>> Sunday, April 04, 2010
TITLE: One Week As Lovers
AUTHOR: Victoria Dahl
SETTING: Early 19th century England
TYPE: Straight romance
SERIES: Comes after To Tempt a Scotsman and A Rake's Guide to Pleasure, but stands alone quite well.
REASON FOR READING: Found it in my local library.
Some Pleasures, Once Tasted...Nicholas, Viscount Lancaster, needs to marry for money. The family fortunes are in decline and his family don't understand the concept of making economies, so he must trade his title in. He's got it all sorted out, with a rich fiancee he finds inoffensive enough. However, it seems like the fiancee isn't as happy to be sold for a title, and makes that very clear to Nicholas.
Even after finding his betrothed in the arms of another man, Nicholas, the Viscount Lancaster, knows he must wed. Propriety and the dire state of his finances decrees it. At least a visit to his country estate provides relief from playing the role of loving fiance, as well as a surprising encounter with Cynthia Merrithorpe. Once his childhood companion, Cynthia has grown into a lovely, alluring woman one who's undertaken a daring ruse to avoid being sold into a miserable marriage.
Are Too Delicious To Forget...
When Nicholas left for London to assume his new title, Cynthia was forced to put aside her girlish infatuation. Now he's returned, more wickedly attractive than ever. And this time, Cynthia is determined to experience the pleasure she's dreamed of for so long. But with a man like Nicholas, seduction is only the beginning of a sensual journey that will tempt them both to defy convention, and uncover the very heart of desire...
This doesn't really change anything, but when Nicholas receives news from the village near the property where he spent his childhood that and old friend has died, he decides to go back to convey his condolences, and at the same time, take some time away from town to come to terms with what he must do.
But it turns out that the old childhood friend, Cynthia Merrithorpe, isn't dead after all. Her family's fortunes are just as depressed as Nicholas', and her stepfather has decided to marry her off to a rich man. But the prospective groom isn't only rich, he's old, vile and has a horrendous reputation for being cruel and abusive, so Cynthia takes matters into her own hands and fakes her own suicide.
She's got a cunning plan, though. She has found a dead relative's old diary which gives a clue to the location of a treasure, so she'll hide in Nick's house (the master's away, after all, and the housekeeper has agreed to help) and search the cliffs around the area until she finds it. She'll then use the money to go to relatives in America. Plan B? Who needs plan B when they've got a treasure map!
This was a fast, easy read, with likeable enough characters, but it felt like the book couldn't make up its mind about what it wanted to be. A treasure hunting farce? A d/s-light erotic romance? Snarky, modern heroine fighting for her rights? Tortured hero coming to terms with his traumatic past? Hero having to choose between happiness and duty to his family? Some of those elements didn't go too well with the others, and it was all a bit disconcerting. It was hard to be in the right mood for the more serious things that happened when I'd just been laughing.
MY GRADE: A C+.