His Scandalous Kiss by Sophie Barnes (Secrets at Thorncliff Manor #3)

His Scandalous Kiss by Sophie BarnesAvailable: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Historical Romance

Publisher: Avon

My Copy: Edelweiss

Reviewer: Pam

Richard Heartly has exiled himself from society since the war, plotting his revenge for a terrible betrayal. A masked ball at Thorncliff Manor is intended to be a brief diversion. Instead, he encounters a fascinating young woman as entranced by the music as he is. He can’t reveal his identity to Lady Mary. But her siren song keeps drawing him back, and their clandestine meetings could be hazardous to his plan—and to her virtue.

Avoiding an unwanted marriage was easy when Lady Mary was ignored by the ton. Thanks to her dazzling appearance at the masquerade, she’s a wallflower no longer. Eligible suitors abound, yet the only man she wants is the brooding, seductive companion who keeps his face hidden. A man who tempts her to disclose her own shocking secret, one that could divide them forever.

This is an enjoyable addition to the Secrets of Thorncliff Manor. A story that is a bit dark and gothic as we are treated to masquerade balls, a mysterious hero who hides in the dark and a heroine who has her own secrets.

Richard Heartly is in hiding. He came back from the war several years ago but has exiled himself to the darkness of night and his room at Thorncliff Manor. His brother is the only one that knows he is back, while most of his family and society believe he is missing or dead. He is full of revenge and until he has fulfilled this mission, he can’t seem to move past his current lifestyle. That is until he attends the masquerade ball where he can move about freely while still being incognito and he meets a woman who takes his breath away.

Lady Mary is quiet and reserved, she is happy to be ignored by the ton during her season. Unfortunately her appearance at the masquerade ball brings more attention than she has ever had before, including a masked man who intrigues her the most. During the day she is besieged by new suitors however at night she is meeting a mysterious man who brings her joy.

The mystery and intrigue had me from beginning. I loved the dark romance of the two forbidden lovers finding time to be together even when they are unaware as to who they really are and what they each are hiding.

Richard is a remarkable hero, he came home from war tortured and scarred wanting only to hide away. He had revenge on his mind for the cowardice person who left him behind to die. After several years he finally has his revenge, but at what cost? When he meets Mary he believes he has something to live for but still he hides. It is only after she is in trouble does he emerge from hiding to take his place beside her to help.

Lady Mary is very likable; she is a caring person who loves music and opera. Helping her brother throughout the years has taken a toll on her as she has kept a secret that could be her ruin. But when she is about to be revealed she realizes who will stand by her and who will destroy her.

The two together are passionate and fascinating; they meet in secret and share their love for music and each other. I love how he comes to her aid immediately when she is in trouble, even though he must remove his mask and come clean about both his hiding and his revenge which threatens their relationship. Mary also has to explain because others know who she really is, and it is heartbreaking to watch how she has to come to terms with her brother who she idolized and who comes crashing down from his pedestal.

This is the third book in the series and although there are references to past books and characters we have met, the author does a great job of keeping the reader informed so this could easily be read as a standalone. I enjoyed the mystery of the hero and heroine keeping their secrets and the revelations that almost doomed them both. There is also a continued mystery about the manor and the surrounding area that is intriguing and I look forward to finding out more about it.

I give His Scandalous Kiss by Sophie Barnes 4 stars!

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