A Week to Be Wicked by Tessa Dare

Standard

Grade: B+
passion rating: hot
Dear Ms. Dare,
As I read A Week to Be Wicked, I kept thinking about Cyndi Lauper’s assertion “Girls just want to have fun.” The heroine of this book, Minerva Highwood, prior to hitting the road with your hero, Lord Colin Payne, really hasn’t had much fun. She certainly hasn’t had any fun where men are concerned. As her mother writes in a letter to cousin—her rather awful mother  actually dictates it to Minerva to write—
Minerva? Plain, bookish, distracted, awkward with gentlemen. In a word, hopeless.
Minerva’s a spectacle-wearing bluestocking. She’s always reading and is beyond fascinated by fossils she’s found in the caves of her home, Spindle Cove. She’s never been kissed, never fallen in love, never let herself go wild, and, when she does allow herself to dream, she dreams of having her geological research taken seriously by Britain’s (all male) geologists. She’s certainly never done anything truly outrageous until the night she marches up to Colin Payne’s door in the middle of the night. Minerva believes Colin plans to propose to her gorgeous older sister Diana and Minerva is dead set against such a union. Minerva is sure Colin is only marrying Diana in order to inherit his fortune—which he can’t get until his next birthday or until he weds. She’s also sure Colin, who is known as a rake of the first order (he’s famous for having a woman in his bed every night), isn’t good enough for her sweet sister. So, armed with the determination she’s known for, she bangs on his door and demands he speak with her. He opens it half-dressed and surveys her.
“I’ll admit,” he said, “this is hardly the first time I’ve answered the door in the middle of night and found a woman waiting on the other side. But you’re certainly the least expected one yet.” He sent her lower half an assessing look.
“And the most muddy.”
She ruefully surveyed her mud- caked boots and bedraggled hem. A midnight seductress she was not. “This isn’t that kind of visit.”
“Give me a moment to absorb the disappointment.”
“I’d rather give you a moment to dress.”
Minerva would like for Colin to dress because she finds him alarmingly alluring. And, when around alluring men—and Colin is the most alluring she’s ever met–Minerva’s big brain turns to mush.
Minerva considered herself a reasonably intelligent person, but good heavens
. . . handsome men made her stupid. She grew so flustered around them, never knew where to look or what to say. The reply meant to be witty and clever would come out sounding bitter or lame.
Sometimes a teasing remark from Lord Payne’s quarter quelled her into dumb silence altogether.
Only days later, while she was banging away at a cliff face with a rock hammer, would the perfect retort spring to mind.
Remarkable. The longer she stared at him now, the more she could actually feel her intelligence waning.
Colin doesn’t dress and Minerva, helped along by a bit of wine, asks Colin to marry her instead or, rather, to make it look as though he’s eloped with her. She asks him to accompany her to the upcoming Royal Geological Society of Scotland’s annual meeting in Edinburgh where she plans to present her fossil findings which are so extraordinary she is sure she will win the five hundred guinea prize for the best presentation. She promises Colin her prize money if he comes with her. Colin thinks hers is an exceedingly bad plan. Not only will it ruin Minerva’s chances of ever marrying—the trip entails two unchaperoned weeks in his company—but it goes against his own personal code of ethics. He tells her,
“I’m a lover of women, yes.” Then he lifted his empty hand. “And yes, I seem to break everything I touch. But thus far I’ve succeeded in keeping the two proclivities separate, you see. I sleep with women and I ruin things, but I’ve never yet ruined an innocent woman.”
Colin says no that night but, over the next few days, his determination wavers. Minerva takes him to see her fossil—it’s a dinosaur footprint–, the two talk, end up sharing quite a kiss, and, despite his conviction the trip is a disastrous idea, early one morning, he and Minerva are on their way on what turns out to be one very fun road trip.
click here to read the rest of the review

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