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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Night of Scandal by Sarah Morgan

A Night of Scandal by Sarah Morgan
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (255 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Nathaniel… Icon. Celebrity. Heartthrob.

But underneath his movie-star good looks, he's battling with the demons of his past. No one knows the real Nathaniel, they only see the pinup, the illusion he pretends to be.

Then one night he is forced to rely on Katie Field, an ordinary young woman from a very different world. She may be starstruck but she isn't blinded by the bright lights of fame. Can Nathaniel trust her enough to reveal the real man behind the mask?

Let the seduction begin….

What fan of a handsome and sigh-worthy actor wouldn’t give their eyetooth to actually meet and spend time with the object of their fantasies? How would they respond when they found out that not only is the hunk not perfect, but that the man of their dreams has a world of nightmares haunting him? And what would the fan’s reaction be if they were drawn into that scary world?

All that and more is explored in this page turning tale, the latest by the talented Ms. Morgan. I liked how the author set the scene up. The hero, Nathaniel, is revered and is so up high on a pedestal that fans swoon just seeing his eyes. But when the unexpected happens, he turns tail and runs. And the story is off to an exciting start because he grabs the one person in the world who could threaten his piece of mind and escapes on her little motor bike. If that whole chapter was written to snare a reader’s interest, engage their curiosity and showcase how unique Katie, the heroine, is, then clearly it is a success. It did all that to me and then some.

I wanted to pinch Katie’s cheeks, she was so cute. But don’t think cute equals weak, far from it. She’s a woman with a mission in life – to follow a dream, and she’s scrimping and saving and doggedly pursuing it with everything she has. No matter how many roadblocks are thrown in her path, she has kept her sense of self, but most importantly, her sense of humor. It’s quirky, innocent and from the heart. She’s everything Nathaniel doesn’t normally deal with in his world and it was fun to see him try to make sense of her.

Another thing I liked about Katie was her ability to know when Nathaniel was full of hot air and she made no bones about telling him. Sometimes that caused smiles, and others, pain. There was nothing fake about the heroine and sometimes that confused the hero. Certainly, she challenged him.

Nathaniel is truly a man on the run from himself. Acting is a way of hiding in plain sight but eventually things catch up with him. How he reacts indicated the measure of the man. I found that the hero matured and grew up during the course of the story. He faced some unpleasant realities and faced his fears – no small achievements.

Because Nathaniel is so tightlipped, Katie makes assumptions that in retrospect are funny and very easy to do. The reader won’t learn the truth until the heroine earns the hero’s trust and he reveals everything one painful tidbit at a time. That Katie stands by him and goes out of her own comfort zone to do so again shows how strong Katie’s character is. And that is exactly what Nathaniel needs, even though he fights it -- a lot.

The emotional angst is very clear and hard hitting when Katie stands up to Nathaniel. There’s a lot of wonderful dialogue sprinkled throughout this book that speaks to the heart. When Nathaniel asked Katie if she wanted to “feel his muscles”, I thought it absolutely adorable. The final chapters are a catharsis and a powerful example of writing to capture a reader’s feelings. I sniffled at his unique way of proposing and laughed too. Even more amusing is the hero’s comparison of Katie to her sister. That sealed it for me – Nathaniel is perfect for Katie.

A Night of Scandal is a delightful romance that has enough humor, conflict and hope to keep a reader glued to its pages. It entertains with peppy dialogue and interesting situations. It has glamour and glitz, but it’s tamed by the fresh air that is Katie. The happily ever after wrap up is satisfying and loving with most of the loose ends getting tied up. See, Ms. Morgan has cleverly laid the groundwork for future books because it was revealed that Nathaniel isn’t the only tortured hero in the family. Ms. Morgan made that perfectly clear, and she did it so effectively, I can’t wait to revisit the Wolfe family again. I had a great time reading A Night of Scandal and recommend it to other readers who want a book focused solely on the romance between two people in need of love. It delivers.

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