Get it at Amazonfrom our B+ review: There’s been a shortage of really good historical romance so far this year. I can count the number of DIKs I’ve given on the fingers of one hand, and sadly, the lists of upcoming releases for the second half of the year don’t look to be offering much to shout about either. But a shortage isn’t a complete absence; there have been a few gems, and début author Minerva Spencer’s Dangerous - the first book in her new series The Outcasts - is among them. I am going to raise my hand and admit that when I first read the synopsis – our heroine was kidnapped by pirates, sold to a Sultan and lived in a harem for seventeen years – I had my doubts. Not just because of the old-skool connotations associated with the premise, but because so many of the historicals published at the moment are setting aside character and romantic development in favour of mystery and adventure plots – and I was leery of reading yet another poorly conceived story featuring a hero and heroine in the grips of insta-lust who gallivant around breaking all the rules that governed male/female interactions in the early nineteenth century and jumping into bed in chapter three. So I picked up Dangerous with a bit of trepidation, but was quickly engaged by the confident, lively writing and breathed a sigh of relief at the realisation that my preconceptions had been unjustified. Lady Euphemia Marlington, daughter of the Duke of Carlisle, has recently returned to London following the aforementioned seventeen years spent in the harem of Baba Hassan, Sultan of Oran. Now aged thirty-two, she is well beyond marriageable age and is already an object of curiosity and gossip given her prolonged absence from society – and her father is desperate to find her a husband before she does something scandalous that will render her completely unmarriageable. Her vivacity, wit and forthright manner already set her apart from the other ladies of the ton, and she’s most definitely not the demure, biddable sort so many men want to take to wife - but Carlisle hopes that the enormous dowry he’s offering will outweigh the fact of Mia’s lack of societal polish (and her advanced age.) To Mia’s dismay, most of the men dangling after her (dowry) are either past their prime or young striplings; but ultimately, her plans don’t require her to like or spend much time with her husband. What she wants is a man who will marry her and then leave her alone so that she can pursue her scheme of returning to Oran in order to reunite with her son, Jabril. Adam de Courtney, Marquess of Exley, is the father of three daughters, a widower twice over and doesn’t really want another wife. But what he wants is one thing, what he needs is another… and he needs an heir. He’s surprised at being sought out by the Duke of Carlisle when society at large generally gives him a wide berth, believing him to have been responsible for the deaths of both his wives …until he realises that the duke wants to recruit him to the ranks of possible suitors for his recently returned daughter. Adam is not inclined to be manipulated – until he sets eyes on Mia. Red-haired, green-eyed and simply oozing sensuality, she is not at all what he’d expected, and against his better judgement, he’s fascinated. He has no intention of offering for her… until he does, surprised to hear from the lady herself that the sort of marriage she proposes is one sought after by most men – one with no emotional entanglements. Feeling unaccountably lucky to have found a woman who seems to have no qualms about being wedded, bedded and left to her own devices, Adam proposes, even though he’s sure Mia is up to something. He just can’t work out what.
Grade: B+Check Review