Title: Too Sinful To Deny
Series: Wicked Sinful #2
Author: Erica Ridley
Format: Paperback, 352 pages
Published: April 5th 2011 by Zebra
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Wine Glasses
One look at the towering ocean-side manor that is to be her new home, and exiled socialite Susan Stanton knows: This is a place haunted by secrets, and riddled with menace.
For Susan, there is no escaping it. At best she can stay clear of the most dangerous element of all--dark-haired smuggler Evan Bothwick, a man whose shaded countenance cannot hide his wicked intent.
But Susan has a secret of her own--a special gift that renders her privy to the darkest mysteries lurking within the walls of the manor and in the labyrinthine cellars beneath. And the only man who can help her make sense of it all is Evan, the very scoundrel and rogue she would do anything to be able to resist...
"I have to find a missing person."
"A missing person?" Susan leaned forward. How romantic! This explained his mercurial moods. And why he was equally averse to being sighted along with Susan. "Who is she? Where do you think she went? Why do you think she left?"
"Not a she." He drained his brandy. "And I doubt he had much choice in the matter. He's dead."
"You lost a dead person?" she echoed, fingers gripping her knees in horror.
His face hardened and his eyes sparked with simmering fury. "To be honest, I rather suspect somebody stole him from me."
"You..." Whatever she was going to say died on her tongue.
Susan leapt to her feet. What the bloody hell had she been thinking, whiling away the morning with this madman as if he'd invited her over for biscuits and tea? He carried a pistol. And misplaced dead people.
TOO SINFUL TO DENY by Erica Ridley is a combination of a Gothic cozy mystery and romantic suspense. It is the second book in Erica's Wicked Sinful series, but it can be fully enjoyed as a standalone. It took me a while to get into the story, but once I had, I didn't want to put it down. It's well-written with numerous steamy scenes.
I discovered Erica's books when I listened to her THE VISCOUNT'S CHRISTMAS TEMPTATION- which I loved - and now I'm slowly but surely picking up books from her backlist every time I get a chance.
TOO SINFUL TO DENY is the story of spoiled London debutante Susan Stanton and handsome smuggler Evan Bothwick. I liked them both, though, if I had any complaint about this tale, it's that I would have enjoyed learning a bit more about Evan's background. His past remains an enigma.
As the story opens, Susan, who seems to have trouble as a middle name, has a brush with death in London and, since then, has been able to see dead people. Because her parents believed that she acted impulsively and improperly in that incident, they have evicted her to the country to stay with cousins she has never met at secluded Moonseed Manor in seaside Bournemouth. Susan had previously been used to getting whatever she wanted just by mentioning her Stanton name. But, as she plots to escape, she quickly finds out that her family name doesn't work the same in Bournemouth. Instead she finds her life in danger at every turn.
Evan Bothwick has escaped from London's revelry to his coastal home in Bournemouth where he can live the intriguing, albeit clandestine pirate's life. After meeting the alluring but capricious Miss Stanton, Ethan finds that their paths keep unfathomably crossing over and over which distracts him from concentrating on finding out who murdered his brother and misplaced his body.
This tale sports an interesting, diverse array of supporting characters including three relentless ghosts, a "scarecrow" butler, a "porcelain doll" and a "witch" gainfully employed at the town's only fashion boutique. Needless to say, Susan's interactions with these colorful characters make for some hilarious and often hair-raising scenes.
Following please find a few of my favorite quotes from this enjoyable read:
Moonseed Manor did not look like a place to live. Moonseed Manor looked like a place to die.
Susan's jaw dropped to realize the insufferable man had just managed her. He knew she was dying to know the explanation, and purposefully broached the topic in such a way as to close it forever.
"Bore me," she tried anyway. She leaned forward, certain here was an excellent story.
His smile only broadened. "I couldn't possibly. I pride myself on my ability to not bore women. I prefer to keep them...entertained."
She would've made an excellent pirate.
TOO SINFUL TO DENY was rich with surprising twists and turns and chilling thrills. I was completely bowled over by the ending - I can honestly say that I never saw that coming! If you enjoy fun historical romances with a paranormal angle, sexy smugglers and spooky manors, do yourself a favor and indulge in TOO SINFUL TO DENY!