THE EARL'S IRRESISTIBLE CHALLENGE – Lara Temple
The Sinful Sinclairs – Book 1
London – 19 th Century
Olivia Silverdale sent Lord Sinclair, the 6 th Earl labeled as one of the ‘Sinful Sinclairs,' a note requesting him to meet her at St. Margaret's Church in Hans Town, an unfashionable part of London. She chose a time when few individuals, if any, would be inside. He doesn't know her, but he does come, and he is very suspicious of her motives. She tells him she has some information concerning the death of his father, and that the resulting gossip may have wronged him. He suspects her motives, asks what she wants, and tells her she is an inept blackmailer. Olivia finds him very provoking, but he doesn't know how obstinate and determined she can be. When he hears her story about a letter she found among her also defamed in death godfather, Henry Payton, he dismisses her evidence. No matter; Olivia is determined to clear the infamy surrounding Henry's death with or without the earl's assistance.
Lucas, his brother Chase and sister Samantha, have been living with the sinful reputation of their father spread after his death in a dual, and the reputations of their already notorious grandfather's and uncle's deaths in a fire while both were inebriated. The three siblings deal with this in different ways, which mostly involve avoiding high society. Lucas learns the devious Olivia Silverdale is also dealing with some unfortunate past experiences. Although wealthy, she isn't interested in marriage and runs her own life. Olivia not only goes anywhere whenever she likes, but also manages her money. With those she trusts she uses sassy irreverent quips, unlike so many young women. Even with their few encounters, Lucas feels an unwelcome urge to encounter her more often.
These two characters, both uninterested in society, interact differently. Olivia controls her life in ways today's readers will view as very modern and engaging, but she remains very much a part of her time. Her unalterable desire to find the truth surrounding the twenty-year old death of Lucas's father, her godfather's knowledge about something concerning that event, and then his death, will both frustrate and attract Lucas. His growing desire to protect her from her follies makes him very much a man of his times. Both will learn that beneath their public facades lie very different natures. Their coming to any type of accord is doubtful but revolves as part of the story's mystery. This volume makes a very good beginning and hook for the rest of the series.