To Seduce a Sinner
by Elizabeth Hoyt
Hoyt has won me back! I seem to run hot and cold with Hoyt's novels. I bow to her splendid voice and humorous writing, but I haven't liked all of her books. I haven't wanted to miss one - but I haven't enjoyed them all either. Luckily, To Seduce a Sinner falls firmly into the "love it!" category and has me once again awaiting the next book in the "Four Soldiers" series.
Jasper, Lord Vale, has been stood up at the alter - again. First by his long-time friend, and now by a somewhat common, yet beautiful, young miss. Jasper is starting to think there might be something wrong with him and that he may never do his duty and wed to keep up the family line. Enter Melisande Fleming, a woman who has secretly loved Jasper for years. Seeing a second woman leave Jasper, she decides to ask him to marry her. Jasper, flattered and a bit baffled, but totally intrigued, agrees. In fact, he agrees on the terms that this will NOT be a marriage of convenience. That he wants to be married fully, with all the rights of a married man and wife. Melisande agrees, but is a little scared. You see, she has loved and lost and although she knows she wants Jasper - but she doesn't want to let him any further into her heart.
What a relief it is to read a romance novel where the woman is lusting after the man! Melisande isn't a blushing virgin. She's a woman who knows what she wants, and she wants Jasper so much it hurts. On the other hand, Jasper is baffled by his new wife. He doesn't know how to handle virgins, and he's intrigued by how mysterious Melisande seems. Unlike most women, she doesn't have fits of hysterics. She doesn't manipulate and coddle. She seems remote and at times cold. And yet...he knows passion burns within. He knows there's a mystery to be told.
The pace was a slow, and honestly, I didn't care at all for the Spinners Falls plot. I just don't care who, if anyone, had them all tortured and killed. At times I was mad that it was pulling Jasper away from the romance since the author still hasn't figured out that a mystery element like this one needs to help bring the hero and heroine together rather than run parallel to it. Oh, and the annoying dog "Mouse" did nothing for the story and seemed very thrown in.
All that being said, unlike the first book in the series, our hero and heroine's relationship leaps of the page. The progression of a marriage of two strangers into a passionate and loving marriage was very real. I adored how Jasper didn't know what to do with his new "wife" and therefore is a bit of a nodcock at first. Melisande ,on the other hand, knows just what she wants, but can't seem to get Jasper to live up to her expectations! Watching the two try and sort each other out while uncovering their true selves was wonderful.
Hoyt's atypical humor runs through the entire novel. I laughed out loud a few times, and found myself reading passages to whoever was there to listen. The sex was well done, and although it didn't really do much for me I enjoyed watching the two discover one another through it.
Bottom Line: Now is not the time to give up on Hoyt and her "Four Soldiers" series...it's just getting good!
“The second book in this Georgian set Four Soldier's Series has won me over, and it will do the same to you...”
November 2008, 400 pages
For years, Melisande Fleming has loved Lord Vale from afar . . . watching him seduce a succession of lovers, and once, catching a glimpse of heartbreaking depths beneath his roguish veneer. When he's jilted on his wedding day, she boldly offers to be his. Vale gladly weds Melisande, if only to produce an heir. But he's pleasantly surprised: A shy and proper Lady by day, she's a wanton at night, giving him her body - though not her heart.
Determined to learn her secrets, this sinner starts to woo his seductive new wife - while hiding the nightmares from his soldiering days in the Colonies that still haunt him. Yet when a deadly betrayal from the past threatens to tear them apart, Lord Vale must bare his soul to the woman he married...or risk losing her forever.