If His Kiss is Wicked, by Jo Goodman.
Shy by nature, Emma Hathaway usually leaves the drama to her rebellious cousin, Marisol. But when Emma agrees to meet with her cousin’s secret lover to end the affair, she is pulled into a dangerous game. Now Emma is convinced her involvement in the scandal has put her life in jeopardy. The trouble is none of Emma’s confidantes believe anyone is trying to harm her. As whispers of madness begin, Emma turns to the only person who might be able to help…The very handsome, barely respectable Restell Gardner has gained a reputation for helping people out of compromising positions. Never one to turn away a lady in need, Restell agrees to help solve the intrigue. Sensing there is more to the green-eyed beauty than meets the eye, Restell feels himself falling for Emma. But he resists succumbing to his passion…at least until he learns the truth about the danger that is haunting her. For if he gives in to temptation too soon, he could lose Emma forever…
[#01] Okay, this book is a well-written book. However, it is not a very romantic book, not romantic in the normal connotation of the word. This is A Serious Book, with one of the most level-headed couples in romance I’ve ever read, even “barely respectable” Restell Gardner was a force to be reckoned with—and Emma Hathaway, dealing with a severe case of Post-Traumatic Stress, finding herself, her sanity.
This romance novel is more involved with the building of a relationship in a time fraught with peril and potential madness; this was about building trust, and finding that one person you could be secure with. The hawt sex is a plus.
[#02] Hawt Sex That Means Things.
[#03] Hawt Sex That Means Things like trust, and respect, and understanding—questions about desire, of course, and what a “proper” seduction would be, questions about fragility. I very much like how tense they are in one of the first sex scenes. Emma could exude such a vulnerable air sometimes, and the lengths Restell goes to that she could enjoy stuff, or at the very least, be pleased, well, yay.
[#04] I like secondary characters that serve a purpose, and do so with a fleshed-out characterization. Dude. Morally Ambiguous Character Award goes to Neven Charters. I will not mind a book about that rascal, and I’m sure a lot of people will disagree with me on that.
[#01] The attraction between Emma and Restell was abrupt. One page, Restell is all cool and level-headed and rakish, and the next, he’s all a –flurry at wanting to kiss Emma. That was such a sudden leap that I went back a couple of pages to see if I’d missed something, but no, nope, I didn’t. But from there, they recovered, even with all that woohoo angst.
[#02] She tends to bore me, that Emma—yes, I know she has so much pain and darkness and vulnerability inside her, but the whole business with art thing annoys me because the character gets lost, I have trouble recognizing Emma a couple of times. Even her secret talents were lost on me. I would appreciate some dramatic irony, Ms. Goodman.
[#03] Restell? For seriously, Restell? The name sounds like dental floss.
[#04] What is up with that cover image? Is that supposed to be Restell, who’s often described in the novel as a Viking? Dude, what’s happening here?