Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “Most people are fools who will believe whatever they want to believe, regardless of the truth.”
Lady Euphemia Marlington hasn’t been free in seventeen years—since she was captured by Corsairs and sold into a harem. Now the sultan is dead and Mia is back in London facing relentless newspapermen, an insatiably curious public, and her first Season. Worst of all is her ashamed father’s ultimatum: marry a man of his choosing or live out her life in seclusion. No doubt her potential groom is a demented octogenarian. Fortunately, Mia is no longer a girl, but a clever woman with a secret—and a plan of her own.
Adam de Courtney’s first two wives died under mysterious circumstances. Now there isn’t a peer in England willing to let his daughter marry the dangerously handsome man the ton calls The Murderous Marquess. Nobody except Mia’s father, the desperate Duke of Carlisle. Clearly, Mia must resemble an aging matron, or worse. However, in need of an heir, Adam will use the arrangement to his advantage.
But when the two outcasts finally meet, assumptions will be replaced by surprises, deceit by desire—and a meeting of minds between two schemers may lead to a meeting of hearts—if the secrets of their pasts don’t tear them apart.
I cut my historical teeth on Catherine Coulter, Jude Deveraux, and Julie Garwood. Bold overblown covers opened to outrageous conflicts, arrogant heroes and scheming heroines who were a joy to watch as they banter, demand, placate, and politely argued their way to their happily ever after. Dangerous is a novel that reminded me of why I love historical novels. Witty and full of life, adventure, intrigue, danger, and yummy love scenes, Spencer has built a winner with her hero and heroine. Mia and Adam are so wonderfully different yet they are perfectly matched. An intricate storyline and dynamic characters add to the overall appeal. Also…I HEART THIS COVER SO MUCH!!
Mia is a delightful heroine with a delicious sense of humor, a very strong will, and some extremely forward thoughts towards sex. An older woman who has not had to navigate the tricky waters of the ton, her time spent in the harem taught her how to get what she wants and she absolutely drives those around her insane. Very intelligent, astute, vivacious, and quite stubborn, she listens to those who have authority over her, nodding as if in agreement, and then goes off and does what she wants.
Adam de Courtney is a widower who has suffered multiple betrayals and has a few secrets of his own. Saddled with the moniker The Murderous Marquess, Adam walks on the fringes on society, maintaining an aloof and icy nature as a shield. Watching Adam deal with his attraction to Mia is quite emtional when you realize the reasons he is doing it. His past has left him cold and unable to completely trust anyone.
Their physical attraction is apparent from the beginning-lots of erotically sensual and funny scenes that leaves no doubt these two are sexually attracted to one another. I loved that Mia embraces her sexuality and Adam embraces her free spirit (at least in the bedroom).
Her expert touch sent him into an almost dreamlike state. She skillfully massaged his aching testicles while she stroked, the combination of sensations clearing any residual rational thoughts from his head. And then the wet softness of her mouth closed over him.
A groan tore out of his throat and he had to fight the urge to fist his hands in her hair and ram himself into her. But she didn’t need any assistance from him. She worked him ruthlessly, taking him deeper than he thought possible and bringing him all too quickly to the brink of a shattering orgasm before abruptly stopping. He stared at the canopy with unfocused eyes as a low, sensual laugh rippled from her wicked mouth through his taut body. And then she nipped the sensitive skin of his head and released him, crawling up his body until her head poked out from under the sheet. Adam lifted his head to look at her. She had an insufferably smug look on her face.
“You are so impatient,” she gently chided him, the words a mockery of his own from last night. She wiggled around under the sheet until she’d adjusted herself to her satisfaction, straddling him and sitting up, looming over him.
“Now then, my lord. Have you been wicked?”
Numerous subplots elevate this story too much more than a simple romance. Mia has survived the unimaginable and not only survived but triumphed. She knows she can’t avoid her father’s plans to marry her off but she can manipulate the outcome. She has plans in place and isn’t simply marrying just to escape her father’s heavy hand. She left her son in Africa, fighting his brother for control of their father’s kingdom, and she wants to get back to him and the world she understands and more importantly, understands her.
Adam’s first two wives played him false and he has children whom he is unable to connect with. Rumors concerning the death of his wives have caused the ton to reject him. He has surrendered against their viciousness and can’t help but feel Mia and her father are setting him up for yet another crushing blow. Though Adam comes off as a jerk at times, with is cold arrogance and cutting dialogue, there is a vulnerability there that pinches your heart. He knows his actions are wrong. He learns his lesson when dealing with his bride and repents in ways that leave no doubts to his feelings for her.
“What did I ever do to deserve you, Mia?”
“I don’t know. But I think you should make an effort to show some gratitude.”
“Is that all you think about?”
Vivacious secondary characters keep the story fresh and moving along at a steady pace. I can’t wait to read their stories. I have a fondness for “privateers” and Spencer has given us two whose charm, nosiness and hint of narcissism will leave you laughing and waiting for their much-needed comeuppance. Mia’s dad cares more for his social standing then over what the Mia endured, however, she does have an older brother who despite his autocratic ways, does love her and it shows. His attempts to “save her” from marrying Adam are hilarious.
“Mia!” a voice hissed behind her, making her jump. She turned to find her brother, partly hidden by a giant potted palm.
“What the devil are you doing back there, Cian?”
His eyes fixed on something over her shoulder. “Hurry, Mia, before he returns.” He held out his hand, as if she might take it and leap over the settee. “Come away with me now.”
Mia scowled. “Cian—”
“Hurry, he is coming back.”
Mia turned her back on his foolishness. The marquess was walking toward her with two glasses. She raised her fan to her face. “You should leave now, Cian.”
“I am trying to protect you.”
“I don’t need protection. Now, please go.”
The palm fronds rustled. “Mia, dammit.”
Exley stopped in front of her and held out a glass of champagne.
Mia lowered her fan and took the glass. “Thank you, my lord.”
“My pleasure.” He cast a lazy glance over her shoulder. “Are you comfortable behind the sofa, wedged beside that plant, Abermarle, or would you like to sit on the settee? Perhaps between me and your sister?”
I adored Mia’s son even though we don’t truly meet him till the end. Standing on the cusp of manhood, he fluctuates between love and exasperation for his mother and her actions. Their bond is obviously strong and the clues to his story promises much fun.
Plenty of humor intertwines within the story, balancing nicely with the emotional journey of our couple. Spencer’s talents are apparent as she takes two social outcasts and helps them navigate society and their own lives without cheapening the journey or the characters themselves. A powerful voice and a clear cut knowledge of her craft left this reader enchanted from beginning to end. I had a few issues but nothing that ruined the story. Mia becomes a bit obnoxious towards the end and I honestly had the fleeting thought that a valium would do her some good. I also found the conclusion to the issue concerning Adam’s daughters anti-climatic.
As with most romances, our hero and heroine have to run a pretty rough gauntlet in order to overcome their own objections to their being together. Their lack of trust and communication in one is a large part of their problem but time, honesty and love repairs even the most damaged souls. I enjoyed watching this older couple shed all their inhibitions and fears in order to go on the most powerful journey they’ve embarked on…falling in love.
Spencer’s debut makes her an author well worth watching in the future.