OK, I usually start my reviews with a brief description of the book, but I thought I would let the book blurb do it for me:
Mary Blayney, the acclaimed author of Courtesan’s Kiss, returns to the Pennistan family with this new historical romance—the delectable story of a free-spirited beauty with no interest in marriage who getsmore than she bargained for when a seductive kiss leads to the possibility of love.Dispatched by their ambitious father to snag a titled husband, Beatrice Brent and her twin sister, Cecilia, attend a house party with an array of eligible gentlemen. Defiantly ignoring her father’s wishes, Beatrice flirts shamelessly with Lord Jessup Pennistan, a gamer with scandal in his past—and the one man her father has warned her against. But when flirting goes too far, Beatrice suddenly finds herself engaged and, worse, estranged from her family. Though convinced that her fiancé’s wicked ways will bring nothing but heartache, Beatrice is powerless against Jess’s masterful seduction and the anticipated delights of the marriage bed. A gambling man who has lost more than his family is willing to forgive him for, Jess quickly realizes that compromising Beatrice was the best mistake he ever made. But to keep her he must right the wrongs of the past, reclaim his lost fortunes, and place the boldest wager of his life. For now he has everything to win . . . and everything to lose.
Now, the very first part is a good descriptor of the book, but the rest doesn’t happen until the end of the book. When you read this kind of thing you come into a book with certain expectations and this one is kind of misleading. Yes, Beatrice is told to avoid Lord Jessup. And yes, they do start a flirtation. But the compromising doesn’t actually happen until pretty much the end of the book. The true heart of the book is the interactions between all of the many attendees of the house party and them getting to know each other. Don’t get me wrong, it is a great book and I really enjoyed it, but it wasn’t what I expected.
Instead of focusing on Beatrice and Lord Jessup, we actually get them, plus her sister and Lord Destry, a scandal in Lord Jessup’s past, as well as some flirtations between Mrs. Kendrick and Lord Belmont. It was quite a compelling read. All the characters are interesting and their time at the house party leads them down some intriguing paths. I loved the romance involving her sister and I really wished I’d gotten more of Lord Destry.
For those who have read Mary Blayney’s previous books about the Pennistan family, this is a great opportunity to catch up, as well as see some beloved characters get their happy ending. And for those, like me, who haven’t read one of her stories, don’t worry. She does a fantastic job of making sure you can keep up. The worst thing that will happen is that you will be itching to get those books to find out how all the prior romances played out. Blayney has a deft hand at creating fascinating characters and I found myself looking for her backlist so I could add them to my To Be Read file.
So, don’t go into One More Kiss thinking you are going to get a story about two people who are forced to wed and have to figure out how to deal with the fall out. Instead, it is a great opportunity to meet new friends and quickly get drawn into their lives as they spend time with each other. It’s a fun, character driven historical romance that will draw you in and keep you reading.