Friday, February 22, 2013

One Naughty Night

One Naughty Night by Laurel McKee

Lily St. Claire grew up the daughter of the most infamous "french" courtesan in London, becoming a pickpocket after her mother's death for "Handsome" Tom Beaumont until finally being rescued by the theatrical St. Claire family. Trying to join the family business, Lily gives a disastrous performance as Juliet and is comforted by a handsome stranger, before putting aside her dreams of the stage and marrying a boring grocer. Years later Lily is widowed and helping her family open a new gambling house, the Devil's Fancy, when her eye is once again court by her handsome stranger. She is horrified to learn that he is Lord Aidan Huntington since there has been a feud between their family's since an ancestor of the Huntington's married and abandoned a St. Claire woman. Aidan cannot believe his good fortune in finding his beautiful mystery lady from the theatre and has no clue that their two family's are supposed to be enemies. He decides to rekindle their romance and uses every opportunity to find time to be alone with Lily, trying to convince her to give in to her passion once more. But Lily is terrified of her feelings, scared that she will end up just like her mother and that Aidan will use her and then leave her.

But Aidan proves himself to be kind and attentive, allowing Lily to move their relationship at her own pace, and Lily finds that she does not want to deny her natural passion for long. She finds she can open up and do everything in her wildest imagination with such an adventurous and willing partner and she can finally come to grips with the legacy her mother left her. There is still the matter of his standing in society and their family's feud, but everything is thrown into disarray when Tom Beaumont shows up back in town and makes it clear that he wants Lily for his own and he is willing to use whatever means necessary to achieve his ends. Aidan is not about to let Lily get away from him again and just when he thinks things have been settled, Lily pulls away from him, concerned that he has betrayed her by searching through her drawers for a friends' letters. Aidan knows that Lily is the woman for him and he must prove to her that nothing can ever get in the way of his love for her and she will learn that when it comes to love, social standing means nothing.

Lily's past played a huge role in who she was in a person and I really enjoyed a female character with so much depth to her, in a sense having the traditional roles in a romance novel reversed as she was the one with a little darkness in her soul. I really admired her strength and how she was also insecure and scared at times, but was willing to ask for help and admit her own faults to herself. She was dedicated to her family and was truly a big help to them and her life had a real purpose; she did something, she worked- and that is something I really like from a heroine. Aidan lacked all the depth of Lily and existed totally on the surface as a gambler, a wastrel, a womanizer and every other dissolute name in the book who feels the pressure from his family to marry and does his best to live down to everyone's expectations. He really was no different than almost every other romance novel hero, but it stood in stark contrast with Lily who really was such a complex, likeable, and memorable character. The best part about Aidan was his dedication to Lily and how, when things got difficult, he never turned away from her and was always there to help her.

I really did not feel like there was that much of a relationship between Aidan and Lily and really wished there had been more genuine interactions between the two of them. There was a lot of sex, a lot, and it was quite kinky and hot, even if it did seem like the author was just throwing some mild kink in there haphazardly. I wish they had more non-sexy times together for me to really see how they were together. There were a lot of side plots going on in this story and while they all contributed to the story in some way it quickly go ta little overwhelming and I was  not a fan of them. There was the problem of the love letters from Aidan's friend that he was sent to collect and while there was a little argument, it was quickly forgotten and made me wonder why it was even there. There was the family feud, which was discussed at times and forgotten at others and seemed like a poor excuse to create some drama. The problem with Tom Beaumont was the most important and meaningful of the side plots and it did contribute greatly to the overall flow of the novel and I liked that it did not take away from the romance, indeed may have contributed to it, but I got a little bit tired of it when it wouldn't end.

Rating: A very sexy book with a remarkable heroine, but a rather bland hero, side plots that meandered, and a lack of true romantic development.

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