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Sir James Devlin is bored. After living a life of excitement at sea, he is at the point of reaching his ultimate goal by marrying the wealthy darling of the ton, Emma Brooke. Being Emma's lapdog for the past two years has been getting on Devlin's nerves, but he cannot sacrifice the financial security that this marriage will provide for himself and his sister, Francesca. Chessie has plans of her own to marry Fitz Alton, a man she is truly in love with, but Devlin doubts Fitz's intentions. Devlin's concerns are even more pronounced when a new temptation breezes into their social circle and steals Fitz's attention away from Chessie. Devlin's fury rises as he recognizes this woman as his ex-wife, a woman who had left him nine years earlier!

Susanna is astonished to see Devlin again, especially in her current situation! She is on the brink of having the life she has been toiling away for, and by completing this last assignment she will have enough money to care for her two wards on her own. Devlin throws a wrench in her plans, however, as he knows that she is not the rich widow she is pretending to be. What Devlin doesn't know is that they are still married! Despite the simmering attraction that still exists between them, Susanna is not willing to divulge all her secrets to Devlin. But with a blackmailer threatening to expose her and Devlin seducing her at every opportunity, Susanna is not sure how long she can keep up her act!

Nicola Cornick creates an exciting story, full of intrigue, romance, and seduction. She slowly unravels a complex history of her characters that explains their motives and illustrates their respective pasts, leaving the audience eager for the big reveal! I was anxious to see Susanna reveal the truth of the past to Devlin. Her journey is heart-wrenching and tragic, really pulling on the reader's heartstrings. Even Devlin has a complicated past that explains his character. Both are caught in social circumstance and have worked to overcome their situations, linking them on a more intimate level. The passion between them is intense! Devlin can't deny his attraction to Susanna and draws her to him at every turn. Devlin's seduction of Susanna is fun and sizzling!

Cornick also explores the other characters in her novel. I loved the way that the Grants were tied into this novel. They provided a nice link to her earlier book. Chessie too has her own journey throughout the novel. Her situation is so similar to Susanna's that the audience can really fear for her. I liked how the audience had hints of Chessie's perspective throughout the novel. It really displayed her emotions and thought process. The two plots are nicely tied together by the end of the novel. The introduction of Own Purchase was a nice touch. I am excited to read his story in Nicola Cornick's next novel!

Book Blurb for Notorious

When the town's most notorious heartbreaker…

Dangerously seductive and sinfully beautiful, Susanna Burney is society's most sought after matchbreaker Paid by wealthy parents to part unsuitable couples, she's never yet failed to accomplish her mission of diverting a groom–to–be. Until her final assignment brings her face–to–face with the man who'd once taught her an intimate lesson in heartache…

Meets London's most disreputable rake…

James Devlin has everything he's always wanted: a title, a rich fiancee and a place in society. But the woman who's just met his eyes across a crowded ballroom threatens it all. Not because she'd once claimed his heart, or that every sinuous swirl of her ball gown takes his breath away. But because the secrets she carries could cost him everything.

To put the past to rest once and for all, Dev just might have to play Susanna at her own wicked game…

Let the seduction begin!

Night Owl Reviews Aug, 2011 4.75