(Release Date: March 30, 2010)The last thing Garrett, Duke of Calton, expects to find while tracking his sworn enemy is the delectable, mysterious Kate. This beautiful servant girl rouses a longing the battle-scarred ex-soldier had never hoped to feel again. But when she turns out to be the sister of the man he seeks, he's convinced he's been betrayed.
Kate knows her duty to her family, yet how can she ignore Garrett's powerful pull on her heart? Or the heady temptation of his stolen-and sizzling-kisses? Scandal has followed the duke since the war. Now the greatest shock of all is on its way-the one that can separate Garrett and Kate forever.
Garrett has come to Kenilworth to find his errant sister, eloped and married to a scoundrel who while professing his love has lied, cheated, stole, and bargained with the devil to get what he wants, his hands on the fortune that is her heritage. William Fisk is the scoundrel, first damaging the Duke's reputation with calls of madness, then trying to take what he wants, revenge for his brother, Warren dead years ago at Waterloo. With no one left to blame, he tries to exact payment for the Duke, first by pretending to be his friend, and when that doesn't work, he uses Rebecca, first with the sham of a marriage and then to hurt her by taking a mistress to his bed. His ultimate goal could be deadly to both Rebecca and Garrett.
Katherine, William's sister, is happy to see her brother who has been missing, presumed dead for eight long years. But when he returned, it's with a young wife who's used to luxury and himself penniless. She's forced into servitude and silence, Lady Rebecca mustn't find out that he comes from his lowly existence instead of hers. When Kate happens upon Garrett bathing in her favorite pool, she assumes he's a God sent from Olympus to test her, tease her. He's magnificent, toned, bronze, and well muscled.
When Garrett spies Kate watching him, he thinks it's another of William's tricks to send a beautiful long limbed temptress to spy on him. But Kate appears to be guileless. Can this be? Hard learned lessons have taught him to trust no one, not even his closest friends. Can he trust this innocent or is she another wanton witch?
A Touch of Scandal by Jennifer Haymore is the second book in this historical series. A Hint of Wicked (Sophie and Tristan's story) was the first book, and the third book, A Season of Seduction (Rebecca and Jack's story) is next to be released. I haven't read A Hint of Wicked, but I wish that I had, because I could have related to Garrett better, felt his heartache and learned why he has such his distinct distrust of people. It's not necessary to read the first book though to enjoy this one. Kate is a strong willed but an innocent at life. She's lived her whole life taking care of someone, younger brother Reggie, her mother, twins William and Warren. She's always known something wasn't quite right with William and Warren, she caught them torturing a rabbit and no animal should be mistreated or harmed for pleasure. Since William's return from Waterloo, he seems a changed person. But who is the real Willy, the one she's known her entire life or this changed person with a new wife? He's still the manipulator, but with the loss of Warren, his twin and better half, he seems even more distant and there's something distinctly changed, and maybe not for the better. Garrett is on a mission to find his young sister who was stolen away in the dark of night by the manipulator, William Fisk who professed his love, but he had professed so many thing that had been lies. Though he's a Duke by birth, he's lived for the past eight years in the deception of poverty all due to William Fisk's lies. But he's learned his lessons well, trust no one, let no one close to you, and pain will cease to exist within your soul. When the vixen in rough clothing snakes her way into his heart, he wonders if he can trust, love, believe in this woman or is she there to rip him apart one more time?
A Touch of Scandal is a fun historical romance taking me back to my youthful reading of the dastardly evil vying with the goodness of one pure soul. Only in this case, the evil comes in the form of brother Willy and the goodness resides in the ever suffering Kate. Garrett is the one between the ultimate evil and the ultimate good. Garrett and Rebecca have been pawns in Willy's deception as is Kate, her mother, and younger brother Reggie, all pawns in his bid for wealth and revenge. I recommend this book for lovers of classic historical romance with a hint of seduction as well as just a touch of erotic romance, and a twisting, winding tale. You will surely enjoy this one. The only tiny niggle I had was the pure innocence of Kate, she is totally unschooled in the way of men. Garrett is also in reality an innocent, misused in childhood and as an adult, he hasn't learned the hardest lesson in life. Hearts maybe broken, but heal to learn to love again.
I received this book from Donna at Fantasy Dreamer's Ramblings, for review from Hachette Book Group. All opinions expressed are my own.