Public Scandal, Private Mistress, by Susan Napier

>> Saturday, February 19, 2011

TITLE: Public Scandal, Private Mistress
AUTHOR: Susan Napier

PAGES: 192
PUBLISHER: Harlequin Presents

SETTING: Contemporary France
TYPE: Category romance

REASON FOR READING: I'm not normally a fan of Harlequin Presents, but I do like Susan Napier

One night in Paris...

Stealing out of a Paris bedroom, leaving a sexy, dark-haired stranger asleep in bed, the usually sensible Veronica Bell has experienced her first one-night stand!

Hot passion in Provence!

Only things get tricky when she unexpectedly meets Lucien again - he's the stepson of her employer in the South of France! Lucien seems determined to seduce her back into his bed and make her his mistress. To Veronica, he's the mystery - so why is he so suspicious of who she is? Especially now that a public scandal threatens to put their life between the sheets all over the tabloid sheets...
I'm quite liking Napier's more recent books, especially that they have a bit of a more modern feel than her classic ones (to be fair, though, some of her older ones felt pretty different as well). Public Scandal, Private Mistress (and do I really need to tell you to completely disregard the idiotic and completely non plot-related title?) starts with New Zealander Veronica Bell doing something completely unlike her and propositioning the handsome Frenchman she's been ogling from the window of the Parisian flat she's staying in. They share a wonderful night, and then Veronica sneaks out and goes off on her way to Provence, just as planned.

What awaits her in Provence is a stint acting as assistant to a writer, filling in for her sister, who's trying to break into either the modelling of acting business (I forget which), and has the chance to do a shoot/audition or something like that. That business of filling in for her sister is one Presents authors do love, but this is not your typical Presents plot twist, with the doormat sister paying the consequences for the selfish sister. Veronica actually doesn't really mind covering for her sister, because it gives her the chance to do something she needs to do for her very new business, anyway.

It so turns out, though, that her temporary employer's stepson is none other than the "Frenchman" from whose bed she's just sneaked out. Lucien's not happy to see Veronica, as he doesn't quite believe it's a coincidence that the woman who got him into bed the night before just happens to be at his stepmother's. She must be up to something, obviously!

There's not much to the story, other than Veronica refusing Lucien (rightly, as he's being quite the obnoxious arse), and Lucien gradually unbending and becoming much nicer. It's quite a steamy story, and I had a lot of fun reading it. I only wish we'd seen part of the story from Lucien's POV, especially when he was behaving like an idiot (I'm one who absolutely HATED only having the heroine's POV in old-school books). We do get one tiny bit from his POV, in true Napier style (I wonder why she does that?), but that was nowhere near enough and just felt weird.

Finally, the Provence setting? Gorgeous.



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