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Don't Tempt Me by Sylvia Day

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Don't Tempt Me
The Georgian #4

Sylvia Day
Historical Romance/Erotica
Published in 2008

H/h - Simon Quinn/Lynette Baillon
Setting: Paris, 1780. 

Read in Dec, 2011.
My rating:


                                                            [spoiler alert]

Alright, gotta say Don't Tempt Me had quite a lot of twists and turns I really enjoyed. Romance-wise, Simon and Lynette’s relationship wasn’t satisfactory. I was more interested in Lysette and Edward’s but SD cheated me out of their HEA by ignoring them in the end.

First of, where we left off in book #3, Simon was given the task of taking Lysette, a Frenchwoman, back to her country. Simon works for this agency, which is a spy network (peers and commoners work alongside) works from the Crown. He was hired by one rakehell, Lord Eddington, who appeared in book #2 with Simon. There was a case with Colin (hero of book #3) who also worked with Simon and witnessed the murder of a man in France, called Laroux. One English agent, Cartland was behind it. Colin returns to England with the threat of being killed because Catland apparently worked for a society called The Illuminés or The Enlightened. Like other, they thought of this society as a myth but in the course of Laroux murder case, they learned it’s not. There was another man called Depardue, a horrible man who loves to torture women and was the reason behind Lysette’s dark past. He was killed at the end of book #3, by Lysette. While doing this she was caught by Colin and Simon and was accused of betraying their trust since she was, apparently, working with Cartland. The agents kept Cartland and his lackey Jacques but asked Simon to take Lysette to France. A man named Comte Desjardins, who secretly works for the head of The Illuminés, a man called L’Esprit who always stays in the shadows. Desjardins saved Lysette from Depardue’s men 2 years ago where she was raped and abused by them. From then on, Lysette worked for Desjardins because the man took care of her. Note that a lot of the information, I found, were so scattered that many a time, I was left confused. The matters of The Illuminés and who actually worked for L’Esprit was very confusing. There were hints and assumptions but no definite answer. It was another thing that bugged me and I finished it with many questions to some important matters.

This book has two prologues, takes place 23 yrs prior. The 1st one starts with a sex scene between someone called the Marquis of Saint-Martin, Philippe Rousseau and his current mistress, one of the most beautiful debutantes of the season, Marguerite Piccard. He is married yet a veteran libertine with strings of affairs all over the place, scandals that say discarded lovers running through the street to get his attentions. Informations that didn’t charm me, to say the least. Then, he is twice his mistress’s age, who is 18 and was a virgin prior to this affair. But, in short span of this prologue, we get to know that Philippe works under Desjardins, with the Secret du Roi. His life isn’t a happy one, marriage a convenient match as his wife is also a spy. She has her own life and lovers but maintains a nice façade. Philippe is gorgeous and women have never been his problem. And even then, when he first saw Marguerite, he knew he’s fallen in love, hard and deep. He pursued her like a man possessed. Of course, Marguerite’s parents weren’t happy as she was betrothed to the Vicomte de Grenier, a man close to her age who has looks, charms and money too. But, Philippe is what Marguerite craves because she’s drawn to lusty men/bad boys, however you’d like to put it. The tales of his love affairs only increased his appeal to her and so she gives in, leaving behind her family and everything else, for an affair with him. Now, Philippe didn’t really charm me, Marguerite didn’t impress me though the sex scene was hot. But, I think they loved each-other as it was implied because he always felt guilty that he can’t give her anything beyond this arrangement. But some didn’t want them to be together and was planning to tear them apart since Philippe has become quite the recluse since he’s started the affair. On that night, someone called Thierry comes to him with the message that Desjardins has taken in this fact about him and Marguerite, which might prove to be problematic.

In prologue 2, de Grenier comes to visit Marguerite to alert her of imminent danger and threats on her life. Also, it’s possible that Philippe is in danger too. Marguerite likes the viscomte, he’s nice and kind. He proposes her to leave Philippe and go to somewhere else with him. De Grenier still wants to marry her. Marguerite vehemently rejects the offer and asks him to leave. When Philippe arrives, he also vehemently tells her he would not lose her no matter what. Then we see why Desjardins work for L’Esprit; money and jewels to keep his lovely wife in class. When Philippe leaves the house, he’s attacked on the way. Desjardins sends a missive with the news and Marguerite grows very apprehensive. She immediately sends for de Grenier not knowing whom to turn to. As he arrives, it was revealed that the servants of her house has been poisoned and killed. She is so scared for Philippe that she gives into De Grenier’s urgings and leaves with him.

23 years later... Simon is in France now. He meets Desjardins and hands over Lysette to him. In return, some of his men were freed from the French. Simon isn’t unhappy with the results. He still feels this odd kind of protectiveness towards Lysette and so he asks her to sent for him if needs be. Then he goes about with his own rakish life, drinking and a night of hard sex at his home. So, there was a scene, precisely a scene on the dawn after, with him and an unknown woman... eww! Again, why Ms. Day? Why give the gross visuals? I wasn’t impressed with Simon from the start. If you read my review of book #2, you’ll know why. He was Maria, the heroine’s residence paramour for about a year. A man raised in the gutter, he was the bastard of an Irish seamstress. Maria saved him when he was fighting with a bunch of crooks. I didn’t think back then but Maria took him in and sort of kept him. Does it make him a gigolo? I’ll talk about it later because there was a line by Simon gave me a whole new view of his life. Anyway, Simon’s valet awakens him from his drunken, sex-induced stupor to inform him that Eddington has arrived and now setteled into his townhouse without invitation. Simon isn’t happy with the news. He gets mad when he learns that Eddington means to hold his funds until he does a few more works for him. Simon was already thinking of giving up this profession and do something else, anything to keep him free of liabilities. For investigation purpose and to keep an eye on Lysette, Eddington asks him to attend this lewd party given by some Baroness that evening. Simon considers this, thinking of the Baroness who showed interests in him on his other visits and might have the opportunity to shag her this time. (Good lord, you just charmed my panties off Simon... not! *shakes head*) And so he attends.

On the other hand, Lysette was given a task by Desjardins to attract the stiff and nerdy assistant of Benjamin Franklin, who was now in France and have an affair with him, all because L’Esprit wanted him to do it. Lysette loathes her job but she’s manipulated by Desjardins, as usual, to ‘help’ him in return for his helps. He knew it would be a tough job to seduce the morally upright man but Lysette herself is gorgeous so he’s very confident that she can do it and coax out the information he needs. So they wait for him, staging a meeting, in front of some dress shop. When the man, Edward James, walks by her, she intentionally bumps into him and is left breathless. The man isn’t good looking by any means, though he’s tall and strong. He’s wearing a pair of glasses that shelters a pair of intense dark eyes. Although Edward is taken with her too, he knows he can check his lust so he thrusts her aside and leaves with a bow. But what Desjardins intended has already been done; Lysette is in his mind, embedded and burning. That evening, the Baroness’s ball; Desjardins makes sure Edward attends it. He asks Lysette to attend it too. She dislikes sex but she’s still very attracted to Edward which kinda scares her.

Lynette attends the same ball with her mother, Marguerite, Viscomtess de Grenier and her courtesan friend Solange. Yes, Lynette is our Marguerite’s daughter. It took me by surprise, kind of but I should’ve expected something like that. Marguerite’s marriage to de Grenier isn’t entirely a happy one. She had troubles having her twin daughters, for which she never had another child and de Grenier was robbed off his heir. Which is why, although it’s not bitter and so on, their marriage isn’t full of passion. Maguerite is also racked with guilt about Philippe as he had left his mark too deep, that she must be betraying de Grenier who has always been kind to her. Her eldest twin, Lysette died 2 yrs ago in a carriage accident (you can already tell where it’s going right?). Lynette and Marguerite still mourn her. De Grenier has always been a distant father, never warmed up to his daughters. They lived in Poland so far, as de Grenier works there for the government and busy with his schedule most of the times. Marguerite hates Paris and has never returned in last 23 yrs, until now, for her only surviving daughter. She’s scared that Lynette is changing. She’s been so much like herself always but her subdued demeanor after Lysette’s death has worried Marguerite. Lynette has been the flirty and jolly one whereas Lysette, the bookish. Note: Lysette has lost her memory of what happened 2 yrs. ago, which is also why her life is a mystery to the people who now knew her. So, Marguerite bought Lynette here, without de Grenier’s knowledge because Lynette wanted to see Paris. Solange has been her friend for years (I assumed since she knew of Marguerite’s past) and the mother and the daughter is now residing with her. I thought it was pretty stupid that Marguerite would permit Lynette to attend such a vulgar ball which was originally Solange’s idea (duh!). Her residing with a courtesan was another thing I couldn’t believe. But it was Paris and anything goes I guess... almost. In the ball, Lynette meets Simon and is attracted him immediately. Like mother, like daughter (not my words, Solange said something like that to Marguerite when she was objecting to this match, but I agree). Lynette doesn’t want a marriage like her parents, passionless, so she has so far objected getting married out of convenience. She, needless to say, doesn’t know anything of the circumstances of her parent’s marriage but it hurts her that her father is so distant.

Simon is equally attracted, only he doesn’t know it’s not Lysette he’s seeing. He’s confused (and a bit apprehensivet too) as to why, after spending so much time together and never feeling anything like that back in England, he’s suddenly so attracted to Lysette? But he doesn’t care and follows her to some shadowy room and proceeded to kiss her (if things go alright, f*ck her too) senseless. All that matters is she’s a woman, a beautiful one and she makes him hard. *rolls eyes* Gotta mention, Lynette also saw Simon from her carriage when he was coming out of Desjardins’ house, so she made eyes at him in the ball. But when he called her ‘Lysette’ she’s very confused. In the meantime, Lysette is in this ball too, to meet Edward, who graces her with his attendance even though he’s NEVER attracted to parties like this. This baffles Edward, what does this woman got that makes him do stupid things like this? But in a sexy scene, he kisses Lysette senseless (another stupid thing he never ever does) but she slaps him because his ardor scares the hell out of her. But, Desjardins is very happy see his plan working just fine. Things happen fast afterwards, as Desjardins torches a part of the manse (still confused why) and chaos ensue. Simon and Lynette break apart before she could ask him about Lysette. Lysette herself went to the washroom, close to which this happens so she’s badly hurt. Edward was leaving. Simon helps the others to go out and gathers people to carry water to douse the fire. Marguerite, here, sees Lynette’s attraction to Simon and Solange informs her about his reputation as a veteran libertine, a most wanted lover anywhere he goes. Thank goodness that Solange wasn’t one of them! Edward rescues Lysette and takes her home. He is determined to stay and he does take care of her so nicely. It melted my heart which is why I was so interested in their romance.

The next day, Simon wanted to see how Lysette is faring. He knew that she’d been given the task of seducing Edward. He’s confused; why then would she come onto him so passionately? But he feels possessive and when he visits her house, only to find Edward in attendance, he’s mad angry and jealous, thinking of course she’d had sex with Edward. What I didn’t like was that, afterwards he was thinking of going to some brothel to have good hard f*ck to forget her and take this edge off his body. Knowing him, I was scared that he’d do this without any repentance at all. But, Lynette surprises him with a visit and then, to mollify him she clarifies about Lysette. She also inquires after how he knows her sister. Simon tells her a few things but this claim of Lysette being alive has to be verified. Hope springs in Lynette’s heart, apprehensions too. Simon, of course, doesn’t miss a chance to kiss and fondle her. Marguerite doesn’t believe in any of this and being scared that Lynette would end up like her, she plans to pay Simon off so that he leaves Lynette alone. This offer offends Simon and in one of his musings about his station in life is where I read that he’s done everything to survive, including selling his body. I’m not sure if he meant his affair with Maria though. I have a thing for gigolo heroes but this gigolo, I didn’t really care for. Shame, that! Marguerite tries a few more times to dissuade Simon from Lynette but he won’t listen. Then she argues with Lynette about it and informs her that she’ll let de Grenier know about it. And the exorbitant price she promised Simon has to come from somewhere else... and so she contacts Philippe after all these years. They meet that night. It’s very apparent the passion is deep between them, even now. He wants her back immediately but Marguerite wants to stay true to her marriage vows. Philippe informs his wife has died (not sure how long ago) and he’s changed too, not living his previous lifestyle anymore. While they talk, Lynette finds an opportunity to get out of the house to meet Simon. She’s already hot for him and won’t let her mother rule her life. She pays a stable boy to help her with some male clothing and sneaks off. When the butler lets her in, she goes upstairs and almost immediately hears the sounds of sex coming from a door left slightly ajar... which is not Simon’s according to the butler’s direction. So, it was most definitely Eddington’s. Again, another open door incident (see book #3)? Why oh why? Ugh! This arouses her beyond anything. Simon comes out of his room, all dark chest-hair and sexy breeches... and you know what happened next. Have to say, as a lover, Simon proved to be amazing. He was most definitely hawwwwt! And he was mad for Lynette, thinking (as he made love to her) he has finally found a home after so many lonely years but she’s not for him and he can’t stay inside her. Damn but he made me wet for sure! Though I found their relationship development unsatisfactory as a whole, I loved the love scenes. I think it would’ve been great if there were more conversations, interactions and more yearning from both sides which would’ve certainly convinced me of their love.

At Lysette’s home, Edward is still taking care of her illness from the fire wounds. He’s totally onto a project here, that he’s NOT leaving her and she will be his when she regains her health. Lysette tries to put him off by telling Edward bits and pieces of her life in these two years. Desjardins visits her to remind her of her duty. Simon visits her too and he assures her that he’ll help her someway, somehow. He also informs her about her family, something that is very vague in Lysette’s memory. After 2 yrs of misery, she finally has hope and she believes in Simon. But Edward puzzles her too, in a pleasant way. She feels secured when he’s near. I sooooo loved reading their scenes together. One night, Lysette has a dream- a really horrible one, something she probably witnessed while living in Poland. She saw a tall, dark haired man raping her mother’s maid, Celie, who has been with Marguerite since her days with Philippe. The man was f*cking her and threatening her that she failed to intercept Marguerite’s letters. This horrified me so much, can’t tell you, just as it did to Lysette. Then someone caught her and a blow on her head made her unconscious. After hearing this, Edward meets with Simon the next day. He also wants to help, do anything for Lysette. I think he already knew of her abuse in Depardue’s hands. Meantime, de Grenier is at home and Marguerite tells him about Lysette. He assures her that he’ll meet with Simon and determine himself. So while Simon and Edward were talking, he comes in. Simon has some suspicions but those weren’t clarified. De Grenier talks to them and then they plan something to trap L’Esprit. Apparently, they’d decided there’s a possibility that it’s Philippe. Simon also meets with Desjardins, who gives into his demands of help because he himself wanted to be rid of L’Esprit’s specter. There’s another revelation, of which Simon was sure... that Lysette and Lynette were Philippe’s daughters and not de Grenier’s, which explains a lot about his actions. He met Philippe too when he was following him over Marguerite’s concerns.

I loved the climax afterwards and the reunion between the mother and the daughter. The plans they made were carried out well. Then comes the moment where L’Esprit was revealed. Oh man, I thought it’d surely be a bitter Philippe but no, it’s de Grenier. Wow but the man planned this all for such a long time to make Philippe suffer. I don’t condone what he’d done but the reasons behind his doing so were pretty good. He loved a distant cousin whom Philippe seduced in his lecherous days (remember the woman crying his name on the street?). He wanted to marry her but she went into a decline and died soon. I hated the way this issue was brushed aside like it’s not at all important, as they deemed de Grenier as a crazy dude like his cousin. How convenient! And SO NOT ok with me. I was hoping de Grenier was the better man and that Marguerite forgets Philippe and finally gives her full attentions to him. Even the girls weren’t his, so unfair! And then, I was very confused of Depardue’s involvement in all these... what/who was he actually? Did he work for L’Esprit? Was he the man who was abusing Celie (because I DO NOT want to think of the other option, makes me too sick)? Celie didn’t like de Grenier. It’s never known since she committed suicide. Did de Grenier know of Lysette and intentionally never told anyone? How could Desjardins, knowing Lysette’s family, make her do his dirty works for so long? Not sure at all. Also, no more scenes were there for Lysette and Edward. WHY? I wanted some closure for their relationship and the wonderful connection they shared. Because of all these, I couldn’t give it a higher rating. 4 stars, could’ve been an excellent spy novel IMO.

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I'm a simple girl. I love to read in my spare time and do reviews the books I read. I also write, mostly songs/poems, though I'm not published. I love music and traveling. Sometimes, I wish I could live inside a book, having my own HEA. :)
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