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 exciting 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.