Review: Dangerous Gentlemen by Beverley Oakley

March 12, 2014 Review 0

Review: Dangerous Gentlemen by Beverley Oakley

Sequel to Her Gilded Prison

Shy, self-effacing Henrietta knows her place—in her dazzling older sister’s shadow. She’s a little brown peahen to Araminta’s bird of paradise. But when Hetty mistakenly becomes embroiled in the Regency underworld, the innocent debutante finds herself shockingly compromised by the dashing, dangerous Sir Aubrey, the very gentleman her heart desires. And the man Araminta has in her cold, calculating sights.

Branded an enemy of the Crown, bitter over the loss of his wife, Sir Aubrey wants only to lose himself in the warm, willing body of the young “prostitute” Hetty. As he tutors her in the art of lovemaking, Aubrey is pleased to find Hetty not only an ardent student, but a bright, witty and charming companion.

Despite a spoiled Araminta plotting for a marriage offer and a powerful political enemy damaging his reputation, Aubrey may suffer the greatest betrayal at the hands of the little “concubine” who’s managed to breach the stony exterior of his heart.

A Romantica® historical Regency erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave

Title: Dangerous Gentlemen
Author: Beverly Oakley
Source: Publisher
Published: 12 January 2014
Genres: Erotic Historical Romance
Pages: 183
See the title at Goodreads
Purchase your copy: Visit the Author's Website

Stars: four-stars
Flames: three-flames

A fun and fast paced story, full of secrets, conflict and agenda mark the first book that I have read by Beverly Oakley.  A sequel to Her Guilded Prison, this story focuses on the daughters from that story, now grown and in their debut.  Secrets and slanderous intentions run rife through this story; set in the mid 1800’s when concerns for the traitorous behaviors of the Spencerian followers was at a high point as concern for the realm, monarchy and status quo for the gentry was in danger, and assassination plots were feared around every corner.

Two sisters, Hetty and Araminta are the main characters who drive the action.  It is the high season: debuts and balls are never ending and the girls are presented to find themselves a match.  Hetty’s first season is finding her more of a wallflower: both from her plainer looks and from her sister’s wholly derisive and belitting behavior.  Araminta is wholly dislikable and self-centered, with not one redeeming feature.  Hetty, in contrast, is gentle and caring; taking pains to see to others happiness and comfort.

At the center of the controversy is the most dashing man in London: Sir Aubrey, recently widowed when his wife took her life, his dashing appearance captivates both girls, yet there are rumors that all is not as it seems with the man.  Hetty is, however, captivated, and must know more about the man who invades her dreams.  When she is caught snooping in his guest quarters at yet another ball, his disheveled appearance shocks her, and the memory of the rumors that name him deadly dangerous send her into panic.  For his part, Aubrey is expecting a home visit from a girl sent by the best Madam in the city, and believes that Hetty is that girl.  Never protesting, she is a hesitant, then willing participation in the moment.

It was difficult to not like Hetty: her quiet and kind approach to the people in her life, with her desire to see only justice done, and her daring in searching out the answers was endearing: even as she was often utterly confused by the contradictory information.  In contrast, Araminta was an utterly dislikable person: mean to everyone unless or until they were singing her tune and their use would further her own agenda.  Not so bright, but as true to the day, pretty enough to not need personality; she has also set her cap for Aubrey: less for love and more to disabuse and distress her sister.

As the story progresses, the danger of the situation becomes more clear: if this proof, to this point hidden, is indeed what will exonerate Sir Aubrey in the eyes of the tonne, just who will be damned by the evidence, and who is really the plotter?  While the suspicion about the who is the ultimate villain is never really in doubt, the twists and turns that the story takes are enjoyable and entertaining.  Mixed with several more opportunities for Aubrey to encounter Hetty, including the discovery of ‘who’ she really is keep the story flowing forward.  While she has lost her heart, she truly wants to find the proof and clear his name because it is the right thing to do: whether or not he realizes that they are a good pair.

Mixing historic events, sights and balls, with detail and description that help build the tension in the story, Oakley has managed to make a read that feels possible, while is wholly entertaining and engaging.  Emotionally honest, especially in the interactions between the sisters, and with a few potential openings for more to come involving these characters,  the story doesn’t have to end here, even as this book is complete in itself.  A fun read for historic romance fans who are not averse to a more modern take on the sexual content, while not frequent, the sexual moments are steamy, detailed and well described.

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