entire book for them to realize it.  Freyja has a major chip on her shoulder ever since her engagement to her neighbor Kit (from A Summer to Remember) was broken and she was thrown over by another, his present wife, Lauren.  Now that Lauren is expecting their first baby and presumed heir, Freyja doesn't want to be anywhere near the vicinity of the happy event - hence her trip to Bath.  While staying at an inn on her way there, a strange (but gentlemanly looking) man enters her room and asks her to keep his secret as he hides in her wardrobe.  Too astonished to say anything she keeps her mouth shut as a troupe of angry individuals come looking for him.  The man turns out to be Josh who is hiding to evade being roped into a marriage by a devious father.  Much complications ensue, but once resolved, Josh thanks and kisses Freyja in her nightgown and climbs out the window.  All this to the great Freyja Bedwyn, the sister of the Duke of Bewcastle!

When Freyja and Josh meet again a few days later, she is at loggerheads with him initially, but then they become friends.  To avoid having to marry (again!) she agrees to pretend they are engaged.  It will be fun, a lark! But it goes on longer than expected, her brother (the duke) gets wind of it and suddenly it's not as easy to back out of it as they originally thought.  Wedding plans are set in motion and then Josh is accused of murdering his cousin, and nearly the entire Bedwyn family accompanies him to his Cornwall estate to put the matter to rest and see that his name is cleared.  There are lots of delicious moments throughout the book and particularly between Freyja and Josh.  Freyja is actually growing on me!  Suddenly - I like her!  Over the course of this book we learn to sympathize with Freyja and unearth her many layers of insecurities.  As she realizes she's falling in love with Josh, she realizes she's gotten over Kit too, and maybe never really loved him to begin with.  But, she's afraid Josh doesn't feel the same way.  Josh is just what she needs and by the end,  I was so happy for both of them!
This was so good and I was sorry to finish it.  I'm leaving tons out, but this was a great book.  Fifth in the Bedwyn series (if you count the first two prequels), this is my favorite of all the books so far.


P.S.  Another water-logged love scene in this book - a definite trend in this series. What is it about Balogh and water?  Whether it's an island, a pond or the the infamous gamekeeper's hut at Kit Butler's estate, watery sex scenes sure get a lot of mileage in this series! 


Beebs said...

I haven't read this one yet, read Wicked and Dangerous and loved them. I've been meaning to read the others but haven't got to them many books, so little time, *sigh*.

There's water in Dangerous too. lol

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Beebs - how funny! See, I told you the author has this thing about water!

Yvette said...

I think I've read every single Mary Balogh Harlequin Regency she ever wrote. She is a marvelous writer. I've also read a few of her more recent books. Well, as recent as a few years ago.

I must get back to her.

Julie if you haven't read her Harlequin Regencies, boy are you in for a treat. They are incredibly good.

I even loved the short stories Balogh wrote for the year end Christmas anthologies.

Thanks for reminding me how good she is.

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