Vexing the Viscount by Christie Kelley
Overview by Amazon:
Only Her Fire . . .
As the reluctant new Viscount Middleton, Braden Travers already has several reputations to save–including his own. So it’s imperative he rescue his estate’s healer Tia Featherstone from her impetuous plan to find his rakehell brother Jonathon. And he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her determined spirit and unworldly charms at arm’s length. But protecting this stubborn beauty from himself is only stoking an irresistible desire–and an insidious danger threatening them both . . .
Can Win His Heart . . .
Tia must get Jonathan back under her care before his unforgiving brother discovers how ill he truly is. But searching London’s most scandalous hellholes and staying two steps ahead of Braden is uncovering the viscount’s deepest secrets–and a longing to make his wounded heart her own. To save him, she must risk a deception that could put his past to rest–or separate them forever . . .
The story of Tia and Braden was captivating. I honestly didn’t expect to find this book so interesting. There are some parts of it that seemed farfetched for the time period. A single woman traversing through England and London all on her own, thinking she is the only one who can find and save Jonathon from his demons, and disappearing for weeks with a new friend to suddenly join the aristocracy. However, I didn’t have to work hard to suspend disbelief as the story is well written, well paced and intriguing. I wanted to know what happened next, how all the players fit together and what their back stories were.
Once Braden swoops in to Tia’s horrid Whitehall flea-bag rooming house and retrieves her, it was a battle of wills between these two. Right away the intrigue starts as Braden is shot at that very evening. So there are two main story lines occurring – Tia’s insistence at finding Jonathon (Braden’s brother) and the mysterious deaths of Viscount Middleton’s and attempted murder of the current Viscount. Tia leads Braden on a good chase through London parks, society ballrooms and the bedroom. As the story progresses, we get to see more of who Braden is, other than the rakehell he is presented as.
Braden offers Tia the position of mistress as he is overwhelmed with lust for her. She accepts his offer as she is intrigued and interested in learning about carnal delights. This is where this book differs from most of this genre. It is rare that the heroine is willing to become a mistress for essentially her own desires – rather than being blackmailed or tricked. Tia articulates that no one would care where she comes from if she takes a lover (which was somewhat hard to believe about England at that time) and her twin sister has taken lovers in the past. A progressive woman is an interesting angle and it is what sets this book apart from other historical romance novels.
Since Braden proposes Tia becomes his mistress, there are some very steamy scenes. I know that Tia is not innocent of what lust can bring between two people, but I was quite surprised when she begged Braden to take her up against the wall. I enjoyed that Tia was a woman who could take charge and enjoyed sex. It was adorable when she tries to seduce Braden. He’s taken a vow to stop using women, but can’t help himself with Tia. It helps that two of his friends have married their ‘wise women’ so the concept is not foreign in this series. The sex scenes are vivid and very descriptive. You feel as if you are the object of Braden’s affections, which is not a bad thing!
I liked the secondary characters, from the household staff to members of the ton. Since Tia is essentially from the serving class, it helped to bring understanding to her world and how she moved from servant to aristocracy. The author is very good at describing a variety of events that the pair attend. From the drawing rooms of the nobility to gambling hells to grand balls to racy get togethers, everything the author describes is intriguing and is detailed with authenticity.
The mystery of Jonthan’s disappearance shines a light on a topic not often addressed – drug addiction. I liked how the author used this societal issue as an element of the plot and discussed methods of treatment for the day. The mystery of the murdered Viscounts and the attempts on Braden’s life eventually takes over the story line. It had me guessing who could be the culprit and it was a well-designed mystery. Braden allows Tia to be a part of the investigation and this solidifies their relationship.
I enjoyed this book. Tia’s twin sister Mia’s book is the first in the series. I would like to read her story as I found Mia to be a riot when she pops up in this book. The story had elements that should have made me roll my eyes, but within the context the author develops, it all fits together. I found this book to a be a fun read, full of mystery, a dueling couple and very steamy scenes.