Title: Before the Scandal (The Notorious Gentlemen #2)

Author: Suzanne Enoch

Redonk Nutshell: Black sheep brother returns home to help his family and enlists the help of his childhood crush

Official Synopsis: Colonel Phineas Bromley is a legend—on the battlefield and in the bedroom. Though he’s won many wars, and even more hearts, nothing could prepare him for his new life. When Phin discovers that someone has been pushing his family toward ruin, he assumes the role of a legendary highwayman. Riding out in the middle of the night, hidden behind a mask, Phin heads straight into trouble . . . and into the arms of the ravishing girl next door. Coming face-to-face with a masked man did not frighten Alyse Donnelly as it should have. Instead, she finds him rather dashing. But her foolish heart has led her into trouble before, and helping a fugitive may mean jeopardizing her own plans, no matter how enticing his kisses. Now, as the danger grows, Alyse must make a choice between freedom . . . and the chance for true love.

This was my first Suzanne Enoch book.  I was looking forward to reading it, if only because I’ve seen MANY of her books along my travels in RomSmut land. I actually picked this book up at Goodwill for $0.49. GO ME!

Overall, Before the Scandal was a fun, fast-paced read. Our hero, Phin, returns home after a ten-year hiatus, a self-imposed exile after a horrific Phin-induced accident leaves his brother crippled. He left a gambler, womanizer, and drinker and returns as an accomplished war veteran.  He makes the trip home after receiving a letter from his sister begging him to return.  He finds the family estate in a struggling state, as well as his relationships with his siblings.  When he figures out that someone has been terrorizing tenant estates and vandalizing the property, Phin sets out to figure out who and why.  In the process, he comes face to face with Alyse, his boyhood friend.  They’re instantly pulled to one another, but they each wrestle with their own emotional baggage.  Phin is still making amends for his past behavior and decisions, and Alyse is still paying for an ill-conceived elopement-gone-awry.

What really held my attention to this story was the sort of who-dunnit theme running rampant around and through our main characters.  It’s fairly obvious to the reader who our villain(s) is/are, but what is really intriguing is watching how our hero and heroine go about handling it.  Enoch’s character are multifaceted and fascinating.

Before the Scandal was a fun read, chock full of romance and suspense.  It was a nice, fluffy, and safe story.

Rating: C+

Romance: 4/5             Raunch: 2/5

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