To Surrender To A Rogue is part of Cara Elliott’s “Circle of Sin” series, which focuses on a group of rare women who comprise the Circle of Scientific Sibyls. These unusually educated women come from different strata of society and each has her own complex history that has led to her becoming the independent woman who has joined the Circle. Lady Alessandra della Gianatti has fled Italy with her young daughter after she is tragically widowed. She plans to use her knowledge of classical archaeology and her expertise on Roman art antiquities to assist with an excavation of Roman ruins outside of Bath, England while she decides how to deal with a scandal from her past that could ruin her life forever. Lord James Pierson (”Black Jack”) crosses paths with Lady Alessandra and her precocious young daughter and finds himself reluctantly attracted to the sharp-tongued pair. He is also struggling to reconcile his own interests in archaeology and drawing with the expectations of society and his father, the Duke of Ledyard, who may not be satisfied that Lord James’ status as a war hero sufficiently counterbalances his artistic interests. Alessandra must decide whether to trust the prickly Lord James and he, in return, must learn to look beyond the alluring siren to the scholar who needs his assistance in battling her enemies from the past.
This was an enjoyable and sensual romance that captures the flavor of a different portion of the aristocracy who pursued intellectual enlightenment rather than hedonistic lifestyles. The “Sibyls” are highly educated females and Alessandra is a shining example of the potent combination of brains and beauty. The sparks fly between the volatile Italian woman and the dark brooding Englishman as the dangers from her past threaten to destroy her reputation and possibly her very life. Interesting glimpses of secondary characters pave the way for additional books in the series.