Mina Halliday found herself penniless and homeless after her father was convicted of a crime he didn't commit and sent to a penal colony in Australia. Finding work with limited skills was hard but she found herself a position in a high end brothel, not as one of the girls but writing letters to personally invite members of society to come taste the delights at the Pleasure Emporium. Mina had a good collection of erotic books so even though she was a virgin her knowledge of the trade plied in the house where she lived and worked was great. Besides trying to live, Mina was using these letters to lure the men she thought were responsible for her father's arrest and conviction into the house so she could somehow clear her father's name and have him returned to England. High on her list of suspects is Lord Prescott.
Salter Lambrick is the Chief Constable of London and is investigating the murder of Lord Prescott. Lord Prescott was strangled by a short whip but not robbed. Found on his body was a letter for the Pleasure Emporium, which leads him to pursue that lead portending to be Lord Prescott. He's sure whoever wrote that note knows more than they are letting on. However, what he doesn't know is that the writer of the note is not who it says signed it or who supposedly sent the invitation. Still, he needs to check out all leads and this seems to be the only one.
For a while the two main characters seem to be working at cross purposes as Mina is trying to get information to free her father from "Lord Prescott" and Salter is trying to get information from Mina to find the killer of Lord Prescott. When their motives finally come out, Mina and Salter find that their investigations may overlay and working together may help each of them realize their goals. However, Mina finds herself falling in love with Salter but he seems to be holding back. Could it be that he has someone else? And as they move forward to finding the killer, will Mina find what she needs to free her father and will anyone with any influence believe someone who works in a brothel?
Intertwined with Mina and Salter's story is the story of Lollie and Chase Alcott. Lollie is one of the girls at the Pleasure Emporium and Chase is Salter's assistant. While this is not the main plot, it is interesting and their ups and downs make for an interesting diversion.
The main characters in this book are well developed. Mina's insecurities about her looks are made very real as are her friendships with the other girls in the Pleasure Emporium. This was really seen as the girls helped Mina dress for her attempted seduction of "Lord Prescott" by lending her clothes, helping with her hair and putting on her make-up. Salter shares how he got his name and his close relationship with his father's former employers. His name comes from this employer's last name.
Secondary characters are developed at different depths. Major ones like Lollie and Chase are very well developed. Their pasts are explored so that the way they react makes sense. Other characters like many of the girls at the Pleasure Emporium are just causally mentioned with very little background. Still there is a sense of familiarity with all of the characters.
The plot was good. The discovering of why Lord Prescott was killed and by whom and how to prove it was excellent. There were many twists and turns keeping you interested. Some of these twists and turns concerned the different reasons that Mina and Salter were investigating. Once proof is found that Mina's father is innocent, why would Salter not allow her to proceed to get him released?
Given the title, Gentlemen Behaving Badly, I expected some interesting love scenes and basically gentlemen behaving badly. While there were something alluded to there was nothing explicitly written. Though mostly set in a bordello, Mina states it best when she says the most romantic, sexual thing she can think of is when her hand is held b
She Wanted Revenge
Destitute and alone, Mina Halliday ventured into a notorious bordello and offered the only talents at her disposal-her writing skill and her scandalous imagination. Mina's erotic letters have enticed London's wealthiest noblemen to the Pleasure Emporium, but her real goal is to find the person responsible for her father's ruin. Even if that means defying the orders of Chief Constable Salter Lambrick, a man who makes her feel like a wanton seductress instead of a plain-faced wallflower.
He Offered Temptation
The only clue Salter has to a government official's murder is the naughty invitation found in the victim's pocket, leading him to the most intriguing woman he has ever met. Mina may be an innocent in a den of lust, but Salter detects the sensuality beneath her surface. And uncovering the truth about the woman who stirs his deepest desires will be his most dangerous adventure yet.
MICHELLE MARCOS is a native of Miami, Florida. Having worked as both an English teacher and an actress, she writes romance to celebrate perfect love. Visit her on the Web at michellemarcos.com