Originally posted on Joyfully Reviewed: http://www.joyfullyreviewed.com/reviews/Aug08/carnaldeceptions.SB.html
After a swindler takes her father’s fortune and leaves Tess Starling an orphan, all that is left for the young woman are her father’s creditors banging at the door and a marriage proposal from an exceedingly seedy man. To avoid debtor’s prison, Tess disguises her beauty and becomes Hortensia, a homely-looking companion to Lady Stadwell. When fate drops the opportunity for revenge against the swindler who destroyed her life falls into her lap, Tess is determined to take it. She rids herself of her drab disguise and transforms herself into the perfect seductress. There’s just one problem…
Tallon, the Earl of Marcliffe, has been searching for the opportunity to bring down the man who stole his aunt’s fortune. When he meets his aunt’s new companion, Tallon is wary, but cannot help but be drawn to “Hortensia.” Then Tess throws off her disguise, and Tallon is determined to see the temptress land in no man’s bed but his own.
I must admit, I sometimes arbitrarily pick up books because I love the covers. Carnal Deceptions is one of those cases, but I am happy to report that this is one book that can be judged by its cover – both are wonderful. Carnal Deceptions is a meltingly sexy romp with a swoon-worthy hero and a focused, intelligent heroine. I felt connected to the characters and understood Tess’s hunger for revenge at any cost to herself. Even so, I cheered on Tallon as he tried to both protect and seduce her. Carnal Deceptions is not without its lighthearted moments either. Even days after reading it, I find myself still smiling over Tess’s troublesome disguise, and I leave it to readers to find out for themselves the complications of wearing fake eyebrows. Loosen your stays and break out your fans because Scottie Barrett delivers.