Laurel McKee continues her Scandalous St Claires series with this second installment, featuring Dominic St Claire (brother to Lily, the heroine in book 1) and Sophia (cousin to Aidan, book 1's hero.) I was really looking forward to this, since their first encounter eclipsed the primary romance in One Naughty Night. A young, masked Sophia shared a passionate kiss with Dominic at his family's gaming hall, but ran away before it ever became more. It was an encounter neither one has ever forgotten. Even though years have passed, and Sophia has been both married and widowed, the memory of that kiss still scorches her. And Dominic has never stopped looking for the masked woman who captivated him.
The two come face to face in Paris, where Dominic is on family business. Sophia is trying to start a new life for herself, after her late husband left her penniless. They are drawn to each other again instantly. But Dominic is caught up in the longstanding animosity that his family holds against hers. At first, he tries to stay away, but goes on to see a relationship with her as a surefire way to get under her family's skin.
I must say, just like in the last book, the family feud is very weak. And the fact that Dominic wanted to use Sophia to hurt her family made it difficult for me to really like him. Yes, he eventually comes around, but it's almost too little, too late.
In the meantime, there is a man from Sophia's past who is stalking her. This is the main external conflict in the book, and it didn't work for me. This is a powerful and attractive man who could have anyone. His actions and obsession with Sophia are over the top and simply don't have enough of a basis to ring true. It made him seem almost like a caricature of a villain, instead of a believable threat.
There were some parts of the book I really liked, though. Sophia, for instance, was a pretty good heroine. She was sympathetic with her cold family and loser husband. You could really see that she has grown a lot, and she does her best to do right by Dominic. Also... the sex was hot. Solid tension and great payoff. Plus, McKee is really great at laying the groundwork for future books. She did it last time, and she does it here again. I can't wait for Elizabeth and Brendan's book. There is so much angst there!!!
I definitely enjoyed it more than One Naughty Night... and I have high hopes for book 3.
Rating: B-*ARC Provided by Forever