Friday, November 20, 2009

Seduced by His Touch

Seduced by His Touch by Tracy Anne Warren

Seduced by His Touch is a very loose sequel to Tempted by His Kiss and follows the story of Cade's brother, Lord John Byron. Despite his previous luck at the card table Jack finds himself at the losing end of a 100,000 pound pot to Ezra Danvers. Danvers offers Jack a deal; marry my daughter and not only will he erase that 100,000 he'll throw in an additional 120,000. The only catch is that Grace Danvers is a 25-year old near spinster giant with red hair and a penchant for frequenting lectures on flowers. Danvers warns Jack that Grace can never know about their agreement and that Jack must make Grace fall in love with him or she won't agree to marry him. Jack immediately sets about following Grace to her favorite haunts and making himself very well known to her. Grace is startled and a bit wary when the brother of a duke starts paying so much attention to her, but is quick to recognize that Jack is not your typical nob. Their courtship takes its time and Grace falls in love with Jack as he makes her forget her insecurities about her station in life and her looks. Their first love scene takes place while Grace if just a tad bit inebriated and he asks her to marry him.

Grace spends the majority of their courtship ecstatic and extremely excited about spending the rest of her life with a man she is head-over-heels in love with, and whom she hopes is falling in love with her. Her hopes are dashed when she sneaks into Jack's room for a surprise and stumbles across his agreement with her father. Immediately she feels like a fool for ever believing that a man like Jack could ever love her and regrets having told him that she loves him. She agrees to continue with the marriage but makes him promise to buy her a house she can live in after an appropriate amount of time has passed. Jack agrees, but is fairly confident that he can change her mind. For the beginning of their marriage Grace manages to hold onto her icy facade but it isn't long before she finds herself succumbing to Jack's advances in the bedroom (and out!). When Jack acknowledges that this half of a marriage is not working for him and he wants everything he had with her beforehand again, Grace worries about placing her trust in someone who has betrayed her once before.

I really enjoyed Warren's writing style in this story. There was a lot of emotion in this story and she did a superb job of getting it all down without becoming maudlin or slow as it seems emotions in romance novels so often do. And boy are there some great emotions! Grace as a the excited bride to be was so much fun and I was so drawn into her happiness I was dreading the (inevitable) moment she would discover the truth behind Jack's courtship. But Grace as the betrayed lover/wife was just as fun as I read about her struggling to keep Jack out of her heart because she was so scared of being vulnerable and getting hurt again. My other favorite part about Grace was the way she dealt with becoming a new member of the ton: by admitting that she needed help and receiving assistance from her new husband's family. So much better than reading about her struggling and being ridiculed; there was quite enough angst in this book as it was. Jack's emotions are not quite as easy to decipher as Grace's as Warren doesn't spend quite as much time on his but what little there is (I would have liked more) was just as well written as the rest of the book.

I feel like I've read this plot before so it is far from the most original story line, but I tend not to mind as long as the author does some new things with some great new characters. Grace and Jack aren't exactly new: the gorgeous heroine who is still insecure about her looks, and the redeemable rake who made a bad call at the card table. I'm not sure what she could have added to make them a little more fresh (aside from the red hair which I do like) but they are a little too familiar. I spent the first half of the book extremely glad that this hadn't turned into a love fest between Grace and Jack's family and a refresher on how great our protagonists from "Tempted" were doing, but unfortunately about 1/2 way through his family, and our former friends, start showing up a bit too much for my taste. I am still unsure how I felt about the sex in the book as it was both plentiful and plenty steamy but I had an issue with the way that after the marriage it was seen as her "surrendering to him."

Rating: there were definitely elements of this book that I completely loved, but I would not classify it as anything particularly special or memorable. Except for the angst which was superb and very very juicy. Still- a fun and well-written read.

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