by Erica Ridley
review copy provided by: the author
Tampa author Erica Ridley debuts with a fine little gothic romance novel, Too Wicked To Kiss, in which she introduces us to Evangeline Pemberton, a young woman so desperate to escape the hands of her lecherous father that she’ll do anything. Even if it means being companion to a woman and her mother who aren’t that far above her father, in terms of their morals. Since rumor has it that Gavin Lioncroft is a man with a reputation that makes him the subject of gossip, far and wide. And it doesn’t make him a man with which Evangeline feels comfortable spending any time, let alone passing time at a party. But as the charge of the greedy Stanton’s, she can do nothing but agree to help in their scheme to entrap Gavin into marriage with their daughter Susan.
With them come a host of assorted characters—from Gavin’s sister and nieces, to his loathsome brother-in-law, an elderly man seeking his assistance in a marriage contract, and his sister’s drunkard brother in law—and Gavin is none-too-happy at the intrusion into his home, spending as little time as he can away from him, even resorting to using the mansions secret passageways to escape the ever growing group. But there’s something about Evangeline that intrigues him, something enticing. The attraction is instantly mutual, and several stolen kisses ensue . . . But Evangeline is keeping a secret from him that has nothing to do with why the Stantons are here, but it is something very strange—and fortuitous—as it just might help him escape the noose, when his brother in law Lord Heatherington is found murdered, and thanks to a row between them, suspicion falls upon Gavin.
Unless of course, Evangeline’s lecherous, hateful father arrives before they can unmask the murderer, and declare their growing passion for one another.
So what happens? Well, you know you just have to read this one to find out!
Erica Ridley’s Too Wicked To Kiss is a fine debut Regency romance novel, and has all the right ingredients: a touch of heat and spice, a surly and dark hero, a determined and likeable heroine, but she also made sure it was replete with despicable villains, hidden corridors and strange happenings, reminiscent of the Gothic romances of old, ala the Brontë sisters—which this reader thought quite a nice touch. I think anyone who is a fan of the classic gothic romances will find much to love here. Do check it out; I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
my rating for this one?