Irresistible by Karen Robards 626
When Claire Lyons, nee Banning, is kidnapped on her way to visit her husband David, who is the heir to his cousin the Duke of Richmond, she has no idea what is happening. Convinced they are going to kill her she escapes and makes for the beaches where she is captured by Hugh Battancourt, who takes her on a ship to France. Hugh has been sent by the Home Office to capture Sophy Trowbridge on the very beach he fuond Claire on. He does not believe her protestations of innocence, although there is a certain air of innocence about her that he can't entirely attribute to great acting abilities. He wants to question her but it is incredibly difficult as he can't help but be attracted to her, and similarly Claire is unable to stop from noticing how well built her captor is. The two engage in a quite entertaining little struggle to gain the upper hand, but through it all it becomes apparent that there is more to their relationship than meets the eye, which does not at all please Hugh's batman, James.
Once on French soil, Hugh is betrayed and they are forced to go into hiding. They both know this will probably be their last night together and Claire wants to experience the passion she will never find in her marriage. Back in England she tries to make the best of things, but it is tough going as she misses Hugh and the comfort and passion she felt with him. She is not expecting him to re-enter her life, and especially not as her husband's cousin, the Duke of Richmond! Now her passion for him is even more upsetting, but try as she might she can not keep her feelings a secret from him. Hugh wants to continue their relationship as well and hopes that he can convince his cousin to grant her a divorce or at least keep quiet about their affair. When he begins to search for the truth about what happened to Claire on the beach, and how she came to be there, he discovers that someone close has betrayed him. There is someone who wants both Hugh and Claire dead and they must stop this person, and find a way to thwart David, if they want to have a life together.
Married heroines are not exactly common in romance novels, but Robards definitely made Claire a heroine that everyone could sympathasize or relate to. Reading about her incredible struggles when she's being kidnapped were awe-inspiring and I knew I'd like her right off the bat. Sometimes during kidnappings I'm a little worried that feelings are inspired by Stockholm syndrome, but it was clear throughout the book that the feelings they felt for each other were real. Yes, these feelings were helped along very nicely by their immense attraction for each other, but there was obviously a layer of respect and trust that went with it. Hugh was great as well and quite the swashbuckling hero and I really liked reading about him working with Claire to save both their lives. The two made a really great team and were just so great together. The sex between these two was smoking and while I normally dislike unpleasured wife's as too much of a cliche in romances, it was done very well here and really made the sexy scenes pop.
I really enjoy Robards writing style; I will admit it is wordy, but none of it is boring or superfluous and it portrays what is going on, in the physical and inside the minds' of our protagonists very well. I loved that Claire was married throughout this book and she was struggling with her feelings of guilt for her husband and her newfound passion with Hugh. Nothing was glossed over and we got to read about the internal struggle, but it was not overdone. I do wish we had gotten more of the story told from Hugh's point of view, as their were times when it seemed like he was taking everything so lightly, and while I think he was just acting- it would have been nice to have proof. The side characters were great as well, no one was one dimensional, and everyone behaved in a manner that made sense to their circumstances. The kidnapping and murder plot was done excellently, it played an important role in bringing the characters together and was interesting, and quite mysterious for some time, but it did not overwhelm or take over the romance.
Rating: Excellent book. I really loved every moment of this book and enjoyed reading the romance and the kidnapping and murder plot.