Michaels, Jess. Something Reckless. (New York: Avon, 2008). ISBN – 9780061283970.
Main Characters: Lady Penelope Norman and Jeremy Vaughn, Duke of Kilgrath
Date of Story: 1819
Related Works: Lady Penelope Norman is the sister of Miranda Albright. Jess Michaels tells the story of Miranda’s romance with Ethan Hamon, the Earl of Rothschild in Everything Forbidden.
Description from book:
A notorious duke will do whatever it takes to seduce the very proper and very irresistible Penelope Norman.
Prim, headstrong, and beautiful Penelope is determined to expose the licentious affairs of the ton’s randiest rakes. Now one of their powerful number – the unrepentant libertine Jeremy Vaughn, Duke of Kilgrath – has been selected to put an end to the prudish lady’s interference. Jeremy’s plan is devilishly clever: He will join Penelope’s war against immorality, fighting passionately by her side, all the while showering her with anonymous erotic missives designed to titillate even the coldest, most unwilling maid. He will break down her defenses and inflame her her repressed desires by escorting her (in the interests of their “noble campaign”) to London’s most notorious pleasure palaces. And he will visit her boudoir – masked – during the night to school her in the deliciously sinful arts she wishes to abolish. Then he will expose her hypocrisy to the world.
But the handsome rogue’s scheme is doomed to go awry, even as the lovely Penelope sheds her every inhibition and freely gives in to his every whim. For in this sensuous game of hearts, it’s the seducer who becomes seduced . . .
Jess MIchaels first introduced us to the character of Penelope in the book Everything Forbidden. In this earlier book, Penelope witnesses her unmarried sister Miranda in a very intimate embrace with Ethan Hamon. She learns that Miranda made a deal to exchange access to her body for money to help launch her sisters. Penelope has an extremely difficult time dealing with this. In fact, she almost immediately accepts a marriage proposal from a wealthy, but much older, gentleman. She also breaks off all contact with Miranda.
In Something Reckless, Penelope is now a widow. She had not had a particularly happy or fulfilling marriage. Additionally, she has become a target of many members of the ton due to a comment about the men of the ton and their mistresses. One man has become so enraged that he gathers his friends together to come up with a solution to do something about Penelope’s comments. Jeremy Vaughn, Duke of Kilgrath draws the short stick. Vaughn plots to embroil Penelope in a passionate affair and then discredit her. He does this by pretending to be interested in reforming himself and becoming her friend. Meanwhile, he starts sending her passionate, but anonymous letters. It is as the secret admirer that he plans to seduce her. Of course, Jeremy finds himself falling for Penelope as he spends more and more time in her company.
I was so looking forward to this sequel to Everything Forbidden – and I was not disappointed. I was extremely intrigued by the character of Penelope and wondered what would become of her. I think that Jeremy Vaughn was the perfect foil for her. I was a bit disappointed that Jeremy and his friends were so clueless about the nastiness of their friend Anthony Wharton – who was the one who instigated the entire scheme to bring down Penelope. He turns out to have been abusive to his mistress. I will say that once Jeremy realized this fact, he responded appropriately.
Anyway, I enjoyed watching Penelope grow up, learn about passion, and fall in love. I was glad to see that she reconciled with Miranda. This meant that Miranda was the one Penelope turned to when she learned about Jeremy’s deception. I can honestly say that this interaction between Miranda and Penelope at the end of the book was my favorite moment of the book. I thought it very fitting.
Read first May 2008