The Brazen Bluestocking by Tracy Sumner

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Bold, Brazen, and Utterly Bewitched

Hildegard “Hildy” Templeton is a brazen bluestocking who has sworn off men and marriage and, as she tells the story’s villain at one point, you’d best not forget it.

Yet somehow stubborn, spinsterish (and excessively beautiful) Hildy winds up in a very steamy entanglement with a very wrong man–wrong in as many ways as you can think of: Tobias “Toby” Streeter is her client, he’s a rough street rogue who is essentially her opposite, he’s a “lowborn” titan of illegal industry, and he’s engaged to be married in three weeks. An arrangement which could not have come about without the assistance of Hildy’s Duchess Society, which helps noblewomen find truly suitable husbands who will allow them their independence.

Of course, the fact that Tobias is scheduled to marry a lady who prefers women and is only marrying him so that she can pursue her own vocational endeavors means there is no uncomfortable love triangle in the story and absolutely no cheating as such (and I have a low tolerance for it).

What there is, is a lovely amount of steamy scenes, many well-written turns of phrase (“He wanted to uncover her secrets in the hazy twilight, in a bed they creatively destroyed with their passion.”) and a great deal of banter between the heroine and hero, culminating in a deliciously fun story that ends on a high-note of drama with the kind of villains I like the best: the redeemable and accidentally comical.

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Steam Level: Steamy