Wicked Nights with a Lover
Wicked Nights with a Lover is not a very good book. It has a silly premise, irritating leads, and ick-inducing prose. Surely Ms. Jordan, who has written five other historical romances — I liked One Night with You a lot – as well as several paranormal and young adult novels, can do better than this.
Marguerite Laurent is living the dull life as temporary companion to the elderly. Her boring life is suddenly changed when a fortuneteller predicts that Marguerite will happily marry and be dead within a year. Marguerite believes her — the medium successfully predicted Marguerite’s employer’s death — and decides to “live life to the fullest” in the time she has left. Naturally, she hurries off to proposition a lord who had earlier asked to be her protector, although prior to her death sentence Marguerite was a very good girl and was appalled at his proposal. Now, however, a life of trashy passion calls to her — marriage is out given that Marguerite is convinced that the fortuneteller’s prophecy is her destiny.
However, before Marguerite can run off with her loser lordling, she is kidnapped by a macho hottie named Ash Courtland. Ash is the business partner of Marguerite’s father Jack, and has worked his way out of the gutter (when not seducing wanton women), building up the gaming dens and other investment properties owned by her father. Jack too made his way up from the streets and, along the way, fathered three illegitimate daughters, none of whom he’s ever paid any attention to. But now Jack wants social acceptance and he’s called his daughters to him in order to marry them off to titled men in exchange for giving said titled men the properties Ash has spent his life building. For reasons that are never explained, Ash has no right to any of the business empire. He decides the best way to deal with being cut out of his part of Jack’s fortune is to kidnap and marry one of Jack’s daughters. He arrives at Jack’s house just as Marguerite does and, not caring which daughter she is, hauls her off and makes haste to Gretna Green.
Nothing about this plot works. Madame Foster, the death-predicting spiritualist, fudges constantly on her predictions — she repeatedly intones “no one’s future is etched in stone,” which makes Marguerite’s actions hard to fathom. Marguerite never really commits to anything — sometimes she’s sure marriage to Ash will kill her, literally, other times, she’s not so sure. Ash ostensibly is marrying Marguerite to tick off Jack and to possibly get some of Jack’s empire, but he also finds Marguerite hot. Both Ash and Marguerite do irritating things, stupid things, and nonsensical things over and over. Their relationship goes from cold to hot to cold again so many times that it’s annoying. A third of the way through the book, I completely quit trusting them to behave in understandable ways.
And don’t even get me started on the gross language. Suffice to say, I never want to read about anyone’s “weeping opening” again.
I believe Ms. Jordan can do better than this book. Next time, I hope she does.