Satin & a Scandalous Affair
by Jan Colley
(Silh. Desire #1861, $4.75, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-76861-3
The “Diamonds Down Under” series is set in Australia and provides a nice backdrop to some rich and high society families. The backstory is convoluted and yet, if you have been following the series, it probably makes a lot of sense and is full of intrigue that you want to explore until all the questions are answered. When I read book #3, I found myself a little lost. Picking up this installment, #4, immediately following that, I found myself much better able to concentrate on the romance within this book and not spend so much time trying to figure out who was who and where they fit. Having said that, it is very much a series and if you haven’t read at least one, this one will not stand alone.

The central characters in Satin & a Scandalous Affair are Diamond broker Quinn Everard (who was introduced in the previous tale) and Danielle Hammond. Quinn approaches Danielle, asking her to take a very large and rare diamond and design a necklace for the stone. He uses blackmail to make her agree and even makes her move into his place, since the diamond is not safe outside.

Danielle is the illegitimate daughter of Sonya Hammond. Sonya was the sister of the wife of the Blackstone family patriarch, Harry. Even though many saw Harry as a bad guy, Danielle has always known of him as her uncle who provided room in his home for them and who gave her a loan so she could open her own business in a coast town away from the spotlight, something she truly desired. Danielle has never felt like she belonged. Her mother was wonderful, but would never share who her father was. his left Danielle always feeling she was on the outside looking in. But she is a master jeweler and has a touch with designing beautiful jewelry.

Quinn was one of those people who hated Harry Blackstone. Harry and he had several run-ins and Harry tried to ruin Quinn when he first started in the business. Quinn never really forgave Harry. But Quinn has a special customer who has demanded that Danielle be the one to design this exquisite stone setting. So Quinn, despite his concerns, hires Danielle and uses the one piece of information that he thinks will get her to acquiesce. One of Harry’s children was due to get married and was hoping for a nice quiet setting without publicity. Danielle had made arrangements for that to happen in her little corner of the world. No one was supposed to know. But Quinn does and threatens to leak it to the press if she doesn’t cooperate.

This is a good story, with much of the emphasis on the creative process and on the relationship between Quinn and Danielle. Because they spend so much time together, they actually have interactions that allow them to see the person behind the public persona. While there are plenty of issues with the Blackstone/Hammond feud and with Danielle’s past, there are also some nice interactions that lend themselves to a real feeling of connection with both Dani and Quinn. This was the saving grace to the tale.

The reader of the series will be drawn into those mysteries and more details will be revealed, setting up the next book. But the real story here is Quinn and Danielle, who are both multi-faceted and engaging as main characters. Quinn is a little hard to categorize at first, as the author couldn’t seem to decide if he was going to be a alpha or a beta. Ultimately, he is a bit of both and this adds to his appeal.

Satin & A Scandalous Affair may be close to a four heart recommendation for those who are really familiar with the series, but for those of us who haven’t been so invested, this is just a nicely written romance.

--Shirley Lyons

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