On the night of the Parkhurst ball, someone had a scandalous tryst in the library.
- Was it Lord Canby, with the maid, on the divan?
- Or Miss Fairchild, with a rake, against the wall?
- Perhaps the butler did it.
All Charlotte Highwood knows is this: it wasn’t her. But rumors to the contrary are buzzing. Unless she can discover the lovers’ true identity, she’ll be forced to marry Piers Brandon, Lord Granville—the coldest, most arrogantly handsome gentleman she’s ever had the misfortune to embrace. When it comes to emotion, the man hasn’t got a clue.
But as they set about finding the mystery lovers, Piers reveals a few secrets of his own. The oh-so-proper marquess can pick locks, land punches, tease with sly wit … and melt a woman’s knees with a single kiss. The only thing he guards more fiercely than Charlotte’s safety is the truth about his dark past.
Their passion is intense. The danger is real. Soon Charlotte’s feeling torn. Will she risk all to prove her innocence? Or surrender it to a man who’s sworn to never love?
Until now I had only ever read one novella from Tessa Dare, but I saw Do You Want to Start a Scandal on the shelf at the library and decided to give it a go even though I had no idea where the book stood in relation to the author’s series.
Dare’s writing gets you hooked from the outset, and I raced through this book, enjoying most things about it. It’s exactly the type of historical romance I’ve come to expect from Avon: lively, steamy, and fairly light-hearted.
When the “aristocrat is a spy” theme turned up I wasn’t thrilled, but it thankfully took a backseat to the rest of the plot—and to the romance—and in the end I didn’t have much of an issue with it.
The relationship in this book moves at lighting speed, but I appreciated that the characters got on despite many differences, and that they weren’t too silly about the reality that they’d have to marry. There was almost a category romance feel in the way the hero and heroine were together for almost the entire book, and how there was minimal secondary character interference.
I think the mystery and suspense aspects were toned down enough to not seem ridiculous, and when I reached the last part of the book I couldn’t put it down until I was done.
I had a couple of issues with the Americanisms—and it’s the ground floor, not the first!—but overall this didn’t distract me like it does in some historical romances.
A fun holiday read.