Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Ripe for Pleasure
Viola Whedon is one of the most celebrated courtesan's in London and has a reputation for being very picky with her lovers. Her fame only increased when she writes a tell-all memoir, but when she begins to write a second one, one of the featured men is quite worried that she will tell all about him. Leonidas Vaughn discovered letters written by an ancestor that hinted about a treasure hidden in the home that Viola now occupies. His cousin, Charles MacDonald, is determined to find the money no matter the cost because he has felt like an outsider in the Vaughn family his entire life. Leonidas too, wants the money, because, as a second son, he does not inherit the bulk of his families money and he needs money to keep Dryham, his horse breeding farm, afloat. He is more subtle than his cousin and the night Charles sends people in to Viola's house to ransack it, Leo is there to save her and Viola runs right into his arms. Viola believes it is her disgruntled ex-lover who is stalking her, and she agrees to be his lover in public in order for protection.
He is not her normal protector, and Leo has no intention of being just another man who buys her affection, he is convinced he can give Viola everything her former lovers can't. He claims that he will make her beg before he finally consummates their relationship and while she tries to resist him, it is not long before she does indeed beg. Their relationship is something neither of them expected to experience; they are coming to care for the other even while they do not believe their is any possibility that they can be mistress and protector, or anything more because of their stations in life. The closer they get the more Leo fears telling her why he originally wanted to meet her because he worries it will make her turn against him. But his cousin Charles has other plans and steps in before Viola can give voice to her feeling's for Leo and by then it might be too late for them to salvage what they once had together. His family will have to step up to the plate for both Leo and Viola to realize that it is more than possible that they can have a future together as long as they are willing to risk a scandal for love.
I am always a fan of books that feature a sexually active heroine, especially an unapologetic courtesan because it is such a turn away from the newly awakened virgin or the repentant and guilt ridden woman who was forced into a life of sin. Viola was amazing because she was a great courtesan, she admitted to at times enjoying the life she lead, and yet she wasn't entirely the happy fallen lady because she admits that it was a life she was forced into by circumstance. She is intelligent, she took charge of her own life, she stands up for herself, and she goes after what she wants in a forthright manner, but she is kind and cares for others. Leo is also a great character, if not as well developed as Viola, because he is a family man who looks our for his little sister, and he is willing to admit to and accept his growing feelings for Viola. I really felt like Viola and Leo worked so well together; they spent a lot of time together throughout the book and I liked that they had their arguments and handled them like adults and I liked that they seemed to just be on the same wavelength together.
There was quite a lot of sex in this book, as I expected in a book with this title and in a book about a former courtesan. It was incredibly hot and spread throughout the book and I liked that he was not intimidated or upset about her sexual past and that not a lot was made about his own sexual exploits. The plot involving the money was nicely done, simple and yet historical at the same time, and it remained an important part of the background that was essential, but did not overwhelm. It served as a nice addition to an already strong story involving their relationship. As usual I enjoyed the parts told from the point of view of the villain, Charles and he was quite an intriguing character. I was confused about the big deal made of how Leo was a second son and was a part of the "League of Second Sons." It seems like just an excuse for a new series of books, and while I have no problem with that, it just seemed odd because it was thrown in there every once in a while. I liked the writing style, the book was easy to read and fast, and did not drag on endlessly because it was on the short side- perfect for what it was.
Rating: A very enjoyable book with two great characters who had a well-developed and interesting relationship. I would definitely recommend this sexy book.