Saturday, January 4, 2014

Scoundrel for Hire (Adrienne deWolfe)

Scoundrel for Hire
(The Velvet Lies series, Book 1)
Adrienne deWolfe
ePublishing Works!
Fiction, Historical Fiction/Romance
**** (Good)

DESCRIPTION: Raphael Jones seemed bound for Hell even before he was born. Offspring of a preacher's wife and an unknown stranger, only the love of his half-sister and ailing mother shielded him from his father's brimstone and hatred. When his mother died, he ran away, joining a traveling theatrical troupe that runs a heavy sideline in petty scams.
Silver Nichols, daughter of Colorado mining magnate Max Nichols, struggles to keep her father's company prosperous despite his odd whims and boyish pursuit of lost treasures. When he announces his engagement to a shady fortune teller, Cecilia, she snaps. Surely this woman is a con artist, intent on stealing his fortune as well as his heart... but Max won't hear a word against her. Now, the woman has Max convinced that there's an Indian ghost haunting his mines - a ghost tied to a legendary fortune. With the wedding approaching, the Aspen papers having a field day, and the miners grumbling about spooks in the dark, Silver needs to end this sham once and for all. But how?
Rafe was only in Leadville to help his adopted father pull a scam at a mining conference. When Silver sees through his charade, he thinks he can charm his way free... but the woman doesn't want his kisses. She wants to hire a scoundrel for a scam of her own: impersonating an English earl supposedly touring the American West, he is to woo Cecilia away from her father. Rafe agrees, but with crossed fingers. A single heiress to a silver mine fortune is too tempting a target for him to pass up.
For all the con jobs Raphael Jones has pulled, this one will prove the most dangerous... to his life and, unexpectedly, to his heart.

REVIEW: Downloaded during a Free Friday promotion at the Nook Blog, this looked like a fun, light romp. By and large, it proved to be just that. The characters and situations are exaggerated, but not to ludicrous degrees, and I found myself caring for the people more than I anticipated. Silver and Rafe struggle to reconcile their growing attraction with the scams and lies that brought them together in the first place, Silver having been scarred by a disastrous affair and Rafe still half-believing the damnation that Preacher Jones laid on his soul in childhood. The plot moves quickly, and, despite certain givens for a romance (and the occasional sidetrack into silliness), makes for satisfying reading. Overall, it's a fun tale with a good heart.

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