Thursday, September 01, 2011

RIPE FOR SCANDAL by Isobel Carr

RIPE FOR SCANDAL – Isobel Carr
The League of Second Sons, Book 2
Grand Central’s Forever
ISBN: 978-0-446-57273-6
September 2011
Historical Romance

England 1784

Among London’s private gentlemen’s clubs, there is one hardly anyone knows about. Founded by a group of second sons of noblemen for mutual aid and companionship, it eventually expanded to include their younger brothers as well. Written into their charter is this idea: Our fathers and brothers may rule the world, but we run it. Important among these gentlemen is loyalty, honor, and the ability to count on each other. One of the tacit rules is that sisters are out of bounds. This provides somewhat of a hardship for Mister Gareth Sandison, the second son of an earl, for he is attracted to the sister of his best friend and fellow member, Lord Leonidas Vaughn. As a second son with little independent income, Gareth has no hope of winning the daughter of a duke. His only choice is to ignore her and continue his liaisons with widows and unhappy wives.

Lady Boudicea Vaughn (or Beau) has had several seasons but found no one who matches up to Gareth Sandison, the embodiment of her dreams since she was a child. While she laughs and flirts with her many suitors, Gareth ignores her. Lady Beau’s beauty, huge dowry, and her father’s rank make her a prime target for fortune hunters. So one day as she leaves a London library, she’s abducted on the street and tossed into a carriage right under the noses of her own footman and the world. Now, Beau is no shrinking violet; she has in fact rescued herself from similar attempts at forced elopements and managed to keep them from the public. But this time her struggles are futile; they are on the Great North Road to Scotland before she is even once let out of the carriage.

Gareth is traveling north himself (on horseback) when he sees Beau getting into a carriage with a man. He doesn’t see that she is being coerced but imagines she’s eloping. Her brother Leo had asked him to look after her (never mind that Gareth might be jealous) so he sets out to save her from ruining herself. He stops the carriage in the guise of a highway man and rides away with Beau.

Perhaps inspired by the Celtic warrior queen she’s named after, Lady Boudicea is not afraid to go after what she wants, and what she wants now is Gareth. She’s ruined anyway, so why not entice him to keep going to Gretna Green? And that’s just the beginning…

What follows is an exciting tale of sensuous romance, seduction, and misunderstandings that test loyalties and trust among family and friends. Conflict abounds, both within the essentially honorable hero and heroine, and from the outside in the form of selfish family members, scurrilous gossip mongering, an outright villain (and a maybe not so outright one), and an innocent child.

An appealing mixture of fun and danger, I was soon caught up in RIPE FOR SCANDAL and sorry to have missed its predecessor, RIPE FOR PLEASURE, which chronicles Leo Vaughn’s story. Isobel Carr is an author I will watch for in the future. She also writes as Kalen Hughes and has an interesting website under that name.

Jane Bowers

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