Victoria, Countess of Pembroke, knew her marriage wasn’t a love match, but she certainly hadn’t expected to be wedded, bedded and abandoned in the countryside. When her husband suddenly returns bent on seduction, she’s suspicious of his motives, even though she finds it difficult indeed to resist his knowing hands and hot kisses.
Pembroke can’t allow Victoria to discover the real reason for his reappearance in her life. To get what he wants, he’ll do anything, even if it means bedding the wife he never wanted.
But what begins as a tedious task turns into a raging passion neither of them can deny. As the truth unravels at last, they must choose between forgetting the past or allowing it to consume them.
Reviewed By: J9
In a Nutshell: Enjoyable historical romance with plenty of eroticism and a touch of emotional development that while simplistic was still intimate.
The Set Up: American Victoria knew Pembroke married her for her dowry and this was confirmed when he consummated their marriage and left for five months. But now Pembroke has returned and seduces her for selfish motives until his feelings for his unwanted wife intrude.
Why I Read this Book: I love erotic historicals as they’re my first romance loves and I return to them every so often.
What I Liked: My favorite part of this romance is Pembroke’s emotional capitulation to Victoria. Yes, it happened inexplicably but once his emotions got involved he jumped into their relationship with his barriers down. I loved this vulnerability even if I felt like readers were told of his love instead of shown. Still, Pembroke’s rake persona tumbles as he loses himself in his love for Victoria and this made the book enjoyable for me.
What I Also Liked: This is a character-based romance so the characters have to be likable which I think they were. I worried Victoria may be a doormat of the I-can’t-resist-his-deep-dicking variety but she actually stood up for herself when it mattered and I liked that about her character. Pembroke isn’t very likable for the first third of the novel but his redemption is well written and surprisingly emotional. The eroticism was balanced with the tentative emotional development and I enjoyed the entire romance package, especially Pembroke’s big speech at novel’s end.
What I Didn’t Like: As I mentioned, I think Pembroke’s love for Victoria was told, not shown. He suddenly finds her irresistible and captivating and duh, in love. This was a simple formula that is familiar in romance but it also means it’s nothing special.
The plot is also nothing romance readers haven’t read a million times. An old potential paramour makes a sudden appearance in Pembroke’s bedroom and what you expect ensues. Of course, Pembroke’s original motives are revealed as expected and what you expect ensues. Still, I may have found a tad bit of comfort in knowing how all this would end the moment it started.
IMO: I enjoyed this romance that hit all the historical expectations but with good eroticism and emotional development.