To Seduce a Sinner by Elizabeth Hoyt
The book is the second book in the series, The Legend of the Four Soldiers, which follows the lives of four soldiers who had all been taken and tortured by American Indians during what I presume is now known as the French and Indian War. To Seduce a Sinner opens with Melisande Fleming proposing to Lord Vale as he sits forlornly pondering why he has once again been left at the alter. We are quickly informed that Melisande has been pining for Lord Vale from afar while he of course has barely noticed her. Melisande uses as her excuse her age, her lack of physical appeal, and her boring and tight-fisted (but not mean) relatives for her proposal and the two are quickly married. Lord Vale had been the leader of his troops and had been spared the torture his men had suffered through, but what happened during the war still haunts him and obviously leads to much angst and drama in the book.
The little details of their married life together are perfectly written, from his reactions to her admittedly annoying little terrier, Mouse, to the more complex way they deal with the nightmares from his past. Vale knows that he had been betrayed during the war and the side plot of this story is him trying to figure out who it could have been. The only people who knew where he was going to be when his troops were taken were all part of the brigade and thus suffered along with everyone else, so finding the betrayer is tough going and when s/he is eventually revealed it is an expected surprise.
I absolutely loved this book. He is just the right amount of tortured soul, but she is as well so this is a story of two people who have been hurt in the past healing each other and it is completely believable. The angst is perfect, with her being upset that he shuts her out while she is secretly in love with him, and him constantly worrying about who killed him and how to deal with his burgeoning feelings for his wife. I will also admit that I admired the fact that the dreadful war that forms the basis for the books side plot is not the Napoleonic Wars as is the case for most of these books. I just can't think of a single part of this book I didn't like.
Aspects of the book that irritated other reviewers I actually loved. The dog, Mouse, is supposedly too irritating and unlikeable while I found him cute and true to the breed. The "dirty talk" during the sex was described by one as being laughable, but I LOVED it. The book had numerous, and I do mean numerous, incredibly HOT scenes, including two that are some of my all time favorites. Another thing to love about the book because it's just such an unusual thing: our heroine is not a virgin- and no, she wasn't raped, and no it wasn't awful. The book perfectly sets up the next book in the series without being just one overwhelming set-up and I will admit To Beguile a Beast is in my amazon.com shopping cart all ready for when it is released in April.