Tuesday, September 13, 2011

For the Earl's Pleasure

For the Earl's Pleasure by Anne Mallory 910 R

Abigail Smart and Valerian Rainwood, heir to the Dukedom of Pemburry, were once the closest of childhood friends but when Valerian's older brother, Thornton died, a horrible secret was revealed and the two of them became the strongest of enemies. Now Abigail' social climbing mother has hired Mrs. Browning to bring Abigail out into the ton, even though Abigail has never had a standout beau. Valerian knows he should stay away Abigail, that the two of them move in very different circles, but he cannot get her out of his mind. One night at a gaming hell he and his friend are attacked and suddenly he is a spirit and the only person who can see or hear him is Abigail- the girl who had revealed her ability to see spirit's when his brother died and whom he refused to believe. He knows that he is still alive somewhere and since Abigail is the only one he can ask for help, he refuses to leave her alone until she agrees. Abigail does not want to help the man who has made her life miserable for years, but when he continues to haunt her she is worried that he strange actions will make it clear to her mother that she is still seeing spirits.

Long ago her mother had enlisted the help of a doctor to cure Abigail of her affliction and the memories have haunted her nightmare's and she will do anything to avoid that happening again. But Valerian is not like the other spirits that Abigail has met before because he can touch her and if there is one thing that she has been missing in her life it is the touch of a human being- even her mother has stopped touching her. Valerian is trying to figure out who is behind what happened to him and occasional flashes to his body tied down give him clues as to what is going on, but he still needs a physical human to aid him. Abigail leads Valerian and her med, Telly, around the seedy parts of London and it becomes clear that not only is someone using Valerian's body for some unsavory deeds, but this person knows about Abigail's secret and is determined to do her harm as well. Together the spirit and the human will put their lives at risk to find out what is going on, but neither knows if their newfound friendship and love will be enough to put aside years of estrangement and their pasts and truly fall in love.

This book started off incredibly confusing and the character's were so mean together for a chapter with vague hints about a secret and I was very close to just putting it down. Surprisingly the story didn't start getting interesting until Valerian's spirit entered the spirit because the characters finally started acting friendly toward each other. As previously stated I am not a fan of paranormal romances and I would not have normally picked this up except the back made absolutely no mention of ghosts or spirits which drives me insane and I think is just false advertising. One of my biggest problems with the ghost plot was that it forced Valerian to spend all of his time with Abigail, and while these two had a lot to work out and talk about, I thought that making him completely dependent on her made the development of their relationship rather suspect. It did not seem like they would have gotten together if he had continued to be "alive" and they would have continued as enemies. However, many romances don't have characters spending enough time together so this one method of "solving" this problem.

Abigail's ability to see spirits aside, I really like that the pain and loneliness she suffered from because of her unusual ability, was made clear and was interwoven into Valerian's strange ability to touch and feel her as a spirit. It really made the moments when he was touching her so poignant and moving because it was two people who needed each other and it was just beautiful. Valerian came across as a bit of an ass because even with the explanation of what went wrong in their relationship (which occurred far too late) I wanted to slap him because he didn't want her and was really mean to her, but didn't want anyone else to have her either. He did undergo a change throughout the course of the novel as he came to understand what was going on with Abigail, and I did begin to like and respect him because of his love for Abigail. The sex between them was hot if nowhere near frequent enough, but maybe that's just as well because ghost sex is a little icky to me. The side plot involving what happened to Valerian was overwhelming and did take over the book, but at least it had a lot of twists and did come as a shocker.

Rating: A good book with some problems such as a ghost and an overwhelming mystery plot, but the romance and relationship were fairly well done and the book was readable.

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