The Scandalous Flirt by Olivia Drake


The Scandalous Flirt by Olivia Drake
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Historical, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full Length (352 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Scandal begins with just one kiss. . .

Aurora Paxton was once the belle of the ball, the most sought-after debutante of the season―until a scandalous mistake ruined her. Shunned by her family, Rory was banished to the country to live in disgrace. Now she’s been summoned back to London by her stepmother, who is being blackmailed by the least likely person Rory can imagine: Lucas Vale, Marquess of Dashell.

Lucas is someone Rory’s known for years―a man as devastatingly handsome as he is coldly disapproving of her. What in the world could he want from her or her family? Rory intends to find out as soon as she comes face to face with her old foe. What she never expects, however, is that the icy aristocrat has a soft spot for her―and a secret plan to redeem her status. Could it be that Lucas has been in love with Rory all along. . .and has finally found a way to win her heart?

Any fan of stories that mirror the tale of Cinderella stand a good chance of being charmed and enchanted, not to mention entertained, when they dive into this very fun novel by Ms. Drake. The Scandalous Flirt has just the right amount of balance between humor, emotional engagement and intrigue as it’s woven amongst a very fine romance between to very opposite personalities. Rory, a/k/a Aurora, and Lucas, Marquess of Dashell.

There’s a bit of a mystery going on in trying to find a blackmailer and the sleuth that’s going to solve the puzzle was supposed to be only one person. Inadvertently the hero stumbles upon the case and gets involved. The complications from that pairing provide the impetus for some of the most memorable moments in the novel and provided many chapters of pure entertainment.

The author included some unique characteristics and talents for the main protagonists and I was fascinated. Some provided humor, food for thought or impressed me. Rory’s was pretty cool.

The internal conflicts of an ambitious hero and a shunned heroine are significant because they have the potential to tear them both apart. As can be expected with a solid, well-told romance, love, attitude, duty and volatile bursts of passion draw Lucas and Rory together despite the odds. I really enjoyed how the author wove their falling in love while in pursuit of the truth.

Of course, there are secondary characters that give this tale a fine flavor, Lady Milford being one, Grimshaw for another. The revelation about that man raised my eyebrows. I never saw that one coming. There are a few words out there that could aptly apply to that man, but I’ll refrain from using such language. Then, there is Rory’s sister, Celeste. I wasn’t sure what I expected but it wasn’t to end up liking her as I did. As for Rory’s step-mother – she was classically written, if you know what I mean.

A pleasant development was Luca’s dragon of a mother. I thought her a wonderful touch and I actually had fun meeting her and watching her effect on the people around her. Once again, an avid reader can guess what has a high probability of happening but the author’s clever writing provides for a pleasant and humorous surprise or two.

A reader will not be disappointed with the fairy tale ending. The mystery is solved, the internal conflicts are addressed in a delightful manner and I was treated to some very spicy romantic moments as Lucas and Rory discover they have more in common than they thought. Lust goes a long way to break down barriers and provide opportunities for shenanigans. They sure were fun to read.

This review is pretty barebones considering the vast number of choices I had to write about. There are way too many twists and turns, scenes of adventure, curiosity and the effect of other secondary characters on the hero and heroine to mention them all and do them justice.

The book’s title, The Scandalous Flirt, makes the novel sound shallow and fluffy. It’s not. There is a lot of heart, passion, depth and wonderful character development. There are crafty plots, dubious deals, preconceptions and amazing revelations. In short, this is a wonderful romance with a solid plot, interesting characters brought to life and a hero and heroine I really enjoyed getting to know. This is a wonderful romance novel to get lost in because it’s that good and I heartily recommend reading this story as soon as you can. I’m glad I did.

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