To Tempt an Irish Rogue
by Kaitlin O'Riley
(Zebra, $6.99, PG) ISBN 978-14201-1240-5
****
Declan Reeves, the Earl of Cashelmore has not had a good year, and it isn't getting better. His wife died in a fire, in front of his four year old daughter Mara. Mara hasn't spoken since. And his wife's relatives are convinced it is his fault for the fire, and even after almost a year, want to bring charges against him. He had issues in his marriage and was even considering giving his wife the divorce she asked for, he did nothing to kill her. He leaves his ancestral home outside Dublin to come to London. He is determined to find a way to help his daughter.

Paulette Hamilton is one of five girls who own the Hamilton's Bookstore and she is the one most involved in running this delightful store in 1876 in London. She is the sensible sister, who has always known that books are important. She is uninterested in a London season, even though she could have one thanks to an advantageous marriage of her oldest sister. In fact, while she wants to marry, at 21, she is not in any hurry. She is determined to hold out for a man she can love.

Declan and Paulette meet when Declan brings Mara to the bookstore. There is an immediate attraction. It isn't long before they realize that they like each other, and that they share a first kiss. It is a kiss that turns far more passionate than either intended, and is in fact, Paulette's first kiss. They agree to continue to see each other, even though Declan doesn't hide the fact that some think he killed his first wife. Paulette hears his story and believes that he had nothing to do with it. And she is entranced by his beautiful daughter, who is a lovely child despite the fact that she doesn't talk.

This tale has a lot of wonderful elements. There is a lovely romance between two people who are well matched. At times, they think odd thoughts, like the fact that they can meet and make love and never think that marriage will end up being expected. But for the most part, they have a relationship one might imagine in the changing times of the 1870's. The tale has intrigue and suspense around the fire. Both are getting threatening letters and it is clear someone is watching them. Unfortunately, the author chooses to tell the reader who is behind the fire, thus limiting the suspense for all but the parties involved. And the story has a wonderful subplot about sisterly love and support. The Hamilton sisters have been the heroines in the series by this author and their relationships are a key part of this tale. Yvette is the youngest sister and she plays a role in this story since her romance will be next.

At the heart however, is Paulette and Declan's love story. And it is one that will not disappoint readers. In To Tempt An Irish Rogue, readers may discover an author that has an engaging style and a wonderful ability of painting a picture of two people who care and love while respecting the other's needs that may be different from their own. I will definitely look for the next in the series and may go back and find the previous tales by Kaitlin O'Riley.

--Shirley Lyons


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