A Scoundrel’s Kiss by Shelly Thacker
Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: Escape with a Scoundrel, #4
Release Date: April 28, 2020
Saddened by the number of people starving in France, chemist Marie Nicole LeBon sets out to create a fertilizer to help farmers increase their yield – but to her complete mortification the compound she gives to a local farmer to test incinerates his fields! She is working in her makeshift lab when her sister Veronique comes in, they are talking when one of her tests explodes, but before she can even begin to examine the cause, her twin brother Armand sneaks in through a window – he tells the girls they must leave now and sets off at a neck-break pace to outrun the government officials who want Marie’s formula. Because while her concoction is a failure as a fertilizer, it is a massive success as a chemical weapon! Marie watches in horror as her home is burned and hears gunfire – Armand increases their reckless pace and loses control and crashes. When she wakes, she is in an asylum and remembers nothing, not even her name.
Lord Maximilian “Max” D’Avenant is invited to meet with Fleming and Wolf, two members of a “special ministry” of the crown and they want Max to travel to France and bring Marie back to England so they can get her formula. Her compound was used on his brother Julian’s ship – it killed many men and left Julian not only injured, but blind. They tell Max of her chemical, of the notes they found, of the accident that killed her sister, of how they thought Armand was the chemist and of her amnesia. Max wants revenge for his brother and believes that Marie is greedy and evil, so he agrees to the mission. He will abduct her and convince her that he is her husband, gain her trust and hopefully learn her formula.
Max is successful in getting Marie out of the asylum and convincing her that he is her husband. He takes her to a house in Paris and begins to gain her trust. Soon Max is sure that Marie is not the evil mercenary that created a chemical weapon, he believes her brother forced her to do it. But it is becoming clear that she has no memory of the compound and seems to have no interest in chemistry at all. And Max is falling for her, but he has a mission and will carry it out. But when Marie ventures out on her own and gets lost in the city – Max realizes what she means to him and how much he loves her. In an effort to protect her, he cuts their time in Paris short and plans to take her to England sooner than expected. They set out, following the plan he worked out with Fleming and Wolf, but soon realizes one of them is a traitor and to save Marie, he will have to find a way to protect her and keep his secrets.
This was a well written and fast paced story with wonderful characters, secrets, amnesia, betrayal, heartache, lies, steamy love scenes, intrigue, cameos from the D’Avenant brothers, Ashiana and Nicobar, a bit of angst and HEA that didn’t seem possible. I thought the author did an amazing job portraying Marie’s amnesia, it was very well written and believable, but I did feel like the ending dragged out a little and I started to get annoyed with Marie’s refusal to forgive Max – yes, she deserved her anger, but I felt like she held on to it for way too long and then just let it go in the blink of an eye. Overall, this was a great book and I highly recommend it – unlike the first two books in the series that are completely unconnected, this book is loosely connected to the previous book, One Night with a Scoundrel, you don’t have to read that book to enjoy this book, but if you want to learn more about the D’Avenant brothers, including Max’s “illness” I would recommend reading that title first.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me.*