(Released: June 21, 2011)
From the Cover:
With the scandalous nature of her birth to live down, Isabella Fairmont dreams of a proper marriage—even if a passionless one. She saves her deepest desires for the novel she dares to pen, wherein a handsome lord with dark powers seduces her. But then her courtship with an appropriate suitor is threatened by the sudden attentions of the reclusive Earl of Black…whose pale blue eyes and brooding sensuality are exactly as she described in her book.
Isabella tries to resist the mysterious Earl of Black.
Yet as he pursues her, with inexplicable knowledge of her past and kisses that consume her, Isabella fears she will succumb.
If only the earl could tell Isabella the truth. With very real, and treacherous, thieves endangering her life, Black will need to protect Isabella from the very people she trusts the most….
Isabella's life has been anything but scandal free. She herself was the unlucky result of a love tryst gone wrong. It was the weakness of Isabella's mother, giving her heart and love too freely. She's grown up without...without security, money, the ability to give herself, and trust in herself. With the loss of her mother and grandmother, she loses part of herself that she did have, and the unfortunate incident occurs.
Her uncle comes to her rescue, bringing her back to London. With her cousin Lucy at her side, she learns to live again. Security found, legitimacy won in passionless arms of her suitor, Knighton. But, Lucy has become enamored with the occult, dragging Isabella from one cemetery to another, one seance to another, until Isabella meets her breaking point. When Death is courted, Death finds a way.
Into her life walks the dark Earl of Black, a mysterious figure in London society, the talk of the ton. Rumors and innuendo follow him, his own background almost as scandalous as Isabella's. He's promised to fulfill the duties entrusted by his father. There are relics, items, that could effect the fate of mankind, and it's his responsibility to hide them away.
When these two meet, the cocoon wrapping Isabella starts to melt away, but it scares her, unable to deal with the feelings his presence evolves. Black can't keep his eyes from finding her, even after her rebuffs. He knows he shouldn't but he can't resist, he seduces, coaxes, coercers. She's the water to his thirst, without ever knowing it.
Seduction & Scandal by Charlotte Featherstone is the first book in the Brethren series, dealing the Templar Knights and the secrets they've carried to their graves and beyond. The Earl of Black, forced to carry on the family heritage, doesn't want to extend his family line beyond himself. He doesn't want force his sons to bear the burden he's shared. When he meets Isabella, all those feeling of aloofness disappear. He burns for her presence, and not matter how hard he tries, he can't stay away. Isabella is a timid heroine, she's been burned by life, first living down the scandal of her mother's life, then her own unfortunate incident. She's hiding from life in her uncle's home. She's found a "safe" relationship, even if it's a passionless one, she won't have to worry about scandal finding her. She's come to live through her journal where she writes her stories... about Lord Death. Little does she know that the Earl of Black is her own Lord Death. From the first meeting, Black and Isabella flame to a burning fire. Though she tries to run, she can't outpace desire.
Seduction & Scandal is another heartfelt story told as only Ms. Featherstone can. It's a historical romance with elements of the paranormal thrown in as well as a bit of mythos of old England, and the Templar Knights. It pulls at your heartstrings, waiting for the reluctant lovers to find out they don't really have a choice. The villain, and there are several in this story, tries to stop the lovers from being together as well as keep the relics for themselves. If you're a fan of historicals, Charlotte Featherstone is certainly an author to try, you simply can't go wrong. Her stories sometimes address issues such as addiction, abuse, suicide, but she does it with subtly and guile, making her stories very involving and readable. I have come to look forward to her books even though historical romances aren't my usual read. She has captured my attention, always must read. 5 out of 5 fairy kisses for this reader, I hope you pick it up, it's a story within a story, spellbinding.
I received my ebook for review from NetGalley and Harlequin. All opinions express are my own.