Flirting with Ruin

Hi everyone. I see I’ve picked up some likes and followers – thanks. I hope you continue to enjoy this, and continue to have patience as I figure out WordPress, blogging, and writing book reviews. I’ve just learned I have an “about” page that I need to fill out, so I will work on that soon.

Continuing with my set of free Harlequin ebooks, next up is Flirting with Ruin, by Marguerite Kaye. This is part of the Castonbury Park series, but I don’t know anything about the series, and am reviewing this on its own merits. The book is from Harlequin’s Historical Undone line, ebook only short stories that are supposed to be sensual and have more freedom of content than regular historicals. For example, the writer guidelines note that paranormal or science fiction elements are permitted, though they are not present in Flirting with Ruin.

I am fond of historicals. All romance novels are fantasies of course (all novels, really), but with historicals the distancing of time makes suspension of disbelief easier. Certain plot elements are easier too, as fewer contrivances are necessary to introduce isolation or mistaken identity. There is also the nostalgic consideration of the past as a more refined age. We tend to forget the diseases, hardships, and terrible food and think fondly of having servants, writing letters, and leading less complicated lives. Most historicals are about who we now call the 1%, but the dukes and duchesses of ages ago seem more gracious than the CEOs who employ us. The only downside to historicals is that while I may be swept off my feet by a wealthy cowboy or handsome doctor (a girl can dream), I’m unlikely to catch the eye of a playboy duke.

Lady Rosalind is widowed, after an unhappy (i.e. sexless) marriage to a puritanical husband. In the two years since his death she has spread her wings and been involved in some minor scandals. In other words, this woman may be a maid, but she is not of the simpering variety. To put it bluntly, she’s hot to trot, though restrained by the hazards independent women face, then and now. For example, she is keen to travel the world, but does not see that as feasible for an unaccompanied woman. However, she has no qualms about attending a country dance unchaperoned.

There she meets a mysterious gentleman, as out of place as she is, and they  quickly discover a mutual passion. It’s in his kiss, as they sing. Whether you call it love at first sight or lust at first sight, they are together in no time at all. Well, it is a short story, and there’s no time for obstacles to the relationship. Other reviewers thought things progressed too quickly, but sometimes when you take a chance it works out. Rosalind and her new friend both know that life is short, and want to live. Sure, she is lucky, but I can accept that. She flirted with ruin and it paid off.

The sex is relatively detailed, but appropriate to the pheromone driven plot and sensual guidelines. The writing is at times pedestrian or abrupt, but I didn’t mind too much. This is a fun story is about two people, right for each other, who are lucky enough to find, support, comfort,  and enjoy each other. May we all have such luck.