After tantalizing us with her debut, The Tiger’s Mistress, Andrea DaRif takes us back to England where one man is searching for his wayward brother and one woman is searching for her place in the world.
Maxwell Bingham, Viscount Davenport, is in a bit of trouble. Having isolated himself from his family for a time after his return from the war, he has no idea what his brother has been up to. When his sister summons him to his ancestral home, he finds that Kipling has gotten into a great deal of trouble. A series of robberies have hit the neighborhood, and it seems to be connected to Kipling’s disappearance along with one of the family’s heirlooms. Maxwell isn’t sure how he can save his younger brother when everything leads to Kipling being guilty.
Olivia Marquand has lived her life on her terms, using her mind to insure her freedom from society. The year before as the infamous Lady in Red, she had helped Maxwell and his friend find a traitor, but she has shed her red silk and is trying to become a respectable woman. She hands over day-to-day running of her spice company because she knows that London society would never accept a woman with her hand in trade. Running into Maxwell again, she realizes she’s never stopped thinking about him and she begins longing to be more than an acquaintance.
Maxwell needs help and the only one he can turn to is Olivia, but he doesn’t want to get involved with her again, no matter what his heart says. As the tension mounts and the attraction gets hotter, Maxwell and Olivia must find a way to help Kipling and find the truth that is hidden in each other’s arms.
Ms. DaRif has written a wonderfully sensual novel. Olivia comes to life as a strong resourceful woman who understands that she shouldn’t be bound by rules. She uses her brains to support herself. She’s definitely not your typical Regency heroine. Maxwell is a wounded hero who thinks he longs for peace, but he finds that his attraction to Olivia helps heal scars he had hidden away. Together they become a couple to enjoy and cheer for. The secondary characters are intriguing as well. I’m hoping to see a book about Lady Cara and the Irish Wolfhound. That’s a pair with sparks flying.
A Kiss of Spice is an entertaining read that will bring steamy sensuality and a little spice to your life.