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A Study in Scoundrels: Romancing the Rules #2 by Christy Carlyle

A Study in Scoundrels: Romancing the Rules #2 by Christy Carlyle

Grab your hats for this perfectly madcap historic romance with mystery, laughter, love and a touch of naughty! Christy Carlyle returns to the blog today with the second in her Romancing the Rules series. Set in Victorian England, these stories deliver on their promises! Please read on for my review and excerpt, check out the tour stops to see what others thought, and don’t forget to enter the tour-wide giveaway where you could win one of TWO print copies of RULES FOR A ROGUE. But first,

A Study in Scoundrels

Jasper Grey has shrugged off the responsibilities of his birth, and most of the proper behavior expected from a man in Victorian society: working as an actor when he’ not out living the life of an unrepentant scoundrel with drink, damsels and debauchery. Blessed with good looks, charm and a glib tongue, he’s not interested in assuming the mantle of ‘proper gentleman’ and his two day celebration of his most recent birthday was full of all he loved, including drink. But his responsibilities appear when he’s least prepared: hung over, still in recovery mode, he discovers his seventeen year old sister Liddy is missing, and presumed to be with a man. This could ruin her should word escape, so he must discover her whereabouts, return her home, and bury the incident.

Sophia Ruthven is the sister of Kit, whom we met in Rules for a Rogue. She’s the epitome of the family’s tome: Ruthven Rules of Etiquette, at least at first glance. But Sophia is far more complex than anyone would suspect. At twenty-six, she is firmly on the shelf mostly due to the family circumstances, for she is strikingly pretty, well-mannered, educated in the proper behaviors for a woman, and scandal free. Yet, she yearns for more. A huge mystery fan, she’s currently penning her own story, the first in a lady detective series. When she hears of Liddy’s disappearance at a tea she has been invited to, she instantly knows that she can use her not inconsiderable detecting skills to help find the girl. Three’s just one problem. Jasper Grey. While she wants romance and marriage, the drunken and debauched son of a Lord is hardly the perfect option.

Quickly Carlyle establishes the characters and setting, and we are off on a vivacious and very entertaining Victorian adventure. A touch madcap, with plenty of tension and attraction between the two as they try to discover the whereabouts of the missing Liddy. While on first glance, Sophia would appear to be rather proper and the epitome of a miss of the time, as Jasper believes, her depth and intelligence soon show him just how wrong he was. And fortunately, although Jasper uses his reputation (one he earned, mind) to keep her on her toes, their friendship moves from convenient for the purpose to true regard and honest feelings. Both uncover hidden (to the general public) depths and dreams, share laughter and frustrations, and proceed in ways that highlight both their beautiful development as characters and the often conflicting influences of society, the changing times, and their own reservations. From the moment where everything changes and the two just “click” as a couple, to the banter, stolen kisses and perfectly timed moments of pure joy contrasting with self-doubts and reservations, the characters, the plot and the pacing blend with just the right amounts of tension, a search and a mystery to make this a story that is hard to put down, and leaves you wishing for more.

A Study in Scoundrels: Romancing the Rules #2 by Christy Carlyle

Title: A Study in Scoundrels
Author: Christy Carlyle
Series: Romancing the Rules #2
Also in this series: Rules for a Rogue
Genre: Historical Romance, Mystery Elements, Victorian
Published by: Avon
ISBN: 0062572385
Published on: 16 May, 2017
Format:eARC
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
Pages: 384
Rated: five-stars
Heat: One FlameOne FlameHalf a Flame

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About the Book:

Sophia Ruthven is the epitome of proper behavior. On paper at least, as long as that paper isn’t from one of the lady detective stories she secretly pens. She certainly isn’t interested in associating with the dashing Jasper Grey, the wayward heir to the Earl of Stanhope, and one of the stage’s leading men. But when she learns Grey’s younger sister Liddy has gone missing, she can’t deny her desire to solve the mystery…or her attraction to the incorrigible scoundrel.

Responsibility isn’t something Grey is very familiar with. On the boards and in the bedroom, he lives exactly how he wants to, shunning all the trappings of respectability and society. Grey knows he should avoid the bewitching Sophia, but he’s never been able to say no to what he wants. And having Sophia in his arms and his bed is quickly becoming the thing he wants the most.

As Sophia and Grey’s search for Liddy continues across the English countryside, can this scoundrel convince a proper lady that he’s actually perfect for her or will their adventure leave them both heartbroken?

See the Romancing the Rules series on Goodreads

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

 

Laughter tickled his ears. Weight bore down on his chest, draped over his hips. A soft weight, pliant under his hands. Heated too. Pleasure in his groin twined with pain in his head as the soft, warm weight moved against him.

He blinked, then again. Colors shimmered and blurred. The light was too dim. The room too smoky. Perfume burned his nose, too spicy and pungent.

What was that sound? A moan. A cry.

A rumbling groan reverberated in his own chest.

“Don’t leave me now,” a woman whispered near his ear. “I need release.”

He flexed his fingers, digging into the warm flesh of smooth feminine legs. Slid his hand up, finding the thicket of curls between the woman’s spread thighs.

“Yes, Grey.”

She moved against him, her breath quickening as little moans emerged. She clutched at his shoulder, her other hand on his, showing him how to touch her.

He didn’t require much direction. The role of lover was one he knew by heart. Some said he was skilled on stage, but he never doubted his expertise in the bedroom.

His own body had numbed. Whether from drink or the drugging effect of the smoke rising in whorls above his head, he wasn’t certain. But this, how to touch a woman, how to give pleasure. This he knew intuitively. This was where he excelled.

Heaven knew he’d failed at everything else.

Except acting.

But performing on stage was all a matter of illusion, of lying artfully. Sex and falsehood were his twin aptitudes.

If only he could see the woman clearly and scatter the fog in his mind. He twisted his head on the pillow and noticed a half-empty glass of blue-green liquid glowing in the low gaslight.

“What did I drink?”

A trill of laughter. Red lips. The curve of a grin in a pale face. A waterfall of red hair.

He swirled his fingers in the woman’s curls. She stilled and held her breath. He knew he’d found the key. Gently, masterfully, he touched her with all the art he’d learned from countless lovers.

“Oh, Grey.” She twitched against his fingers, dug her nails into his shoulder. “Don’t stop.”

He didn’t. Not until she gusted out a long moan, dipped her head, and sank against him as if her bones had melted.

“Absinthe,” she murmured against his chest. “A bit of laudanum.”

Grey pressed a fist to the throbbing crown of his head and tried to sit up. The lady on his chest stretched like a cat woken from a nap before rising off him and stepping away from the bed.

No, he realized when his vision cleared and he took in the books lining the walls, not a bed. Not his bedroom. He was on a settee in his London townhouse’s library, and he and his lady companion were not alone. Half-clothed bodies reclined around the musky, haze-clouded room. Some sleeping. Others smoking from an enormous bubbling hookah. At least one couple was busy, writhing and moaning in the far corner.

A man stumbled past the open library door, nude from the waist up, his shirt and coat rolled in a crumpled ball in his arms. Returning to the threshold, he let out a burp before offering, “Many happy returns, Grey. Smashing birthday party.”

 

 

About Christy Carlyle

Fueled by Pacific Northwest coffee and inspired by multiple viewings of every British costume drama she can get her hands on, Christy Carlyle writes sensual historical romance set in the Victorian era. She loves heroes who struggle against all odds and heroines who are ahead of their time. A former teacher with a degree in history, she finds there’s nothing better than being able to combine her love of the past with a die-hard belief in happy endings.

 

 

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