Scandal and Sin by Lynn LaFleur
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (134 pages)
Other: M/F, anal sex
Rating: 4 Cherries
Reviewed by Carnation
Rye Coleman falls in lust with Alaina May the first time she walks into the office of his construction firm. During the tour of the old house that she wants to refurbish, that lust takes over when Alaina falls on a broken step, right into his arms. Sex is hard and fast, and he imagines a lot more of it with Alaina—until she tells him she’s the sister of the woman who had humiliated him in front of the entire town three years ago.
Rye accepts the remodeling job, but refuses to have anything personal to do with Alaina. Still a little broken from his relationship with her sister, he can’t be sure Alaina won’t humiliate him too. But Alaina is determined to convince Rye she’s nothing like her sister. A picnic meant to thank him for his hard work turns into the first of many nights of lovemaking.
A murder from seventy-five years ago, a ghost in the old house and a modern-day man determined to stop the remodeling threaten the blossoming love between Rye and Alaina. They have to admit their feelings and join together, or the outside forces will tear them apart.
A chilling ghost story figures prominently in the plot of this engrossing romantic mystery. Alaina is experiencing sightings and confusing messages from a dead woman from the past. She has also fallen for the sweet and sexy hunk, Rye Coleman. Rye, along with his two brothers are doing the construction and design work on the house that she has just purchased to renovate. She is afraid to tell him at first, but the evidence of the paranormal events becomes too important to their shared venture and to their relationship to continue to hide it.
There is, as the title suggests, plenty of scandal on several layers of this intriguing tale. The central scandal begins in the late 1930's history of the Stewart house that Alaina plans to turn into a bed and breakfast hotel in the small town where she grew up. That is when Rye's great grandfather was convicted and hanged for the murder of a townswoman named Laura, who's ghost now haunts the house.
Rye is unaware that Alaina has had a crush on him since she was thirteen. A scandal involving Alaina's sister and Rye several years earlier gets in the way of his feelings for Alaina when Rye makes the mistake of assuming that she is as cold, calculating and promiscuous as her sister, who broke his heart. The proud and sensitive man has not been able to trust a woman ever since. He gradually sees the real woman that lovely, open-hearted Alaina is, and the fireworks between them are explosively consuming and powerful.
There is so much going on for a book of this length, that it almost gets bogged down in sub-plots, which threaten to distract from the beautiful love story between the main characters. That story and the supporting plots are fascinating, and enough in themselves to carry the tale. But aside from being a little more complicated than necessary, this was a great read about a realistically evolved romance that pulled at my heartstrings often and captivated my interest throughout.
As usual, Ms. LaFleur's writing is fresh and eloquent; the characterization, superb. I love how she creates heroes who are passionate, generous, and creative lovers that any woman would fall for. The blazing-hot sex between this couple nearly creates flames! The emotional interaction between the two and the expertly realistic dialogue make the lovers irresistibly personal to the reader.
All of the main cast in this delightful story are interesting, fully fleshed out characters that are unique, believable individuals. It is so easy to like the young, enthusiastic people who are central in this series. I was left wanting more. Scandal and Sin is, in fact the first in Ms. LaFleur's series, Men With Tools. This story has something to offer everyone and I recommend it enthusiastically.