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Improper Relations by Juliana Ross
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Apr 09, 12

bookshelves: bad-boy, historical-romance, hot-and-bothered, novella
Read from March 26 to April 09, 2012

This ARC was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Publish date: April 23rd, 2012 Fiction – Adult: Other: Erotica
Carina Press

Hanna is employed as a lady’s companion to her late husband’s aunt. Allowed to eat with the family only if no other guests are invited, she lives a dull existence. Unexpectedly cousin Leo steps into it and offers to teach her in the art of giving and taking pleasure. He’s the black sheep, his mother and older brother looking down on him. It’s worse than just being ignored. Can physical attraction morph into something of the forever kind for Leo and Hannah? Both deserve happiness like no other.

I’m a readaholic! Of course I could relate to the heroine’s love of time spent in a library while reading this novella. It was my first first-person narrative erotica historical. A good thing, for Hannah’s innocence enriched her voice with wondrous delight. Because of her lack of knowledge she had trouble processing what she saw, thus describing everything in a neutral manner. Leo, teach her how it’s done already!!!

Lord Alfred Frederick Leopold “Leo” Wraxhall – second son of the Marques of Dorchester – wasn’t held in high regard. I’m an only child; I could imagine how hard it was for him to live in his older brother’s shadow all the same.

When creating a character it’s important to not only focus on the chemistry between that person and the intended significant other, but also on the person’s social standing. Historicals always entail a hierarchy of some sort. In this case, Leo’s actions could be attributed to his role in the family as a no-good slackard.

Naturally, I wanted to hug him; comfort him. And maybe…jump his bones. Not necessarily in that order. A dimple on his cheek! He often smiled. Ohhhhhh! Dimples are freakin’ sexaaaaay. I loved that Leo wasn’t bitter or resentful. No one could’ve blamed him for it. His commanding voice gave me shivers. The five-year age difference between Hannah and Leo; that alone put me in “the mood” – I lit up like dynamite.

Hannah had a twisted sense of self-worth. Plausible nonetheless, for she was considered poor relations. I liked her personality. Leo’s “despicable actions” – I tried hard to put a lid on my laughter. You’d never think her to go against what she’d been taught. I was excited for Leo to ruffle her feathers. She, I kid you not, had never before in her almost thirty years felt lust. That’s the beauty of historical romance. I wasn’t put off by her innocence, and could enjoy the steamy parts. Explicit, hot,…

The heroine’s speech is so adorably stuffy. Prim and proper, yet…let’s just say curiosity killed the cat. Meeeow! She wasn’t successful in keeping her many questions to herself. Thank the lord (pun intended) for making her spill her guts (and other body parts such as her bosom).

I wasn’t able to figure out what exactly Leo’s deal was. Did he get something out of it physical pleasure aside? Yay! At least he convinced me of his feelings with what he said at the end. Also, why did Hannah trust him so completely? The risk of a scandal wasn’t small.
Furthermore, I would’ve gladly done without a certain word used to refer to Hannah’s lady parts. I never wanted to hear it again (or so I thought). Weirdly enough, it grew on me. Are you laughing at me?! :-)

Don’t expect this novella to be anything else than a hot little number. It’s supposed to be exactly that – sexy, short, not a lot of depth. I will fondly remember the time spent with Hannah and Leo. 4 stars to Improper Relations by Juliana Ross.

Beware of Spoilers!

A few of my favorite quotes for those of you who are interested:
° “…his gaze always seemed to slide past me, as if I were a mere shadow. Or a nonentity, which in truth I was.”
° “It was the most fascinating, appalling, thrilling act I had ever witnessed. And it was making me quite unwell.”
° “Please don’t use that word. It is most improper. – Fucking? Hannah, everything about this conversation is improper.”

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