Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Perils of Pleasure - Julie Anne Long (Avon - Feb 2008)

Series: Pennyroyal Green (Book 1)

A rescued rogue . . .
Scandal has rocked the city of London. Colin Eversea, a handsome, reckless unapologetic rogue is sentenced to hang for murder and, inconveniently for him, the only witness to the crime disappears. Then again, throughout history, the Everseas have always managed to cheat fate in style: Colin is snatched from the gallows by a beautiful, clever mercenary.

A captivating captor. . .
Cool-headed, daring Madeleine Greenway is immune to Colin's vaunted charm. Her mission is not to rescue Colin but to kidnap him, and to be paid handsomely for it. But when it becomes clear that whoever wants Colin alive wants Madeline dead, the two become uneasy allies in a deadly race for truth. Together, they'll face great danger--and a passion neither can resist.

Fun book.  Colin has been convicted of a murder he didn't commit and is moments from hanging.  But Everseas have the reputation of being able to cheat fate and Colin is rescued in a puff of smoke and disappears.  Madeleine has been paid to rescue him and  then hold him for the person who paid her.  But when someone takes a shot at her, Colin saves her and they go on the run to discover who wants her dead and him alive.

Colin wants nothing more than to prove his innocence and make it back to Sussex in time to keep the woman he loves from marrying his brother.  The only way he can do that is by working with Madeleine to discover the truth behind his rescue.  He is fascinated by her and her cleverness and the way she can resist his blatant attempts to charm her.  He soon discovers that she understands him far better than anyone else he knows.  He also begins to understand her the more he learns of her past and seems to know just what to say to her to revive her spirits when they start to wear down.  I really enjoyed the banter between him and Madeleine as they have to first overcome their distrust of each other, then deal with their growing attraction.  He seemed to be pretty oblivious to the fact that he was falling for Madeleine at the same time he was obsessed with getting back to Louisa. Colin is basically a nice guy who uses humor to hide his own insecurities while doing nice things for other people.  Even as he was on the run he was still polite even to the people who were involved in his troubles.  I liked the way that he realized what was most important to him at the end, though frustrated by the way he didn't pursue it.

Madeleine is a widow who has made a career out of "planning" rescues for people.  Her rescue of Colin is simply a way to earn the money she needs to move to America.  When the planned turnover of Colin is interrupted by someone trying to kill her, they go on the run to find out who is behind the rescue and murder attempt.  I really liked Madeleine's intelligence and ability to think on the fly.  It was really nice to read a book where the heroine rescues the hero.  Madeleine is attracted to Colin but has no intention of doing anything with it.  She spends the first part of the book not trusting him because she isn't sure that he is truly innocent of the charges.  As they have to work together she begins to get to know him and trust a little bit.  She also sees that he uses his humor and charm to hide behind when he feels vulnerable.  Having been on her own for several years since the death of her husband she is moved by Colin's protectiveness.  Her feelings begin to change even though she knows that he is far above her.  As they get closer to solving the mystery she admits her feelings to herself, but refuses to allow herself to think of a future with him.  She denies herself what she really wants because she wants him to be happy.  I loved seeing her face her fears at the end and allow herself to go after what she really wanted.

The mystery itself was pretty interesting, though certainly convoluted.  As Colin and Madeleine pursued their investigation they only got small pieces of information at a time.  Each bit that they got came from interesting occurrences, from a lady and her footman to gravediggers.  There was also an interesting revelation about Colin's parents that rocked his world. 

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