To Tempt A Rake
Book 3, Circle of Sin series
by Cara Elliott
Publisher: Grand Central
Release Date: January 25, 2011
As heat speared through the thin layers of silk and wool, like a hot blade melting butter, Kate tried to quell the liquid quickening of her pulse. Don’t, she warned herself. Oh, don’t react. It would be flirting with dancer – nay utter disgrace – to encourage the attentions of Giovanni Marco Musto della Ghiradelli.
Of all the men in London, he was the only one who might recognize the truth . . .
Born to an American sailor and an English lady, Kate Woodbridge is not your everyday, ordinary granddaughter of a duke. Shunning English society and more importantly ducal family obligations, Kate’s mother chose love over duty and thus provided Kate a childhood spent on the seven seas of the world with pirate parents. This unusual upbringing has given Kate an unconventional education in the ways of the world. When both parents catch a fever in a foreign port and are on their death beds making final requests, Kate quickly agrees to move to England and acquaint herself with the grandfather she has never known . . . the Duke of Cluyne. Navigating the seas of the ton proves far more difficult than sailing through the Straights of Gibraltar. Thank goodness Kate has made friends with a group of intellectual women, known as the Circle of Sin. This group of women discuss more than what color gown to wear to the night’s festivities. Discussions of art, science and botany abound aplenty in the Circle of Sin.
By all accounts, Giovanni Marco Musto della Ghiradelli is a rakehell and a scoundrel. With his devil-may-care attitude and his devastatingly handsome good looks, Marco has no problem keeping his bed filled with willing companions. But behind the façade of a rogue with no worries lies an intelligent mind and bodily strength that can gift the enemy with the kiss of death. The perfect combination and a necessity for a secret agent of the English government.
Kate and Marco first encounter one another during the wedding celebration of a mutual friend. The interaction between the two is filled with tension and sparks. While neither one is ready to admit an attraction to the other, both come away from the first meeting with strong reactions.
Here are Marco’s thoughts . . .
“To be sure, Kate Woodbridge was no ordinary young lady. But it was not just her brains that set her apart. There was an unexpected glint of grittiness shading her lovely aquamarine eyes. As if she had seen the grim realities of the world outside of the gilded confines of Mayfair’s mansions.”
Here are Kate’s thoughts . . .
“No man ought to have such long, luxurious lashes. Or for that matter, such exquisite brandy-gold eyes, or such a supremely sensual mouth. Kate quickly looked back at the painting. And it was most unfair of the Almighty to bless a rakehell rogue with beautiful bones and hair that tumbles in sin-black curls to kiss the ridge of his shoulders.”
Kate and Marco once again encounter each other during a country house party at Kate’s grandfather’s estate. While Kate is in attendance to appease the Duke, Marco is there at the command of his boss. Several top European officials are attending the Duke’s country affair and Marco is to spy on most of them. With peace talks commencing in Vienna in a few short weeks, many under-the-table government deals are afoot. As more and more time is spent in each other’s company, Kate and Marco begin to come closer in mind and body, including one extremely steamy love scene in the ducal conservatory. But when a high level European official is murdered during the house party and Kate becomes the prime suspect, things in this love affair begin to get very complicated. Determined to prove her innocence, Kate reluctantly agrees to accept help from Marco, her grandfather and even the English government.
To Tempt A Rake is a wonderful offering by Cara Elliott. While I have not read any of the previous Circle of Sin books, I enjoyed this one so much that I intend to seek out the others. As you already know, Kate is not your normal English heroine. She is full of spunk, attitude and independence. And that is what attracts Marco, a man who believes his heart is too black (because of his bad deeds) to love. I love watching the self-constructed walls of these characters crumble under the weight of love. If you are searching for a book without cookie cutter characters, I recommend you pick this one up!