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Monday, March 22, 2010:
A Touch of Scandal by Jennifer Haymore (2010) - review
The last thing Garrett, Duke of Calton, expects to find while tracking his sworn enemy is the delectable, mysterious Kate. This beautiful servant girl rouses a longing the battle-scarred ex-soldier had never hoped to feel again. But when she turns out to be the sister of the man he seeks, he's convinced he's been betrayed.

Kate knows her duty to her family, yet how can she ignore Garrett's powerful pull on her heart? Or the heady temptation of his stolen-and sizzling-kisses? Scandal has followed the duke since the war. Now the greatest shock of all is on its way-the one that can separate Garrett and Kate forever.

This is the sequel to Jennifer Haymore's unforgettable "A Hint of Wicked", and tells Garrett's story.

Garrett has left home in search of William Fisk, the man who ruined his life and took Garrett's sister with him. While he tracks the dangerous William, he encounters the sweet yet surprisingly bold Kate, a servant of Mr. Fisk, as she watches him bathe in the nearby pond.

Kate had only wanted to go to her hidden sanctuary and take a few moments for herself when she spies the beautiful man washing in the pond. In fact she looks forward to the end of her day when she can rush back to the pond in hopes of catching a glimpse of him. Only she doesn't expect that he'll notice her there, hidden, admiring his masculine form.

Garrett finds himself drawn to the young woman he finds spying on him, despite her outwardly plain appearance. Yet when she gifts him with that glorious smile, he begins to feel something other than the numbness that has been his companion for so long. Kate soothes his soul, and soon he desires to make love to her, and banish the loneliness that plagues him. But at at the same time, he has come to Kenilworth for a reason, and as much as he'd like the enticing Kate to remind him what it's like to be a man again, and to help him forget his pain, he has a duty to his family, and most especially to his sister.

And it turns out the enemy is closer than Garrett had imagined, and he is once again caught in the clutches of a madman, only this time Garrett is aware of the danger and not fooled like he was before. His only goal is to keep Kate and his sister safe, even if it means dying....

My thoughts:

This is obviously a very different story than A Hint of Wicked, yet still manages to have its own share of twists and turns. Garrett is still somewhat bitter over the years he'd lost due to William Fisk, a man he'd called friend, and he's trying to move on and do what is best for everyone. He wants to be a part of his sister's life, as well as his daughter's. Here, he's lost some of the rage that we saw in him from AHOW, and he's become a more real character, flawed yet likable for it.

Kate is a heroine I really felt for. She's a young woman who cannot even begin to compete with her brothers for her mother's love, and has only been left to feel inadequate. To have a gorgeous man like Garrett pay attention to her is as unsettling as it is wonderful. But Kate has a strength that she keeps hidden. She cares for her much younger and sickly brother, and she is a good companion to her brother's wife. Despite what her family tells her, she does have worth, and a caring heart, which is why she tries to save Garrett. Only she ends up falling in love with him, and knows that they can never be together, even before she realizes that he's a Duke. But that doesn't stop her from helping him when he needs it most.

It's a little difficult to review this story without giving too much away, but I really did like it, though I wish we would have been more Garrett and Kate together. Maybe it's all in my mind, but it felt like we didn't see them interact much, just the two of them, beyond their steamy encounters. Granted, there's a lot going on in this book, but I am left feeling like there's something missing. We understand that Kate has a calming effect on Garrett, that she makes him happy, and of course Kate is quite taken with him as well. But other than a few brief conversations, the rest of the story centers around what has happened to Garrett and what continues to happen because of Fisk's quest for revenge, and the majority of those revelations are discovered either by Kate or Garrett individually.

But don't get me wrong, I still liked this book very much, and was rooting for Garrett to find his own happiness. I liked him ever so much more in this story, and even sympathized with him more than I did previously because now we see how those lost years affected him. Not only did he lose his wife, he lost precious time with his daughter, as well as his sister. I think Kate was the perfect match for him, caring and loyal and able to draw him out like no other. She was still a bit of a hoyden, which was exactly what the serious, somber Garrett needed from time to time. He never got much of a chance to be a child, to play and be a little reckless, and Kate offers him that. I loved how he recognized that and how he loved her all the more for it. Together,they began to heal and truly be happy. That's exactly what I wanted to see.

And of course, we see Rebecca, Garrett's sister, again. The young woman has gone through a lot, and has her regrets over her part in this epic disaster, but she's resilient and has many friends who will get her through the scandal. And she has her brother, who at one time terrified her, but now has proven to be a truly remarkable man. After all she's suffered, now it's her turn to find happiness...

So if you liked A Hint of Wicked and are dying to know what happens to both Garrett and Rebecca, then definitely I recommend picking up a Touch of Scandal to find out. Because I'm not going to tell you ;) Besides, wouldn't you like to read it for yourself?

Rating: **** out of *****

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  1. Nice review Stacy. I looked for this book last weekend but didn't see it on the shelves yet....maybe it's not the official release date yet. I'll keep looking until I find it as I have been anxious to read it since reading her first release last year.

  2. Sounds like a really great read. Thanks for the review Stacy.

  3. I have this on my list. Great review. AHOW was actually one of my favorite reads last year (even though I generally despise love triangles). I'm looking forward to seeing a less angry side of Garrett.

  4. I have mixed feelings on this one..I thought Garrett and Kate fall for each other too fast. Maybe it is like you said - it felt like not enough page time for them? In a weird way..LOL. But overall, I liked it.

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