Tuesday, February 24, 2009

To Seduce a Sinner by Elizabeth Hoyt ****

This is the 2nd in the Soldiers Series, Hoyt's second series (after the Prince series) - and like the Prince Series and the first in the Soldiers, it opens with a part of a fairy tale at the beginning of each chapter. This time I didn't follow the connection between the tale and the story, but that's ok because I liked the story this time.

The hero in this story is Jasper, Lord Vale, Emeline's first fiancee in book 1, and Sam's compatriot in his search for the traitor from 6 years earlier in the American Colonies. Sam and Emeline have now married and moved back to the colonies, and Lord Vale in on the threshold of marrying his second fiancee when she too leaves him at the altar. While he sits there in the church, hung over and pondering his dilemma, Melisande comes in and offers to wed him.

It seems Melisande had met Jasper years before, through Emeline, but he doesn't remember her. She, however, remembers him, since it was love at first sight for her. Well, not exactly first sight - she saw him as others did, a sort of playboy/rake/rogue, until she discovered his tender side (unbeknownst to him, she observed a private moment).

He agrees to wed her, but even after the marriage, he stays away from her as much as possible because he believes himself to be unworthy - of her, of any woman really. His PTSD from the incident in the Colonies still haunts him, enough to drive him to continue the search for the traitor. Melisande chips away at his hard shell, slowly, to get to the sensitive fellow underneath.

I liked the tone, the voice of this story better than the previous one (To Taste Temptation). Jasper's hidden insecurities made more sense, and Melisande was a more credible and likable heroine for me. Interestingly, the book blurb indicates that Melisande keeps her husband at a distance - in fact, I found it was Jasper keeping her at a distance, and her pursuing him. She did have secrets she didn't want him to learn, but he was the one who was keeping her distant, refusing to stay overnight in her bed.

So I'm going with a 4 star rating - I liked it, a lot. It's in the Serial Challenge and the Winter Challenge (book published in 2008). And Melisande has a featured dog, a Notable Pet, named Mouse (he's a rat terrier).

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