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Too Wicked to Kiss

(Gothic Love Stories #1)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  663 ratings  ·  169 reviews

From the ravens circling its spires to the gargoyles adorning its roof, Blackberry Manor looms ominously over its rambling grounds. And behind its doors, amid the flickering shadows and secret passageways, danger lies in wait…


Evangeline Pemberton has been invited to a party at the sprawling estate of reclusive Gavin
Kindle Edition, 424 pages
Published August 2nd 2019 by WebMotion (first published February 19th 2010)
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Average rating 3.90  · 
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 ·  663 ratings  ·  169 reviews

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Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
*3.5 stars*

An interesting, entertaining romance that flits between gothic and classic recency in style, but ends up being a mash-up of both.

Overall, I think Erica Ridley did a nice job with this one. Regency romance is beginning to be my favorite sub-genre in romance, and books like this one reminds me why. It was romantic, with a good helping of sexual tension, with a passionate, strong female MC and a misunderstood male MC. It set up to be a great story, but it had a few very peculiar twists
Dec 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I stayed up late last night and then finshed the last 10 pages this morning before work. I had such fun with this book. The h/h were awesome! The secondary characters were so robust. There was so much humor I actually laughed out lound at times and enough mystery to keep me guessing. This author is going to be on the must buy list for sure!!
Smokinhotbooks K.C.
If you would have spoken to me six months ago and asked me to read a historical romance I would have laughed and said…that’s so 10 years ago for me. See, I cut my teeth on Julie Garwood, Amanda Quick and authors of the like when I first started reading romance. I don’t want to say that I outgrew them, just that I had a change of heart. Too Wicked to Kiss brought me back to why I used to love historicals. The meeting of romance, a little magic and a love story all wrapped up in one pretty ...more
K.S. Marsden
Aug 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Evangeline will go to any length to escape her monster of a step-father. She will even place herself in the care of the conniving Lady Stratford, and risk staying with brooding murderer, Lord Lioncroft.

I received a free copy of the Gothic Love Stories box-set from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Evangeline is desperate to be rid of her step-father - the man guilty of killing her mother, and prone to fits of violence. As far as the law is concerned, she is his legal property until she
He was a recluse, rumors abound about his murderous ways, but when Evangeline Pemberton showed up to the party at Blackberry Manor, the young lady’s curiosity led her to discover more than a handsome, yet dangerous man, too bad there was a murderer on the loose, hiding within the walls of the manor. Can she discover who the murderer is? Can she unmask who Gavin really is?

Once again, Erica Ridley makes Gothic romance more than heaving bosoms and delicate young ladies. She has taken a deadly
Sissy's Romance Book Review
'Too Wicked to Kiss' is book one in the Scoundrels & Secrets' Series. This is the story of Evangeline Pemberton and Gavin Lioncroft. When I see Ms. Ridley name on a book I know I will be getting a really good story and this one did not let me down.
Evangeline is headed to a party along with other guest to the reclusive Lioncroft estate. Gavin has been rumored to have killed his parents but nothing was proven. Evangeline is attracted to Gavin as he is with her when they first meet..but now
JoAnne Kenrick
Feb 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: five-star-rating
WOW! This is, hands down, one of the best books I've read in a long time. It surpassed my expectations, delivering a gritty historical, paranormal romance and a hint of Clue. I'm not typically a fan of historicals, but Erica's clever website and blurb had me intrigued. When I saw the cover I knew, right then and there that I had to read it. Even better, I won a signed copy of it! I read it, slowly, soaking in each and every single word. Her descriptions had me hooked into the story. I could ...more
Aug 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bnereader
Excellent! I was hooked and could not put this book down. Everything about this was top notch, the writing, the setting, the story. . . . I love tortured heros and strong heroines.
Aug 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
It took me a while to get into this story, the descriptions of the house were a little over the top in trying to create a gothic atmosphere. I did like the paranormal aspect of Evangeline’s gift and I enjoyed the growing connection between Evangeline and Gavin. There was also a murder mystery to solve and the ever present threat of her stepfather. There were a number of intriguing secondary characters to add extra interest. I will read the next in this series to see what happens with
Aug 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Regency gothic delights!

Delightful gothic romp through four charming novels each with a different focus be it crippling psychic abilities, pirates or people with strange gifts. We have a bluestocking, a ton desirable, a rake and a governess, all with a different story to tell.
The full length novels are all Too Readable to stop:
Too Wicked to Kiss (Book 1)
Too Sinful to Deny (Book 2)
Too Tempting to Resist (Book 3)
Too Wanton to Wed (Book 4)
I thoroughly enjoyed these re-released novels that have
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I do loved this story which mixes a historical setting with a bit of paranormal and a mystery to solve but at time I struggled to like the heroine.
The hero is dark, brooding with fit of temper, but to me, he never gave proof to be the ruthless murdered he is accused to be. Sure he is easily angered when he sees abuse but it does not make him a monster.
And for ten years he payed a deep price for his recklessness and late teen mistakes. He was seventeen when the events which sealed his fate
This book started off great for me! It seemed as if it would be a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. The hero was a perfectly grumpy, angry beast with the unannounced arrival of the heroine and her entourage to his house. Then a few hours later, when the house guests arrive downstairs for dinner, he is suddenly a smooth talking rake trying to flirt with the heroine. Insta-lust gone wrong. The author should have dragged out the grumpy beastly part a wee bit longer in my opinion. Besides that, ...more
Feb 24, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Erica Ridley tries to bring back an atmospheric gothic romance with Too Wicked To Kiss. The blurb on this books states, “A skillful blend of Gothic mystery and steamy romance” from Karen Rose. This is a mystery with a romance, but not so steamy and skilled as I was expecting. My main issue that caused me not to finish this book is that Erica laid it on a bit too think with the whole atmosphere of what a gothic romance is. There’s a castle that makes a perfect dark setting, a hero who may or may ...more
Disappointing. Two and a half stars.

I have to confess I don't like historical novels where there is an element of the paranormal, in this case our heroine Evangeline has visions when she touches another human being except, conveniently, the brooding host of the ton house party she has been dragged along to by a distant 'friend' of her late mother's.

Gavin Lioncourt is generally accepted to be a murderer, his home is dark and ugly, the rooms have no windows and he is bad-tempered and brooding -
Kristi Hudecek-Ashwill
This book was so good. I stayed up waaaay past my bedtime one night reading it and got up very early in the morning to finish it. My husband got up at 2:20 AM and came out of the bedroom and asked me, "Do you know what time it is?" I should have asked him if he had a date or something.

Anyway, the book had me from the very beginning. I didn't know what to expect from Gavin, thinking he was some sort of psycho-nut recluse and I could tell that Evangeline wasn't going to really take part in Susan's
Margaret Sholders
I like to read Erica's books. She always comes up with the best story lines. This is no exception. She has given us a touch of paranormal in a dark castle. I fell for her characters here. Spoilers! Gavin is an outcast after his parents died. Spoiler. He meets with Evangeline when she arrives with Susan and her snooty mother who wants to compromise her daughter with Gavin. Spoiler. There is a house party for Jane, Gavin's 13 year old niece. Now it gets tricky. Everyone needs a dead body in the ...more
Apr 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. I've never read anything 'gothic' before, so it was alot of fun to read. I will admit, as others have suggested, that it isn't 'steamy', but definately a fun read.
Cathy Geha
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Too Wicked to Kiss by Erica Ridley
Gothic Love Stories #1

Evangeline Pemberton is on the run. She believes her mother’s friend, Lady Stanton, will keep her safe from her evil stepfather. In borrowed clothes she is drug along to compromise Gavin Lioncraft...well to assist in compromising him so that Susan Stanton can marry him. Evangeline is NOT happy with the idea but is willing to do just about anything to remain safe from her abusive murderous stepfather.

The first time Evangeline and Gavin set
Jessica Grogan
Sep 13, 2019 rated it did not like it
This is a DNF for me. I know I was warned that this wasn’t Erica Ridley’s usual style but I didn’t realize how much I would miss that style. And I do. This was just moving along too slowly for me.

*I received an eARC (of all 4 books in one) from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Apr 18, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've had to think long and hard on what rating to give this. The book felt manic depressive to me, jumping from a gothic romance to a Regency romp in the space of a single paragraph, then back again with a sidetrack to social mores of the times.

The hero was all dark and broody and violent one minute, then a grinning, flirting buck of the ton the next. Even my mood swings are that dramatic.

The heroine was some strange combination of naive yet lusty wench, capable psychic, logical detective and
Apr 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Erica Ridley's amazing talent is evident in this, her debut book Too Wicked to Kiss. This is the enthralling gothic tale of secrets and murder. Evangeline Pemberton finds herself invited to a house party of the rakish and reclusive Gavin Lincroft. Rumor and suspician has surrounded Lincroft since the death of his parents years before. Evangeline finds herself drawn to the standoffish Lincroft even as rumors and suspician surround him. When a murder is commited Evangeline endeavors to uncover the ...more
I'd read The Viscount's Christmas Temptation and thoroughly enjoyed it - it was an energetic & funny read - so I was keen to read more by Erica Ridley. Unfortunately, none of her other books seem to have the same sense of wit & character as that novella. This - and her other full-length books - sacrifice character coherence to plot. There is so much plot, so many incidents (not all of them logical, even), that there is no room for character development.
Apr 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Evangeline and Gavin were so much funto read. His short temper and having rumored he murdered his parents made an interesting character with a backstory to match the gothic look of his home. During the house party a body is found murdered and everyone looks to Gavin Lioncroft as the killer because of the rumors that haunt his past. However almost everyone has a motive for this murder and lies as alibies. Evangeline must use her gift/curse to find the murderer before her stepfather finds her.

Oct 12, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historic-romance
Very good historical romance with elements of the gothic and manor house murder mystery. Interesting lead characters - we have the angst-ridden hero and the strong-willed heroine. Makes for a good romance. However, by the middle of the book, the supporting characters were getting on my nerves as they were all equally nasty in their own malicious way and I was getting tired of reading about their selfish actions.

Still, a good book and I would recommend this to anyone wanting to spend a few hours
Hmm. I times i enjoyed this book. Then later I would find myself saying, "really?!?!?" out-loud, to no-one in particular. The characters just seemed wooden and uninteresting, i could care less what happened to them. The evil characters were a bit over the top for my taste. Ok, we get it, your evil. (don't touch it!)
Paranormal Romance
The heroine, desperate to escape the physical abuse she suffers at the hands of her stepfather, falls into the hands of a family who she believes will shelter her. Little did she know the Lady would blackmail her into a ruse to trap and cage a rich man into marrying her daughter. The heroine wants to refuse but she knows she's at their mercy as all the clothing she has belong to the Stantons and without their charity, she is penniless or worse, destined to return home to face the man who will ...more
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Too Wicked to Kiss is the first book in the Gothic Love Stories series by Erica Ridley. It is the first gothic romance I have read by this author and it by no means will be the last.

Evangeline Pemberton ran away from her abusive stepfather and finds herself attending a house party of Gavin Lioncroft, a man reputed to have killed his parents. She has been coerced by her rescuer to attend the party and to help the woman's daughter trap Gavin into marriage. Evangeline wants nothing to do with the
Lori D
Some of the very first books that I fell in love with were Gothic romances and as I began this story, I felt like I had stepped back in time. There is truly something mesmerizing about the dark castle, the frightening first glimpse of the man of the manor and his tortured soul. The heroine who is an innocent and scared out of her wits but oddly forms an attraction. Have I set the stage? Multiply all of those thoughts by ten and you have an amazing story written by one of the masters of ...more
Aug 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: steamy, arc, mehh
Fleeing her stepfather after several fear-filled days following her mother's death, Evangeline Pemberton finds herself at the mercy of the charity of Lady Stanton, who invites Evangeline to join her and her daughter, Susan, at a house party. However, Lady Stanton is less than charitable and demands Evangeline help trap the host, the reclusive Gavin Lioncroft, a rumored murderer, but also a wealthy man, into marriage to Susan. Evangeline is loath to participate in such deception, initially ...more
Rosemary K
Aug 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed these four gothic romances that have been revised and reissued. These stories involve feisty, strong women who fight for what they want and rakes who are willing to reform to win the ladies they love. The dialogue is sharp and sassy. I enjoyed the interaction between these characters. It adds spice to the stories. The romances are filled with passion and seemingly impossible obstacles which pulled me. I wanted the couples to find their HEA. I found that the setting added to the feeling ...more
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Erica Ridley is a New York Times andUSA Todaybest-selling author of historical romance novels.

In the new 12 Dukes of Christmas series, enjoy witty, heartwarming Regency romps nestled in a picturesque snow-covered village. After all, nothing heats up a winter night quite like finding oneself in the arms of a duke!

Her two most popular series, the Dukes

Other books in the series

Gothic Love Stories (4 books)
  • Too Sinful to Deny (Gothic Love Stories #2)
  • Too Tempting to Resist (Gothic Love Stories, #3)
  • Too Wanton to Wed (Gothic Love Stories, #4)