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Powder of Love by Summer Devon

Friday, December 28, 2012

Powder of Love

Summer Devon
Historical Romance/Erotica
Publishe in 2011

H/h - Gideon Reed/Rosalie Ambermere
Setting: New York, 1880.

Read in Dec, 2012.
My rating:


                                                       [spoiler alert]

Note: I've read this book as Powder of Love, but now it has been re-issued as Powder of Sin. But I'm keeping the title I read this one as.

Powder of Love by Summer Devon delivers a fun story which took me by surprise. It had some laugh out loud moments that includes a powder of ‘love’ (or, aphrodisiac, of course!), with the lovable hero, Gideon and smart heroine, Rosalie. I probably would’ve enjoyed the story more if I wasn’t distracted by some RL aspects at the moment I was reading the book, but either way, this book was entertaining.

Rosalie lives in NY, alone, in her big house full of servants. She’s a confirmed spinster, but not because she couldn’t entice any man with her looks or for the lack of funds. Rosalie has both looks and money, which she inherited, probably from her maternal side of the family. But she has been determined to stay unmarried. Her parents’ superb example of unhappy marriage put a mark on Rosalie’s expectations. Her mother, who has been a beauty, married her English father when she was very young; mainly for money and social aspirations. It was implied that Rosalie’s father was in love with his young wife, but it wasn’t really discussed. It didn’t take her much to show just how flighty and promiscuous she was. I’m not sure if she cheated on Rosalie’s father when he was alive but the marriage fell apart soon after Rosalie was born. Needless to say, this woman has never been much of a mother to Rosalie in any way. So as she was growing up, her father’s bitter words about her mother, comparing Rosalie to her among other things and the various English society rules, made a strong minded Rosalie to make other plans. She spend times with one of her wicked, rakish cousin Johnny, Lord Williamsford, just to shut her father off about marriage. She didn’t want to get married even then and she knew staying alone with Johnny would tarnish her reputation. It worked too when she’s sent off to America by her enraged father. Johnny was a bad apple and f*cking women of every size and shape was his favorite past time. Rosalie was smart enough to fend off his advances on the first few attempts because she’s not the one to fall for the oily charms of a rake. (‘You go girl!’- is my reaction to Rosalie’s dry humor where these rakes were concerned lol)

Rosalie liked Johnny other than that, and it seems like Johnny did too, when after his very much expected death by the hands of some cuckold husband, Rosalie finds that she has inherited his large pile of... erm, sex toys and what-nots. His way of showing his affections no doubt! But the ever practical Rosalie finds is amusing and takes it in stride, though her elderly man of affairs finds it disturbing. But the most disturbing thing among these... things was this wooden box that makes one want to rub ones cheeks on it with its hypnotizing, glowing and smooth polish. I found this immensely funny as how people would be so mesmerized just by the box itself. When Rosalie finally decides to open the box and have a look, her man of affair jumps and asks her to get rid of this thing, whatever it is the box holds inside. Rosalie doesn’t understand at first but as the man brokenly, going all red and so on, tries to explain her that there is some kind of strong aphrodisiac in it… well, that was even more hilarious. Rosalie, for now, abides by the elderly man’s cautions. I liked Rosalie immensely because she was intelligent and it showed. She never bored me once in the story. I expected nothing less than subtle amusement with a healthy dose of practicality and curiosity from her.

Rosalie now needs to find a way to get rid of it. But just how soon she needs to do it, the importance of it just smacked dabbed on her face on the next hilarious, even if a little embarrassing, situation. See, Rosalie has a chaperone of sort, a plain looking spinster, in her late 30s, Miss Renshaw. She’s cool, calm, reserved; a total lady of poise. She doesn’t show passion, nor does anyone know if she possesses any. Rosalie likes her a lot, and cares for her. But, ummm, Rosalie makes a mistake of not hiding the box immediately and going away, while Miss Renshaw gets a hold of it. Well, can’t really blame her, she had no idea what’s inside and already told you how the exterior of the wooden box seems to hypnotize people. So, in a short time, Rosalie finds herself with a spinster on high sex drive, with flushed cheeks and sending off flirty glances towards the butler, who runs for his own life seeing Miss Renshaw’s toothy smiles. Rosalie knows they both are in trouble. While she thinks, Miss Renshaw goes out to take some ‘fresh air’. You just don’t wanna know what happens later… (or maybe you do, huh?? :p) and how hilarious I found the whole thing. Even Rosalie knew, as she finds her chaperone with the coachman Hawes (facepalm) in flagrante delicto... *coughwigglingbuttcough*....... That was some scene! Again I found just how much I loved Rosalie’s wicked wits. She’s not really offended by it, just worried that when Miss Renshaw is back to herself, it’s going to be a big, big mess to tackle.

It is, of course, a mess the next morning. Rosalie finds it embarrassing to point out to Miss Renshaw. That whatever she is thinking as a ‘dream’, wasn’t exactly a, erm… dream. I kept shaking my head, trying not to do some inelegant snorting at these scenes. Miss Renshaw is horrified by the indications. OMG, she’s a proper lady!! Holy freakin’... WTF had she done?? She breaks down into tears and Rosalie tries to comfort her as well as she can. But she’s a distant person, a little reserved herself, and comforting a weeping spinster isn’t her forte. But she knows there has to be some working to do when Hawes sends flowers for Miss Renshaw.

Oh dear! This sure is one hell of a mess!

But the fun has only just begun! While Rosalie is thinking of how to get rid of this eeevail powder, some people do get winds of it and wants to acquire the stuff for their amusement. Her man of affairs told her if this thing goes out of hand, to some undeserving public, no one knows what might happen! Soon, someone comes to call; a Mr. Clermont, Walter, with whom visits his own ‘chaperone’, Mr. Reed. Rosalie doesn’t really know what Mr. Reed is to Mr. Clermont but one look at Gideon, or Mr. Reed, Rosalie starts daydreaming about him. It was one of those things, you look at a man and something about him catches your attentions, which in Rosalie’s case was Gideon’s hands. Oh lordy, another scene I just adored, how Rosalie was fantasizing away about his ‘big hands’ and couldn’t help thinking how good they would feel on her... and then would blush and feel guilty at her wayward thoughts, hoping no one guessed. While Walter gives the air of a dilettante rake (someone akin to her cousin Johnny, Rosalie knew that ‘specimen’ well enough and as I already mentioned, never was attracted to them). Walter is blonde, slim and a ‘confirmed murmurer’ (I just about died laughing, again, reading this), while Gideon is the big, dark and silent type. He’s broody alright, seems like always glaring at something (or you, if you see it this way lol). Even then Rosalie can’t help but feel attracted to him like a moth to a flame, though she tries her best not to show it.

Rosalie understood their business later though, when her lawyer confirms her suspicion: Walter is indeed a verily debauched man, who can’t keep his pr*ck inside his pants for more than a few hrs. And women aren’t really safe from him when he wants to shag (he forces them even, which where Gideon comes in). He is looking for the powder of course, to... well, you know why. And then, she learns Gideon’s job of ‘taking care’ of Walter and keeping others safe from him. It just was so pathetic, I disliked Walter and felt bad for Gideon. Well, yah Gideon needed the big paycheck since he’s got younger siblings to take care of. He’s not from a well-off family, and feeling thoroughly attracted to one of the heiresses in this part of the world isn’t good news to him. Gideon knows nothing good could come from this attraction.

Gideon was a cool hero; honest, with a strong character, devoted to his work no matter what, and I say no matter what because more than once you get to know the kind of places he had to accompany Walter and how seeing the perversion took away the fun sex could be for a healthy young man. Walter doesn’t say ‘no’ to anything that concerns sex. I mean ANYTHING. Not only poor Gideon baby has to accompany him, witnessing stuff that would sure make us gag, and save the women of the world from Walter, but also he has to listen to Walter’s pervy diary reading that details his sexual encounters. Sheesh! What a jerk!! Now feeling this kind of attraction towards Rosalie is making him vulnerable. Walter makes a challenge out of corrupting his ‘chaperones’ with his influence. He has succeeded so far, until Gideon took over a year or so ago. Gideon is his new challenge and Walter is trying hard to corrupt him. But Gideon is obviously a hard nut to crack. In that first meeting, Gideon knew Rosalie would be Walter’s ‘target’ too, and he’s promptly on his guard where she’s concerned.

Later, Rosalie decides to visit Walter to talk about the powder, alone, though she knew this probably isn’t the best thing to do. But she finds Gideon waiting for him, while Walter was in bed, sleeping off the remnants of his last night’s debauchery. Rosalie’s visit makes Gideon elated and then, disappointed. He at first thought she came to see him, then after her admission, he thinks she’s one of those women who want secret affairs with a man like Walter. Rosalie doesn’t get it at first, but when he unwittingly indicates this, she’s is embarrassed and yet, a little mad at Gideon. She was already breathless from seeing him, and now this? But this misunderstanding is solved soon enough when they both talk and the discussion turns to the powder. Rosalie feels she can trust Gideon and she asks for his help to get rid of it. Gideon wholeheartedly agrees.

With this, they both had a very good excuse to meet up with each-other. They even exchange a kiss here and a hug there. Rosalie’s mind would whirl around the whole thing. She, ever the practical girl, knows that she’s falling and falling hard. No man has ever stirred her passion like Gideon’s broody stare, big hands (*heehee*) and breathless kisses do. Not even this guy she’s unofficially engaged to. Not really engaged to, just everything thinks he’s good for her and in time, they’ll marry. Rosalie never felt anything for him, never even encouraged him in that sense. But Gideon... he’s another matter entirely. Needless to say, Gideon also knew he’s falling, and if you read his thoughts, you’ll just fall for him yourself. He was just an overall good guy who didn’t know how to stop this from happening.

In time, Gideon finds out this chemist and they both decide to meet the man. On the other hand, Miss Renshaw and Hawes’s romance was going ok. She’s still in a daze over the whole thing and still cries but Hawes is determined to win, as he tells Rosalie, to woo and marry Miss Renshaw. Rosalie saw nothing wrong in it, as long as both agreed to this. But she was a bit worried about Miss Renshaw’s final decision, and of a brokenhearted Hawes. Rosalie’s approach towards this odd romance was another thing I personally admired. And then there was the matter of the powder. It does lead to another interesting incident where Gideon himself accidentally sniffs a bit of it and...... well, let me just say, it was hot. No, there was no sex because the only woman he wanted was out of his reach, but the things he later tells her, what he felt then and what he wanted to do to her was just very sexy.

Rosalie’s mother suddenly storms into her life, yet again, without any thought of her daughter’s feelings or well-being. I already mentioned that she is a promiscuous woman. Rosalie’s mother is still good looking, juggling lovers one after another, and doing anything to get more ‘sprightly’ young men. Don’t ask me what ‘sprightly’ means in her vocab. *shakes head* I hated her words/discussion (mostly about her sex life) to Rosalie and how casual she is about everything and about her daughter’s feelings. She was a verily self-centered woman. And now, she wants to give a party, as she always does, to ‘enjoy’ herself. She also thinks Rosalie’s life needs a little livening up. The only thing I probably liked about her that she approved of Gideon, not for his status of course, but his manly, rugged good looks. She guessed very well that Rosalie is attracted to this young man. But just how annoying and dimwitted Rosalie’s mother was comes out later in one of her drastic and yet another, selfish action.

The chemist guy was handsome and a womanizer. Gideon disliked him on spot but he thought this one could help them since he’s very good with what he does (I mean his chemist business lol). Gideon doesn’t want Rosalie to meet him. Surely, when he takes her to the chemist to talk about the powder, the guy makes eyes at her. You know, the subject matter was also... erm... And then there was that maid of his house he’s f*cking too. But Rosalie weathered it all without even batting an eye-lash because there’s only person now who can make her pulse race. When Rosalie goes inside the house with the chemist, Gideon waits for her. There is another of those ‘accidents’ where the chemist takes a whiff of the power and starts coming on to Rosalie. Gideon saves her from the man’s aphrodisiac-induced clutches. When the man gets back his conscience, he’s also uncomfortable about this stuff. He might be a lecher but he also doesn’t want this to get out. He would lock it up and use only for research purpose. One can only imagine what would happen if Walter or Rosalie’s stupid and b*tchy mother get hold of it... Oh wait a min.! Sadly, we don’t have to wait long to find that out!

Meanwhile, Gideon was also busy with Walter. He was already contemplating stuff like giving up this job and going away somewhere else, just to enjoy life, since he can’t have Rosalie and it’s kinda eating at him… all the confusion about what to do and what not to do, about Rosalie’s reaction to his advances etc. Walter’s parents send another man, and Gideon was setting this guy up. Walter was still cajoling him to participate in what he does... Once, he goes as far as to say he wants to watch Gideon having sex with Rosalie (or something like that), which pisses Gideon off immensely. But no matter what, they can’t hold off sex for long time, since it was bound to happen. It was rather quick, and for a virgin, Rosalie was very keen on this. Even though she tried to be emotionally distant, on a physical level Rosalie couldn’t ignore her yearnings for Gideon. And Gideon was already in love. I think both were in love by then, just too confused and stubborn to let it show.

Rosalie’s mother understood their intimacy immediately when she saw them together, but she didn’t want Rosalie to get involved with him. Sex is alright, enjoy it but marry only for status and money. This woman tried my patience more than once, I just wanted to beat her up. I couldn’t imagine having a mother like her but must say, Rosalie, though she didn’t like what her mother did, fared well enough. Better than me in any case. And so, she gives into her mother’s demands of giving that party she wanted. Gideon helps out with it too, but they still had no news from the chemist so far to lock away the powder. It was important for Rosalie because Rosalie’s mother had already found out about it (don’t ask me how) and made good use of the little bit she stole on her current lover (we hear her bragging about it as well *eyeroll*). Then she goes and does something totally, irrevocably moronic and..... ugh! She somehow finds out the place where Gideon had hidden it for now and steals again, to mix a little of it in a soup dish for the ball.

You do not wanna know what happened................................ cause it was gross.

When the ball was taking place, Gideon already guessed something was wrong. Walter was here too. He and Rosalie’s mother met earlier and you make the equations (she certainly approved of his ‘sprightly’ persona! *barf*). Many of the guests already took the particular soup that they later found had the powder mixed in it. Rosalie and Gideon hurriedly let some people go, stammering out some excuses but for some, it was too late as Rosalie finds out soon in one of the parlors. Gideon knew what might be happening, he even tries but couldn’t avert the disaster of Rosalie seeing her mother in flagrante delicto with... let’s just say, a few men (including Walter, duh!) at the same time, when she opens the door suddenly. There was another M/M couple too, and other disturbing and surprising... erm, coupling going on. Gosh, I wasn’t anyway roused by it. I felt for these two, as they had to investigate through the house to find out, umm, people looking for a little privacy.

But ... but only when it came to Rosalie herself (since she took that soup too) is when I found the powder’s effect damned sexy. She was already feeling it and she wants no other but Gideon. She begs him to give it to her. No one could say ‘no’ to her pleading and Gideon was only a man; a man out and out crazy for Rosalie. Damn but they have this sexy quickie in the library... ooh lala. Even though, to my utter frustration, Gideon keeps blaming himself for taking advantage of her, I still found this scene sexy. And Rosalie misunderstood his distance from her the next day... The misunderstanding was frustrating *sigh*. Even though her mother didn’t feel anything and skipped off to somewhere else with her current lovers, Rosalie felt ashamed for her behavior with Gideon.

After this debacle, the powder was locked off by the chemist finally. It was time for Gideon to say goodbye but that can’t happen, can it? The last part of the story they both sort out their misunderstandings was so good! It was frustrating to see them confused when their chemistry was so palpable (with me wanting some more sexy scenes, damn it. Not enough of those! *sigh*), still I loved the ending. I just felt these two were made for each-other. 4 happy stars for a wonderful read! Needless to say, this won’t be my last Summer Devon book.

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Punya
I love to read in my spare time and do reviews the books I read. My blog Punya Reviews just turned 6 in 2017 and still going strong. I love music and traveling. Sometimes, I wish I could live inside a book, having my own HEA. :)
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