Cover Image: Dangerous

Dangerous

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Member Reviews

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher (Zebra) for the ARC.

DANGEROUS by Minerva Spencer is the first in The Outcasts Series. It is a historical (Regency Era) romance novel due out June 26, 2018.

Lady Euphemia Marlington is not your typical leading lady for a Regency Romance novel. Mia, who is thirty-two years old, has just recently returned to England after having spent the past seventeen years living in a sultan's harem in Northern Africa. Her very proper, very English family wants to know nothing about how she spent the past seventeen years or how she escape the sultan's place to return to England. All her family wants to do is immediately marry her off to an English peer. Unfortunately, the only men really interested in taking Mia as a wife are either senile or the dregs of English society. Mia's only wish is to return to Oran and find her son. Jabril is in the middle of a power struggle against his half-brother to take over their late father's kingdom. Mia knows the only way she can return to her son is to escape her overbearing family. Hence why she agrees to marry social outcast Lord Exley. It would be easier for her to escape from an inattentive husband instead of her family. Adam de Courtney is the best of the worst of Mia's suitors - not that he's a bad guy or anything. It’s just that his first two wives died under mysterious circumstances, and the majority of his peers believe that he murdered both of them. Adam is not looking for a third wife, but he needs a male heir to inherit his title and estate. Mia claims she is willing and able to provide him with an heir. 

DANGEROUS is full of danger, intrigue, deception, and steamy love scenes. The novel is fast-paced, and it is packed with a fair number of action scenes. The two main characters are memorable, likable, and sympathetic. There is also a lot of depth to both of them, and that is slowly revealed throughout the novel. Mia is older than the usual romantic female lead - she's thirty-two instead of in her late teens or early twenties. She knows her own mind, and she's not afraid to stand up for herself or to take matters into her own hands. Mia also has far more life experience than the usual leading lady - instead of living a spoiled, idyllic life, Mia has spent the past seventeen years living as a slave in a sultan's palace. Mia's past definitely makes her stand out, as does Adam's. Plenty of male leads are social outcasts, but not many of them are believed to have murdered their first two wives. For the most part, Mia and Adam are open with each other about their pasts. These two main characters act like real people - they discuss their pasts and their marital troubles. Sure, there are misunderstandings, but Mia and Adam work together to get past those problems. These two are a team from the start, entering into a marriage of convenience that will mutually benefit both of them. Their sexual attraction soon turns into love and respect. DANGEROUS is a very exiciting novel, and Spencer's writing and descriptions bring the characters, the setting, and the time period to life. I'm looking forward to the next novel in the series - BARBAROUS, due out October 30, 2018.
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There’s been a shortage of really good historical romance so far this year.  I can count the number of DIKs I’ve given  on the fingers of one hand, and sadly, the lists of upcoming releases for the second half of the year don’t look to be offering much to shout about either.  But a shortage isn’t a complete absence; there have been a few gems amid the mediocrity, and début author Minerva Spencer’s Dangerous - the first book in her new series The Outcasts - is among them.

I am going to raise my hand and admit that when I first read the synopsis – our heroine was kidnapped by pirates, sold to a Sultan and lived in a harem for seventeen years – I had my doubts.  Not just because of the old-skool connotations associated with the premise, but because so many of the historicals published at the moment are setting aside character and romantic development in favour of mystery and adventure plots – and I was leery of reading yet another poorly conceived  story featuring a hero and heroine in the grips of insta-lust who gallivant around breaking all the rules that governed male/female interactions in the early nineteenth century and jumping into bed in chapter three.   So I picked up Dangerous with a bit of trepidation, but was quickly engaged by the confident, lively writing and breathed a sigh of relief at the realisation that my preconceptions had been unjustified.

Lady Euphemia Marlington, daughter of the Duke of Carlisle, has recently returned to London following the aforementioned seventeen years spent in the harem of Baba Hassan, Sultan of Oran.  Now aged thirty-two, she is well beyond marriageable age  and is already an object of curiosity and gossip given her prolonged absence from society – and her father is desperate to find her a husband before she does something scandalous that will render her completely unmarriageable. Her vivacity, wit and forthright manner already set her apart from the other ladies of the ton, and she’s most definitely not the demure, biddable sort so many men want to take to wife - but Carlisle hopes that the enormous dowry he’s offering will outweigh the fact of Mia’s lack of societal polish (and her advanced age.)  To Mia’s dismay, most of the men dangling after her (dowry) are either past their prime or young striplings; but ultimately, her plans don’t require her to like or spend much time with her husband.  What she wants is a man who will marry her and then leave her alone so that she can pursue her scheme of returning to Oran in order to reunite with her son, Jabril.

Adam de Courtney, Marquess of Exley, is the father of three daughters, a widower twice over and doesn’t really want another wife.  But what he wants is one thing, what he needs is another… and he needs an heir.  He’s surprised at being sought out by the Duke of Carlisle when society at large generally gives him a wide berth, believing him to have been responsible for the deaths of both his wives …until he realises that the duke wants to recruit him to the ranks of possible suitors for his recently returned daughter.  Adam is not inclined to be manipulated – until he sets eyes on Mia.  Red-haired, green-eyed and simply oozing sensuality, she is not at all what he’d expected, and against his better judgement, he’s fascinated.  He has no intention of offering for her… until he does, surprised to hear from the lady herself that the sort of marriage she proposes is one sought after by most men – one with no emotional entanglements. Feeling unaccountably lucky to have found a woman who seems to have no qualms about being wedded, bedded and left to her own devices, Adam proposes, even though he’s sure Mia is up to something.  He just can’t work out what.

Mia is just as drawn to the handsome, coolly aloof marquess as he is to her, even though she realises that he isn’t going to be easy to manage and that she’s going to have to be careful around him if she’s to follow through with her plan to return to Oran.  Fortunately however, the fact that his principal estate is near the south coast is perfect for her plans – and the fact that she wants him desperately, wants the pleasure she’s sure he will be able to give her, is an added bonus.

There are so many ways the author could have got this story wrong; by turning it into a comedic fish-out-of-water tale as Mia continually outrages society with her lack of observance of the customs and societal norms; by telling a melodramatic story of her kidnap and rescue or focusing on Adam’s past and engaging in much angst and hand-wringing over his dead wives - but she skilfully avoids the potential pitfalls and instead concentrates on building the relationship between her principals and, even better, writes a couple who act their ages (thirty-two and thirty-seven) rather than like brainless teenagers.  Mia hasn’t learned  to dissemble and simper like an English miss; she is comfortable with her body and who she is, and the mental acuity necessary to maintain her existence amid the intrigue of the sultan’s court means she’s accustomed to thinking for herself.  Mia’s lack of inhibition, her obvious enjoyment of sex and her fierce intellect all delight her new husband, while Mia is falling in love with the loving, generous man she is discovering beneath Adam’s façade of icy disdain.

There are things Adam and Mia keep from each other – fairly big things – but their relationship is, for the most part, an honest one; and when the Big Secret comes into play in the last part of the book, Ms. Spencer doesn’t drag it out.  This couple actually communicates with each other and owns up when they do something wrong; the romance is well-developed and the sex scenes (of which there are several) do a great job of showing the couple’s growing intimacy and how it leads to trust, and eventually to love.

There’s a lot to enjoy about Dangerous, and although it’s not without its flaws, none of them were large enough to spoil my overall enjoyment.  While the aforementioned sex scenes are well written and integral to the development of the relationship, there are perhaps a few too many of them; and Mia has a number of almost-TSTL moments in the last few chapters which feel somewhat out of character.  Adam’s dead wives and his reasons for keeping his daughters away from London are plot-overkill; I get that there needs to be a reason for him to have been shunned by society, but the rest of it is largely unnecessary, especially as the concerns that lead him to keep his daughters sequestered in the country are dismissed by one sentence from Mia in a rather clumsy ‘why didn’t I think of that?’ moment.

But those really are minor criticisms, and I’d definitely recommend Dangerous to anyone looking for a new voice in historical romance.  Ms. Spencer’s writing is sophisticated and witty, the two principals are fully-rounded and there’s an engaging secondary cast, too, one of whom is going to be the hero in the next book in the series, Barbarous, which is due out in October.  You can be sure I'll be picking it up.

Buy it at: Amazon/Barnes & Noble/iBooks/Kobo
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LOVED this book! It’s a rare day that I leave a 5-Star review, yet here we are. Steamy sexy, a strong hero, an intelligent and crafty heroine... wonderful read!
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Fantastic book! Subterfuge, mystery and steamy sex make for a hold your attention read. I can't wait to see more from Minerva
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This story revolves around Mia, who was captured at age 14 and sold to a sultan where she was part of his harem for 17 years, escaped back to England and to her father who was a Duke.  He knew where she had been and was in a hurry to marry her off before any scandal occurred.  The book was well written and entertaining which makes you want to continue reading to see what will occur next.  There are a lot of secrets that are revealed, bit by bit, but that adds to the intrigue of the book.  This is the first book I have read by this author and it was an excellent read.  I would highly recommend this book because it keeps you guessing as to what will happen next.  The book is somewhat erotic which I enjoyed but is not to everyone’s taste.
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3.5 Stars on this unique to current trends HR. I am rounding up because some of the positives are promising and make me want to continue with the series. 

There was considerable buzz on this debut novel by Minerva Spencer. First, one of my favorite HR authors, Elizabeth Hoyt, raved about it, and then there was quite a bit of buzz in my GR circles about the Bodice-Ripper-esque cover. Could it be that a NEW author is bucking current trends to gives us a fresh and exciting story? And a Regency no-less? The, in my opinion, single most saturated sub-sub genre of HR, filled with cookie-cutter stories. And did it deliver on these lofty, unfair expectations I had? Yes. Mostly.

The heroine, a Duke’s daughter, had returned home after 17 years in a harem near Oran. She had been sold to the harem after the ship she had been traveling was captured by pirates. Her red hair and green eyes made her more valuable as a gift to a Sultan than as ransom to her father. When she returns to England, her father concocts a story and tries to marry her off as quickly as possible. To accomplish this goal, he introduces her to the worst lechers of society, the ones desperate enough to marry her. He finally finds the winner in the Marquess of Exley, who was rumored to have killed his first two wives. 

Mia was having trouble fitting in to British society, having become accustomed to life in the Harem. For example, the handsome footmen were not eunuchs and the food was bland. She was immediately intrigued by Exley, who was younger and much more handsome than her other suitors. He saw through the guise quickly, and they started their marriage on a mostly honest footing, with her holding back one big secret and he not being very open about his first two marriages. 

This book featured many love scenes, and while I thought them well done, there were too many, in my opinion. They started out showing how compatible the h&h were, with a natural growing intimacy that was leading to trust and love. I thought this lovely and well done. But, after awhile, they grew tedious and felt gratuitous for me. I was ready for the story to move forward. When it did, I was disappointed that Mia was still holding onto to her one secret, without putting her trust in her husband. 

I thought the family dynamics portrayed were interesting and well done. There is also a fantastic cast of secondary characters with some interesting sea-faring potential heroes. Overall, I thought the characters great. Mia was a refreshing heroine in her attitude and approach, and I thought Exley a perfect match for her.

Despite a couple of quibbles, I did like this book and look forward to the next in series, featuring one of those sea-faring heroes.

*I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Euphemia "Mia" Marlington has returned to her homeland in England after having spent over a decade in a sultan's harem. Being back is not at all like what she expected. Her father is certain Mia will disgrace the family. He wants to keep her past hush-hush and get her married off as soon as possible. Mia wants no part of marriage, but if she is forced into one so be it. It certainly will not be the worst thing she has endured. 

Of all the men her father has chosen as suitors, Mia settles on the mysterious Adam de Courtney, a marquess who is rumored to have killed his first two wives. Mia chooses Adam, confident in her assumption that he will not want a real marriage. She agrees to give Adam an heir and he agrees that afterward she can mostly do as she pleases. This fits well into her plans since she means to return to the son she had to leave behind.

Author Minerva Spencer's first novel in her OUTCASTS series, DANGEROUS, is a must read! I will go as far to say it is in my top ten best books of 2018. The cover art and the story are reminiscent of the old school romances called bodice rippers. There's nothing like a good old-fashioned pirate kidnapping or harem novel. It certainly took me back a few years. I was really impressed by Ms. Spencer's writing style. Her characters leap off the page, larger than life. I could not put DANGEROUS down. I absolutely cannot wait for the next installment in her OUTCASTS series.
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There are not enough superlatives to describe this book. I loved everything about this story from its main two characters, Mia and Adam to the adventure that follows. The characters are so different from each other, but they are just so right for each other. Mia is certainly not the typical English rose, having been captured and held for 17 years in a harem. Adam de Courtney, presents as a cold an austere English lord; however, he is anything but cold when put together with Mia. 
Minerva Spencer has created a wonderful series, if the books to follow are as captivating as ‘Dangerous’. I have saved this book to my favourites and look forward to the next in the series. I will just have to reread ‘Dangerous’ whilst I wait!
I received a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Dangerous by Minerva Spencer.

This would be the type of story that could be called ‘rollicking.’ Put a tiny, tough heroine and a middle-sized smouldering hero together and you get no misunderstandings at all. Instead you get forthright conversations, lots of hot sex, a wonderful story with plenty of swashbuckling, and an adventure second to none. Ms Spencer has found the perfect partner for each of her protagonists.
I loved this debut novel. The best part is that even when you finish, you get to read an exerpt of the next, which happens to be about the hero you want to follow next.
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I received a copy of this title from the publisher for an honest review.  For me, this was a 3.25 star read which rounds down to 3 stars.  Dangerous features Euphemia ( Mia) who was kidnapped 18 years previously and lived in a harem as one of many concubines.   After 18 years, she has returned home to England and her family; her father, the Duke of Carlisle is looking to marry her off quickly.  Mia is looking for a husband who lives near the sea so she can take a boat back to Oran.  Mia finds English customers stifling after her time away and struggles to avoid attention from the curious.  Adam, Marquess of Exley is believed to have killed his wife and spends little time moving in society.   With three daughters who never come to London, he has decided it is time to find a wife to provide him an heir.  Adam and Mia come to an understanding and marry.  Despite her intention to return to Oran, Mia finds herself quickly falling for her husband; despite a miserable first marriage, Adam can't resist Mia.  Mia ingratiates herself into all aspects of Adam's life and even helps his relationship with his daughters.  I really liked Mia and her outlook and decision to focus on the positives in life.  The relationship between Adam and Mia grew naturally and didn't feel rushed.  The part that lagged for me was once the story shifted to Oran, it felt like it dragged and the story shifted away from the relationship between Mia and Adam.  Overall, I really enjoyed this book and the characters; I look forward to the next title from this author.
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This novel is dangerously addictive.  It's the kind of story that you can't put down and loose sleep to finish.
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Enthralling story of how people rise up despite having been labeled as persona non grata through no fault of their own. It’s much more than a love story of two people. This one encompasses how that love has a positive influence on their friends and family. The suspense at times killed me with anticipation. I even cringed wondering if they were going to be able to solve their problems with as little angst as possible. Wonderful, well-developed characters.
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Minerva Spencer’s debut novel, Dangerous, initially reminded me of  Beatrice Small’s Skye O’Malley series from the 1980’s.

Skye O’Malley, the first of Small’s lengthy series, is the consummate bodice-ripper, complete with rape, child rape, fetishes, abusive sex all described in purple prose, and male “heroes” who are prone to intercourse without consent and thus anything but heroic—and that doesn’t count the clothes, food, and furniture described in infinite detail.

Dangerous starts off along the same lines with heroine, Lady Euphemia (Mia) Marlington, being captured by Corsairs pirates, being imprisoned in a sultan’s seraglio, raped at fourteen, bearing the sultan a son, then escaping from the harem at the ripe old age of thirty-two. However, the rape of the young heroine and her “tutoring” in the sexual arts to please the sultan, takes places off camera, so to speak. Also missing is the food/costume/furniture porn so avidly overdone by Ms. Small.

Dangerous utilizes the two romance tropes. (1) The marriage of convenience in which the hero and heroine marry to provide him an heir and her a safe home without the social isolation threatened by her father. They feel no love for each other, however, they have strong sexual attraction that each is convinced they can control. (2) The tortured hero and/or heroine. In this case,  Mia’s secret is her long stay in the seraglio while Adam de Courtney’s first two wives died under mysterious circumstances, so he is despised by the ton and lives under a cloud of malicious gossip. The heroine and hero are both a bit older than the average romance duets and, though they do have occasional misunderstandings, are able to communicate with each other. Mia has a moment of near TSTL (too stupid to live) when she takes off—without backup—from the corsair’s ship to go rescue her son and husband from the sultan.

So in essence, Dangerous, provides all the rip-roaring fun of a Beatrice Small bodice ripper without the nauseatingly porny details mentioned above.
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What a unique story!  I really enjoyed Mia and Adam’s story.  It is rare to find our heroine be so much older than all other debutantes.  I think it was so refreshing and you did not have to deal with some of the immaturity that you find in other stories.  Adam and Mia were strong characters that knew what they wanted.  There weren’t misunderstandings that needed to be cleared up.  They were pretty straightforward with each other.  Their chemistry was pretty hot and their banter was so entertaining.  

Mia stole my heart!  She had so much spunk! She kept Adam on his toes and pushed him to break out of the mold. 

Great story!  Can’t wait for other books in the series.
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Take everything you know about marriages of convenience and set it aside. With Dangerous, Minerva Spencer takes that troupe and makes it fresh and exciting. The main characters, Mia and Adam are older than the norm and both have a past. Mia spent 17 years in a harem and Adam allegedly caused the death of his first two wives. So of course, there will be lies and misunderstandings between the two, right? Nope, they talk to each other. They act like real people. In fact, the characters are so well drawn by the author, they do feel real. They drive the plot forward with actions and decisions that seem inevitable, but never predictable. I couldn’t wait to see where they’d lead me next.  
The romance is sigh-worthy, the sex hot and steamy, and the action is nothing short of swashbuckling—you’ll have to read the book to know what I’m talking about. And you should definitely read the book! Looking forward to the next Outcast!
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I really enjoyed Mia and Adam's story!

Mia must marry and is trying to decide on the best of the bunch when her father introduces her to Adam. He is the first man that her father has pushed in front of her that she is even remotely attracted to. They share a mutual attraction that is read hot!

Adam can't believe that Mia's father has asked him to meet his daughter. Most father are doing everything they can to keep him away from them since he has lost 2 wives under unusual circumstances, but Adam needs an heir so he goes to meet the daughter. When he meets Mia, she isn't anything that he expected.

Can these two turn this marriage of conveniece into a marriage based on love?

I can't wait to read the next book in the series, Barbarous, which comes out in October.
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This is Mia and Adam’s story.  Mia had been kidnapped by corsairs and put in a sultan’s harem. She had escaped back to England.  Her father is desperate for her to marry. She marries the marquis who is thought to have murdered his previous wives.  He needs an heir. This is a very exciting story. They have to go to Africa to rescue her son.  There is a lot of sex. Mia is very inhibited. They find a love match.  I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.
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This story is definitely different and sets itself apart from other romances I have been reading for a few years. I really liked that about the book. Mia was in a harem for 17 years and has come home but is very outspoken and free with her thoughts and feelings. Adam on other hand is very reserved. Do they clash? Definitely, at least for a while. Does this make for interesting reading? Yes. The story really flies by while reading. This book was a surprise that was very enjoyable. Give this new author a try.

Looking forward to Ramsey’s story. Hoping Jibril and Martin also get their own stories. Very interesting secondary characters.
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This a well written story which keeps you interested with a great plot.  It centres on Mia who was captured by Corsairs and returns to England after 17 years in is a sheik's harem.  Her father wants her married as soon as possible and sets about finding a husband.  Adam is shunned by normal society after losing two wives.  Once married they learn to love each other and embark on a great adventure.  I loved this book and would highly recommend it.
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Marriage of convenience fans, rejoice! Dangerous was a refreshingly different novel, but with all the things we love about a classic Regency romance imbedded in its DNA. I loved the creativity involved in creating a believable heroine who, at thirty-two, had never enjoyed her first Season. I went along for the ride with this "wicked" sensual woman with concerns much greater than that of a young debutante. Lord Exley, as well, had some life experience and real concerns. Together, they were a great romantic match.

I enjoyed this sophisticated, sensual read!
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