Content: Explicit sex, a little violence, some mild swearing. The Kindle version has formatting typos.
This is the third book in a series of six (listed at the end). I only read this book and had no trouble following it, but it would probably be better if I had started with The Dangerous Mr. Ryder (Harlequin Historical).
This author also goes by the name Francesca Shaw.
PLOT: A beautiful but destitute music teacher of gentle birth accepts a job as governess, only to realize she's been hoodwinked, locked naked in a brothel. I thought, "Yawn. Not this again." Yup, that overused trope, ubiquitous to Regency romances, but it was handled better than most.
Our dashing hero rescues the mislead musical teacher from said brothel and then pays her to engage in a little masquerade, so that he can appear too corrupt for the marriage his best friend's conniving father would foist on him. Of course, along the way they fall in love and he slays her dragon. A shady past makes her a poor candidate for marriage to the Earl of Standon, but that won't stand in his way. (Advocates of strict adherence to the societal norms of the Regency period would likely look askance.)
MY REACTION: Smexy and fairly light, with some sad overtones here and there, due to Jessica's past. A fun read. Louise Allen writes dialogue well and doesn't bury the plot in pages of internal dialogue, where lead characters muse mentally over every deuced thing (thank goodness). I liked Gareth, Earl of Standon, and his "governess" Jessica Gifford. Jessica is sensible, gutsy, and clever.
Not a keeper, nothing too special, but possibly worth ★ ★ ★ ★ (too many formatting issues -- typos, etc. -- even though I could follow the story line)
Six books in the series: "Those Scandalous Ravenhursts" (from Wikipedia):
The Dangerous Mr. Ryder (2008)
The Outrageous Lady Felsham (2008)
The Shocking Lord Standon (2008)
The Disgraceful Mr Ravenhurst (2009)
The Notorious Mr Hurst (2009)
The Piratical Miss Ravenhurst (2009)