August 2008, European Historical Romance (Regency England and Scotland)
Avon, $7.99, 384 pages, Amazon ASIN 0061235350 Part of a series
Medeirosís latest offering, Some Like It Wicked, hooked me from the very first page. Its well-written characters and snappy, intelligent dialogue had me loving almost every moment. Her last several books have been great and I was so happy to see that this one live up to the same standard. I plan to revisit this one often.
The first time Catriona Kincaid lays eyes on Simon Wescott, he is in the process of seducing her lovely, shrewish cousin. Unfortunately, she doesnít make the most graceful first impression, as she accidentally falls from her perch in the rafters and lands on his back. Her adolescent heart is captured by the dashing navy officer, who stands up for her when her cousin tries to thrash her for interrupting them. As an orphaned Scot who was sent to live with her uncle, a proper English earl, she isnít used to anyone defending her. So, she immediately casts him in the role of hero, despite his claim that heís a bastard in every sense of the word. Five years later, after following all his exploits in the newspapers, she still believes Simon a hero and has proof: He is Sir Simon now, having been knighted for risking his life to save his captain.
Life at home is vexing for Catriona, with her awful cousin still in residence and her uncleís recent declaration that he has doubled her dowry to get rid of her. This comes to the attention of an unsavory gentleman Ė the Marquess of Eddingham - who has purchased land in Scotland that once belonged to the Kincaid clan. Catrionaís grandfather sold out his heritage during the í45 by throwing in his lot with the English. The price of his betrayal was an earldom (the one inherited by her uncle) and a chunk of money. Since that time, the scattered Kincaid clan has been repeatedly rousted from their land, but to this day a small band of outlaws keeps all who try from settling there. Eddingham informs Catriona that he intends to take care of those outlaws, unless she becomes his bride. This causes her no little amount of panic, since sheís convinced that the outlaw leader is her brother, Connor.
Catriona needs a hero, and she can think of only one man. But, Simon currently resides in Newgate Prison for being in debt and seducing a magistrateís daughter. Although heís also now known as one of the worst libertines, Catriona throws caution to the wind and arranges a meeting with the man of her dreams. Only, heís not the same. In place of the golden boy she remembers is a scarred man who wears the marks of dissipation. But, he still oozes charm and a devil-may-care attitude, and itís rumored heís willing to hire out his military-acquired skills, which is what she needs. Knowing heís in desperate need of money, she offers him a deal. If he will take her into Scotland to meet her brother, he can have half of her dowry. Of course, that means they must marry, but that can easily be taken care of with an annulment once the terms are met. When Simon throws all marital benefits into the mix, Catriona accepts (to his great shock) and the plan is set in motion.
It has been a while since Iíve encountered such wonderful characters. They felt like old friends of mine, and that doesnít happen often. They played off each other perfectly and I was as taken with Simon (who is quite the delicious hero) as the heroine was. The love scenes are steamy and while the overall sensuality rating is warm, it crosses the line towards hot a time or two. The dialogue is funny, smart, witty, and more, although readers who are sticklers for historical accuracy might find it too modern. That was never a problem for me, and only enhanced my feeling of familiarity with these characters. Itís also refreshing (and rather comforting) to see ideas that romance readers have certainly encountered before Ė a sexy rake whoís been hurt and a fiery Scot who wants to return honor to her clan Ė turned into something unique and captivating in the hands of a great author.
The only problem with the book comes at the end, when it lost some of its freshness, intelligence, and sass. But I find that Iím able to forgive that aspect of the story, because I was so thoroughly charmed by the rest. Some Like It Wicked will join several other Medeiros novels on my keeper shelf and I know Iím going to enjoy visiting Simon and Catriona again. The next installment, Some Like it Wild, will be Connorís story. Itís sad that I have to wait until 2009 to enjoy this author again, but at least I have this book and her backlist if I get too antsy.
-- Andi Davis
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