SCANDAL OF THE SEASON by Christie Kelley
October 1, 2010 - Kensington Publishing Corporation - Mass Market Paperback, 352 pages
This book sparkles like diamonds and dazzles like rubies
Are we able to recover from the traumatic, life altering decisions our parents make when we are young? Do these choices make you rise to the challenge to be better than expected or close off your heart and only feel the winter cold surrounding us? Do all bad things happen in December making it the worst month of the year?
Lord Anthony Westfield, Viscount Somerset had his entire existence shaken at the age of 18 when he discovered secrets his parents thought long buried. The destruction to his life their choices created once discovered set off a night of drunken discourse and an encounter with the beautiful street urchin Victoria. While this liaison between Anthony and Victoria seemed tragic to him it was magical to her and both moved on with their lives neither forgot the other. When they meet again 10 years later Anthony tries to apologize for his misdeeds only to discover Victoria has a secret as well and one as equally damaging as his. Always a man to manipulate a good situation Anthony proposes an arrangement to have Victoria pretend to be his mistress so that he can conduct government business under the rouse of Victoria as his mistress. He knows he is drawing her into a dangerous situation but reconciles this fact with the one that there will be a monetary gain for her and the orphans she raises. But he wonders is that the only reason he wants her next to him every night or could there be something else drawing him to her?
Once they are secured at the house party in the country Anthony begins to spin a long list of lies that Victoria goes along with and her natural curiosity draws her into this very dangerous game. She has many hidden talents but Anthony still has issues with trust and neither of them really wants to reveal their past transgressions or what it is that has turned them into such cynical and distant individuals.
Yet as the nights grow colder and the bed they share seems to grow smaller Anthony and Victoria know that the passion is real, the temptation too much to resist and the feelings they have for one another deep enough to overcome whatever secrets each is holding back from the other. But can a titled man allow himself to love and live out his days with a woman of common means – that is a question Anthony must answer and the quicker the better as the mission is coming to a fast conclusion and Victoria may be gone when it is over. So maybe something good does happen during the Christmas Season after all.
This could have been a sad story of youthful tragedies and how they ruin you. But instead Ms. Kelley writes about finding love and the magic that brings into your life. Both Anthony and Victoria have depth in their individual characters to carry the story alone but once combined they are dynamic and you are exploding with anticipation about what is coming in the next chapter. The addition of secondary characters from the prior books is always a favorite of mine as I am a reader curious about what happens after the story ends and now I know!