Book 6 in the Knight Miscellany Series
First, let me say that I've been on a Gaelen Foley binge these past two weeks - I've read four of her books in rapid succession. This is the first one I've stopped to review, for the sad reason that it irritated me some. I promise I'll try to post my more positive reviews of her other books soon, to be fair.
In One Night of Sin, Rebecca 'Becky' Ward, cousin to an evil, scheming, lusty Prince Mikhail Kurkov, is being hunted down by her cousin's Cossack warriors after running away from their ancestral pile when he a) becomes her super-creepy guardian and b) kills a man in cold blood. When notorious rake (and gambler) Lord Alec Knight rushes to her rescue after finding her running about the streets of London alone, some hot and steamy romance ensues where he, presuming her to be a harlot, frees her of her innocence consensually and immediately. After he uncovers her innocence, he desires to marry her for honor's sake but is thwarted. However as the two grow closer when Alec helps Becky bring her cousin to justice, he begins to desire marriage for more than honor - for love.
First - the good. Alec is charming, and his back story is very sad. I appreciated the author's credit to sexual situations that make men uncomfortable. Foley found a unique way to show that not all her male characters (and thus not all men) want all the sex they can get, all the time, and even rakehells are more than their dicks. Alec's story made the romance all the more delightful because you could see it healing him - watching his wariness and brokenness fade away was sweet. Becky is strong-willed but gentle with Alec, and so awesomely fierce. Talk about a fighter, whew. The sex is well-written and very erotic. The plot is interesting and there's plenty going on in the book other than the romance to keep us entertained without being confusing or distracting.
Second - the disappointing. Nothing ruins a book for me than contradictions of character or poor pacing. Contradictions came in early and stayed til the end. Examples? Becky is very independent and strong (she kicks a dandy in the gonads about 35 pages in), and has successfully found her way to London from Buckley-on-Heath, the self-professed middle-of-freakin'-nowhere, but now that she's in London, can't seem to find her way to a single street and doesn't have the warrior spirit to march up to someone and ask. How about Alec - ultimate fop and aristocrat, never been in a battle in his life but enjoys sparing with his friends, who successfully kills multiple Cossack warriors single-handedly (yeah right) and doesn't even think twice about the violence when this is likely the first time he's killed someone is such an overly bloody manner. Literally, no moral musings about killing people at all. Similarly, other violent events against people who are unarmed (though maybe a tiny bit deserving) also struck me as just a bit contradictory for such a gentleman.
The pacing - Alec had so many woman-issues and trust problems, rightfully so, but he divulged them all to Becky and got over them and into loving her way too quickly for my tastes. I expected a delicious and bitter fight for his heart til the end, and Foley tried to sell me that story, but it simply wasn't true. Alec was hooked from the start - but he shouldn't have been. So the poor pacing made me sort of impatient with the romance; it was simply too easy.
Finally, the fact that the book hinged on Alec's rather serious gambling addiction unsettled me. If I were Becky, I'd be less concerned about the allure of other women and far more worried about how his addiction was going to ruin our marriage. That thought left a lingering sour taste in my mouth about the supposed Happy Ever After - I was in no way convinced Alec was not going to turn their fortune into chips at the table.
Unfortunately, though there were a few good laughs, I did not take notes while reading this book and thus I have no quotes for you. Sorry, loves.
"Sexy"ness rating: Yum with a cherry on top. We are steamy from the first page to the last (pretty much literally, by the way).
Overall Rating: B-
Bottom Line: An entertaining read, and definitely a worthwhile part of the Knight Series. Alec really tugged at my heartstrings, and the book had no end of adventure and heat. Becky was fun and enjoyable, the writing was Foley's typical awesome-sauce. I could have handled a little more consistency and realism though, and after three good books it dropped this one in my esteem a bit.
Extra Note: I truly do love the notes Foley puts in the back of her book, lending credibility to her stories by discussing the historical research she's put into the series. It's a small bonus for her readers, but I'm always interested in seeing how much work goes into a piece of fiction - more than anyone ever suspects.