by Susan S., Guest Reviewer
“Huzzah” for this Kensington Zebra debut author! Erica Ridley’s Too Wicked To Kiss is a titillating whodunit set in a London castle. There’s unlit corridors, secret passageways, stolen kisses, and a hero in cravats and breeches, “Oh my!” I may not wield powers of clairvoyance like (Evangeline) Ridley’s heroine, but I’m predicting this author will receive many calling cards from readers.
Are you going to like this historical romance? Ooo…yeah! I received the eARC for review and pre-ordered the paperback from B&N. I simply must procure the paperback for my bookshelf! Just picture me for a second, walking on hot coals repeating, “Hot, hot, hot, hot!”
Evangeline Pemberton is no stranger to heartache. Her mother has recently passed, and she’s just ran-away from her physically abusive stepfather (Neal) who aside from hitting her also entertains lascivious thoughts regarding his stepdaughter. Evangeline’s clairvoyant gift has caused her to shun both friends and the touch of others. Any touch brings about visions either past or yet-to-be along with one hellacious headache. Alone and out of options, she turns to Lady Stanton and her daughter Miss Susan Stanton. They offer to take her to Blackberry Manor in London with “one” simple stipulation; entrap Gavin Lioncroft (hero) into a betrothal contract with Susan. Evangeline’s not sure which of these three options terrifies her more: (1) deceiving an innocent bachelor into marriage with a total stranger (2) the fact that Gavin is a presumed murderer and they’re to stay in his manor for two weeks or (3) that Neal will find her.
When a murder is committed in Blackberry Manor everyone’s suspect, with at least 15 suspects and three with a motive to kill, this whodunit will leave you second-guessing the guilty party until the very end.
Evangeline finds her upcoming deception harder and harder to accomplish. Gavin is stirring passions within her both new and wonderful. Will she entrap Gavin for Susan? Or will Evangeline keep this “sinfully handsome” man for herself?
My favorite character was the hero, Gavin. What’s not to love? He’s a wickedly handsome tease. He protects those he loves; he’s passionate and goes after what he wants. Not to mention, here’s a man who knows how to apologize.
My favorite scene: In the dining room Gavin’s gaze slides down Evangeline’s body and retraces the path back up. He stares boldly and lifts an eyebrow to let her know, he likes what he sees. When she does the same to him and looks up at his face, he winks.
Too Wicked To Kiss is funny, sensual, entertaining and has a happily-ever-after. A must read!
Recommendations: If you like romances, this novel is a must read. I’m also recommending it to readers who like Sherlock Holmes, whodunits, Nancy Drew, mystery, romantic suspense, hot reads, Regency, historical and happily ever afters.
The sequel to Too Wicked To Kiss is set to release in the spring of 2011. Too Sinful To Deny is the story of a gossip-hungry heroine Miss Susan Stanton. Susan is Evangeline’s friend in book one. Something tells me there are lots of changes to come for Miss Stanton and some of which include…pirates!
Rating: 5 Stars
Buy: Too Wicked To Kiss
Zebra Books, An Imprint of Kensington Publishing Corp., Historical Romance, Regency, Paranormal, eARC, Copyright March 2, 2010, pages 451. ISBN (10) 142 010 9936. ISBN (13) 978-1420109931.