Monday, April 10, 2017

Review & Tour: A Study in Scoundrels by Christy Carlyle

Title: A Study in Scoundrels
Author: Christy Carlyle
Genre/Age: Historical Romance/Adult
Series: Romancing the Rules Series (Book Two)
PublisherAvon Impulse
Format: ebook via Tasty Tours
Rating: ✺✺✺
SynopsisSophia Ruthven is the epitome of proper behavior. On paper at least, as long as that paper isn’t from one of the lady detective stories she secretly pens. She certainly isn’t interested in associating with the dashing Jasper Grey, the wayward heir to the Earl of Stanhope, and one of the stage’s leading men. But when she learns Grey’s younger sister Liddy has gone missing, she can’t deny her desire to solve the mystery…or her attraction to the incorrigible scoundrel.

Responsibility isn’t something Grey is very familiar with. On the boards and in the bedroom, he lives exactly how he wants to, shunning all the trappings of respectability and society. Grey knows he should avoid the bewitching Sophia, but he’s never been able to say no to what he wants. And having Sophia in his arms and his bed is quickly becoming the thing he wants the most. 

As Sophia and Grey’s search for Liddy continues across the English countryside, can this scoundrel convince a proper lady that he’s actually perfect for her or will their adventure leave them both heartbroken?

NOTE: Adult Content Ahead

Laughter tickled his ears. Weight bore down on his chest, draped over his hips. A soft weight, pliant under his hands. Heated too. Pleasure in his groin twined with pain in his head as the soft, warm weight moved against him.
He blinked, then again. Colors shimmered and blurred. The light was too dim. The room too smoky. Perfume burned his nose, too spicy and pungent.
What was that sound? A moan. A cry.
A rumbling groan reverberated in his own chest.
“Don’t leave me now,” a woman whispered near his ear. “I need release.”
He flexed his fingers, digging into the warm flesh of smooth feminine legs. Slid his hand up, finding the thicket of curls between the woman’s spread thighs.
“Yes, Grey.”
She moved against him, her breath quickening as little moans emerged. She clutched at his shoulder, her other hand on his, showing him how to touch her.
He didn’t require much direction. The role of lover was one he knew by heart. Some said he was skilled on stage, but he never doubted his expertise in the bedroom.
His own body had numbed. Whether from drink or the drugging effect of the smoke rising in whorls above his head, he wasn’t certain. But this, how to touch a woman, how to give pleasure. This he knew intuitively. This was where he excelled.
Heaven knew he’d failed at everything else.
Except acting.
But performing on stage was all a matter of illusion, of lying artfully. Sex and falsehood were his twin aptitudes.
If only he could see the woman clearly and scatter the fog in his mind. He twisted his head on the pillow and noticed a half-empty glass of blue-green liquid glowing in the low gaslight.
“What did I drink?”
A trill of laughter. Red lips. The curve of a grin in a pale face. A waterfall of red hair.
He swirled his fingers in the woman’s curls. She stilled and held her breath. He knew he’d found the key. Gently, masterfully, he touched her with all the art he’d learned from countless lovers.
“Oh, Grey.” She twitched against his fingers, dug her nails into his shoulder. “Don’t stop.”
He didn’t. Not until she gusted out a long moan, dipped her head, and sank against him as if her bones had melted.
“Absinthe,” she murmured against his chest. “A bit of laudanum.”
Grey pressed a fist to the throbbing crown of his head and tried to sit up. The lady on his chest stretched like a cat woken from a nap before rising off him and stepping away from the bed.
No, he realized when his vision cleared and he took in the books lining the walls, not a bed. Not his bedroom. He was on a settee in his London townhouse’s library, and he and his lady companion were not alone. Half-clothed bodies reclined around the musky, haze-clouded room. Some sleeping. Others smoking from an enormous bubbling hookah. At least one couple was busy, writhing and moaning in the far corner.
A man stumbled past the open library door, nude from the waist up, his shirt and coat rolled in a crumpled ball in his arms. Returning to the threshold, he let out a burp before offering, “Many happy returns, Grey. Smashing birthday party.”

Fueled by Pacific Northwest coffee and inspired by multiple viewings of every British costume drama she can get her hands on, USA Today bestselling author Christy Carlyle writes sensual historical romance set in the Victorian era. She loves heroes who struggle against all odds and heroines who are ahead of their time. A former teacher with a degree in history, she finds there’s nothing better than being able to combine her love of the past with a die-hard belief in happy endings.



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**Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book.**

A scoundrel needs help from a lady and gets so much more in return!

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Grey is a titled gentleman but don't you dare remind him of this fact. He's content to live out his life as an actor, putting on a facade for the public and drinking away his misery behind the scenes. His life is filled with women who know the score. He isn't looking for a marriage.

Sophia wants nothing but a marriage. She won't settle for anything less. She's even so desperate as to look to the newspaper for her potential match. But when she crosses paths with Grey, she finds a purpose in helping to locate a missing girl.

The hunt for Grey's sister is a mystery that neither of our couple can solve on their own. As our pair follow clues, they begin to develop a trust in each other that leads to an unlikely relationship made up of steamy encounters. Soon, neither of the two can imagine living a life with anyone else. Or alone.

I usually like historical romances but almost always find something I don't like about each one. Sometimes they're too long. Other times I find the characters to be stiff or underdeveloped. I've even found one or two with too little scandal, a theme that's present in just about every historical romance.

This book took me by surprise. The epilogue caused my heart to break and soon after we're introduced to our main characters in a shocking way. I wasn't so sure that I was going to like Grey, at first. But he quickly grew on me and I can honestly say that he's found a place in my top five rogues. I mean, if I had a list.

I connected with Sophia easily, as well. She was a curious woman who knew what she was supposed to do but it often conflicted with what she desired to do. And she wasn't a coward or some damsel in distress. She matched Grey, step for step, for the entire book. I was impressed by her and she definitely earned her happily ever after.

There was just the right amount of plot here, too. I often think the plots overshadow the rest in historical romances but not so in this case. In fact, it's the plot that continues to bring our couple together and leads to all of the steamy encounters that I came to love. There was so much chemistry between our pair that I worried my Kindle might explode. 

In closing... 
A fantastic historical romance with missing sisters, naughty gentlemen, and a woman who isn't afraid to bend the rules! Five suns!

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