Lessons From a Scarlet Lady

  Seducing the Highlander

My Lord Scandal
by Emma Wildes
(Signet, $6.99, R) ISBN 978-0451-23106-2
I was excited to see Emma Wildes’ newest book in my pile of books to be reviewed, especially after I had so thoroughly enjoyed Lessons from a Scarlet Lady. My Lord Scandal is the start of a trilogy and didn’t did not let me down.

The trilogy centers on three men, all friends from the war who have come home to different lives. One is a Duke’s heir, now that his brother is dead. Another already had a title and he is at loose ends. The third, and the hero of this tale, is Alexander St. James, the fourth son of a Duke. Alex went into the army and had a successful career, many even claiming him a hero. He was involved in both espionage and regular warfare. He spent some time in a prison camp, but seems none the worse for wear. He is a bit bored and yet his life is filled with business dealings and he has an independent fortune. Alex has been given a quest by his grandmother to recover a small box that holds a key from the home of a family enemy and he is determined to do this for her.

Story has it that the Earl of Hathaway, a married man, fell in love with Alex’s Aunt Anna when she was just a debutante. Needless to say, despite their apparent love, their relationship was doomed from the start. Anna reportedly committed suicide and the Duke of the time reportedly killed the Earl in a duel. All this is believed to be true because there were no real witnesses to the duel. As a result Alex’s father, who is the current Duke, and the current Earl of Hathaway are sworn enemies. Alex’s grandmother will not reveal what the key goes to, just that it is imperative for the family that it be recovered.

Alex and his friend break into the Hathaway’s London townhouse to search by entering from the roof and the balconies. But the Hathaway heiress comes home early and surprises Alex. Lady Amelia Patton is amazed to find a man on her balcony when she goes out to get air. She is equally surprised to find that he appears to be a gentleman and one who is extremely attractive. When he kisses her, she is at first surprised and then drawn in. Of course, when they discover their identities, some of the attraction pales, but still there is intrigue. The intrigue only increases when Amelia starts receiving copies of love letters from her Grandfather to the lovely Anna.

Alex and Amelia begin to work together to discover the mystery of the past while they fall in love with each other. Alexander seduces Amelia in a sensuous and seductive dance, even as he himself is seduced by Amelia’s innocence and her bravado about finding out what this love thing is all about. The sex is hot, but more importantly they spend time together and learn about each other. I could easily believe that they liked each other even as they lusted and loved each other.

The barriers to their relationship are many – the least of which is their father’s dislike. But this is also a mature romance. Alex is almost thirty and accepts that his choice may or may not suit his father. Amelia enlists the help of her aunt – her mother’s sister – who is a tad eccentric and wants love for her niece. Her role in their romance is tender and her own romance adds to the tale also.

Ultimately, there is a resolution to the mystery that could have been guessed early on, but it was more fun to watch the story unfold. Alex and Amelia are a strong couple both independently and together. Stories for Michael and Luke are set up nicely.

All in all My Lord Scandal is highly satisfying, erotic and very romantic, especially if you like romances that are built on both lust and the friendship that forms along with it. I enjoyed Amelia and Alex and think you will too.

--Shirley Lyons

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