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Beauty and the beast: they were the scandal of the ton. All eyes feasted on the beautiful flame-haired gambler in London’s most infamous club. But Julia Prentisse was interested only in the rake-turned-recluse whom they now called “The Beast.” She lured him out of the crowded club to a deserted warehouse, where she made her scandalous offer: If he married her and protected her from her uncle, she would help him capture the arsonist who had ruined his life.
An act of heroism had left Morgan St. James burned, scarred for life, but Julia’s bold gaze lit other fires he had long suppressed. And now this glorious stranger was his bride. But when he tried to claim his husbandly rights, she demanded three months grace—three months to know a stranger’s mind, to touch a stranger’s soul, to go where no woman had ever gone before. Into his heart…
Morgan St. James, fire-scarred former rake and tortured hero is given an offer he can't refuse: marriage to a beautiful, intelligent woman. With his past and his scars, he never believed he'd be in this situation.
But Julia is desperate. Her uncle is trying to marry her off to undesirable men. She has no dowry (publically) and her family has a shady past, so no good, desirable man would want her. She's done some research on Morgan St. James, and believes him to be an honorable man. More, she has an ace in the hole: clues to the identity of the arsonist who started the fire that burned Morgan and killed many of his much-loved servants.
With the marriage agreement starts a well-written, fun, tension-filled novel. Julia isn't ready to jump into the marriage bed, and Morgan wants an heir, but agrees to wait three months. This sets the stage for romance and loads of sexual tension.
I love how matter-of-fact Julia is about ... well, everything. She's honest (sometimes brutally so), caring and impassioned. She has things she believes in (she's quite a suffragette!) and does whatever it takes to support those things.
Morgan spends a good deal of the book a bit mystified by his bride. She's nothing like the women he's known, and he's not entirely certain how to handle her. Of course, she doesn't want to be "handled" and he learns quickly that she won't accept being forbidden to do anything, and soon becomes more intriuged by Julia than mystified. It was fun to watch such an alpha hero trying to keep up with the heroine for a change. He didn't rule the roost, no matter how hard he tried.
I admit I'm not a huge reader of historical romances, and require them to be both well-written and to include a bit more than simply romance in order to enjoy them. With This Kiss meets those requirements. This book grabbed my attention from the prologue and held on tight. It had the occasional bumps in the road, as most books do, but it never took me long to get right back on track. The search for the arsonist, the development of their relationship, their banter and, of course, the heat between them kept me quite riveted.
With This Kiss is a book that will satisfy any romance lover with its interesting plot, proficient writing and sigh-worthy ending. I'm glad I read it.
I give it 4 flowers.
About the author: Victoria Lynne is the author of five historical romance novels. She’s received two RITA Award nominations, and has consistently earned Romantic Times’ “Top Pick” award. Called “A Fabulous Storyteller!” by Rendezvous Magazine, her work consistently draws rave reviews and continues to attract new readers. Her books have been translated into German, Italian, and Spanish, and are currently available online through Kindle and Nook.
Ms. Lynne lives in Vermont with her husband and two children. When she’s not plotting her next novel, she loves to get away from her keyboard to ski and hike.
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