Read with: iBooks for iPad
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Scandal at the House of Russell, #1
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Hero: Adrian Bruton, Earl of Kilmartyn
Heroine: Bryony Arielle Josephine Russell
Date of Publication: August 20, 2013
Started On: September 5, 2013
Finished On: September 9, 2013
Anne Stuart is on the list of my utmost favorite authors though I discovered her books a bit late in my reading life. The one reason I love her books is how unabashedly honest she is with her characters and she brings to the romance genre the darkest heroes that you would encounter that makes them that much harder to forget and move on from after you are done reading a tale from her.
Never Kiss a Rake is her latest release and my very first historical romance from her. Book 1 in the Scandal at the House of Russell series, this series is focused on the 3 sisters of the Russell household who suddenly find themselves destitute with nowhere to turn to when their father is killed. Bryony the eldest of the three is determined that she would get to the bottom of everything and erase the black name from her family name that would provide the opportunity for her sisters to marry and lead respectable lives.
To embark on the journey which would bring her to the truth, Bryony takes the position of housekeeping at the home of Adrian Bruton, the Earl of Kilmartyn. While secrets shroud him and the life he shares with his wife, Bryony is definitely not prepared for the way she yearns for the beautiful man that Adrian is. Bryony is shocked to say the least with the wanton desire that takes a hold of her and refuses to let go, until she succumbs with her heart, body and soul to the man who holds all her senses enthralled.
Adrian is a man who is bound by circumstance to the life he leads. While he doesn’t trust Bryony to be who she says she is, Adrian cannot help himself with the way he yearns for her and wants her to succumb to the desire that is a visceral part of the fragile relationship that forges between them. With a killer who lurks freely amidst them, counting the days until he can complete the path of revenge he has chosen which gives this romance the edge that it requires, Never Kiss a Rake though it doesn’t offer the usual darkness and depravity that is part of Anne Stuart novels, nevertheless proved to be an entertaining read that kept me up late into the night.
I loved Adrian. What’s not to love about an Irish hero whose good looks alone is enough to make a woman swoon from his utter beauty alone? And then there is the way he gets under Bryony’s skin, the way he slowly seduces her into giving into the explosive passion that bursts into life between them from day one. Adrian is not the dark type of hero that Anne Stuart usually creates, but he is the perfect fit for someone matter of fact and practical like Bryony who needs more than her fair share of beauty and love in her life. And that in my opinion is what makes this book a winner.
Recommended for fans of Anne Stuart and historical romances with a bit of suspense in the mix.
Final Verdict: Anne Stuart is a master in storytelling, whichever genre she chooses to write.
Her breasts were hot, there was a tight feeling in her belly, and she wanted… she wanted… she couldn’t name what she wanted. She could only feel it.
And he was feeling it too, she knew it. That look was holding him captive as well, unable to move, staring down at her with fathomless emotion, need and doubt and surprise.
He moved closer, blotting out the fitful light, and she thought, now I am going to be kissed, really kissed, and she closed her eyes, preparing herself.
Instead, his mouth moved to her ear, and his teeth bit down on her earlobe. Instead of pain, warmth flooded her body, and her eyes flew open again. “Just so you know there are other, surprising places that can be almost as much fun as lips,” he whispered, before his mouth closed over hers.
Before she could say anything he kissed her again, no teasing this time, just a hungry demand, and she felt her body tremble with longing that she didn’t understand, could only feel. She wanted this man. She wanted to stay here, lie beneath him, have him push between her legs and take her as a man took a woman. It was wrong, it was selfish, and it didn’t matter.
Bryony tasted of cognac and salt tears and sweet, untutored lust. She tasted of the redemption he could never have, the fiery hell he was heading for.
She sucked in her breath. She could feel him everywhere, he possessed her, owned her, and she wanted to weep with the beauty of it. Because as she was his, he was hers, shaking in her arms, thrusting, a deliberate pace that began to grow faster.
He cursed, a low, guttural sex word, and twisted his hips against her, and the darkness hit, turning everything into a cataclysmic explosion that rocked every inch of her. She was barely aware that he’d pulled out of her, that warm wetness spread over her belly, and she would have cried out, but her voice was strangled in her throat, and then he covered her mouth with his, swallowing the last of her protest, the last of her passion, and she wanted him back inside her.