His Wicked Reputation (Wicked #1)
Jove / March 3, 2015 / $7.99 print, $5.99 digital
She was a sensible woman.
He was a man who could drive a woman senseless with desire.
Gareth Fitzallen is celebrated for four things: his handsome face, his notable charm, his aristocratic connections, and an ability to give the kind of pleasure that has women begging for more. Normally he bestows his talents on experienced, worldly women. But when he heads to Langdon’s End to restore a property he inherited—and to investigate a massive art theft—he lays plans to seduce a most unlikely lady.
Eva Russell lives a spinster’s life of precarious finances and limited dreams while clinging to her family’s old gentry status. She supports herself by copying paintings while she plots to marry her lovely sister to a well-established man. Everyone warns her of Gareth’s reputation, and advises her to lock her sister away. Only it is not her sister Gareth desires. One look, and she knows he is trouble. One kiss, however, proves she is no match for this master of seduction.
I'm trying to think of the right word to describe the feel of this historical romance. It's certainly not dated, nor is it what I'd usually call Old Skool. I think the word is “classic.” This is a classic handsome rake/virgin spinster story. But given that it's written by Madeline Hunter, there's one thing you can absolutely count on: the heroine will be neither silly nor wimpy.
It starts off a series about three brothers, all of whom are finding it hard to mourn their fourth brother, the late duke of Aylesbury. Gareth Fitzallen particularly hated Percy, who never accepted his illegitimate half-brother and had kept Gareth's legacy from their father tied up in the courts. Fortunately, Gareth's other half-brothers are quite different. When Ives (don't call him Ywain) asks Gareth to help investigate the mysterious loss of many valuable paintings, he kills two birds with one stone by starting the investigation from his abandoned, derelict property. But he's quickly distracted by his new neighbor, impoverished gentlewoman Eva Russell.