Tempting a Proper Lady
By Debra Mullins
Release Date: June 8, 2010
Cilla, widowed after a disastrous marriage and estranged from her family because of her marriage, is determined to be independent. Annabelle’s wedding to Raventhorpe is her opportunity to forge a career for herself as a planner of society weddings. Helping Samuel will meet forfeiting her chance at securing her future as an independent career woman. But Cilla knows the effects of marriage to an untrustworthy male, and she can’t discount Captain Breedlove’s tales.
Working together to uncover the deeds of the villainous Raventhorpe, Cilla, a woman who has sworn to make herself vulnerable to no man, and Samuel, who believes he is incapable of love, find themselves passionately attracted to one another. They strike a bargain. Cilla will work to persuade Annabelle to jilt Raventhorpe, and Samuel will become Cilla’s lover and teach her how to distinguish desire from love. Matters become even more complicated when love enters a relationship that was supposed to be only about desire.
I admit that I struggled to suspend disbelief concerning the bargain, and I prefer my villains more complex and less undiluted evil than Raventhorpe. But these difficulties are balanced by my delight in a setting that blends elements of America’s Gilded Age with England’s Victorian Era. I also found both major and minor characters a refreshing change. Samuel is a self-made man who rises from poverty to great wealth, Cilla is the daughter of an admiral, the Baileys are Molly Brown types, and secondary characters John Ready and highwayman Black Bill with their secrets are particularly intriguing. Additionally, the love scenes between Cilla and Samuel sizzle.
Tempting a Proper Lady is the first book in a new trilogy, the Brides of Nevarton Chase. Mullins said in an interview that the next book will be John’s story. I certainly plan to stick around for that one.