Title: Simply Scandalous by Kate Pearce
House of Pleasure Book 9
Genre: Historical, Erotic, Romance
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B
Review Copy Obtained from Publisher Through NetGalley
Known only to a select clientele, Madame Helene’s Pleasure House is an exclusive brothel in Regency England where every illicit fantasy that you could imagine is indulged. . .
After years of fighting on the continent, Richard Ross has finally returned to London to make peace with his father. And the erotic delights of his stepmother’s Pleasure House provide a welcome distraction for his war-weary heart. But he is shocked to encounter someone there whose resemblance to his lost love leaves him both tempted and tormented. . .
As a former spy, Violet LeNy has mastered the art of deception. But there is no disguising the heated passion that still burns between her and Richard, the man she once betrayed but who now is her only hope of survival. Soon she plans a scandalous game of seduction where sensual surrender is the ultimate pleasure…
Simply Scandalous is the deliciously sexy final installment of Kate Pearce’s House of Pleasure series. An intriguing mystery and a secondary romance make this novel a little different from the other books in the series. The sex scenes are still smoking hot and longtime fans of the series will be delighted with the wrap up of all the various storylines.
Unbeknownst to his family and friends, Richard Ross spent his years in France working as a spy for England. Now retired and back in England, he is still mourning the death of his lover, Violet. When a former colleague of his draws Richard back into the spy game, he comes face to face with a ghost from his past.
Violet LeNy is a former spy who broke Richard’s heart when she was forced to fake her own death. Fleeing from France, she and her twin brother Jack are working to reclaim their estates and begin a new life in England. Desperate to save herself and her brother, Violet will go to any lengths to regain Richard’s trust and unmask the double agent who is threatening their lives.
Richard reluctantly teams up with Violet to investigate who is behind the plot to kill her and Jack. There is very little trust between them in the beginning and it takes a while for Violet to reveal all the pertinent details to Richard. Complicating matters between them is the intense sexual attraction they still have for one another.
I have to admit that while I liked Richard and Violet’s romance, the relationship that I found must fascinating is between Richard’s sister Emily and half-brother Christian’s close friend Ambrose. Not only is there a class difference between them, there is also the fact that Ambrose is a freed slave. Emily is sheltered by her wealthy and over-protective family, but she knows what she wants and she is not afraid to go after it. Both she and Ambrose must overcome some obstacles in their pasts before they can make plans for their future.
Equally compelling is the story arc that wraps up some of the loose ends surrounding Emily and Richard’s parents’ marriage. Hints about the unhappy marriage have appeared in previous novels in the series, and while readers knew their marriage was quite miserable, there were few details about why. In Simply Scandalous, all of the unsavory specifics are finally revealed.
Simply Scandalous is a well-written novel that has a fast moving plot and engaging protagonists. The characters are multi-faceted and well-developed. The mystery aspect of the storyline is quite interesting and I was genuinely surprised at the revelation of the villain’s identity. The sex scenes are very risqué, exquisitely detailed and quite plentiful.
While I am sorry to see the House of Pleasures series come to an end, I am looking forward to Kate Pearce’s upcoming series, The Sinners Club, which debuts next year. I am crossing my fingers we get Jack’s story first!