Sophie Russell and her sisters have been tossed out of their comfortable life when their father died in disgrace, accused of stealing from his own company. The girls have faith that their father was not only honest, but was murdered to cover up the identity of the real thief. Her sisters, Bryony and Madeleine, have already left, each to investigate one of their suspects. After weeks with no word from them, Sophie decides to take it upon herself to investigate the third suspect, Alexander Griffiths, who now inhabits the very house where the sisters used to live. Sophie is mistaken for the new cook who is scheduled to arrive, and as luck would have it, she’s a very good cook, so she takes on the part. Coincidentally, Alexander has just “ordered” a new mistress, sight unseen, and he believes that it’s Sophie, who is posing as a cook as a cover up for their dalliance.
Thus begins a cat and mouse game, with Sophie trying to find out information, and Alexander trying to get his new mistress to stop playing in the kitchen, and to start playing with him. Sophie actually doesn’t catch on at first, and this causes many amusing double entendres and situations. Alexander continues to badger her to start fulfilling her duties, and she keeps assuring him she is skilled enough to please and tempt even the most jaded palate. Alexander is very attracted to Sophie, and eventually gets tired of the games, and becomes more physical. Sophie finally realizes what Alexander thinks she is, but finds that she doesn’t want to resist him, and eventually succumbs to her desire for him.
I found this book to be much more light hearted than Anne Stuart’s typical darker stories. The hero and the heroine were both unusually beautiful people, and realized it. Yet, even their conceit was smile-worthy. Their dance was a joy to watch, along with seeing them each realize they had fallen in love, albeit kicking and screaming. Once Alexander’s rusty honor kicked in, it didn’t take him long to step up to the plate and become a true hero. This book also concludes the Scandal at the House of Russell trilogy, and was my favorite book of the three, neatly wrapping up the loose ends. We get to see Bryony and Madeleine (from Never Kiss a Rake, and Never Trust a Pirate) enjoying wedded bliss, and the villain who has eluded us finally gets his well deserved comeuppance. This book left me smiling, and I highly recommend it.
As Reviewed by Bonnie for Buried Under Romance