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To Seduce A Sinner by Elizabeth Hoyt

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

To Seduce A Sinner
Legend of the Four Soldiers #2

Elizabeth Hoyt
Historical Romance
Published in 2008

H/h - Jasper Renshaw, Viscount Vale/Melisande Fleming
Setting: London, 1765.

Read in April, 2011.

My rating: 4 out of 5

                                                                   [spoiler alert]

Slow, for my choice. Though the repartee between Vale and Melisande are enjoyable, they aren't just grabbing me the way I hoped for. Actually, the books isn't at all going the way I expected to it to, a lot of things are annoying me.

I didn't like Vale in To Taste Temptation, and I still don't like him in his own book. He seems clumsy, boorish (as he was in To Taste Temptation) and not to mention frivolous. The consummation scene is a prominent example of his boorishness. My mouth was agape, literally, I couldn't really grab what happened, just like Melisande. It was very short and he didn't even realize that she wasn't a virgin and he's supposed to be one of the most accomplished lovers of London! For me? Bleh! Now, as the blurb tells you, Vale has just been ditched by his 2nd fiancee in 6 months when Melisande stepped in and offered marriage. He, of course, never looked at her all these years, never knew she existed. If you read Melisande's musings about him, how it was between them when they were in social gatherings, you'd really feel for her. So, after the offer, Vale thought WTF (lolz) and agreed. He just needs an heir after all, doesn't matter how his wife is. In fact, he chose his second fiancee because he was actually lusting after her .. ermm, assets, large as they were (my god, I'm speechless!) ... So, it didn't matter anymore whom he married.

Melisande, on the other hand, been in love with him for years, 6 to be exact. She'd always been introvert but the the woman underneath is full of passion, can love unconditionally. Her first love took her virginity and left her. She was devastated, thought couldn't go on. After that debacle, she thought she'll never go through this ever again. Enter Vale, just came back from the Colony. And, she fell hard. She observed him for years, knowing he'll never know she exists, seeing him taking many lovers- all beautiful and easy women, pining and yearning, knowing it'll never be. She saw him getting engaged twice and being ditched, then after that 2nd one, she thought she'd just have to take matters in hand and did just that. But, the marriage's not proving to be what she hoped for. She thought she'd settle for the physical pleasure, knowing love would never be a part of it (at least not from him) but alas, after the consummation, he seems to be trying to pass it, making excuses *rolls eyes quite vigorously*. Melisande has a lot of insecurities, about her looks specially. Though she's confident about her smartness and other abilities, that one thing (her always being socially tagged as 'plain') kinda made her more reserved. She dresses the part to, wants to avoid social gathering as much as possible because all the scrutiny and the fear of being judged as 'lacking' just something she can't do anymore. I like the woman underneath but I don't know why the heck she had to fall for a moron like Vale. Ugh! ... To continue, at one point, she thought things like: maybe he doesn't find her attractive enough to make love, he might be seeing other women etc. ... Poor girl! :/

Where I'm at, she caught Vale's attentions somehow. I'm saying somehow because I haven't seen anything from Melisande's part that might look like she's trying to get his attentions. She's actually determined never to let him know about her feelings. Anyway, Vale is 'courting' her, which includes using his silver tongue (so far with words lmao!) which consists of many innuendos (come to think of it, he's not good at anything else and I, for one, have no idea why Melisande is so into him ... really, this is just what he does to get women, flirt with them, nothing special ... except now, he uses words such as my lady wife with her).

Melisande keeps on telling him he doesn't know her at all and he concurred. He's very much determined to know her, hence this courtship! He loves challenges BTW. And, then Melisande tells him he'd be surprised to know how much she knows about him which leaves him kinda mystified. Oh man, have to say some of their banters were quite good and I hope she gives him a lot of pain! I wish she wouldn't try to compete with his former lovers. I don't like this way of thinking. Oh plz, why do you think like this girl? I mean WTF has he done for you, tell me!

OK, the 'betrayal of Spinner's Falls' plot is still going on. In To Taste Temptation, the villain said he wasn't the betrayer and in this one, before being hanged for his other crimes, the same villain gave Vale some clues. Another soldier, Horn is helping him with it since Sam went back to America with Emeline and family.

Other secondary characters are very enjoyable, specially Melisande's lady's maid Sally and Vale's valet Pynch. They are just the opposites and you know the saying, opposites attract! Something like that is going on here. I adore Mr. Mouse, Melisande's gentleman dog :p, seems like he's the one who's her constant companion and one true friend so far.

Wow, really! Didn't expect it at all! I like Vale, and by that mean I really really like him. Before now, their communications, to me, seemed like they're trying but not quite connecting. But after they started making love (well, yah, and Melisande initiating most of it ... Damn, she's good! ;)), things started to get better and better. I love their communication now, it's pretty intense.

I loved all the love scenes afterwards, 2 initiated by Melisande. Vale has PTSD, he can't sleep in open areas, in beds, so he sleeps in the floor with his back to the wall. It was so good to see Melisande finding it out and then taking it in stride, never once questioning him and then, thinking if this is how she has to sleep for the rest of her life, she's got nothing to complain, as long as he's sleeping there with her. He never before stayed the night with her after their lovemaking, which is why I'm mentioning all these. I loved the way Vale kept on calling her my dearest heart, my sweet wife, even my love- there are many of those endearments I really liked because after sometimes, you can feel that those weren't just things he called her but he actually meant them. It was good to see him confiding in her, she being so understanding. I liked it very much that when the robber boy in Scotland died, in his grief, Vale turned to Melisande. That love scene was amazing.

But, the love scene where Melisande finally confessed her feelings for him was the most extraordinary. Melisande has an old snuffbox where she keeps little things that means her a lot. She keeps it hidden. This box and the meaning behind it played quite a role in this scene. This is the first time I've read a woman talking about her longing for a man she knew would never belong to her and then relating it with her frustrations and pains, of seeing him overlooking her while taking other lovers ... all these directly to the man in question. In most of the books, the heroines do not question back. Melisande was angry and crying and Vale answered her with his touch and few words ... it was actually very good. Pretty intense! I have to see what Vale does about it for that's where I've left off for now. And, oh, she did use the f word and God, that was freaken hot! :D

Now, more about the book. They traveled to Scotland regarding the betrayal and talked to Munroe. Before that, they visited Vale's aunt who lives in Scotland too, and saw Melisande's erstwhile suitor and lover with his wife. Vale senses something wrong and later in the night, Melisande tells him about her secret. Very sad tale, I couldn't but feel for her. It was, again, very good to see that instead of raging and making a fool of himself, Vale did the mature thing and took it in stride, too. I loved the way he responded to her sufferings. He went as far as threatening the man.

I'm interested in Munroe's story, really. The man needs someone very understanding with a soft touch. I've already read the blurb and have to say, though at first the mention of Duke of Lister's mistress (don't care much for mistresses, just me! :/) as the heroine turned me really off, now (after knowing more about her and Munroe) I think she might be the right person. Have to see when I read it. We've already seen her with Melisande, who was very gracious to her even knowing the woman's ill-reputation. The setting of the next book is in the making already. She's likable, though I won't sympathize with her until I know some valid reason to why she'd become a mistress at 17 to an man old enough to be her dad, stayed that way for a decade and now has 2 kids by him.

And, yah, something is up with Pynch and Sally. I want more scenes between them though probably I won't. I still adore Mr. Mouse.

Lord, it was really sweet, til the end. I have to admit it. After a lot of twists and turns, one villain and semi-kidnap/blackmailing plot, confessions of love when it ended, it felt good. I loved how Vale and Melisande's relationship grew and Vale's protectiveness when the villain took her to the rooftop and threatened to kill her. Sadly, it was another dead end for the betrayal of Spinnar's Falls. The mystery continues. I loved the way Melisande soothed Vale's insecurities and other things as the story progressed, Vale reciprocating the same. The last scene with the gift was very very heartwarming.

There was also the budding relationship of Pynch and Sally finally having it's fulfillment. So all in all, it was really nice and I have no problem giving it a 4 star.

I didn't mention it before but in To Taste Temptation, Emeline found this old fairy tale book in her storage room, which was something she and Reynaud loved as a child. Their Prussian nanny used to read it to them. Since the book was in German, Emeline gave the book to Melisande for translation. Melisande's mother was Prussian so she has some grasping of the language. Here, Melisande has already finished translating and gave it to Lister's mistress to copy out the translation. So, all the stories included in this series would be from this book. The excerpts of "Laughing Jack" was very interesting, again making me want to read the whole story. I'm really enjoying all these little snippets of fairy tales in each book. :D

Favorite Quote:
“I watched you for years,” she whispered. The tears were drying on her cheeks, and heat was building within her. If he would just touch her. Touch her there. “I watched you and you never saw me.”

Read this, this was soooo good! Talks about the birth of Vale and Melisande's baby girl Emeline. I wish the baby wasn't named after that annoying woman but hey, doesn't matter. I loved this little epilogue and now, I have a silly grin on my face. :D


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