Leila Beaumont is a gorgeous and talented portrait painter trapped in a loveless marriage with her profligate husband, Francis. Though long ago, Francis very much played the hero, rescuing and wedding the orphaned 17-year-old Leila - Francis' more recent hedonistic lifestyle of drinking, drugging and womanizing has not only earned him quite a few enemies in London, but lost him the love of his wife. When Francis turns up dead in the Beaumont townhouse, right after a loud and vitriolic argument with his wife, Leila is seen as the primary suspect, innocent though she is. Because of Francis' many enemies and victims, government officials instigate a quiet investigation, many of whom fear fallout from Francis' numerous blackmail and extortion schemes. The man they call on - the sexy blue-eyed Comte d'Esmond - is a man of many talents who has spent the past ten years as one of the government's most trusted covert operatives; a man who also has a dark and treacherous past. Neither Leila, nor Esmond is especially happy to be working together - their relationship is one of intense attraction accompanied by intense resistance. Leila had long ago given up on the idea of love and saw her husband as a means of propriety in London, but now she finds the dangerous Esmond's seductive charm nearly irresistible. But work together they must: Esmond, with a carefully hidden identity that would shock Leila to the core and Leila with her own secrets to keep... It's danger that unites them and it's danger that chains their hearts: Esmond's virility and bold touch enflame Leila's blood...and draw her into the most irresistible intrigue of all...truly passionate love.
©1994 Loretta Chekani (P)2014 Loretta Chekani
Passionate and convoluted. I enjoyed it immensely. The narration was extremely good none (or perhaps a negligible few) mispronunciations which can otherwise mar an audio book.
I get very bored when doing house chores, so I go around with my iPhone or iPad in my pocket and listen to Audible while cooking or ironing.
I have so far found no fault with any of the enjoyable, exciting, and well written stories by Loretta Chase. Her endearing heroes and heroines with their mixture of warmth and clumsiness, with their wounds, their flaws and redeeming traits, are simply loveable and I love her ability to make even some of the villains in her story worthy of redemption and grace. I like the fact that she treats most of her passion and love scenes with tact and good taste, and uses them when they are really justified; without unduly cramming the narration with them.
The only flaw, overall is the lamentable tendency of the reader to raise the intonation at the end of sentences and sometimes even paragraphs where a descending tone would be more appropriate, marring the effect and distracting the reader from the flow of the story,
So many books, so little time...
I was completely gripped by this story of an unhappy wife who becomes a suspect when her husband is murdered, and of the enigmatic man who desires and helps her.
The Comte d'Esmond is gorgeous and charming, and very much smitten with Leila Beaumont, the wife of a profligate, drunken, drug-addicted husband. He is also a man with a purpose, in the employ of the British government as an investigator and spy when required. Leila's husband, Francis Beaumont, was once her knight in shining armour, having rescued her from her father's murderers and taken her to safety in England. Even though her husband has no compunction about indulging in many affairs, Leila has never done the same, and is determined not to succumb to the charming comte.
When Francis is killed, she has nobody to turn to for help - except d'Esmond, so the two join forces to investigate the murder.
I loved the story, and the skilful way the author wove together the murder investigation with a romance that is both tender and very sensual. Leila is a prickly character, which isn't surprising given the way Francis treated her, so her initial responses to d'Esmond are ascerbic and cold - but the way she gradually comes to love and trust him is beautifully done. Of course, d'Esmond has his own demons to fight, and a secret he's afraid will sunder him from Leila forever, so the pair has to work hard for their eventual HEA.
Kate Reading is one of my favourite narrators and she doesn't disappoint. She very skilfully differentiates between all the characters, and she really gets to the emotional heart of the characters and their stories. Fingers crossed she continues to narrate Loretta Chase's books.
"Perfect Pairing of Author and Narrator"
This is the second title in Loretta Chase's Scoundrels Series. I thought Kate Reading did another fantastic job with this title. She does a great job with narrating male voices in addition to females. You can always tell all the characters apart and I thought she did a great job with the Comte d'Esmond's slight accent. Story-wise, I enjoyed revisiting Ismal from The Lion's Daughter 10 year's after that book's events. Although the listener doesn't need to listen to the Lion's Daughter first, I think this book is more satisfying. Leila is a great character - she refuses to allow people to feel bad for her despite Francis being a terrible husband and all around scumbag. Instead, she focuses on who she was able to become an artist because of him. I also enjoyed the ending greatly and found the mystery of Francis's killer to be engaging and not too predictable.
"Mystery, drama, romance....second chances"
this was a great mystery. It was a good romance...slow burn...but it gets hot. Great in depth story that does pull you in and makes it hard to hit pause.
I didn't expect to like the hero since he was horrible in the first book. But Chase did a good job of redeeming him. I liked the heroine very much.
Reading is the best as always.
Not a typical fluff filled romance, but very very good! The mystery ( I didn't even see what was coming!) was quite a surprise in the end. The characters were bold and clear with colorful personalities which were easy to hear through Kate Readings performance. There is nothing I can say that is wrong with this book. The twists n turns amazed me... I feel like it's not quite a HR with a HEA ending... yet it was such fun!
NARRATOR; Perfect. Kate Reading is awesome! I find not a single element of her performance to be less stellar. Her voices are SO good... and not once did I even notice the narrator instead of the book. As it should be!
CREDITWORTHY? : YES!
HEAT FACTOR: High.
"Kate Reading is a complete genius"
Captives of the Night is my favorite romance novel of all time, and Kate Reading's performance of the book makes it ten times better. If I hadn't experienced it, I wouldn't have believed it was possible. I lost sleep this week staying up to listen--and I've read the book multiple times. Every character is distinct, and if you weren't already in love with Ismal, you will be, when you encounter him here via Ms Reading's voice. Brava!
First of all, Kate Reading does a fabulous job with the narration of the audiobook. Other than one not-so-good book I have truly enjoyed Loretta Chase's romances. This one is another good one! I do have a problem when I hear the Dowager's language. I'm sure the author researched this but it's like fingernails on a blackboard to me. I had a bit of a issue trying to keep track of some of the characters but it all worked out. I didn't want this to end. Great book!
"Well matched couple investigates murder..."
He briefly saw her 10 years prior before her life imlpoded with her father's death. Now her husband is murdered and he is sent to solve the crime.
I liked continuing the story of our leading man introduced in earlier in this series. I liked the window of time that had passed allowing him to evolve.
I liked her strong will though her loathing of her own passion was a bit irritating. I was glad when this plot point was resolved.
This was a good but not great read.
"Sweet combination of romance and mystery"
A murder mystery with strong women, and handsome, intelligent men; some you love-some you hate. L.Chase writes a wonderful historical romance that is so much more. This book is involved and you will need to keep track of the character names and events. With a little more effort from the listener, Chase and narrator K.Reading provide hours of entertainment with this sensual and romantic "who-done-it". Well worth the credit and it rewards you for listening!
"Kate Reading is Simply Brilliant!"
Absolutely, yes. Everything this duo does, I'll pay full price! This is fluff, but it is exceptional fluff. Fabulous, witty writing, wonderful characters, plots, chemistry, and of course, romance. Can't say enough how good Kate Reading is reading this author.
When he tells her the truth, all sixteen times, but especially when he dresses as himself, speaks as himself, of himself.
It is irresistible. I will read (listen) again and again.
I usually save this type of rating for sophisticated writing, like Broken for You, or The Time Traveler's wife. Romance is just fluff, fills the ride. But this series with Kate Reading narrating is simply too special to not mention, with words and rating.
"A great listen after The Lord of scoundrels"
I decided to get another one of Loretta Chase's books once I was finished with Lord of scoundrels. I was not disapointed with that decision. Loved the story, the characters and the murder mystery. Would recommend!
"So Far Above the First!!!!"
After listening to the first book of the series, I was worried. However, this book went beyond my expectations to a whole new level. I despised the main character (Ismael) in the first book; but this book simply exemplifies the fact that we all grow and change.
The story is intriguing and beguiling, oft funny, and wonderfully romantic. Kate Reading did a much better job in this book narrating.
This is on my re-read list. I think I'll just begin the series with book 2 in the future.
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