Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “I do not judge you for your past and I will defend against anyone who do.”
Viscount Neville, Leif Riley, is considered a scoundrel who enjoys the attentions of wealthy woman for money. Though many only see a charming seductive rake, not many know of the reasons behind his facade. He is desperate to restore his ancestral home to its former glory and hopefully break the curse that has repeatedly destroyed his family through the ages. When he sees Abbigael Granger, he thinks he has found a way to make all his dreams come true.
Irish Heiress Abbigael Granger (Abby) has come to London in order to secure her future. Circumstances from her childhood has left her with a secret that could destroy her chances of a normal life with a husband and children. She has only one chance to make her dreams come true and a scandalous rake doesn’t figure into those plans.
Circumstances force Leif to kidnap Abby and spirit her away to Gretna Green. He does offer Abby a choice in the matter and she agrees; she will get her husband and children and he will get the money he needs. But Abby and Leif soon find that love has a funny way of deriding all the best laid plans. As Abby and Leif discover overwhelming pleasure in the marriage bed, both wonder if they can find pleasure out of it.
When I first requested Reckless Viscount by Amy Sandas, I was sure I was going to get a lightweight humorous marriage of convenience romance. I was wrong. Reckless Viscount is a emotional love story about two completely different people who meet and discover the missing pieces to their soul. A visually impacting romance that focuses heavily the protagonists and their journey towards love, forgiveness, and redemption. Delicious emotional dialogue and lush sensual scenes paint a vivid picture that stays with you long after the end. Sanda’s has an intriguing prose that speaks directly to the romantic at heart.
I absolutely adored Abby and Leif. Two intelligent, strong, witty people who find themselves attracted despite their misgivings. They were a joy to get to know. So different yet so much alike. It’s their loneliness that calls them to one another. Their dialogue is humorous, sexy, and heartbreaking as we watch Abby and Leif struggle to adjust to their impulsive marriage and the consequences that come with it.
Leif is a delightfully sexy beta hero with a heart of gold and a gentle commanding nature. Though tragic circumstances forced him into a role he now plays somewhat unwillingly, I found he is so much more than he allows you to see. His lighthearted commentary and abundant flirting belies the darkness that he harbors in his soul.
Abby delights the reader as we peel back her layers and find she isn’t the normal innocent miss whom is usually found on the marriage market. Nor is she as malleable as Leif thinks. She has a unique way of looking at people and situations and instantly knows the best way to handle them. Though this wasn’t the way she wanted to get married, she is attracted to Leif and agrees to go through with the “kidnapping.” She is honest with him from the start, telling him about her secret and goes into their marriage with hope for their future.
The chemistry between them sparks from the first moment they meet and only continues to flame brighter and brighter as time passes. Though not an erotic romance, Sanda writes some incredibly sensual and racy love scenes that she uses to explore our hero and heroine’s physical and emotional hearts. We are able to see past their public facades and into their very souls.
“You unravel me,” he whispered against her panting mouth.
Leif knows he is not what Abby needs. His past has his heart securely caged and he feels he is undeserving of her happiness and love.
“Love is just a word men and women toss around when they are trying to get something from each other.”
Regardless of Leif’s thoughts, you can’t help but fall in love with him. While he is manipulative to certain extent, he isn’t a chest beating alpha. He carries a lot of guilt for forcing Abby into marriage and also for his attraction to her. Watching Leif fight his attraction for her is heartbreaking, especially when you realize the reasons he is doing it. He feels deep inside that he isn’t any good for her. His past has left him cold and unable to completely trust anyone and he honestly believes he carries a taint that he cannot bear to see touch Sara.
“He had never felt so deeply entangled in a woman’s reaction. There was an odd hint of desperation hovering in the muted light of the room. He feared the desperation came from himself and that suspicion created a feeling in his bones that was both disturbing and incredibly arousing.”
Fear soon overrides his common sense and we watch as our couple begins to disintegrate as Leif is unable to stop the loathing that resides within him.
“He hadn’t realised until just now that lately he had been playing the game with only the necessary physical facilities, allowing his internal involvement to withdraw further and further. But last night, he had been present and invested in every moment. […] There was just no way he could have anticipated what that would do to him in turn. And now he paid the price for it, feeling coldly stripped bare.“
It is at this point that we see what Abby is truly made of. And she is glorious in her fight for Leif’s love.
Though we don’t see much of the secondary characters, they are prominent in our protagonists lives. Humor intertwines within the story, balancing nicely with the emotional angst and drama. I especially liked that Leif wasn’t a jerk. Not to say he wasn’t an arse at times, because he was. But he doesn’t treat our heroine like she is less than him or that she should be embarrassed by anything she feels or does. When they get together, Leif treasures and nurtures everything about her-never breaking the vibrant spirit that originally attracted him to her.
As per most romances, Leif and Abby have to run a pretty rough gauntlet in order to overcome obsticles that block their path to their happily ever after. Sandas’ chooses an interesting abet often used set of circumstances that allows Leif to understand and accept the depths of his love for her.
Ah l’amour. I enjoyed this story and the wonderful hero and heroine who shed all their inhibitions and face their greatest fears in order to go on the most powerful and painful journey they ever embarked on…falling in love.
Overall Rating: B+