Scandal of the Season, by Christie Kelley

>> Friday, February 20, 2015

TITLE: Scandal of the Season
AUTHOR: Christie Kelley

PAGES: 353

SETTING: Eartly 19th century England
TYPE: Romance
SERIES: 4th in the Spinsters Club series

A Daring Charade...

For ten years, Anthony Westfield, Viscount Somerton, hasn't been able to forget the woman with whom he spent one scandalous night. When their paths cross again, he's shocked to discover Victoria Seaton is an accomplished pickpocket. But Somerton leads a double life of his own. Working on an undercover assignment, he makes Victoria a proposition: pretend to be his mistress or risk ruin. Yet soon he's tempted to turn their charade into reality--and surrender to an explosive passion. . .

A Holiday To Remember...

Victoria can't believe the man who almost destroyed her life a decade ago is now threatening to unravel her secrets. But posing as his mistress at a holiday country party is a game she can play well. For just one look into Somerton's eyes still weakens her with lust. And with Christmas fast approaching, every kiss they share under the mistletoe only makes Victoria fall more deeply in love...

Another of my random picks from old stuff in the TBR. I'm starting to think I should maybe just delete anything that's been there for a few years, because I really haven't had much success.

The first scene has our hero, Anthony, drunk and being dragged along to a whorehouse by his friends, who are determined he should lose his virginity. He virtuously thinks he doesn't want to, and that some of the women might not be there willingly, but oh, well, he's horny, so maybe best not to think about icky things and just have a nice time. He only deflates when he comes face to face with the madame, who turns out to be his mother (!). His father had said she was dead, but instead there she is, running the most exclusive brothel in London. Angry Anthony refuses to listen and runs out, where he meets the pretty orange seller he's been ogling for days. He kisses her.

10 years later, scandalous rake Anthony, who also moonlights as a spy (that bit's not even surprising), is still looking for the orange seller. It seems like the forced kiss we just saw turned into sex against a wall, and he remembers the encounter as rape and wants to apologise (because why even consider whether the woman is at all interested in reencountering the man who raped her; Anthony's conscience will feel better, and everyone knows a man's conscience trumps a woman's potential terror). To find the mysterious woman, he's enlisted the help of his secret half-sister, who's a psychic (!). At a party, sis tells him she's finally found the woman and she's right in the next room! Hmmm, none of the servants look like the woman he remembers. But there's something familiar about the mousy vicar's daughter who's a friend of the hostess...

And then he gets home and someone's stolen the rubies he had in his pocket. He remembers the vicar's daugther bumped into him at the party. Aha, she's the former orange seller, and she's a pickpocket! (Don't worry, she's only a pickpocket to fund an orphanage she's founded). He must get the rubies back. And he's been given a new super-special spy mission, to steal a letter a nobleman will receive where someone else has thoughtfully written down all the details of a plot to assassinate the Prince Regent. This will all happen at a house party thrown by a very jealous host. Best bring a mistress with him! But he has no official mistress, and asking one of the many women he randomly fucks will give the silly woman ideas beyond her station. Oh, of course! What better idea than to blackmail the woman to whom he was just about to apologise for raping her into pretending to be his mistress? Because there's no reason she might feel uncomfortable about spending some private quality time with her rapist...

Ugh, what a mess of WTF. It's a cracked setup, plus, this is book 4 of a series, and it shows. Maybe some of the whatthefuckery would make a bit more sense if I'd read the previous 3 books... I'm guessing some of those elements must have been introduced with a bit more care. Here, they're just plunked down. Long-lost mum who runs a brothel! Psychic sister! Harebrained spy plots!

We also have a truly entitled, obnoxious hero I wanted to smack several times. What elastic morals he's got! I got to about 12% on this gem. It might have calmed down a bit after that, but I wasn't going to hang about to find out.

MY GRADE: A DNF, but the bits I read I would probably rate an F.


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