Miss Evangeline Pemberton can see the Future. Sometimes. The Past, too, although that tends to be less useful, as she can’t change what’s already happened.
One might think the most irksome characteristic of her alleged “gift” is that said visions are followed by debilitating headaches. Or that they’ve got her running for her life. But no. By far the most vexing quirk is that these fantasies accompany all skin-to-skin contact. Which means she can’t touch anyone. Not even the tall, dark, and brooding recluse in her Present.
Gavin Lioncroft is a wealthy committed bachelor with nothing but time on his hands. Well, and blood. (But he’s not telling how that got there.) And an impromptu house party. (He hasn’t the slightest idea how that happened.)
His very first night back in the bosom of High Society and the man he threatens to kill turns up dead. Good. The cad had it coming. But just because he’s dodged the hangman’s noose before, doesn’t mean Gavin will get away with murder again. And this time, there’s no fading into the shadows. The only chance of saving his neck is by risking his heart–to the one woman from whom he can hide nothing.
Too Wicked to Kiss by Erica Ridley
March 2, 2010
Historical Paranormal Romance
Paperback, 352 Pages
Reviewed by Mandi
Evangeline Pemberton has a gift – one that has caused her much drama and heartache in the past. When she touches someone, she gets a glimpse into that person’s life – whether it is in the future or the past, she has no control. It gives her debilitating headaches as a result, and in many instances she has been labeled a witch. She has run from one bad situation, only to find herself mixed up in something way above her head. Her mother passed away recently at the hand of her step-father, the very man Evangeline is running from. Not having many options, she goes under the wing of Lady Stanton and her daughter Susan to a house party. Susan has had trouble of her own, and is disgraced in ton society. The only option her mother sees of Susan landing a husband, lies with Gavin Lioncroft. He may be more than she bargained for though. Arriving at the house, he is incensed his sister, Lady Hetherington invited guests and his demeanor is cold at best. Worse, rumors are swirling that he has committed murder in the past, including killing his own parents.
With a house full of people, all Gavin wants to do is retreat into the shadows. But there is something about Evangeline that catches his attention. She holds his eye when he stares at her and doesn’t simper and cower in fear as everyone else does. When a guest turns up dead, by an unnatural cause, the house goes into an uproar. All fingers point to Gavin as the perpetrator – but Evangeline knows there were lots of people sneaking around that night – and she is going to stay to prove it. Soon, Gavin and Evangeline become unlikely allies, in investigating and love.
Too Wicked to Kiss really does feature quite a wicked hero in Gavin Lioncroft, or “Lionkiller” as he is nicknamed. He is cold and brooding and suffers throughout life alone. At this point in his life, he could care less what people accuse him of. He doesn’t really have anything to motivate him, until Evangeline comes into his life. Evangeline stands up for herself, and doesn’t take nonsense from anyone. He knows something is off with her when he sees her flinch when she touches people, and he soon uses her to help solve the murder case in his house.
Being used is something Evangeline is used too, but the more she gets to know Gavin, the more she doesn’t want him to use her. She wants to help him escape being hanged for a crime he didn’t commit, but there is a tricky line between trusting someone who everyone sees as a murderer. Can she make that leap? And can he accept that someone may see him as a man, and not just a murderer? They go on an interesting journey, fraught with romantic tension.
While I enjoyed the spooky house and many murder suspects, there are a few things that bothered me. First, Gavin has a dark past, and everyone believes he is responsible for his parent’s death. He is wild, and untamed and anything but a gentlemen. Yet, Lady Stanford thinks he is an acceptable solution to her daughter’s fall from grace? After they find the murdered guest, everyone automatically assumes Gavin is guilty. Yet they talk about him as the murderer right in front of him – almost like – Haha, you killed him, so when is dinner served? If the guests actually fear him like they supposedly do, I didn’t feel the joking nature of murder would be present.
Also, when Evangeline touches Gavin, she sees no glimpses. He is the only person she can touch and have peace. This is never explained. It even isn’t made into that big of a deal when discussed. I would have liked more of the story dedicated to this interesting development.
Too Wicked to Kiss had the potential to be a unique gothic murder mystery book. However, it seemed to be a bit over-played with scenarios that didn’t always make sense.