Genre: Historical Romance
Date Published: January 2010
Publisher: Zebra Books
Teaser: "Her wounded warrior, the man who was as much his own enemy as she was to herself. Only together had they found a measure of quiet and sanity, of peace and forgiveness." (286)
Blurb from the back cover:
Turning his back on his old life as a rogue, Gavriel de Marqueda has joined a monastic order in Spain and taken a vow of chastity. Before he becomes a monk, he must pass one final test: help a woman who has lost her way. But when he lays eyes on Ada of Keyworth, he is tempted beyond measure by her sultry beauty and dangerous curves...
Far from her home in England, Ada has been battling inner demons for more than a year. When she discovers that her only friend has abandoned her, she has no choice but to grudgingly accept Gavriel's help. But Ada is not fooled. Though Gavriel wears the robes of a monk, Ada sees that he is a virile man who looks at her with a hunger that matches her own--one that begs to be satisfied again and again...I very rarely read romance novels, though I will read one from time to time if the storyline grabs me. Scoundrel's Kiss by Carrie Lofty caught my attention because of the setting (Spain) and the time period (1201). Plus Gavriel sounded like an intriguing character--a novice monk with a mysterious past.
This turned out to be a very entertaining and suspenseful read. Ada's addiction to opium and the process she endures to detox from it creates an interesting start to the story and a believable bond between Ada and Gavriel. The appearance of unexpected pursuers and Gavriel's unexplained past brings an element of suspense to the story, and the way these two seemingly unrelated story threads come together is surprising and very well done.
Being a romance, this book has a couple of love scenes, so if you're not a romance fan, this book probably isn't for you. But even for a romance, I have to say that the love scenes fit in so well with the storyline and that the story and relationships were more important than the love scenes themselves. This was a very good historical romance in a Medieval setting.
This book is tied to Ms. Lofty's first book, What a Scoundrel Wants, which centers on Ada's sister Meg and her relationship with Will Scarlet (of Robin Hood fame). Ada was apparently a character in that book and there is some talk about the events of that book in this one, but it is not necessary to read the first book before reading this one. I haven't read What a Scoundrel Wants, but it will probably be the next romance novel that I read.
**Special thanks to Lori Brighton - I won this book in a giveaway at her blog, Lori Brighton's online journal.