Tuesday, May 25, 2010
YotH: In Pursuit of a Scandalous Lady by Gayle Callan
Every gentleman is wondering: Who is the beauty in the scandalous nude portrait hanging in one of London's most fashionable clubs? Is it true that she's a member of the ton? Who would be so daring? So reckless?
Julian Delane, Earl of Parkhurst, has a good idea. So good, in fact, that he's willing to make a wager on it. If only the bet were all that's at stake…
Determined to clear the family name from a scandal that claimed his father's life, Julian believes the ravishing model will lead him to answers. Rebecca Leland—spirited, adventurous, with a bit of a wild streak—is just as determined to evade his questions. But when Julian finally corners his quarry, he may find Rebecca well worth the pursuit.
This is the start of a trilogy. Julian and his friends come upon Rebecca and her sister and cousin trying to steal a portrait from their men's club. They claim that the naked portrait is of one of them. The men bet the ladies that they can figure out who is in the portrait.
This first story is about Rebecca (sister of the hero in Never Marry a Stranger) and Julian, Earl of Parkhurst. The woman in the portrait was wearing a diamond that belonged to Julian's family, and he wants it back. Since Rebecca was in possession of the diamond, he focuses on her. She received the diamond from the artist, and assuming it was paste, he gave it to her to keep. Someone else is apparently after the diamond as well, and when Rebecca is accosted, she and Julian go on the road to find the artist and determine how he came in possession of it.
This road trip story was pretty good. I wish the element of suspense hadn't been in there, or at least that the villain wasn't so obvious. It made what was an otherwise wonderful story somehow less outstanding.
Julian is remarkably open, as is Rebecca. One of the things I liked so much is that these two really talk to each other. And they take care of each other. On the road, they pose as husband and wife, but Julian is determined not to take Rebecca's virginity. She, on the other hand, is determined that they will make love, even though she's not exactly sure what that entails. As they become closer, and share more of their pasts and learn what drives each other, you can see the love bloom between them. The final scene really touched me and made me smile.
I know this is really disjointed, and I really need to stop writing reviews late at night, LOL. Bottom line is overall I really enjoyed this book. There were a few things that seemed contrived (like the villain), but otherwise this was a beautiful character study of Julian and Rebecca. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series