Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Wicked in Your Arms
Grier Hadley is the bastard daughter of the very rich Jack Hadley, and after years of neglect Jack decides that his illegitimate daughters are the way into polite society. He launches them with the help of the Dowager Duchess of Bolingbroke, whose titled family is completely broke, and hopes that one of the very wealthy, if not completely acceptable girls, will marry her younger son. But Grier and her sister Cleo are not welcomed with open arms and people talk about them and their father openly. But when Grier overhears Sevastian, the future King of Maldonia, completely dismiss her as a possibility for a wife she sees red and causes a scene. Sevastian knows his duty is to find a respectable and very wealthy to bring back to his kingdom, which is nearly bankrupt after a ten year long war that claimed that lives of most of Sevastian's family. He cannot get the completely inappropriate, the boisterous, the beautiful Grier out of his head even while he is trying to go about his duty of finding a wife, with the help of his cousin, Malcolm, whose family was banished from Maldonia years ago.
A house party throws them together in close proximity and both hope to continue their search for a spouse, even while they cannot seem to avoid thinking about the other. Grier finds Sevastian attraction, but she regards him as spoiled and selfish, just like all the other members of the ton who look down their noses at her. But as she gets to know him she realizes that he is just as much at the whim of his family as she is; her father is forcing her to marry a member of the ton and his family needs him to marry someone respectable. Horseback rides in the morning, midnight escapades on the balcony, and an eye opening encounter where she discovers that Sevastian looks out for those beneath him socially, and Grier cannot deny her feelings. Sevastian admires her spirit, her love of the outdoors and physical pursuits, and her confidence in the face of those who look down on her. But because of their standings and their past there are those who don't believe that they belong together and together they must defy the odds and convince themselves, and others, that they are perfect together.
I am typically not interested in romances featuring princes from made up countries, making him pennliess and in desperate need of a titled wife to bring respect back to his kingdom, made it more interesting to read about. Sevastian was proud and arrogant and yet it was also clear that he had a huge heart and cared about others, even if there were times where I felt the author was just trying to force his "goodness" down our throat. I loved how he completely disregarded Grier because he did want to follow through on his commitments and that he was really almost unapologetic about what he was looking for. It made his eventual change to loving Grier that much more sweet and it was really nice to read about him letting go of some of his prejudices and being confident enough in himself and his place to marry Grier. Grier was also a really fun character because she wanted to be loved and accepted so much for who she was and I loved that she recognized that she deserved all of that. She stood up for herself when Sev was rude and more than held her own, but she also was comfortable enough to admit her feelings when they changed.
There was a lot going against Grier and Sevastian because of their status in society and I think Jordan did a really good job explaining why they were moving in the same circles. Their pasts influenced who they were and how they went about falling in love with each other and there was some really well developed back story given for both of them. Their relationship progressed wonderfully; they spent a lot of time really getting to know each other and they fell in love with the other person completely. The sex was lukewarm but there was a decent amount of it grouped towards the end because they were tring so hard to fight the attraction they felt for each other. Their was also a little surprise twist that happened at the end so I don't really want to go into too much detail, but it was really well integrated into the story and made enough sense that I understood where it was coming from even while I wasn't expecting it. This book is part of a series so there were, of course, references to previous books in the series that were not overwhelming, and some really nice lead ins for the next book in the series.
Rating: Two really well done characters whose relationship progressed in such an enjoyable way and the book was certainly a very fast read.