A Little Bit Sinful
by Adrienne Basso
(Zebra $6.99, R) ISBN 978-1-4201-1190-3
Adrienne Basso has done a great job with A Little Bit Sinful in telling the compelling story of a plain spinster who was never given a chance for her happily ever after like the rest of high ranking society, but by fate finds herself loving someone she least expected.

Eleanor Collins is too wrapped up in her daily responsibilities to worry about what could have been. At age 26, she finds herself managing the estate that her father, the Earl of Hetfield, canít be bothered with. With no mother, Eleanor is also the main caregiver of her naÔve younger sister, Bianca, who is now 17 years old. The Earl has gambled away most of their money and needs a partnership with a wealthy family to help recoup his losses. His plan is to marry off his daughter, Bianca, to a suitable and prosperous husband.

Sebastian Dodd, Viscount Benton, just lost his grandmother. Since he mother died when he was 12, his grandmother meant the world to him. But now that she has passed away, Benton no longer feels obligated to keep a promise he made to her. The promise to let things go when Benton discovered that the reason his mother killed herself was because she was having an affair with the Earl of Hetfield who refused to acknowledge the pregnancy that resulted from that affair.

Bentonís plan for revenge is to put the Earl is a position to request a duel so that Benton can kill him. After his first set-up fails, Benton decides that he will court the Earlís daughter, devise a situation where they are caught in a compromising position, and ruin her reputation so that the Earlís only choice at recovering her character is to have a duel.

At first Benton sets his eyes on Bianca, but he soon discovers that she is young, naÔve, and not that interesting. Eleanor is a more appropriate target and after spending time with her, Benton discovers that he likes her quick wit and intelligence. He also canít seem to keep his hands off her. Little does he know that the Earl has little regard for his family, especially Eleanor, and as time passes he discovers that he cares about her more and more.

A Little Bit Sinful is an entertaining and emotional story. Eleanor is such a great character. She doesnít take crap from anyone and her verbal sparring sessions with Benton are highly entertaining. The author does a great job with developing these main characters. This gives the reader an investment in the story and makes some of the scenes between Eleanor and Benton emotional and tough to get through.

The relationship between Eleanor and Benton took time to start, but once it got started became very fast paced and steamy. Benton had his moments where I wanted to take him to the side and talk some sense into him, but that only adds to the believability of the characters.

The writing in the story is moving. The dialogue is believable, pertinent to the time period, and flows smoothly. I have never been to England, but the descriptions depicted are easy to visualize and pleasant. Most of the plot is light hearted and amusing, but part of the story is heart wrenching and emotional which really added to the depth of the overall story and made it more relevant compared to the many romance novels.

I really enjoyed A Little Bit Sinful and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a good read.

--Nichole Howell

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