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Beyond a Wicked Kiss

Narrated by: Jenny Sterlin
Length: 16 hrs and 31 mins
4 out of 5 stars (123 ratings)
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This Story Is Seductive

Publisher's Summary

USA Today best-selling author Jo Goodman captivates listeners with her Regency romances. She continues her acclaimed Compass Club series featuring four handsome and unruly men, North, South, East, and West, in Beyond a Wicked Kiss. Headmistress Ria Ashby hopes West, as a new Duke, can aid her in finding a missing student. When the two match wits and begin to unravel a long hidden mystery, an undeniable yearning pulls West and Ria closer together.
©2004 Joanne Dobrzanski (P)2004 Recorded Books,LLC

Critic Reviews

"... another beguiling tale that beautifully combines sexy romance and dangerous intrigue." ( Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Diana
  • Washington, DC, USA
  • 10-28-08

5 stars for book; a lump of coal for narrator

This is the fourth entry in Goodman's Compass Club series in which all four stories occur in the same time period. Reading them out of order isn't really a problem, which I guess is a good thing since only two of the books are available here at Audible.
When I read this book in print I was so moved by Goodman's portrayal of the gradual thawing of West's cold and aloof heart. Apparently narrator Sterlin didn't grasp that because it was almost painful listening to a particularly intimate scene in which West confides his most painful secrets to Ria. This is the scene in which a "reader" would know that he had surrendered his heart, but sadly a "listener" would hear the same cold and aloof man we met at the beginning of the story.
I've seen enough BBC historical drama to recognize the high-toned cadence of a regency era upper crust accent and it works well enough in straight narrative here. However, Sterlin's voice for male characters sounds snide and slightly effeminate and I found it grating and wrongwrongwrong for a romantic lead. The villains are given a full Snidely Whiplash treatment and the other members of the Compass Club and romantic heroes in their own books sound fat, old, and blarbly (not a word, I know, but that's how they sound).


9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Julie
  • Canton, OH, United States
  • 03-16-10

Fabulous finish to the Compass Club series!

I loved all four of the books but this one was by far my favorite. Based on content of the first three books, I did not expect to like West as much as the other three Compass Club members, but it turns out he is by far the most admirable and one of the most attractive characters I have had the pleasure to meet. Also, the malevolence of the Bishops in this book reaches a climactic level of cruelty that serves to highlight the evil of the Society and vividly illustrates the good versus evil theme. Thoroughly enjoyable and the narrator was terrific.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Icky Rape and Torture Plot

Ugh. I stuck with the book because I wanted to know the villians would get punished.

Spoiler I Guess
The villians aren't punished. After raping and torturing probably dozens of teenage girls over the course of years (then selling them as prostitutes or turning them out to die on the streets) some of the rapists are "punished" by being locked up for a couple weeks.

Since this is fantasy written by a woman, I expected some vengeance. Maybe prison, transportation to a penal colony, death, or at least a scar or two.

I am not sure why the author created this horror plot and then decided not to give the reader any relief over the fate of the young girls who are the victims.

There is a brief discussion over the current victims. Some will "decide" to become prostitutes but others will be helped "if they want it". There is no concern over the many previous victims that were sold to brothels. They are not even a plot afterthought. Ick.

Maybe this book is meant to subtly appeal to those who are titulated by BDSM. But I want escapism not sadism. If I was intrigued by systematic sexual violence toward girls and women I can check the news out Myanmar, Indai, Iraq, Yemen, Nigeria, or even in the US. Thankfully. for the sake of my sanity, I am not intrigued.

This book is long for the romance genre. But there's not much plot to justify the length. It could have been hours shorter and would have been just as "satisfying".

The author puts words together well. The main characters end up together and declare their love after overcoming difficulties. There are boat loads of explicit sex scenes, so many that they seem like filler. So there's that.

But if you are repulsed by sexual violence as a plot device, I recommend giving a hard pass.


1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Witty, charming and dark

The heroine and hero are strong charming and delightful together. There are plenty of lol moments, but it must be said that aspects of this story are very dark and upsetting as well.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

fan of this series -

this was not as good as south, but was better than east - on par with north. the author is great at continuing the series and connecting them all - really great as you are so familiar with the characters. this is a good read - a little far fetched conclusion, but I absolutely enjoyed every minute. the reader was great as always. write more!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Marisa
  • Weirton, WV United States
  • 06-28-19

I Want More

This is my favorite Jo Goodman series and I really wish she’d revisit them and give us more Compass Club adventures. Also, I was at the end of the second book or beginning of the third when I realized the stories were not consecutive but concurrent. So interesting!

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Thoroughly unpleasant book

The book is overly long and the writing tedious, replete with irrelevant and irreverent details and descriptives, and with graphic descriptions of sex and sexual material for titillating effect. The dialog is stilted, meandering and drawn out. Neither MC is likable or relatable. I did not find the relationship between the MCs well developed. The female MC's behavior is completely out of sync with the social mores of the early 1800s - what persuaded the author to have the MCs engage in sex in her headmistress's rooms in the school, surrounded by her students? The students and other teachers seem completely accepting of the male MC staying in the female MC's rooms. Really? The sex slave trading theme perpetrated by sexual deviants is very slow to develop and not particularly interesting.

The narrator is OK, not one of my favorites. She has a nasal grandmotherly voice which I don't appreciate but her dramatization is fine.

I started with 1.25x speed and eventually jacked it up to 2x as I wanted to get through the book as quickly as possible.