Velvet Campbell has fallen on hard times in London. Plagued by vicious gossip and false rumors, Velvet discovers herself broke, hungry, and desperate for a paying job. She reluctantly accepts a job offer from an employer that is also surrounded by rumors and mystery. Lucian Pendar is looking for a governess to help educate his troubled nine-year-old daughter. Every woman that has ever become romantically involved with Lucian has met an untimely end and he has sworn off getting involved with another woman. Velvet arrives to the dark, desolate estate to find an unruly child, less than helpful staff and a wickedly handsome master of the house. Lucian is drawn to Velvet and would like to have more than just a causal relationship, but can’t understand why she always seems to turn away from him. Velvet is attracted to Lucian and yearns for a husband and family of her own. She is afraid that Lucian may have been involved in his wife’s death and that the horrible rumors around London may be true. Velvet has already been a victim most of her life and hopes that she can finally find the true home that she has been desperately searching for.
Tainted by Temptation is a perfect gothic romance that is shrouded by mystery. This novel reminded me a little of “Rebecca” where the first wife wasn’t what she appeared to be and the husband was blamed for her murder. Lucian was ready to move on and start a relationship with Velvet but the rumors surrounding her prevented the both of them from getting close to one another. Velvet was a classic heroine that felt that she should be blamed for what has happened to her because she wasn't moral enough. Lucian, on the other hand, was always misinterpreting Velvet's actions based on the things that he had heard about her. It was funny that all they had to do was talk to one another and everything would have been a lot smoother. The story pacing was a bit slow, but once the truth was revealed about Velvet and Lucian’s pasts, it became a nice romance.
With the haunting, gothic feel of early Amanda Quick, Katy Madison makes her "Avon Books" debut with this deeply emotional tale of a desperate woman, and a man with nothing to lose.