30 July 2013

Scandal at Vauxhall Blog Barrage

The love and happiness Isabel Salisbury expected in life when she accepted the proposal of the Marquess of Stoughton takes an unexpected turn when he leaves on a mission for the war office and her parents marry her off to the Duke of Brimley.

Nathaniel Thompson, the Marquess of Stoughton, is devastated to learn upon his return that Isabel has married the duke. When news of her husband’s death surfaces, Nathaniel sets out to make amends and will stop at nothing until she’s his marchioness.

But when London learns of a promiscuous tryst between them in the Daily, their credibility is at stake. They soon discover that nothing in life is simple, nor private, and all is fair in love and war.

Warning: This title is intended for readers over the age of 18 as it contains adult sexual situations and/or adult language, and may be considered offensive to some readers.

Amazon US ARe 
Secret Cravings 

Sara's Review:

I don’t usually read historic romances.  I get pretty confused when it comes to all the different titles of the characters and it’s hard for me to keep everyone straight.  What I’m saying is, I don’t read a lot of this genre, but Scandal at Vauxhall was a pleasant surprise for me.   Even though not one bodice was ripped apart (which, let’s face it, is the whole reason for wearing a bodice in the first place), I found myself intrigued by the story line and characters.

Scandal at Vauxhall is about the seemingly doomed relationship of Nathaniel and Isabel.  Young lovers separated by duty, Nathaniel returns from war to find that Isabel has been forced to marry a – wait for it – a total rake!  No, not the kind that you use to pick up leaves in the fall, but a man who in today’s terms would be a dog.  A total dog, but a rich one.  Anyway, Isabel thinks that Nathaniel is dead, and so she’s forced to marry another.  I don’t want to ruin anything for you, but suffice to say that Isabel and Nathaniel get what you think would be an obvious second chance, but that Isabel is feisty!  I liked her, and I think it was awesome that she didn’t just fall into Nathaniel’s arms when the opportunity arose.  Go, girl.

I found the plot to be a lot deeper than what I would have thought a shorter story could get in to.  There were many twists and turns that I did not expect, and that made it a really titillating and satisfying read for me.

I did, as I mentioned before, have some difficulty keeping the characters straight, but I don’t think the storytelling was at fault for that, it’s just the way the genre is.  I actually thought the storytelling and characters were great, and it was a really fun read, if not a short one.  At around 100 pages, I did find myself wishing it were longer.  All in all, I quite enjoyed this story, even without the bodice ripping!  3.5 stars!

 “What haven’t I heard?” she asked. Her breath hitched and her pulse raced. What could I have missed?

“Come away with me to the terrace. I wish to speak to you in private. We can’t have half of London listening in.”

She followed Lady Coxley outdoors, leaving behind the sounds of merriment to be embraced by the shrouded darkness of night and silence.

“They say the marquess will not marry until he’s found her.”

“Until he’s found who?”

“The one who broke his heart. But in all honesty, everyone knows it’s you. With any luck, perchance some horrible fate will happen upon Henry.”

If I were only so lucky. “You shouldn’t talk like that! And for the record, the marquess and I were done long ago. Remember, he’s the one who left me.”

“Isabel, you cannot expect me to believe that you haven’t thought about that man—at least once or ever—during the course of this sham of a marriage of yours. The haute ton in its entirety knows where he is right now. And you’d be a fool to think Henry gives two ninnies about your welfare.”

The sound of someone clearing their throat interrupted them.

“Excuse me, ladies, but I was wondering if perchance I could steal Her Grace for a dance.”

Good grief. Did he hear any of our discussion? I cannot believe he’s actually here. Heat coursed through Isabel at the thought of holding him once again. She nodded and held out her gloved palm for him to take. “I’d be honored, My Lord.”

“The pleasure is all mine, Your Grace.”

Leaving behind Lady Coxley, she followed his lead inside for a waltz.

“It’s been too long, Isabel. I’ve missed you terribly,” he whispered as they took a turn about the dance floor. Nathaniel bowed and took her hand. His touch warmed her, and the gentle squeeze that followed reassured her that the flame they once had was still there.

She and Henry hadn’t danced since their wedding and even then, he quickly discarded her to dance with the Duchess of Downsbury. If she’d only known her dismissal that evening would be the first of many others. For the most part, her husband had two left feet, but Nathaniel whisked her away gracefully to the tune. She wished to kiss him again and remind herself of their time together. Good heavens, Isabel. You’re married. Enough of this foolishness!

Isabel felt him pulling her closer as his arm at the small of her back pushed her in. His head dipped down, and, naturally, she looked up at him, ignoring every stare and whisper as they moved together. She finally cringed and mustered the courage to ask him the one thing weighing heavily on her mind. “Why did you take so long? Why didn’t you come sooner? Nathaniel, there hasn’t been a day I haven’t thought of you.”

As the music wound down and the dancers departed, Isabel locked her eyes on his and felt a tear escape. “You’ve been missed greatly, My Lord.”

His thumb swiped away the drop. “My dear, there hasn’t been a day, hour, or dream you haven’t occupied.”

Her chest tightened with his admission. Could he have really wanted me all this time?


Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Layna discovered her love of reading at an early age. When she isn’t devouring salacious romance novels or writing, she enjoys losing herself in researching ancient history and mythology, weaponry, and hiking. 
She lives in Northern Ontario, with her husband and two daughters. Layna is a member of the Romance Writers of America, and is a monthly contributor at 69 Shades of Smut.


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  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Thank you for hosting me, Sara! Your honest review was wonderful, and refreshing.

  3. Layna's story sounds intriguing--thanks for the "feisty" review! M. S.