NEVER KISS A RAKE is the first book in bestselling author, Anne Stuart’s new Scandal at the House of Russell series and if this story is a fair indication of what is to come in the rest of the books, I will be needing to stock up on some strong coffee. (Because I definitely won’t be getting any sleep on release days!)

Anguished by death. Driven by revenge.

Bryony Russell and her two sisters are left destitute by the disgrace and unexpected death of their father, a wealthy shipping magnate. He left a cryptic note, and Bryony is determined to find the real villain and clear her father’s name. In disguise as a servant, Bryony infiltrates the home of her father’s business partner to find proof of his guilt…or innocence. It’s not just clues that Bryony finds, but temptation too…

Adrian Bruton, Earl of Kilmartyn, immediately suspects there is something not quite right about his new housekeeper. The brooding, irresistible rake plays along because he has his own guilty secrets, and his venal, scheming wife holds the key to them, trapping him in a hate-filled marriage. But against his will he’s fascinated by Bryony, seeing past the scars on her face to show her the beauty she never knew she had. Bryony must uncover the truth and attempt to preserve her father’s legacy, before things go too far and she falls in love with a man who might very well be her worst enemy.

First off, I love the fact that Bryony is not your typical heroine. She’s not a perfect beauty and her biggest flaw is that she has allowed her vain mother’s thoughtless treatment of her destroy her self image. But beyond that she is strong, fiesty and more than a match for the, possibly dangerous and seductive hero, Adrian.

Speaking of Adrian…

With a skewed moral compass, a nasty wife and a taste for absinthe, Adrian is not exactly your typical hero either.

Adrian and Bryony’s story was extremely entertaining…

From any other writer these atypical characters plus the fact that the hero is married, would be a huge turn off, but having read several of Anne Stuart’s previous books, I didn’t have any doubts about how well she would make these “drawbacks” actually work for the story to make it a strong and highly engaging read…and she did!

Finally and this might be considered a bit spoilerish…

The ending is again—not-typical—in that there is not a perfect, happily ever after on the last page, but instead you are left with the strong promise that there will be and a deep desire to see how the mystery surrounding these romances unfold in the next book.

All and all, Adrian and Bryony’s story was extremely entertaining, their atypical characters were refreshing, the villain(s) gothically wicked and I can’t wait to see what the other two Russell sisters get themselves into when NEVER TRUST A PIRATE and NEVER MARRY A VISCOUNT hit the book store shelves!

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About the Reviewer

Teresa Spreckelmeyer
Teresa St. Mary - Teresa, is a wearer of many hats (figuratively) including, mother, wife, graphic designer, event planner, web developer and a self-admitted, avid reader of historical romance novels. Although Teresa is a “small town girl” (again, figuratively) from Missouri, through her various workings with clients and events, in and out of the west coast entertainment industry, she laughingly refers to Los Angeles as her second home. Teresa has produced marketing design work for actors, directors, writers and film studios, among others and played a strong behind-the-scenes role in the creation of entertainment oriented, fundraising events in both Los Angeles and Las Vegas over the past nine years.