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A Persistent Attraction by Silvia Violet

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

A Persistent Attraction
Regency Intrigue #2

Silvia Violet
Historical Romance/Erotica
Published in 2008

H/h - Rhys Stanton/Amanda Halverstone
Setting: London, 1819.

Read in May, 2012.
My rating:

                                                          [spoiler alert]

A Persistent Attraction was disappointing in many ways. Not only I was annoyed with Amanda, the heroine but also, Rhys turned out to be a not-so-interesting hero. Don’t get me wrong, he was not that bad but the way he was portrayed in the first book, well, I didn’t see any of it in this one. Then the story felt dragging from the 2nd half of the book... Honestly, I got bored, is all. *sigh*

From A Carnal Agreement, we saw Rhys as the hero Mark’s best bud, who helped solving a part of the murder/slavery mystery. It was also pretty obvious that the issue will stretch into this book as it starts almost after where the first book left off. We also knew some of the villains escaped. So, Rhys was said to be a bad a$$ rake, who has seen and done it all and more... He moved in faster circle than Mark. Rhys is also an alcoholic, drinks like crazy when things turn bad for him. Here, we see that he has a dark past (or so the speak), for which he blames himself. Rhys has been a spy a long time ago, a job he has given up and has no intentions of returning to. A man called Lord Farrington gives him his assignments, though he and Rhys have no love lost between them. According to Rhys, Farrington is cunning and ruthless, would do anything to have the job done. In one of those missions in France a few years back, two of their co-workers lost their lives in front of Rhys’s eyes. One was a woman named Therese, for whom Rhys had affections, albeit brotherly. He didn’t want her involved in the case and the woman kind of brought it onto herself. He could do nothing about it because Farrington was convinced that they’re dispensable. When all these were revealed in the last part of the book, I wasn’t sure actually what help Rhys back, when he didn’t liked Farrington’s decisions? Anyway, he has used his reputation of being a rake in the past for spying. Some of the dirty gatherings he frequented, still does, have their usefulness. But the thing was, throughout the story, I only read vague narratives of what he’s done in the past or might’ve done, there was no certain understanding of his activities as a rake. I’m not really complaining but it was said that he loves every kind of physical entertainment etc. etc. but I saw NOTHING of the sort throughout the whole book. He came off as a more of a clueless man than the alpha rake I was led to believe. I neither felt any oomph from him as a spy. Mark was more intense than him IMO. But, somehow, I liked Rhys in the first book and mentions of his sexual escapades didn’t bug me as much as I thought they would.

One of the villains who threatened Cassandra, the heroine of book 1, and escaped was one of the Linton twins, who had a special attraction to Cassandra’s younger sister, Amanda. Now, I kinda thought Amanda was more interesting than the feet stomping, illogical, I-WANT-MY-WAY Cassandra and more sensible. Obviously, I was wrong because in her own book, Amanda turned to be all her sister was and more. Sister alike, huh? Moreover, she was always judging Rhys without giving the man a chance and always interpreting his actions as something seedy/negative (you can read my review of  A Carnal Agreement to know my opinions about such TSTL heroines who would never use their brains before doing anything). At first, I wasn’t bothered much because I’m generally not a big fan of uber-rakish heroes myself. I liked the starting of the book and thought it had greater potentials than the first book. Amanda had this La Belle Dame Sans Merci attitude, with her potential suitors calling her the Ice Princess. Rhys was attracted to her from the first moment he saw her and never forgot. I liked it that just like Mark, he was falling from that moment, even though it took time to acknowledge this feeling. I actually love it when the man falls first for the woman! Anyway, Amanda blew cold breezes towards Rhys, or at least she tried to because no matter what, the bad boy aura (and studly looks) of Rhys got to her before she could do anything about it.

Mark and Cassandra got married and have already retired to Mark’s estate in Devon. Cassandra is pregnant, which is another reason for them to go out of the society. Amanda is living with her aunt Claire, and now her youngest sister, Elise is also with them. The backstory of how they became their aunt’s wards even though their father is alive is in the first book. One day, Amanda finds a note threatening her life and asking for money. She, at first, took it as a prank of some sort. Then an attempt on her life made her believe otherwise as she barely survived that. Rhys was there in the ball on investigation of the latest case. He didn’t want to take this but Farrington sort of made him do it. It seems the group they chased in France, Les Centimes, has struck again and this time with a new leader. Farrington knows no other agent who can work better than Rhys. I will talk about Farrington later. But, as Amanda was attacked in that ball, Rhys couldn’t do anything, scared that his unduly attention might ruin her reputation. You know, he being the uber-rake and all that. Somehow Elise’s suitor helps Amanda and chases the man who took a knife at her when she went outside for fresh air... alone! That night, even though she was injured, Amanda decides to see Rhys. She, it seems like, has no other option left. She can’t tell Mark and Cassandra and endanger their life. Neither Elise nor her sickly aunt Claire can help her. It leaves Rhys, who, as Mark’s friend, is trustworthy. She dresses as a man, climbs down the balcony and goes to Rhys’s house ... alone ... at night. See what I mean by TSTL? Amanda was a bit uncomfortable that Rhys would be with women at this hour but thankfully he wasn’t. Instead, he was drunk with his memory of France (from Farrington’s visit) and Amanda… it was mostly ‘how much he wanted her but can’t have her’ way. When Amanda is there, Rhys barely behaves as a gentleman and kinda blurts out his intentions towards her. He would help her, in return she has to give him permission to seduce her. Amanda is enraged by his behavior. Even though she tells him about her trouble, Amanda thinks it was a mistake to seek out help from Rhys. A man like him can’t be reliable at all! She leaves in a huff. Rhys was drunk but not that drunk and asks his butler to send men to follow her, so that she’s safely home.

The next day he tries to see her but Amanda ignores him. We get to see her interactions with her lively sister Elise and all that. But Amanda is nowhere near any solution. Another note arrives with instruction for her to meet at some seedy inn. I think you can guess what Amanda did. Yes, she dressed as a man, again, and goes out to face the man alone... I was getting vexed at her actions. Thankfully, this time Rhys knew pretty well what she’d do and follows her with some of his men. He had also had men watching her house. Near the inn, some troubles follow of course, and Rhys and his men saves Amanda. She would definitely be raped and quite dead if he didn’t. Rhys was wearing a mask, and so Amanda doesn’t recognize him. He was also able to somehow change his voice (?) to keep his identity secret. At the gate of her home, Rhys couldn’t help kissing her senseless and Amanda, not knowing, kisses him back. Now Rhys knows if Amanda actually gets a clue, she would be furious at his deception (she was trust me). Later in the day, Amanda decides waiting for her stranger to help her won’t do and so she seeks out Rhys’s help. She’s now willing to give into his term. She is pretty sure she’s never getting married and so, why would she bother about her reputation and so on. Rhys doesn’t believe it at first but they still end up kissing and fondling each-other. I had questions, like after kissing Rhys, how could she not recognize him from the other night?

Yep, then there are the series of feet stomping I-WANT-MY-WAY attitude from Amanda, forcing Rhys to let her ‘help’ in the investigation. They again visit the same inn, this time Rhys taking Amanda again, dressed as a man. They are attacked on the way back by a French man called d’Eglantine, whom Rhys knew from before. Rhys also talks to Farrington about Amanda, albeit unwillingly, as he wanted some help about her case. I don’t know but it seems like Rhys was the only person who was thinking logically here, as Farrington suggests somewhere in the story that Amanda can be recruited to work for them and I was like whaaaaaa??!!! Rhys would have none of it and he makes it clear to Farrington. Later, in the story, Rhys makes some improvement about the French man, Mouton, who has been seen in various balls often enough to cause suspicion. He also looks suspiciously like Walter Linton, the surviving Linton twin who escaped them and was supposed to have died in France. While Rhys was at his club, Mouton was putting bets on the Ice Princess with anyone able to seduce her winning the bet. To avoid suspicion himself, Rhys agrees to put a bet as the others encourages him. The men know of his past and apparently, Rhys has done such things then. At present, the whole thing makes Rhys sick but he has no other options left. Anyway, I didn’t see much about Rhys’s family, only that he doesn’t have a good relationship with his father. I only learned about his sister from the first book, to whom he was supposed to suggest taking in one of the rescued girls from being sold in white slavery. There is this ball that both Rhys and Amanda attend. It seems like Mouton has approached Amanda more than once already and she has already spurned him. In this ball, they follow Mouton, who meets with some other guy in some room secretly. From their words (as Rhys and Amanda eavesdrop from the next room), it’s clear that they’re aiming to do something bad and Mouton’s special target is Amanda. It scares the hell out of her and Rhys is concerned how to enhance her safety. When they were discussing all these, the hostess of the ball catches them together. Oh she is in horror and spews some bad words to them. But Rhys jumps in to save Amanda’s reputation, by telling her that Amanda is engaged to him. Even though they are saved somehow from this trouble, Amanda is not happy with the progress of the evening. She is feeling vulnerable, and not all of her thoughts were without logic IMO, such as: she was afraid that once the novelty wore off, Rhys would be on his merry way again and cheat on her, leaving her miserable. At least that’s what his reputation tells her.

It was Rhys who explains her aunt and Elise about it all. Claire isn’t all unhappy and Rhys ensures her that he’d try his best to make Amanda happy. There was no time to invite Mark and Cassandra since the marriage now has to be hasty with a special license. Without any other option, Amanda gives in as a ‘martyr’. Only Elise is totally happy. They marry soon enough. Rhys becomes impatient to start their wedding night but that wasn’t going to happen anytime soon! They both argue about things, especially Amanda saying stupid things to Rhys: like she wants to annul the marriage, making him mad. She makes a mess of it by spewing out her vulnerability in the wrong way possible. Rhys leaves without consummating their marriage. Afterwards, Rhys had a plan, of which he said nothing to anyone, not even Farrington knew of this plan. He met with d’Eglantine who is also in white slavery. Rhys was determined to get into his fold and destroy them from within. But Rhys’s life wasn’t a happy place anymore since his emotional upheaval where Amanda was concerned took away a lot of his concentration and I felt for the guy, specifically when Amanda was being such a shrew herself and show nothing of the understanding he deserved. After their wedding night debacle, Rhys’s only thought was of destroying Les Centimes if he can. He would keep Amanda safe no matter what. And if he survives, he’d work hard on their relationship.

Amanda, in the meantime, was humiliated by Rhys’s abandonment of her. She was pretty sure he was wenching somewhere else, leaving her miserable already. I thought it serves her right for being such a b*tch! There were eyebrow-raising from her family and so on but either way, she had no idea where he was. When a few more days pass by, Amanda’s anger turns into fear. She was now scared for Rhys’s life, what if he’s been attacked and killed while working for her. Before their marriage, Rhys confessed to her about his working for the government and a bit about the incident that still haunts him. From that Amanda deduced that he must’ve been in love with Therese. This was another point why she was feeling vulnerable because Amanda already felt that she’s fallen in love with Rhys. Me? I can hardly credit anything that’s going on inside that brain of hers! Anyway, Rhys was working with d’Eglantine now, trying to prove himself a worthy partner in crime. They make him do a burn tattoo to mark him as their member. Mouton, who is obviously a member, is very eager to get his paws on Amanda and d’Eglantine asks Rhys to give them Amanda so that they can share her. After hearing all these and with the pain of the burn, Rhys becomes sick.

In the meantime, Farrington was also becoming very restless. No matter what Rhys things, the guy actually cares for him and feels guilty about what happened in France. He decides to meet Amanda and climbs her balcony (she was at her aunt’s) to be discreet. Amanda thought it was Rhys but sees this good looking man who introduces himself as Farrington. She recognizes him immediately. Farrington convinces her that he needs her help to get into this dirty gathering to help get more information that might help Rhys too. Amanda can’t pass a chance like that and so she dresses up like a courtesan, a dress brought by Farrington and accompanies him. Very surprisingly they find Rhys there and Amanda immediately thinks he’s been doing the dirty in there. She’s angry at him again! And Rhys is angry at them both, to Amanda for coming here and Farrington for convincing her. It’ll definitely ruin his plans and the pains he’s taken so far. See, what I meant by he’s the one who was logical throughout the book?! Anyway, I told you the book dragged on and on and on... and it did. They somehow leave the gathering, without encouraging much attention. Amanda feels Rhys is not well. They retire to this secret house, which the agents use when they need to hide. When Rhys asks Amanda to use some ladies cloth and change this skimpy dress, she immediately thinks he’s had other women here. At this point, both me and Rhys were frustrated by all these, especially with Amanda’s hissy fits at about anything he did, assumptions or otherwise. And you know what, they end up consummating their marriage like this, out of nowhere... leaving me kind of clueless about it. Wasn’t Rhys quite sick from his burn injuries? Eh, well... anyway, they start living in that house for couple of days, trying to be in harmony and making love. Farrington comes in with the news that plans of Les Centimes have been foiled but Mouton, or as now they’re sure of it, Linton and d’Eglantine have escaped again.

Soon afterwards, by co-incident, Amanda learns about Rhys’s bet on seducing her and more misunderstandings ensue. She escapes without giving Rhys a chance to explain himself. I mean after all that the man has done for you, all the trouble he’s gone through (putting up with you if I might add) and the way he made love, you didn’t even think twice that the man deserves a little chance? Someone save me from this utter misery! At that moment I just wanted this book to end. Anyway, more actions in the end but I’ll leave it there now. I just wasn’t into the book anymore and lost all my interest. Just know that Rhys takes more trouble on Amanda’s behalf, being injured once more to save her stupid arse. She was once again ... alone ... on a beach when Linton finds her... go figure! Anyway, I felt that Farrington was supposed to have his own book. Really, was he? What about Elise? It seemed like she had some trouble with her suitor too. Would they be a couple? I don’t even know if the series would continue but I might give it a try again if a new book comes out, especially if it’s Farrington’s. 3.5 stars.


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