on December 9th 2012
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HE PUT HER ON A PEDESTALWhen Celeste Gray arrives in the sleepy village of Brixcombe-on-the-Bay, she thinks she's one step closer to leaving her notorious past behind. She even suspects the deliciously handsome--if somewhat stuffy--viscount next door is developing a tendre for her. That is, until the day Ashlin Lancester learns she's not the unassuming spinster she's pretending to be.
NOW SHE HAS FARTHER TO FALLAfter a decade of proving he is nothing like his profligate father, Ash is horrified to have given his heart to a Cyprian. He launches a campaign to prove his attraction is nothing more than a sordid reaction he can't control. But he soon learns that unlike his father, he can't find comfort in the arms of just any woman. He needs Celeste. When he takes her as his mistress, he's still not satisfied, and the many late nights in her arms only make him want more...
~~Reviewed by AnnMarie~~
The Trouble with Being Wicked is the first book in The Naughty Girls series by Emma Locke.
Celeste Gray is a much sought after courtesan in London, but she wants to retire, leaving her past behind her. With that in mind, she sets up home in a cottage in Devon with her friend and fellow courtesan Elizabeth. The latter is pregnant and needed to be away from London for her confinement.
Ashlin Lancaster (Ash) is a Viscount and Celeste’s closest neighbour. He lives with his two wilful sisters, both whom he wants to see married sooner rather than later. Unfortunately one of them says she won’t marry at all, and the other wants to marry a man beneath her social station which Ash can’t allow. He too needs to marry, and knows he won’t find a wife in Devon. They plan to go to London for a season in which he hopes all three of them will find suitable, proper spouses.
Before the London trip, Ash and Celeste meet. She under a false name because her reputation precedes her. It’s pretty much lust at first sight between them. Something that horrifies Ash. His father broke his mother’s heart because he was a philanderer, one that slept with countless courtesans in London with not a care about his wife. Ash has been celibate for years because he fears that he will show signs of being a whore-monger like his father. When he marries it will be to a proper lady, one who will provide him with heirs, and one who he will love but certainly not lust after. He fears that Celeste will push him to his limits, and could also be a bad influence on his sisters. Not because she doesn’t seem proper enough, but because she she seems too confident, too independent, the kind of women his sisters want to be. He vows to keep them apart, but as always, his sisters don’t listen to him and they invite Celeste on many visits, or for walks, and he feels he needs to accompany them to make sure nothing untoward happens.
Unfortunately for him, Ash finds himself feeling more and more besotted with Celeste, but when the inevitable happens and he finds out who she really is, he is furious. She is the type of woman that his father dallied with which broke his mother. He is angry that he has feelings for her, and angry that her kind were around his sisters.
Celeste is distraught when Ash finds out about her and she realises she will never be able to live down her past. With that in mind she runs back to London. She doesn’t immediately start seeing other men, but she needs to lick her wounds.
Ash and his sisters travel to London for their ‘season’ where Ash still hopes the girls will find husbands. He can’t keep his mind off Celeste and sees her, asking her to be his mistress. It kills him that he can’t keep away from her. He can’t marry her, he can’t love her, but at least he can bed her. Which makes him just like his father doesn’t it?? He’s very confused.
So do his sisters find men that he approves of, can he keep his heart safe from the type of woman he definitely cannot marry. Will his relationship with her be the ruin of his family’s good name? He hates the thought that Celeste is his mistress, but there is no other option.
The passionate scenes between Celeste and Ash were steamy hot, not for those that like a nice staid read with fade to black sex. Their relationship was fraught with angst but between the sheets, or against the wall etc, they were perfectly matched.
The sisters were a delight to get to know, Lucy, well I certainly enjoyed the plot twist where she was concerned. Delilah, despite her name, was the more proper of the sisters, and her story is lovely. I enjoyed how we didn’t just have the main couple’s story, but that also a lot was happening with the sisters which kept the book exciting.
Poor Ash, well he gets a shock or two, and ends up questioning a lot about his life and beliefs. He is a loveable character even when he’s being an utter snob.
I actually really enjoyed this story, despite some of the outcomes being something I think would never have happened in real regency times. But that’s what I loved so much about it, it was like a fantasy, feel good, story where it all comes good in the end for all except perhaps one character. I assume his story will be next in the series. At least I hope it will be because he’s a darling, if somewhat scandalous man.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and can’t wait to read the next in the series.