I was first turned on (pun intended) to Courtney Milan thanks to Stacey's review of Proof by Seduction. Which I also ended up loving and have been eag...moreI was first turned on (pun intended) to Courtney Milan thanks to Stacey's review of Proof by Seduction. Which I also ended up loving and have been eagerly anticipating this sequel for some time now!
I wasn't sure if Trial by Desire could live up to Proof by Seduction. Especially because in Poof by Seduction Ned was kind of a fuck-up. Sure, I liked him and felt sorry for him but I was wondering how Milan was going to turn Ned into hero material. But hero material he turned out to be!
Ned, determined to prove his self worth, has spent the last three years working in China to sort out his cousin's business issues overseas.In the process, he has transformed from the joking, bumbling screw-up to a man this in strict control of all his emotions.
During his absence, his wife Kate has spend her time shopping and gossiping, or so she's lead all of society to believe. When, in fact, she has been fighting off a number of would be 'suitors' vying to win the attentions of the woman abandoned by her husband. In additon,Kate has been taking on monumental tasks like hiding her best friend from her abusive husband, hardly the acts of the oblivious socialite she's accused of being. And, in a time, when women were still considered property, helping her friend could put Kate in a great deal of danger.
When Ned and Kate reunite a battle of wits and seduction ensues.However, Kate is still hurt by Ned's abandonment and Ned is determined not to let his emotional guard down, especially where his wife is concerned. She is the one person who could unravel it all.
I have to say I think the book's description is a bit misleading. It says that "Ned is determined to regain his wife’s trust by using unbridled seduction." However, Kate is the one that is pushing for both physical and emotional intimacy but Ned is afraid of losing his grip on his hard won control.
I love how Milan manages to balance a slew of intense topics: abuse, betrayal, and depression with romance without having it feel like some historical soap opera. Instead she weaves a tale of strength, redemption, forgiveness, and love. Courtney Milan is fast becoming one of my favorite authors.
If you haven't already, I'd highly recommend reading Proof by Seduction before picking up Trial by Desire, but it's not necessary to read them in order. Trial by Desire is out now, what are you waiting for?! Go get it!(less)
I really enjoyed this book! It was smart, funny, and sexy. The characters were flawed but endearing. And I kept picturing Gareth as our lovely Mr. Thornton from North & South. Sigh. Definitely pick this one up folks! (less)
Broken Wing by Judith James was one of my favorite reads in 2010. When I saw Libertine’s Kiss on Netgalley I was ecstatic! Broken Wing was an intense,...moreBroken Wing by Judith James was one of my favorite reads in 2010. When I saw Libertine’s Kiss on Netgalley I was ecstatic! Broken Wing was an intense, emotional read and I was eager to try something else by Ms. James. While Libertine’s Kiss is not quite up to Broken Wing’s intensity, it still tackles serious subjects and delivers a satisfyingly sensual tale.
William and Elizabeth shared a brief but intense friendship as youngsters before William was shipped off to school, promising to return. Years later, after seemingly breaking that promise, William, now a highway robber, traitor to Cromwell’s England, and right hand man of Charles Stuart the rightful owner of the crown, shows up wounded and in need of assistance on Elizabeth’s doorstep.
Elizabeth, now widowed from an abusive husband, recognizes her childhood friend immediately; welcoming him into her home and attending to his wounds. William, wounded but not so much that he overlooks this Puritan woman’s allure. The two spend a passion filled night together before William moves on. William is unaware that the Puritan woman who offered him her assistance, her home, and her body was his friend from long ago.
It comes to Cromwell’s men’s attention that Elizabeth has aided William, a traitor to the crown, and she is stripped of her lands. Once Charles Stuart is restored to the crown Elizabeth goes to court in hopes that her goodwill towards William, one of Stuart’s closest confidants, will earn her some of her property back. There William and Elizabeth cross paths and William realized that his one night affair with the Puritan woman was, in fact, Elizabeth. William insists on helping Elizabeth win the favor of Charles Stuart in the hopes of regaining her lands.
Passion ensues but I don’t want to give everything away. What I can say is that I really enjoyed this book. William is such a scoundrel, but you can’t help but love him. He’s nothing but honest with Elizabeth about his libertine ways and that he has no intentions of settling down. Elizabeth, in love with William since childhood, takes him anyway she can get him. Like Gabe in Broken Wing, William is a tortured soul. He is the way he is because of events in his past and Elizabeth is the only person he’s ever truly opened up to. The only person able to help him save himself.
I was also intrigued by the afterward where James explains that she based much of William de Veres on he very real historical figure of John Wilmont, Earl of Rochester. Even incorporating Wilmont’s actual poetry!
Libertine’s Kiss combines two of my favorite elements in a romance: a tortured hero and the friends-to-lovers plot line. Judith James, along with Courtney Milan, write some of my favorite historicals: intense, intelligent, intoxicating, and romantic. Libertine’s Kiss is not to be missed by fans of historical romance! (less)
This book first appeared on my radar way back when Kristie(j) posted her review then her subsequent quest to get EVERYONE to read it, much like her No...moreThis book first appeared on my radar way back when Kristie(j) posted her review then her subsequent quest to get EVERYONE to read it, much like her North & South crusade! I don't know why I didn't read this sooner. Kristie hasn't steered me wrong yet between Ride the Fire, North & South, and the Joss Ware Envy series; I should know by now to read everything Kristie tells me!
I don't know that there's a lot for me to add with all of the amazing reviews of Broken Wing but if you're a girl who loves a tortured hero, they don't make 'em much more tortured than Gabriel St. Croix.
This is one seriously damaged soul, so drawn into himself, having experienced nothing at all of love, he can't imagine anyone expressing any kindness towards him. His perceptions of people's actions and intentions toward him are so skewed, your heart just breaks for him. Especially when Sarah says or acts out of complete kindness or generosity and he immediately assumes the worst and often lashes out unnecessarily.
You might think, as a reader, that this would grate on your nerves however, I think it's an accurate representation of the psychological and emotional damage that people who suffer the kind of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse that Gabe endured.
While Gabriel has serious issues and the book deals with some disturbing content, I think James does an excellent job of giving the reader just enough information regarding Gabe's past without crossing a line into gratuitous descriptions of his abuse.
Sarah is an excellent heroine, almost too perfect in my opinion though. She's so forgiving and understanding and always manages to react to Gabe's outbursts with the perfect amount of patience and sympathy. She's exactly the type of woman Gabriel needs, however she just seems so perfect it would have been nice if she had some flaws!
This is definitely a hero centric story, there is a large chunk of the story where Gabriel and Sarah are separated but if you're like me and enjoy a good tortured hero, no doubt you'll fall in love with Gabriel! You HAVE to pick up Broken Wing. I love it!