by Anna Bradley
Series: Sutherland Scandals #1
Genres: Historical Romance
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A tantalizing new Regency romance filled with the most elegant society—and the most forbidden desires… England, 1811. Delia Somerset despises the privileged ton, but her young sister, Lily, is desperate to escape their family’s scandalous past and join high society. Unwilling to upset her sister, Delia reluctantly agrees to attend a party at the Sutherland estate—and avoid the gossip at all costs. Alec Sutherland is known as a hot-headed scoundrel, but nothing gets a rise out of him as much as the news that his brother desires Delia’s hand in marriage. She is, after all, the daughter of the London belle who soiled their family name. He’s determined to ruin her reputation as well, in the most delicious way possible. It’s only a matter of time before he can woo her with his irresistible advances. As Delia devilishly plays along in Alec’s game, determined to prove the joke is on him, they inch ever closer to repeating history. And in this game of seductive glances, scandalous whispers, and old debts, the outcome might be much more than either of them anticipated…
Set in England 1811, A Wicked Way to Win an Earl by Anna Bradley is the first in the Sutherland Scandals. Strong characters and a house party at the Sutherland estate made this regency romance a delight.
Years ago Delia and Lily’s mother was the jewel of the ton until she jilted Alec Sutherland’s father to marry a man beneath her. When their parent’s died not even their grandmother will receive them. So when Earl of Sutherland’s sisters invite them to a house party Delia agrees. Her sister Lily has been ill and she is hoping her love of society will see her restored. Delia and Alec’s first encounter was hilarious and had me giggling. When Alec discovers that his younger brother has eyes for Delia he is determined to keep the young lady occupied and save his family from further hurt and scandal. He devises a plan to ruin Delia’s reputation. Delia is no one’s fool and soon the game is afoot.
Alec made me crazy. On one hand, he infuriated me with his pompous attitude and determination to ruin Delia. I seriously wanted to slap him across the back of his head. However the way in which he doted on his sisters and worried after his mother moved me. Thankfully, Bradley peeled back his layers and allowed him to grow and grovel. We see tremendous character growth as the story progresses, so do not hate on him to hard.
Delia was a breath of fresh air with her clever quips and tendency to say what she thinks. Alec Sutherland unnerves her and their interaction were humorous, sensual and filled with banter. Delia is unfamiliar with the art of flirting but she manages to drive Alex insane. She too has some issues and thinks Alec is playing a game; one she fully intends to win. Getting to witness the results offered plenty of swoons and laughter.
Secondary characters were not as fleshed out as I would have liked, but added to the tale and made events plausible. The countryside setting and regency details were well done, and the story wrapped up nicely leaving me with a smile and affection for these characters.
A Wicked Way to Win an Earl was a charming regency romances and I am curious to see what the next book brings us.
Read an Excerpt
He pinned her down with penetrating dark eyes that sported lashes long enough to satisfy even the vainest of women, and slowly crossed his arms over his chest.
“Miss?” he barked. “I asked you a question.”
Yes—he had, hadn’t he? Yes, of course. Who the devil was she? “Delia Somerset?” she squeaked, cringing when it emerged as a question.
A glint of lazy humor flashed in the black eyes. “Well, are you or aren’t you? You don’t seem to be sure.”
Delia didn’t trust that glint. Her married friends sometimes whispered about men like him; men who became crazed with lust and were swept away by their animal passions. All manner of wicked behavior followed. And this one looked more savage than most.
“Let’s assume you are indeed Miss Somerset,” he drawled when she still didn’t speak. “Now that I know who the devil you are, may I suggest you tell me what the devil you’re doing here?”
Why, of all the offensive, bullying . . . all at once Delia’s embarrassment faded under a wave of indignation. Even an intriguingly bare chest didn’t excuse profanity. “And may I suggest, sir,” she snapped, “that you manage your shirt?”
One dark eyebrow shot up in acknowledgment of this show of temper. “Forgive me, Miss Somerset.” He began straightening the shirt with an air of complete unconcern, as if he spent every day half-naked on a public road. He shrugged into his coat. “I didn’t mean to offend your delicate sensibilities.”
Delia stared at him. “It’s a bit late for that, isn’t it? My sensibilities were offended, sir, when you unfastened your breeches.”