Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Too Wicked to Wed

Too Wicked to Wed by Cara Elliot 1127

Lady Alexa Hendrie goes to the Wolf’s Liar, London’s most notorious brothel and gaming hell, in search of information about her younger brother, but she is unprepared to confront Connor Linsley, the Earl of Killingworth, but better known as the Irish Wolfhound. Connor doesn’t need some milk and water English miss butting into his life but Alexa is anything but the typical young lady; she is not afraid to confront the Wolf in his Liar and he can’t help but challenge her to a kiss. Neither of them can get their moment of passion out of their head and Alexa decides to ask her family for a London season in the hopes of discovering that passion in a potential husband. She quickly learns that no one else inspires the same feelings as Connor and when she dresses up like a man in another gambling hell she is shocked to find that she has won a half stake in Connor’s gambling hell. Connor has recently had a run of bad luck as someone is obviously trying to destroy his business; stealing from his safe, cheating at cards and destroying his stock of brandy and he needs to discover who is beyond everything.

When next Alexa goes to visit Connor his enemies try to do away with him and in the process discover her identity. She turns to his fellow Hellhounds for help and they decide that the safest place will be at Connor’s seaside childhood home, Linsley Manor and Alexa accompanies the unconscious man. Connor is not pleased to be at the home that holds so many unhappy memories of his childhood where his father gambled away all their money. Alex quickly sets herself the task of trying to fix up the decrepit manor and find a way to make it profitable and Connor can’t help but wonder how she is working her way into his life. The sexual attraction between them never goes away and when Connor finally lets loose his iron control he believes he is left with no choice but to marry her because he is not willing to give up the last shred of his honor. Alexa worries that he is marrying her for all the wrong reasons and wants him to love her as much as she loves him. Finally they both are forced to go back to London to confront Connor’s enemies and they will find themselves fighting for their lives and for each other.

Alexa was intelligent and naïve, confident and yet unsure about herself in society, and affectionate and scared of her emotions all at once. I found these qualities about her so relatable and I really wanted to like her because she was being stifled by the society around her and I wanted her to spread her wings and find her place. However she behaved in ways that were just so impossible to believe, such as going into a gambling hell or brothel or dressing up like a man, that while I admired her motive of wanting to be something other than what society prescribed, I just could not help but feel she was acting ridiculous. There was also an incident at the end where she VERY clearly became too stupid to live and it made me lose a lot of respect for her. Connor was incredibly austere, living up to his nickname by growling at everyone and being very cold and removed from everyone. I liked that he was a working-man and that he was a caring employer but felt like he did not show any softer side, or lighter side, to Alexa and I could not see falling in love with someone who was dark and brooding all the time.

His darkness, his brusque manner, made a romance very awkward in my opinion because Alexa was throwing herself whole heartedly into their relationship and I did not see what she was getting in return or how she could fall in love with him. There was a lot of sexual energy between them but I felt like the actual sex was rushed and rather bland. A very big deal was made throughout the book about the connection Connor had with his friends, the fellow Hellhounds, and it is clear that there will be sequels featuring those characters. While I found the idea of the group laughable I really liked that he had genuine friends who he laughed around with. The Hellhounds were of course there to help him discover who was behind the attacks on his person and his business and I felt like that plot was well integrated into the story for the majority of the book. It was important, it was interesting and it did not get overwhelming and take over until the very end when it became a matter of him having to save her from the evil dude in order to realize his true feelings for her.

Rating: I had trouble getting into these characters and their romance but I liked the mystery plot until the very end and I really enjoyed the writing style.

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