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Scandalous Kisses #1

To Kiss A Rake

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Melinda Starling doesn’t let ladylike behavior get in the way of true love. She’s secretly assisting in an elopement . . . until she’s tossed into the waiting coach and driven away by a notorious rake.


Miles Warren, Lord Garrison, comes from a family of libertines, and he’s the worst of them all—or so society believes. When Miles helps a friend to run away with an heiress, it’s an entertaining way to revenge himself on one of the gossips who slandered him.

Except that he drives off with the wrong woman . . . and as if that wasn’t scandalous enough, he can’t resist stealing a kiss.

217 pages, Kindle Edition

First published July 29, 2015

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About the author

Barbara Monajem

65 books642 followers
Barbara Monajem wrote her first story in third grade about apple tree gnomes. After dabbling in neighborhood musicals and teen melodrama, she published a middle-grade fantasy when her children were young. Now her kids are adults, and she's writing historical and paranormal romance and mystery for grownups. She lives in Georgia with an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and feline strays.

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5 stars
407 (40%)
4 stars
343 (34%)
3 stars
179 (17%)
2 stars
53 (5%)
1 star
18 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 88 reviews
Profile Image for Lady Gabriella of Awesomeness (SLOW).
520 reviews760 followers
November 8, 2016
★★★★ 4.5 stars ! ★★★★

"Thanks to you,my darling Melinda,I do believe in love."

To Kiss a Rake mostly revolves Miles & Melinda as a married couple and the walls they have to break down together,erected between them by their individual pasts.

Melinda has been paying for her mistake,for having the audacity to be born in the house of Starling,from the moment she took her first breath.Abused by her grandmother from a young age and with no one to turn to,Melinda grew up quickly and learned to be obedient & self reliant,like the perfect little society miss her family wants,in fear her grandmother would go through her final threat and disown Melinda like she has been waiting too.

Lied,cheated and shunned by the society,Miles has his own reason to hate the world and the rigid society his live in.Because of the lies spread by his cheating EX-Fiance,which the upper class chose to believe over the truth because his family's bad reputation,after all the apple never really does fall far from the tree,does it ?

I loved how drama filled the plot was and instead of the hero & heroine being plotted against each other for a good story,I loved how the author changed it up and made it them against the world from the very beginning.

Loved the main couple the best ! And Miles! *sign* jealous,dashing & misunderstood,his character stole my heart from the get-go ! Would defiantly recommend ! Especially if your in the mood for a little DARCY-ish hero ;)
Profile Image for Michelle.
512 reviews107 followers
May 17, 2016

This is story is the usual girl's reputation is ruined and has to marry to rake type of situation but what makes it different are the lovable characters and the lighthearted fun plot. I read most of this book with a mischievous grin as the reader, I know what both Miles and Melinda are up to and their problems they have to overcome. Miles fell in love with a young lady named Desiree years before but once he found her in a revealing and compromising situation he fell out of love with the idea of love. Melinda finds herself locked out of her grandmama's house one night after getting mistakenly kidnapped then her life gets tangled with Miles'. As her reputation is ruined the only way out is marriage.

I really enjoyed watching their relationship grow. Miles does have problems with trusting Melinda but he really works on it. Melinda is finally able to escape her horrid and shallow grandmother. She has found freedom even though all she wanted was to marry for love. She is trying to help her friend Lavinia with her problem of deciding between her two beaus. As Miles doesn't approve of Lavinia's wish-washy personality, he tells her to stay out of it. Of course Melinda being Melinda she does as much as she can to help her friend. Melinda has guts and strength in her that was slowly being crushed while living with her grandmother. I really loved both Miles and Melinda especially when they worked together. They start by pretending to be in love with each other to calm the gossips but pretend slowly turns into reality and the end result is a fun and sweet romance.
Profile Image for Amanda.
1,037 reviews
October 8, 2015
Pretty good. Didn't feel like beating the heroine the majority of the book- so not bad at all.
Profile Image for Eileen Dandashi.
542 reviews17 followers
July 26, 2015
Melinda can’t stand for injustice and she’s fiercely loyal. She is forced to act inappropriately to help her friend wed her true love, for Melinda believes in love. Her original efforts are fruitless for her friend. They only land her a husband not of her own choosing. Where was her love match?

We are all shaped by our past, how we were treated when young and other experiences in life. Melinda was must the hoyden from a family that valued conduct. Her family had an impeccable pedigree and she had to toe-the-line or be severely punished. Miles, on the other hand, came from a family who had flaunted proper conduct and was considered a rake from his past foolery. Therefore, any misstep by his family wasn't forgiven, it only reactivated disapproving tongues. Can the two facing marriage possibly make a go of it and beat the odds of an unhappy union?

Rebecca, Miles’s illegitimate daughter, touches your heart strings as she already has a good taste of what is to come in her lifetime. It takes people like Melinda who have passed through part of this ostracism to recognize what it could do to young Rebecca. Her receptivity to accept Rebecca is very telling to the strength of her character.

I particularly like how the author gave us insight to Miles's character. Miles had difficulty even thinking about fostering Rebecca. He preferred having her live next door, being her guardian. However, after marriage to Melinda, he didn’t want to hurt her with the constant reminder of the little girl. Not sure she was even his daughter, he wanted the best for her.

Ms. Monajem charmed me with this light Regency romp, where two honorable individuals see beyond how society wishes to label them. As I’ve come to expect from her writing, this story is very entertaining giving the reader a peek into the machinations in a time period in history which was very restrictive for females. There is never a dull moment in her work, always well-paced, great dialog, full of humor, charm and delightful, spirited characters. She is very much the Regency writer!

I received an ARC from the author for a read and honest review.
Profile Image for Debbie.
290 reviews
July 29, 2015
I received an ARC of this book for an honest review. I would be reviewing it anyway as it was such a good book.
Melinda Starling is trying to help her friend elope when she is mistakenly kidnapped by Miles Warren, Lord Garrison who is trying to help his friend. Everything that could go wrong goes wrong and and Melinda ends up being tossed out by her Grandmother. Causing her to have to stay with Lord Garrison. Well that is just not done. Miles offers to marry her as they really have no other choice. Ms. Monajem has a way with the characters and has done a wonderful job of telling Melinda and Miles's story. You will have to read the book to get the rest of the story.
Profile Image for Amary Chapman.
1,423 reviews10 followers
July 9, 2018
Historical romance

Melinda, child of her mother's lover, endured years of her paternal grandmother trying to beat the son out of her.
Miles reveled in his life as a rogue after a love affair gone terribly wrong..
One night an error in judgement ties them together. The pair make the best of it and fall in love along the way. Enjoyable read.
Profile Image for Viv “BookVixen” Gutierrez .
1,288 reviews279 followers
March 19, 2022

Im embarrassed to admit that I almost didn’t read this book because of the cover. It just felt “blah” to me and didn’t draw me in. Im glad I didn’t let that silliness get in the way because this was a great read. The plot wasn’t anything crazy, but the the story just flowed. It had heart and I really felt drawn into the emotion that was palpable between the characters. I especially loved the heroine. She was sweet, fierce, vulnerable, and something about her just punched me in the feelz.

I also liked the hero even tho he was afflicted with a reputation as a debaucher of innocents. He bore up under the undeserved reputation by pretending he didn’t care. His past is mentioned and his former fiancé is a pivotal part of his backstory.

The one thing I didn’t care for and that I felt was left unfinished was the issue of his illegitimate daughter. There’s no real resolution to what happens to her. Is she acknowledged by her father? Does she grow up as a daughter in his home or just a charity ward? This needed to be wrapped up and it wasn’t and it felt like she was just ignored.

Safe-ish. Hero’s past is mentioned, he was engaged before and loved her. He has an illegitimate child he has been caring for. Heroine is a virgin. Some OM, but nothing serious. No cheating abuse between MCs. HEA with epilogue.
Profile Image for Jordan.
540 reviews29 followers
February 14, 2022
DNF’d at 22%. H is insta-jealous of h’s association with his cousin/literally any man she acknowledges, kisses her while she’s unconscious, and has a secret bastard that lives next door with his servants that he hasn’t mentioned. Noooope.
Profile Image for Lana Birky.
1,316 reviews12 followers
August 25, 2018
This is the first book I have read from Ms. Monajem, but it won't be the last! Our heroine, Melinda Starling, is a hoyden & proud of it but she has been school on the "right" way a lady should behave - just doesn't tend to follow the rules set for others. Miles Warren, Lord Garrison comes with a family reputation of libertines & scandal a few years ago has made his reputation even worse - true or not, the way society sees it.

Melinda, is helping her friend elope & Miles is helping his friend elope. Melinda is doing it to help her friend with a love match & to get away from a horrid mother; Miles is doing it to help his friend (with pockets to let) marry an heiress & for revenge against one of the gossips (the bride's mother) who slandered him. The only catch in this elopement is the escape carriage drives off with the wrong woman & Miles is inside with a lovely young lady he can’t resist stealing a kiss from. There are forced to marry but it is such a fun courtship after the wedding - you will love it!
Profile Image for Candy Briggs.
653 reviews20 followers
August 26, 2017
Melinda Starling is always aware of proper decorum and had a sterling reputation. Miles Warren, Viscount Garrison had a horrible reputation even though he may not have deserved it.
Of course, I loved this story with all the craziness going on. It was humorous, sad, loving, and at times cruel. Melinda's grandmother hated her.She felt Melinda was a stain on the starling name and she physically and mentally abused her. The tale has a nice plot and with the characters and descriptions it is easily read, even paced and quite enjoyable.
Profile Image for Donique Collins.
266 reviews1 follower
April 18, 2023
The following are my thoughts as I read this book. Melinda Starling…has experienced multiple seasons, helping a friend elope, kidnapped by mistake. Miles Warren…Viscount Garrison, helping a friend elope, accidentally took the wrong woman. The h is injured and unconscious so the H has made a quick decision for her. Uh oh things get off to a bad start for the MCs, an unwanted marriage. Oh now I understand why the H feels as he does about love. Well it seems the h has a secret of her own too. Yep typical mistake for the start of a new marriage, secrets and omissions. I’m laughing at the h and her imaginings, they are certainly distracting her. So the H knows the h’s secret and now the h kind of knows the H’s secret, but neither has discussed it with the other. Finally both secrets have been shared and discussed, now a game plan is being formulated. Just when things start to work out the h makes a very bad decision the best of intentions. Even innocent deception can lead to disastrous events, but not this time LOL. This is my first book by this author and I must say I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed it so much. The MCs got off to a rocky start and had to wade through a great deal of self history and secrets but eventually they worked everything out. There is steam.
Profile Image for PepperP0t .
4,195 reviews73 followers
February 11, 2023
Melinda Starling’s determined to help her friend, Lavinia, elope with a man Lavinia’s mother finds less than desirable. But when the moment comes, Lavinia’s unsure. Stalwart friend Melinda doesn’t want the soon to be heartbroken groom unaware but even that portion of the plan goes awry. Melinda’s good deed puts her outside the bounds of propriety when she’s out all night with notorious rake Viscount Miles Warren and no chaperone.

Melinda’s guardian is less than understanding and her actions box Melinda in a tight corner. Attempting to safeguard Melinda as well as he can, Miles proposes marriage though Melinda isn’t certain he’s trustworthy. After all, Mile is a rake and caused a scandal at least five years ago that the gossips are still whispering about. Plus if Miles were trustworthy, he’d discuss the scandal with her wouldn’t he?

I liked this offering from a new to me author the characters and story were good fun though predictable.
Rating: 4.25stars
932 reviews1 follower
June 16, 2021
The entire novel surrounds a romantic-at-heart but somewhat impulsive Melinda who attempts to help her best friend (heiress) to elope at night with her poor beloved artist. Unfortunately, through a miscommunication, she gets swept away instead, thus compromising her reputation. To salvage it, one of those involved, a known roguish lord with a bad reputation offers to marry her. Following is their attempt to salvage their reputation while falling in love despite the interference of abusive interfering kin. The book is well-written, goes above and beyond in character development resulting in a few surprises, however sticking to a singular plot throughout.
193 reviews2 followers
June 14, 2017
I enjoyed this book. I thought the book was sweet. The heroine, Melinda, was rather naive. She helps her friend to elope not once but, twice with the same man. The hero, Miles, was careless. He claims not to care about his reputation and yet he works hard to clean it up. It was fun to see how these two tried to maintain some semblance of propriety and yet obtain a more relaxed lifestyle. I hope that we will have a continuation of this series and also be able to visit previous couples.
Profile Image for Donne.
1,176 reviews6 followers
October 28, 2018
Cute historical romance that was easy to read. I liked Melinda, she was funny and amusing and I liked the way she and Miles interacted. Took a peak at the next book that's about Colin who seemed likeable. However, the story sounds kind a similar to this one, which seems a little redundant and over played.
3 reviews
February 8, 2022
To be (yourself ) or not to be…..,

I was raised in a town that acted like the ton. I was miserable. My mother was a divorcée and not good enough for her mother in law.
The rejection and emotional conflicts in this read are real.
The writing is excellent. Thank you CM Dwyer
77 reviews
February 11, 2022
Perfect romance!

I loved it from beginning to end. It was romance at its best. The characters had so much chemistry and understanding of each other. When there was a misunderstanding, it went quickly without angst and pettiness. And the sex was just right without porn, which I think kills any romance. Well done!
983 reviews2 followers
February 14, 2022
Finding love ! Through a kidnapping!

I loved this story I couldn't stop reading it .Malinda and Mile,s are the perfect couple. Malinda is the illegitimate daughter of a French gamster, and Mile,s is a Rake the ton considers the worst kind.And so together they make the perfect couple.
Thank you♥️
296 reviews1 follower
January 28, 2021

Fun feisty heroine and misunderstood hero. They meet at another's elopement and must marry. I love that they were aware of their faults and were strong characters and fought off these tendencies to find an HEA. Great humor and background characters as well!
44 reviews1 follower
July 2, 2021
Oh how i love this story!

This story has warmed my heart. Once i started reading it, I WAS TOTALLY HOOKED. Looking forward to reading more of your amazing historical books ms. Barbara! 😍
Profile Image for Howard Brazee.
733 reviews10 followers
February 17, 2022
A Regency Romance with the protagonists getting married to save each other's reputations. Neither party is willing to share past secrets.

There was no reason for their marriage to be that quick and have Special License. (Those weren't common).
Profile Image for Eleni.
674 reviews9 followers
February 17, 2022
An entertaining read

This is an entertaining read, in spite of a pretty preposterous plot, but the characters are strong enough to keep me reading. Recommended for fans of the genre and the series.
49 reviews
September 25, 2017
I loved hearing the Irish lore and her Irish passion in the bedroom. The five year olds spunkiness was too funny. A fun read.
Profile Image for Kathy Brickert.
2,646 reviews10 followers
November 22, 2017
Lovely story!

Such a good book, couldn't put it down! Had lots of funny parts, some sad parts, some sweet parts! All around good read!
555 reviews3 followers
May 12, 2018
To Kiss a Rake

This was an amazing book I loved the characters it had so much adventure, excitment and a very happy ending
Profile Image for Hanah.
212 reviews2 followers
August 18, 2020

I wanted to enjoy this book more but the main characters were not honest with each other until almost the end of the book and there was no chemistry between them.
18 reviews
February 12, 2022
the loved rake

Loved the book. You did such a good job of bringing characters together and slowly revealing their beliefs and t the tragedy they ad endured. The ending was perfect!!
32 reviews
March 12, 2022
What a horrible book. This book is full if toxic people and toxic relationships. My head is still hurting.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 88 reviews

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