When Lady Charlotte Quinton receives news that her grandmother and her grandmother's two closest friends (affectionately known as the Rosebuds) were involved in a near fatal carriage accident, she immediately leaves her secluded Yorkshire home and makes for London -- or more exactly for Brand Villers, the fifth Earl of Faversham (and her bete noire)'s London house. (Readers familiar with the Kenyon brother/Rosebud series may remember Charlotte as the spoilt anti-heroine from "Romancing the Rogue"). But if being in the same room as Brand is enough to threaten Charlotte with a fit of the megrims, the knowledge that someone is out to harm the Rosebuds will definitely do it. Which according to Brand, is exactly what may have happened.
Someone has been killing off the notorious members of now disbanded Lucifer League over the past couple of months. And Brand, once a member of that club, has been trying to discover who may be behind the murders. His fear is that someone may have struck out at the Rosebuds because of his investigation and because the Rosebud themselves had a hand in causing the Lucifer League to disband. It is Brand's contention that one of the members of the League is trying to bury his past association with the league.
Charlotte of course wants to help Brand discover the identity of the murderer and help protect the Rosebuds. But Brand is still suspicious of Charlotte. He doesn't think that she's changed at all and still sees her as the bitter and troublesome young lady she used to be. Never mind that Charlotte seems to inspire a lot of lustful thoughts in him! (Obviously that just proves that she's trouble!) But Charlotte refuses to standby and wait for someone to try and get to the Rosebuds again, and she determined to help Brand with his investigation. (Hence her decision to agree to pose as Brand's mistress. Now why would a young woman who wants to marry and have children decide to do the one thing that would put an end to her dreams of a respectable marriage?) Will Charlotte be able to persuade Brand to accept her help and will she be able to cope with the reawakening of her desire (so long repressed) for him? Especially since he seems to feel nothing but contempt for her?
The plot premise of "One Wild Night" was a rather good one -- the interweaving of a romance subplot between two people who are reluctantly attracted to each other and who are constantly at daggers drawn, with a hunt for an elusive and dangerous murderer. I also found the heroine of the novel, Lady Charlotte Quinton really engaging, and thought that the authour had done a wonderful job of redeeming the previously unlikable Lady Charlotte, and showing us just how much this character had changed for the better. The hero, Brand Villers, unfortunately, left a lot to be desired. Unlike Charlotte, Brand had not matured with time, and he came across as being completely immature, spoilt and a little too obsessed with his desires and needs. Yes, he's had his share of hard knocks, but unlike Charlotte, he also seems to have chosen to sink rather than to turn his life around and do some good. He also spent for too much time thinking about how it would feel to bed Charlotte, in spite of her shrewish ways, and not a lot time following up investigative leads. Which leads me to my other "niggle" -- for someone determined to discover who the murderer actually was, Brand was a really poor detective. Getting Charlotte alone in some dark corner and keeping her away from other gentlemen seemed to be his main objective. And because the investigative subplot was not that well developed, the sense of suspense and urgency was not always there, thus making "One Wild Night" not that exciting a read.
On the other hand, if you're a fan of the Rosebud series and enjoy the interconnecting story arcs, then "One Wild Night" will prove to be an enjoyable read -- just perhaps not a 5 star one.