Not Wicked Enough by Carolyn Jewel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Reviewed for TwoLips Reviews. 4 Kisses, 1 pepper (M/F oral sex)
Lily Wellstone is visiting her widowed friend Eugenia, sister of the Duke of Mountjoy. She has come to Bitterward to cheer her friend and help boost her out of her depressed funk. She finds herself attracted to the duke, despite the fact that she knows she can never fall in love again. Besides, he's all but betrothed to someone else, so nothing can ever come of it. Still, she is attracted to him and it turns out he is to her as well.
Lily and Mountjoy are so good together, tantalizing readers with their verbal foreplay and passion. Mountjoy was not groomed to be a duke from an early age as so many other noblemen were. He was raised in a much more earthy and simple environment, but he's no novice when it comes to pleasing women. He knows as well as she does that he shouldn't start anything with Lily, but the pull is too strong and they give into temptation. For her part, Lily is practical about their affair, knowing it won't last beyond her visit.
It amuses me that the duke's attire is such an important issue in the story. Lily takes great pride in dressing fashionably at all times, and it tweaks her that he dresses in what would be the then equivalent of grunge.
I really liked Lily and Mountjoy together in Not Wicked Enough. Of course it's obvious to the reader that they belong together long before they realize (or admit) it themselves. I wasn't fully sold on the supposed reasons for them to not be together so the conflict in the story felt a bit weak to me, but I enjoyed the journey nonetheless. I should also mention that there's a smattering of paranormal with the addition of the gypsy medallion and some possible shared dreams, but it's a very minor part of the story that isn't explored very thoroughly. Overall, this is smart, passionate, and very well written. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series from Carolyn Jewel, especially because of who I suspect will be the hero and heroine in the next book.
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