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What made this book for me was the way in which the relationship developed between the, apparently unlikely, pairing of the lead characters - an inquisitive widow and a jaded Earl. The eroticism is enhanced because the sexual activity arises naturally from their relationship, rather than just being included at every opportunity for effect.
I was rather disappointed to find that this author has not (yet) published other stories in a similar historical setting.
Such a joy. The story pulled me in from the start. I loved how their relationship grew from sizzling sex to deep love despite the attempts of the hero to sabotage it. Would give it ten stars if I could. Utterly brilliant.
Rarely does one come across a love story that is based upon eroticism, yet never seems trashy. I found myself engrossed by the characters and immersed in their emotional battles.
Although premise is not unique -rake tutors curious widow and vice versa- the execution was masterfully done with the love story remaining forefront.
Yes, there were plenty of steamy scenes and some explicit language. What surprised me was the frequency that these scenes served a purpose beyond titillation. The stages of the relationship, character development, and impediments to the couple's HEA were illustrated through the gradual shift in language and description. I loved the gradually build up of tension and intimacy.
The reason for 4 stars instead of 5- the scene in which the hero attempts to place a permanent wedge between himself and the heroine. I believe it was meant to be shocking yet enthralling. Instead it divided my attention. I started to question whether the extreme action made the hero unpalatable.
Regardless, I will definitely look for more books from this author in the future.
James...you rotten jaded scoundrel that you are!! And herein lies the irony - the more he tries to be hard and maintain his tutor facade, the more Elizabeth breaks down his walls - the walls that were erected since childhood due to his debauched father and absentee mother. This was such a wonderful and deep love story with the added eroticism thrown in. Ms. Dean wrote this story with such depth and feelings. It was clear the more James tutored Elizabeth in the carnal ways that he himself was learning how to live again. She slowly chipped away his hardened heart and when he truly felt threatened by his need for Elizabeth, he did what he did best - run. I loved Elizabeth! What an inquisitive creature she was - wanting to know everything - so misplaced in that era since women were expected to be meek, mild and docile. Her exuberance was so infectious and of course she infected James with her attitude. Poor James! He came under Elizabeth's innocent spell. The tutor slowly became the student in learning the game of love instead of just sex.
The author's writing made me feel an array of emotions: dislike, excitement, wonderment, playfulness, giddiness, heartbreak, sadness, tears and of course in the end utter happiness! This story had it all. It had plenty of hot sex but most important, it also had a deep plot. I totally recommend it!
Well, as expected, it's very explicit. What I didn't expect was an actually good plot, fetching characters, and a good amount of wit. A very solid four stars!
On a side note: There is a passage that I didn't care for. Despite the fact that the H is a rather unlikable figure, one cannot help but grow fond of him simply because the h does. Then you've got the event that is the turning point in the story and one seriously wonders whether the H and the book are actually worth our time. We keep reading and come to a lovely HEA.
I was a bit turned off when I learned that James, the hero of this story was so debauched that he even had sex with a man but as I got more into the story, I began to realize that James was a product of his upbringing. It did placate me to an immense degree to hear him tell Elizabeth later that it was not an experience he wanted to repeat. I read straight romance and like my heroes to be interested only in women but I saw the point of why it was necessary to the background story about James. Even though that disturbed me, I still had to rate this book 5 stars as it kept me entertained, waiting anxiously for James to fall in love with the ever inquisitive Elizabeth. Elizabeth was an endearing heroine and I absolutely loved her and James reminded me of the brooding Beast in the fairytale, a wounded hero in need of love.
You never know what to expect when you first read a book from a new author, but this story had all the elements of my favorite writers...believable and interesting back stories, a lack of constant rehashing of the same information, great dialogue and steamy love scenes.