After Ruby got her happy ending in Revealing Ruby I felt certain that the amazingly sensual Bound and Determined series had come to an end. Madame Rouge’s brothel provided a setting for lovers and those of distinct tastes to meet discreetly to indulge in fantasies not deemed appropriate for proper society. When I saw Angel in Scarlet show up for review on NetGalley I was thrilled because it meant a world I fell in love with wasn’t over yet. Hopefully, there will be more additions to the series since Ms. Kent has clearly shown that Madame Rouge may be a catalyst for romantic entwinements, but the heated encounters can continue outside of her doors.
How far would you go to revenge yourself against a romantic slight? Angela Ripon was sure that the Earl of Colton intended to make her a marriage offer, but he suddenly turned cold and eventually left her heart hurting. A more traditional young lady would just move on to another suitor, but Angela wants Colton to suffer the way he made her suffer even if she risks ruination by tempting him. Angela begs the infamous Madame Rouge for tips to make a man want her, but she isn’t prepared for what her target craves most of all. By the end of the game will Angela really be able to leave Colton behind, or will she discover that his darkest desires set her aflame?
Angela is an incredibly charming heroine because she insists on going for what she wants even if it’s not always advisable. Admittedly throughout the story she has to think about what her ultimate goal is, but I appreciated that she didn’t know everything since a young woman nursing a broken heart would be more likely to act rashly. She knows that taking revenge on Colton is a bad idea, but part of her soul needs to know that her faithless suitor hurts as much as she does. When Angela commits to tempting Colton she refuses to back down even when she’s uncomfortable or nervous with what he asks of her. Her strength of will impressed me and watching her sexual discovery and exploration highly enjoyable.
I’m not nearly as fond of Colton simply because I didn’t like how he handled Angela’s sudden change of demeanor. Instead of just talking to her (admittedly I doubt our heroine would have expressed her true feelings to him at that point) Colton walks out of her life and leaves her wondering if she did something horrifically wrong. He begins to redeem himself when Angela starts her game of teasing and temptation because his ultimate goal becomes her pleasure, not just what he would like to do with her willing body.
Oh my gosh, the sex in this is scorching! While sometimes I wanted to hit the main characters upside the head with a staff of “Just talk to each other already!,” the chemistry in their encounters sizzled off the page. The element of exhibitionism isn’t my thing but combined with someone exploring BDSM for the very first time I thought it was extremely erotic.
Ultimately I greatly enjoyed Angela and Colton’s story although the ending felt a little rushed for various reasons (not just the one in the story, mind you!). However, I got the impression that they’ve learned to communicate better, so their future married life should have fewer misunderstandings from not talking than their courtship.
4.5 Shocking Scarlet Dresses out of 5