Saturday, July 26, 2008

Scandalous by Night (Regency Romance Review Number 3)

**This will be my final review before I leave for RWA**

What is in a name? Lately I have been picking up books with interesting character names. When I saw the blurb for Barbara Pierce’s Scandalous by Night and that the hero’s name was Everod (insert joke here) I just knew I had to give this read a try. The last few books I have read by Barbara Pierce have been very enjoyable, and Scandalous by Night is no exception. Even though this is set during the regency era, this is not a subtle and tender love story. Pierce has written a borderline erotic tale between an angry and wild hero and the young woman he wants revenge against for something she had done to him when she was just a child. The great thing is, Barbara does not make her heroine cower in fear even if she is a virgin and the big bad man wants his way with her. She stands up to him and welcomes him to do his worst. She is willing to take her sexual downfall with open arms.

Lord Townsend Elliot Lidsaw, Viscount Everod (quite the long name) also has the nickname of Everhard because of all the good loving he gives the widows and courtesans of the London. Everod is a bit amoral and quite the playboy. He reminds me so much of the Vicomte Sebastian de Valmont that was played by John Malkovich in the 1988 movie, Dangerous Liaisons. From my initial introduction of Everod, I was bound to not like him at all. He is that type of hero that would make the heroine suffer, and then by the last few pages of the story, get down on his knees and grovel for her forgiveness and love. Sorry, I know most like a good groveling hero, but if he is an ass throughout the whole book, those few pages of groveling doesn’t do anything for me.

The reason for Everod’s disdain at life is, because at the age of fifteen he was almost killed by his father who came close to slashing his throat. He even has the scars to prove it. Everod was tattled on by his new stepmother's ten year old niece who found Everod and her aunt getting busy in the gardens. Everod, being only fifteen at the time, couldn’t stop his new stepmother, the Countess Georgette Worthington from seducing him. He succumbed, or rather his skanky step mommy forced herself on him. Her niece, Maura, found them and went to Everod’s father. Everod was banished, and promised revenge on his skanky stepmother and her horrid little niece.

Twelve years have gone by and the rage festers deeply inside Everod. He finds outs that Maura is visiting London and will seduce her and steal her virginity. She will be ruined and her downfall will be an embarrassment to Georgette and his father. This may sound a bit immature especially after a decade, but Everod was used horribly and almost killed, and for that he cannot forgive or forget.

Maura may be a virgin after all, but she is not one of those annoying over the top innocent ones. Maura is very careful how she acts, especially around her aunt Georgette who is truly a nasty piece of work. Maura has continual guilt for what happened to Everod, but she is torn because her aunt has done such wonderful things for her such as giving her a loving home and being very supportive. But Maura knows there is a very different side to Georgette and she must tread carefully.

Everod becomes reacquainted with Maura and starts a very interesting courtship. Even though Maura has a good idea why Everod has gone out of his way to be with her, there is something about Everod that he keeps hidden from everyone. Maura is able to break down Everod’s defenses and shows him she is not in any way like her aunt. And you know Everod has it bad when he wants Maura to use his given name of Townsend.

I find it so unbelievably sexy when the hero longs for his woman to speak his name that he allows no other to use. The turning point in their relationship is when he begs Maura to call him his first name. From that point on, these adversaries not only become lovers but they are also slowly falling in love. Everod’s revenge he had planned for Maura is now a distant memory.

Scandalous by Night is a bit on the naughty side mainly because of the characteristics of Everod and the hot and sexy love making he gives to Maura. Some of these intimate scenes are some I wouldn’t mind giving a try. Ever wish to make love outside in the rain? Pierce gives you your fantasy here which also includes some nice bondage love between the two.

I found Georgette to be a well rounded villain and a woman I wouldn’t want to mess with. She almost got away with the damage she was responsible for, but as most characters of her like, she gets what’s coming to her. Some may be a bit disappointed in the ending because it did seem a bit rushed, but by that point I loved how Everod and Maura were together. I wanted their happiness.

Some historical authors have a tendency to write wallpaper romances and I can promise you that Barbara Pierce is not one of them. Her stories are very enjoyable and luscious with heroes that tend to be a bit underhanded and loose when it comes to sex. But as always, by the end, the heroine has helped paved the way for her man to be reformed and that is one journey I recommend you give a try with Scandalous by Night. (August release by St. Martin's Press)

3.5 stars out of 5 stars

Katiebabs (KB)

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