Desert Isle Keeper
Last Night's Scandal
We’ve often discussed at AAR what books we would include in a “Conversion Kit” to bring non-romance readers over to the joy of the genre. Last Night’s Scandal, showcasing a great writer at the absolute top of her game, is most assuredly in mine.
Honestly, I liked, but didn’t love Don’t Tempt Me, the author’s last book, chiefly because I found the heroine to be regrettably foot-stompingly feisty – and kind of inexplicably so. Rest assured the author is back on form here with what might be called a trademark Loretta Chase heroine: Difficult, brilliant, and real. Hero Peregrine is also brilliant and real, but while heroine Olivia is emotional and dramatic, our hero is logical and controlled.
Olivia and Peregrine were first introduced to readers as children in Lord Perfect. As the book opens, Peregrine is now almost 24 and has spent most of the intervening years in Egypt under the care and tutelage of Rupert and Daphne Carsington of Mr. Impossible. Not surprisingly, Egypt is his passion and he has little patience for his gadabout ton parents. Olivia is now a wealthy darling of London society with a reputation for breaking hearts.
The two meet again when Peregrine returns to England for what he hopes will be a brief visit – a hope that is dashed when his parents threaten to cut him off financially if he won’t deal with a family “crisis” by overseeing the repairs on a moldy Scots estate. It seems the workers have been frightened by ghostly doings and only Peregrine can set things to rights. Foreseeing himself doomed to months away from his beloved Egypt, Peregrine’s misfortunes continue when he discovers that his best friend Olivia has grown into a temptress. She’s still the same dramatic and emotional Olivia he knows so well, only now she possesses bosoms he finds most compelling. As for Olivia, she, too, finds herself seeing her Peregrine with new eyes since he has now grown into a strapping young man.
After myriad ins and outs of a delightfully twisted plot, Peregrine and Olivia make their way to Scotland, dotty chaperones included. And soon enough – after numerous misadventures on the way – they arrive in Scotland with the mutual goal of finding out what is frightening the workers and getting the repairs on track. Peregrine’s goal: To get back to Egypt as soon as possible. Olivia’s goal? To squeeze out as much adventure as she can before she’s relegated to a staid married life.
Within those simple confines, much mayhem ensues. In fact, the plot is driven by Olivia’s love of Drama (definitely with a cap D) and Peregrine’s determined way of dealing with it. Both Peregrine and Olivia are complicated, real, and funny in a way that only the greatest of romance writers could successfully manage. The writing sparkles, the characters are delightful, and the romantic moments are romantic enough to turn over your heart. They certainly did mine.
In fact, I have no quibbles – none – and I can’t remember the last time that happened. Last Night’s Scandal is a wonderful romance featuring two characters of opposite dispositions who balance each other perfectly. And, frankly, I just can’t ask for more than that.