Dark Temptation

Author: Allison Chase

Publisher: Signet Eclipse

Release Date: November 2008

Blue Ribbon Rating: 4

Format: PRINT





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Consumed by a burning curiosity about everything around her, Sophie St. Clair's dream is to write for one of her Grandfather's newspapers – a most unladylike ambition. When her snooping leads to a scandalous public kiss at a party, her family exiles Sophie to the village of Penhollow. There she spends her days bored out of her mind until she spies some mysterious lights in the harbor one night. Concerned that a ship might be foundering, she goes to investigate and discovers something even more fascinating – Chad Rutherford, Earl of Wycliffe and the reclusive lord of Edgecombe, an estate some believe may be haunted. Whether or not that's the case, Sophie is certainly haunted by her first encounter with Wycliffe. Despite advice to the contrary from her cousin, Sophie finds herself returning again and again to Edgecombe and to the arms of its troubled master.

If he were a mere commoner, Chad Rutherford, Earl of Wycliffe, would be in jail by now. Several years ago, troubled by mounting debts on his estates, Chad formed a partnership with smugglers, allowing them to use his name when making purchases and even to use land on one of his estates as a hiding place for their stolen loot. When the smuggling scheme is revealed, Wycliffe turns over the names of his co-conspirators in exchange for his freedom. However, his freedom could be short-lived if the leader of the smugglers decides to take revenge on the earl. Chad takes refuge at his family estate of Edgecombe, expecting his comeuppance any day. While there, he contemplates the crimes in which he was involved. Although he didn't know it when he joined the smugglers, he now realizes that they were a brutal, bloodthirsty bunch that sometimes deliberately sank ships to obtain cargo, leaving the passengers to die.
 
When the earl quite literally bumps into Sophie one night, he realizes what the lights she has seen signify – smuggling is still going on in the village of Penhollow. More innocent lives will be lost if he doesn't find a way to expose the smugglers and stop their operations. But how can he track down the smugglers without letting Sophie know the truth about his own role in their previous exploits? Chad is torn between desire to tell her the truth and fear for her very life if she should remain with him.

 
DARK TEMPTATION was an enthralling adventure. Sophie is a spirited, witty heroine and Chad is a tortured hero who truly has some heavy crimes on his conscience. Sophie's struggle to win his trust and Chad's attempts to resist her are believable and often moving. Allison Chase takes the classic gothic romance style of Victoria Holt or Daphne du Maurier and brings it into the twenty-first century with her addition of some very spicy love scenes. Throw in ghosts, pirates and a stark setting on the rocky coast of Cornwall, and DARK TEMPTATION makes an enthralling read for a chilly autumn night.

By Romance Junkies Reviewer: Lynn Reynolds

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