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Master of Seduction by Kinley MacGregor

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Master of Seduction
Sea Wolves #1

Kinley MacGregor
Historical Romance
Published in 2000

H/h - Pirate Black Jack Rhys/Lorelei Dupree
Setting: Charleston, South Carolina/in the High Seas 1780.

Read in May, 2011.
My rating:

                                                                      [spoiler alert]

Well well well, I like this book. I did have some empty moments in the beginning regarding the heroine and her activities but now, it's beginning to look like a fun ride!

The story begins with a journal entry from some lady mentioning the name of pirate captain Black Jack Rhys, who is the terror of high seas. I don't know if that woman was kidnapped or went willingly but in her entry, she mentions she'd really like to keep that "spectacular specimen of manliness" as her own (after reading the book, I'd too!) but she had to be happy with only one night with him. In the entry, she also says that Jack Rhys is the best of lovers but no woman shall ever have him/his heart.

Enter Lorelei, a smart, fun loving girl ...

The year is 1780, The Colonies. Lorelei is her father's only girl, just got engaged to her longtime crush Justin, who's a British army officer. I liked her vivacity, even though her comparison of males with dogs sounded absurd, I found it funny. She's a brunette, not classically beautiful but attractive nonetheless. In her engagement party, she met Count Arnauf and is immediately attracted to him. They dance and make nice conversations but it turned into a bit of a heated word exchange after the count started making negative remarks on Justin. He leaves soon after. Gotta mention, I was a bit irritated at her vacillation, seemed like she'd only got engaged to Justin because he didn't really look at her that way and she took it as a challenge to make herself known. I don't know how she managed it but the feat was done, now she thinks they're in love with each-other. It's also mentioned that Justin has roving eyes. But, Lorelei thinks there is no man on earth she can't wrap around her little fingers. Hmm, well, good luck with that!

Then, I had no idea why Justin took her to that inn since his men were searching for the pirate captain and it's dangerous for sure! All these made me think these two doesn't actually care much for each-other, at least not Justin. There the count appears, this time in a very casual dress-up and saves Lorelei from a lech who taking her as a tavern wench, was about to rape her. Wait a minute, did I mention she was disguised as one to bring information for Justin, who was waiting in that same tavern? Anyway, she recognized the count immediately but he denies knowing her. Lorelei knows he's lying and then it poped in her brain! It's the pirate captain they're searching for! A bit too sure of herself, if I might say and she was, which leads to a little scene as she and Justin debate on whether or not it was Black Jack. It's then, Jack decides to abduct her and in the process, got shot in his arm by Justin.

Jack wants vengeance. I still don't what it is that Justin's family have done to him but it's bad and he hates them with all his being. But, overall he's not as bloodthirsty as he's portrayed everywhere. The women are crazy about him. He knows it, just as he knows he's too good looking to pass. Jack is tall, muscular, has long blonde hair with steely gray eyes. He uses his charms to it's fullest when it's necessary. I should've found it damned irritating and the journal entry should've pissed me off but amazingly it didn't. I like Jack; he's confident, smart. He's honest and soft as eggshells inside, even though he doesn't show it. You know, something to do with manliness and stuffs! :p Nevertheless, the more I got to know about him, the more I thought he's full of fun and caring. Although, abducting Lorelei was a part of that vengeance, he's also attracted to her. I also like Lorelei because she wouldn't give in so easily to his 'dubious charms', as she herself phrases it. She's full of spunk and gives it back word-for-word, no less! Soon, they start exchanging banters which I was enjoying immensely. Once, Jack makes her confuse Justin's name with something else and man, that was so unexpected and funny! And all the time, he's thinking of how soon he can show her his ...*cough*banana*cough* ........ no comments here! :p The scene and incidents that lead to that innuendo were really fine. Lorelei confesses to him that she wants to be an artist and Jack obliges her with painting tools. He also kinda forces her to make him the subject matter, after knowing she mostly paints fruits! Man, I loooove their banters and a few innuendos Jack makes in those because most of the times, he's pretty straightforward about wanting Lorelei in his bed.

Lorelei soon finds out Jack isn't what he makes others believe. He's well learned, can quote Shakespeare just as herself. He has a 11yrs old son Kit, who, it was later revealed is basically a charity case. But, he treats the boy as his own, gave him his name. He even built and curved Kit a wardrobe himself, so sweet! Unless Jack told her the secret himself, Lorelei wouldn't have guessed the truth because nobody else knows about Kit's past. Also, Jack lets some of the sailors' wives stay with them and treat them all cordially. Then there was this journal entry (not the one I mentioned above, this was Jack's own), in which Lorelei finds out some stuffs about him. All these incidents soon makes her soften up towards him. But there is one problem, Jack doesn't believe in love. He never stays with a woman long enough for her to fall in love with him, not to mention he never fell for anyone in his life. He's the son of a prostitute who worked in some Caribbean bordello. This is a truth he's brutally honest with. He tells Lorelei all that and more. Soon they find themselves not only attracted to each-other but in a very warm and genuine companionship. What started out as a competition; a challenge for Jack to seduce her and for Lorelei, fight him somehow, then to make him fall in love with her, turns into something intense and deep. Now, Jack is trying hard to keep his hands off her (the kisses were blazing!), while Lorelei is scared that, in the act of making him fall for her, she might do the opposite and find herself madly in love with him.

Lorelei knows better because her grandma also fell in the spell of a pirate in her days and bore him a daughter, Lorelei's mother. But, he either never married her or got killed before marrying her (not sure) but all her life, Lorelei's grandma suffered for it and always cautioned her to never trust a man who excites her, settle always for the safer ones. Always be wary of pirates, specially if he's called Jack. You can guess, her grandfather's name was Jack as well. I found this part quite intriguing. It seems Lorelei's grandma Anne was the one who truly cared for her. She's the one who encouraged Lorelei's dream to become an artist, taught her how to wield a sword. And, it was also she who gave Lorelei advices on men. Lorelei's always remembering those as she continues her communication with Jack. And, Jack is confused with the kind of emotions she inspires in him because he doesn't know what to do with it.

PS: Still don't know Lorelei's eye color. I usually don't like it when one of the characters who's engaged, is being intimate with someone else, even if it's the h/h. Here, I don't really find it that bad since Jack is much more fun and Justin wouldn't be a competition for him anyway.

I know it sounds funny but I'm now confused about Lorelei's hair color! It was 'hair as dark and rich as mahogany with golden streaks laced through' in the first chapter, then it was red, now it's auburn! I know mahogany isn't auburn ... ermm, well ... Never mind, it doesn't matter since never got to know her eye-color throughout the story. I'm saying all these because it's important for me that I imagine the characters well. Here, Jack was much much more vividly described (there is a particularly yummy as he was sleeping scene ... *fans herself*) than Lorelei so I'm kinda confused.

Anyway, what's most important here is, this is my first Kinley MacGregor aka Sherrilyn Kenyon book. And, I really enjoyed it. Didn't matter that in the end she tried to smooth things out all over, making villains look good ... I mean, I had my guesses to what Jack's relationship with Justin's father was and it was correct. The back story of how he came to be what he is today was really heartbreaking and what that man did to him and his mother is totally unforgivable. Justin's father, Major Willingford is a shallow, coward of a man and didn't deserve Jack's forgiveness. But, that's only me talking because I really loved Jack and would kick anyone who dares to hurt him! I would've loved more character explorations on him; I was so interested that in the end, it felt like I'm only seeing the charming part of him and not the strong, bold man who lead a pirate gang to enormous success. Oh, there were glimpses here and there but I wasn't satisfied entirely.

His relationship with Lorelei I enjoyed tremendously! When they were together- bantering, sharing their life stories, making love, I can just feel that they belong to one another. The fact that Jack used to be a ... er, rake didn't matter to me, which was amazing! Ms. Kenyon convinced me well that Jack didn't want that kind of a life but had no other choice, for life gave him none. It was just too hard for him to believe that some decent girl like Lorelei would ever love him unconditionally because his experiences with women so far were only give and take stuff in bed; nothing more, nothing less. He even explains Lorelei in one scene that he's always been careful about his partners (I'm not sure what kind but guessing widows and stuffs) as he knew from being brought up in a brothel that otherwise, he'd contract foul diseases. For some reasons I didn't find it yuky! lolz Jack is just this way, a man born a charmer but not an empty-headed, lazy a$$ manwhore, whose pastime is screwing women around. Now, as I mentioned before, Lorelei did confuse me time and again, mostly when she wasn't with Jack. I had empty moments with her when she was thinking of Justin and her feelings for him. Later when she and Jusin reunited, I did want to scream- how can you say you love both men? Yah, she implied she loved them both! Seriously??? :/

The other things in the book I enjoyed was the secondary characters including some of the crew members, their wives and their interactions together. Also, Jack's affections for his adoptive son Kit. I liked reading about Lorelei's grandma Anne's story. As far as I can understand she was quite notorious for her life with a pirate and bearing him an illegitimate child.

And, Jack did believe in love; only what it's done to his mother and put them both through made him deny it for the most of his life. But, Lorelei took the challange and changed it. I did feel their last misunderstanding was unnecessary but then again, the way Jack proposed to her afterwards was ... ermm, very poetic. Oh, I do like Jack verry much; a poem/Shakespeare quoting Pirate, who's as handsome as sin and as generous and kind! Last scene between the two were as usual funny and so heartwarming ... I really hoped for more of him ... Ah well, now I'm very very eager to read the next book of the series! A solid 4 stars but don't let it fool you! It's a good book, I would've give it a 4+ rating if it met all my expectations. :)

Oh I agree Lorelei, Jack has become my favorite fruit too! :p


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