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Pursuit of physical pleasure is both his preferred pastime and his most pressing urge, until he encounters the fascination of a woman who won't be swayed. And while his dark seduction appalls the pure and impoverished Elinor Harriman, she finds herself intrigued...and secretly drawn to the man behind the desire.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2010-06-21
- Reviewer: Staff
Stuart (Fire and Ice) launches a trilogy with this dark, intense, and sometimes unsettling historical romance. In 1760s Paris, penniless British noblewoman Elinor Harriman is struggling to support her family when her ill mother runs away to an orgy held by Viscount Rohan, a mysterious libertine known as the King of Hell. This sets in motion a chain of events that draws Elinor and Rohan into a fierce contest of wills and desires. Stuart's writing is crisp and quick, and her characters are finely and memorably drawn, but Rohan's often violent and predatory treatment of Elinor goes well beyond what most readers will find acceptable in an ostensible hero, especially given Elinor's traumatic childhood. Notions of the reformatory power of love fall flat against these grim scenes, which uncomfortably detract from an otherwise enjoyable and powerful story. (Aug.)
From the ocean's depths
You have the A/C on anyway, right? So why not turn up your internal heat with August-appropriate love stories.
A most unusual heroine stars in Christine Feehan’s captivating Water Bound. Sea urchin diver Rikki Sitmore is aware she’s different from most people—she doesn’t like to be touched and can’t abide disturbances to her routine, for example—but she has coping mechanisms that include a great affinity for water. On a dive trip, a freak wave throws her into the ocean’s depths, where she encounters a drowning man. Rikki manages to bring the injured stranger to the surface, and from there into her life. Hurt, and with a hampered memory, Lev Prakenskii is forced to rely on the kindness of the eccentric but beautiful woman who saved him. At first he believes he’ll only bring her danger, but then he discovers that danger already stalks Rikki. As he falls in love with her, he learns to accept her oddities as well as her strange powers. After all, Lev has some unusual talents himself that he must use to keep the woman he wants safe. Steaming with sexual tension and bubbling with danger, this imaginative tale will thrill lovers of paranormal romance.
Dee Davis offers an action-packed whodunit in Desperate Deeds. A-Tac, the black-ops CIA unit with members who are experts in both academia and espionage, is back battling terrorism. Tyler Hanson, teacher of literature and the team’s go-to person for munitions, has been tasked with transferring technically advanced detonators to the British. When the operation goes awry, Tyler finds sympathy and passion with the man she’s met as her British counterpart—Owen Wakefield. The next day she’s dismayed to discover her one-night stand has now joined A-Tac to determine what went wrong with her mission. Though she guesses that Owen suspects her as the leak in the team, they work together while trying to ignore their inconvenient attraction. More deaths come between them and the truth, and as the countdown to a nuclear explosion begins, Tyler and Owen race to save the day. A thrilling rollercoaster ride of romantic suspense.
Nobody writes a dark hero more deliciously than Anne Stuart, and Francis, Viscount Rohan, in Ruthless is as decadent as the best dark chocolate. Francis encounters a delightful foil in Elinor Harriman, she of the unfortunate “Harriman Nose,” who will do whatever is necessary to save her destitute family. In 1795 Paris, after her mother absconds with the last of the household’s coins, Elinor’s determination takes her straight to Francis, known as the “King of Hell.” Francis finds himself charmed by Elinor and imagines it’s her innocence that fascinates him. But Elinor is more complex than Francis guesses—and her past gives her a unique resistance to his famed seductive appeal. They strike a bargain for her to spend six weeks in his house, and while Elinor wonders if her heart will survive, there are other dangers lurking as well. An irresistible, sexy story, Ruthless is another winner from Stuart.