Saturday, April 21, 2012

Invitation to Scandal by Bronwen Evans

Rheda Kerrich thinks her days of smuggling are going to come to an end when she is trapped against a tree from her latest smuggle, a barrel of wine.  She is sure one of the men on patrol will find her and question her and then a magnificent horse appears with a mysterious man on his back.  Rufus Knight, Viscount Strathmore, is on the hunt for the elusive smuggling ring leader, Dark Shadow and knows he has stumbled upon a woman who must be in the ring and will surely lead him to the answers he desires to clear his late fathers name.  Being a master of seduction, he attempts to seduce the surely un-innocent woman and is roundly put in his place and Rheda manages to escape without revealing her true identity.  She tries to put the man out of her mind but she finds it hard to do but has a harder time putting the magnificent stallion as he is the last piece of the puzzle she needs to get her horse breeding business going.  Rheda cleverly thinks up a plan to 'borrow' the stallion but is unfortunately caught and forced to agree to a bargain with Rufus, otherwise her latest scandal will be told to her brother.  As Rheda tries to protect all her secrest, Rufus is intent on uncovering them all and at the same time, these two attempt to deny the smoldering attraction between them.  Who is the elusive Dark Shadow and will Rufus and Rheda be able to let go of the past to find a future together?

I really enjoyed this book!  I wasn't sure if I was going to like the whole smuggling aspect of it as that really isn't my preference, but there was so much more to this story!  I loved that Rheda wanted to start a horse breeding business and we got to see a bit of what it takes to do that...and at the same time see the attraction bloom between our couple during a lesson.  Rheda is determined to never be controlled by a man, like her mother was, determined not to fall in love with a man who does not return her love and it has made her bold, impulsive and fiercely protective of her heart.  When Rufus arrives, determined to prove that his father did not betray his country and give his sister and mother back the social standing they lost, she is intrigued and drawn to this dark, protective man but knows that once he knows the full truth of her past, Rufus will want nothing to do with her and her heart will be lost.  There is also a secondary, smaller, storyline that involves the disappearance of young boys that leads to a villain written so vile, it adds another layer to this wonderfully layered story.

Overall, this was a well-written, smoldering, sexy story that was a pleasure to read!  Rufus and Rheda were perfect for each other and overcame the obstacles to their hearts in a true manner, all without jumping into bed together at the first opportunity.  There is humor, heart and plenty of hot action that will leave you flipping the pages long into the night.  The added twist of the vile villain adds a bit of unease but was also unexpected and leaves a bit of an opening for a follow up book that I am eager to read!  Recommended for fans of stubborn heroes and heroines who fall hard for each other, but it takes a life or death situation to bring all the feelings to the surface, mixed with supporting characters that add wonderfully to the storyline with a good dose of passion and some humor.  4 solid stars.

Thanks to Kensington Books, Brava, for providing me with this ARC!

Related book
Not necessary to read beforehand but a few characters make appearances in Invitation to Scandal Invitation to Ruin  


  1. This sounds like an amazing and very exciting read. I love a story that incorporates danger, intrigue and romance, and I also like the smuggling part.

    Bronwen is an amazing author, and I can't wait to read this.

    dpd333 (at) aol dot com

    1. I think you will really enjoy it Diane! The smuggling bit was very well done but didn't overshadow the story for me, which I appreciated! I'm really looking forward to more books from Browen as I have enjoyed all three so far :)

    2. I'm looking forward to reading this Lisa. I've read a couple of Bronwen's books and really enjoyed them. :-)