Avon, $5.99, ISBN 0-380-80801-3
Historical Romance, 2000
No, before you Connie Mason fans get your danders up or you Connie Mason bashers get your glee quotient just as high, this is not the monthly Bash Connie Mason Review. Not deliberately, I assure everyone. I tend to stay away from this author’s Leisure books, but her Avon books I find pretty fun. They aren’t good romances, but they have some high camp factor that usually make me chuckle and have a good time.
But in A Taste of Sin, the only thing campy is the naughty title. The hero’s known as “Lord Sin”, you see, so… ooh. The story, on the other hand, is laced in really, really stupid – and unnecessary – big misunderstanding drama, so much so that the first half degenerates into a really painful second half.
At 14, tomcat-in-the-making St John Thornton is married to seven-year old Barbie-in-the-making Christy Macdonald. Christy is an orphan who is wed under King George II’s plan to pair off aristocratic Scottish orphans to English men of his choosing. It’s Georgie’s wicked plan to humiliate the defeated Scots after Culloden.
Fifteen years later, St John – or Sinjin, or “Lord Sin” – is indiscriminately spreading his gene pool left and right with anything female that moves. His lavish lifestyle of boink and wine and party has raised the expenditure of his Scottish estates sky high. Christy, who has been playing laird and is your typical “headstrong, flaming tomboy” (don’t make me snort), decides to meet the grumbles of her people by finding her useless husband and have a child with him. You see, people are demanding that she annul the whole debacle of a marriage and marry Calum, who is just as dumb and bad as the hero. And she wants to be laird in place of her hubby, and she is sure that in time she can make her holdings a big success. With baby that means the (unconsummated) marriage is consummated, so no annulment. What a brilliant idea!
Of course, she has to pretend to be someone else to seduce the indiscriminate free-for-all male slut Sinjin. I use the word “seduce” loosely. Sinjin is a man who seems to be one big giant erection willing to rut with anything and everything. I fear for Christy getting some STDs, I really do. Lots of boinking ensues, where she then flees back to Scotland after.
Sinjin realizes that he misses “Lady Flora” and continues his drinking and whoring to forget her. Nice. Then he realizes that his wife in Scotland is pregnant. How dare that slut! Who does she think she is? Doesn’t she know that promiscuity in marriage is a no-no? Our Guardian of Morality – after a bye-bye boink with a mistress – heads off to Scotland to teach his wife Fidelity 101.
Here is where the book literally goes down the drain. Lots of really stupid, stupid, stupid misunderstanding occur. Of course, our heroine hates lying, but she keeps doing it, and Sinjin never listens anyway. He is more interested in forced seduction, which is okay because after the token protests, Christy gets lots of orgasms. Orgasms makes every sin forgivable.
Will they talk? Will they listen? Don’t count on it. The whole plot starts getting as convoluted as a tangled knot as the silly lies and deceptions start piling and piling. And the sad thing is that Christy should have just taken the scissors and made Loreena Bobbitt proud. I keep wishing for a crazed gunman to appear and blast everyone away sky-high. It’s one thing to be campy and corny and fun, but A Taste of Sin makes a wrong turn pretty early on and ends up a really lousy book instead.