I really struggled to make it through this book. I love the idea of a noble hero who tries to avoid passion and keep a cool control, getting totally thrown for a loop by a headstrong heroine. The story’s premise drew me in. But it moved very slowly, and frankly, I found it just plain boring. The characters are largely superficial. There is too much narrative to wade through between snatches of dialogue. There’s just no emotion. I didn’t care.
As the story begins, the heroine, Jessamin, is struggling to keep her father’s bookstore afloat. When she inherited it after his death, it was already in terrible shape financially. A lady’s offer to pay her 100 pounds to seek revenge on a dour lord is a proposition she can’t resist. All she has to do is lay a kiss on Lucian, Lord Grimsby, in public. It actually ends up being quite pleasant. But the scandal causes Jessamin more trouble than she bargained for and she ends up losing her bookstore anyway and taking a job as a companion to Lucian’s aunt.
Lucian has plans to marry an American girl with a healthy dowry to help him rebuild his crumbling family home. But once Jessamin enters his life, he can think of no other woman but her. The two of them dance around their attraction for a little while, but it’s only a matter of time before they admit their true feelings.
So much of the story felt contrived. Like the very plot that threw Lucian and Jess together. He didn’t even remember the encounter that sparked the revenge plot. And as we got to know the woman who orchestrated it, it didn’t even make sense. I kept waiting for there to be more to her hurt feelings, but there wasn’t. Then, there is the plot itself. How much could a kiss really harm a man’s reputation anyway? Maybe that would cause concern for a woman, but for a man? No.
Why did Lucian’s aunt take Jess under her wing? I kept waiting for some matchmaking, but that kind of fizzled. Lucian’s father, who was supposed to be a big roadblock, fizzled. The American girl and her father fizzled. And then, when everything should be settled, Jess does something totally stupid. That was the closest thing to feels this story gave me: irritation.
Everything about this book is lackluster… from the plot, to the pacing, the characterization to the romance and the sex. Just, meh at best. I wish I had better news. This was my first read from Christy Carlyle and I don’t see myself reading from her again.
*ARC provided by Avon
Click to purchase: Amazon
One Scandalous Kiss
by Christy Carlyle
Release Date: September 8, 2015
Publisher: Avon Impulse