Because of their respective fathers' friendship as well as partners in a bank, Randall and Isabella had been friends of a sort since childhood. Randall teased Isabella mercilessly while she couldn't, resist showing off her much superior intellect. Randall, the son of an earl, has always been the golden boy while Isabella, a merchant's daughter, is ungainly, clumsy, and bespectacled; she seemed destined for spinsterhood even at an early age. Isabella is a financial genius but a fashion disaster with unmanageable hair, and Randall, the politician, still eclipses the sun with his smile. After her father died, Isabella inherited her share in the family bank and made it prosper until a most unpleasant event occurred, and Randall and Isabella are forced to set their differences aside and work towards the same goal.
WICKED, MY LOVE made me feel as if I had died and gone to book heaven! What a fun, fabulous book! Randall is charisma personified and poor Isabella is his social antithesis, however they are comfortable with each other, because they know each other so well; they do not have to pretend. Randall and Isabella are such engaging characters, as are all the players in WICKED, MY LOVE; even secondary characters are fabulous, down to Milton the cat. Isabella is a splendid heroine: she's selfless, resourceful, brilliant she's a rock; but she is lonely, as is Randall who, in spite of his adoring horde, is not entirely the persona he projects. Through their madcap adventures, Randall and Isabella come to know the other as much more than the perceptions they had retained from their childhood.
In WICKED, MY LOVE Susanna Ives strikes a perfect balance of tender romance and suspenseful adventures in a story that moves along speedily, with ingenious plot twists. The characters are multi-faceted and very appealing, character development is superb, the dialogues are witty, and some quaint euphemisms for various body parts most amusing. Let's not forget Ms. Ives' glorious, gorgeous, luminous, splendid prose. WICKED, MY LOVE is sheer joy and happiness!
A smooth-talking rogue and a dowdy financial genius
Handsome, silver-tongued politician Lord Randall doesn't
along with his bank partner, the financially brilliant
hopelessly frumpish Isabella St. Vincent. Ever since she
his childhood nemesis, he's tried- and failed-to get the
better of her.
Make a perfectly wicked combination
When both Randall's political career and their mutual
interests are threatened by scandal, he has to admit he
needs Isabella's help. They set off on a madcap scheme to
set matters right. With her wits and his charm, what
possibly go wrong? Only a volatile mutual attraction
catching them completely off guard...
Nine-year-old Viscount Randall gazed toward Lymeâ€™s coast
but didnâ€™t see where the glistening water met the vast
sky. He was too lost in a vivid daydream of being all
grown-up, wearing the black robes of the British prime
minister, and delivering a blistering piece of oratorical
brilliance to Parliament about why perfectly reasonable
boys shouldnâ€™t be forced to spend their summer holidays
with jingle-brained girls.
â€śYou know when your dog rubs against me itâ€™s because he
wants to make babies,â€ť said Isabella St. Vincent, the
most jingled-brained girl of them all, interrupting his
The two children picnicked on a large rock as their
fathers roamed about the cliffs, searching for ancient
sea creatures. Their papas were new and fast friends, but
the offspring were not so bonded, as evidenced by the
line of seaweed dividing Randallâ€™s side of the rock from
â€śAll male species have the barbaric need to rub against
females,â€ť she continued as she spread strawberry
preserves on her biscuit.
She was always blurting out odd things. For instance,
yesterday, when he had been concentrating hard on
cheating in a game of whist in hopes of finally beating
her, she had piped up, â€śDo you know the interest of the
Bank of England rose by a half a percentage?â€ť Or last
night, when she caught him in the corridor as he was
trying to sneak a hedgehog into her room in revenge for
losing every card game to her, including the ones he
cheated at. â€śIâ€™m going to purchase canal stocks instead
of consuls with my pin money because at my young age, I
can afford greater investment risks,â€ť sheâ€™d said,
shockingly oblivious to the squirming, prickly rodent
under his coat.
Despite being exactly one week younger than he was, she
towered over him by a good six inches. Her legs were too
long for her flat torso. An enormous head bobbled atop
her neck. Her pale skin contrasted with her thick, wiry
black hair, which shot out in all directions. And if that
wasnâ€™t peculiar enough, she gazed at the world through
lenses so thick that astronomers could spot new planets
with them, but she needed them just to see her own hands.
Hence, he took great glee in hiding them from her.
â€śYouâ€™re so stupid.â€ť He licked fluffy orange cream icing
from a slice of cake. â€śEveryone knows babies come when a
woman marries a man, and she lies in bed at night,
thinking about yellow daffodils and pink lilies. Then God
puts a baby in her belly.â€ť He used an exaggerated
patronizing tone befitting a brilliant, powerful viscount
destined for prime ministershipâ€”even if â€śviscountâ€ť was
only a courtesy title. Meanwhile, Isabella was merely a
scary, retired merchantâ€™s daughter whom no one would ever
want to marry. And, after all, a femaleâ€™s sole purpose in
life was to get married and have children.
â€śNo, you cabbage-headed dolt,â€ť she retorted. â€śCousin
Judith told me! She said girls shouldnâ€™t be ignorant
about the matters of life.â€ť Isabellaâ€™s Irish mother had
died, so Cousin Judith was her companion. Randallâ€™s mama
claimed that Judith was one of those â€śunnatural sortsâ€ť
who supported something terrible called â€śrights of
women.â€ť He didnâ€™t understand the specifics, except that
it would destroy the very fabric of civilized society. He
would certainly abolish it when he was prime minister.
â€śJudith said that for a woman to produce children, she,
unfortunately, requires a man.â€ť Isabellaâ€™s gray eyes grew
into huge round circles behind her spectacles. â€śThat he,
being of simple, base nature and mind, becomes excited at
the mere glimpse of a womanâ€™s naked body.â€ť
He was about to interject that she was wrong againâ€”girls
were never rightâ€”but stopped, intrigued by the naked
part. Nudity, passing gas, and burping were his favorite
â€śAnyway, a man has a penis,â€ť she said. â€śItâ€™s a puny,
silly-looking thing that dangles between his limbs.â€ť
He gazed down at the tiny bulge in his trousers. He had
never considered his little friend silly.
â€śWhen a man sees the bare flesh of a woman, it becomes
engorged,â€ť she said. â€śAnd he behaves like a primitive ape
and wants to insert it into the womanâ€™s sacred vagina. My
cousin said that was the passage between a womanâ€™s legs
that leads to the holy chamber of her womb.â€ť
â€śThe what?â€ť Where was this holy chamber? He was suddenly
overcome with wild curiosity to see one of these sacred
â€śJudith said the man then moves back and forth in an
excited, animalistic fashion for approximately ten
seconds, until he reaches an excited state called orgasm.
Then he ejaculates his seed into the womanâ€™s bodily
temple, thus making a baby.â€ť
His dreams of future political power, the shimmering
ocean, fluffy vanilla-orange icing, and a prank on
Isabella involving a dead, stinking fish all seemed
unimportant. He gazed at his crotch and then her lapâ€”the
most brilliant idea he ever conceived lighting up his
brain. â€śIâ€™ll show you my penis if you show me your
vagina.â€ť He flashed his best why-arenâ€™t-you-just-an-
adorable-little-thing smile, which, when coupled with his
blond hair and angelic, bright blue eyes, charmed his
nannies into giving him anything he wanted. However, his
cherubic looks and charm didnâ€™t work on arctic-hearted
â€śYou idiot!â€ť She flicked a spoonful of preserves at his
â€śYou abnormal, cracked, freakish girl!â€ť he cried. â€śI only
play with you because my father makes me.â€ť He smeared her
spectacles with icing. In retaliation, she grabbed her
jar of lemonade and doused him.
When their fathers and nurses found them, she was atop
the young viscount, now slathered in jam, icing, mustard,
and sticky lemonade, pummeling him with her little fists.
Mr. St. Vincent yanked his daughter up.
â€śShe just hit me for no reason,â€ť Randall wailed, adopting
his poor-innocent-me sad eyes. â€śI didnâ€™t do anything to
â€śYoung lady, you do not hit boys,â€ť her father admonished.
â€śEspecially fine young viscounts. Youâ€™ve embarrassed me
â€śIâ€™m sorry, Papa,â€ť Isabella cried, bereft under her
fatherâ€™s hard gaze. Humiliation wafted from her ungainly
body and Randall felt a pang of sympathy, but it didnâ€™t
diminish the joy of knowing she had gotten in trouble and
The Earl of Hazelwood placed a large hand on the back of
Randallâ€™s neck and gave his son a shake. â€śSon, we didnâ€™t
find any old sea creatures, but Mr. St. Vincent has come
up with a brilliant idea to help our tenants and provide
a dependable monthly income.â€ť He turned to his friend.
â€śWe are starting the Bank of Lord Hazelwood. Mr. St.
Vincent and I will be the major shareholders and we will
add another board member from the village.â€ť
Even as a small child, Randall had an uneasy, gnawing
feeling in his gut about this business venture that none
of Mr. St. Vincentâ€™s strange terms, such as financial
stabilization, wealth building, or reliable means for
tenant borrowing and lending, could dissuade. He was
never going to get rid of that rotten Isabella.
Through the years, he and she remained like two hostile
countries in an uneasy truce; a lemonade-throwing, cake-
splatting war could break out at any moment. Randall
would indeed follow his path to political fame, winning a
seat in Parliament after receiving a Bachelor of Arts
from St. Johnâ€™s College, Cambridge. He basked in the
adoration of London society as the Tory golden boy. To
support Randallâ€™s London lifestyle, the Earl of Hazelwood
signed over a large amount of the bankâ€™s now quite
profitable shares to his son.
He came home from Parliament when he was twenty-three to
witness Isabella standing stoic and haunted with no black
veil to hide her pale face from the frigid January air as
they lowered her father into the frozen earth. Having no
husband, she inherited her fatherâ€™s share in the bank and
began to help run it. The two enemiesâ€™ lives would be
hopelessly entwined through the institution born that
fateful day in Lyme, when Randall learned how babies were
For the next five years, bank matters rolled along
smoothly. Then the board secretary passed away
unexpectedly, leaving his portion to his young bachelor
nephew, Mr. Anthony Powers.