ORDER A COPY: Too Tempting to Resist (Lords of Midnight)
Publishing Date: April 24, 2012
Paperback: 368 pages
Rating: 5 stars
In the Wolf’s Lair . . .Determined to stop her wayward brother from squandering their dwindling fortune, Lady Eliza Brentford decides to follow him to his favorite den of depravity. There, among the candlelight and raucous revelry, she encounters her brother’s role model in debauchery, the notorious Marquess of Haddan, Gryffin Dwight. Staring into his smoldering green eyes, Eliza can’t help but find the rakehell nobleman seductively charming-and sinfully attractive.
In a Lover’s Paradise . . .When Gryffin appears on Eliza’s estate as a guest of her brother, a stolen kiss among the garden’s blooms leads to a night of unbridled passion. Suddenly the lovely widow feels herself opening up, like the petals of a rose. Could this master of seduction possibly feel true emotion for Eliza? Or is he leading her down the garden path to an Eden of delights no woman can resist-and a fall no woman can escape?
Gryffin Owain Dwight, the Marquees of Haddan, also known through certain circles as one of the notorious Hellhounds. Gryff has worked hard over the years to earn his reputation of gambling and debauchery. He would rather not let those of his acquaintance know that he is publishing a book on the language of flowers. He has kept his interest in botany and landscaping private. All he needs now is to find a talented illustrator for his book so that they can begin printing his novel of essays.
Lady Eliza Brentford is trying her best to keep her brother from gambling away the family fortune. She has survived one unfortunate marriage for the good the family, and she refuses to be sold to another future husband to refill her brother’s pockets. She has a plan to escape from her brother’s household and buy herself a little cottage in the Lake County. She just needs a little more time. As her brother refuses to stop his outrageous lifestyle, Eliza realizes she must use her painting talents to earn the monies necessary to make her dreams a reality.
A chance encounter with Gryff during a house party begins an affair which brings Eliza more joy and pleasure than she has known before. She wants to let go of convention and enjoy her Hellhound before she needs to face reality and leave before her brother starts making plans which will destroy her future.
Once again Cara Elliott creates a remarkable heroine who defies the standard convention of her time. Eliza is passionate and talented and self-assured enough to try and take control of her own future. It is quite enjoyable to watch Gryff seduce the young widow and in turn be seduced by her passions for life.
The antagonist in this story is Lord Brighton who is so creepy and sleazy that I want to take a shower after spending time with him in the story, and you just want to punch out Eliza’s brother for trying to force his sister to marry this vile man just to save his own hide.
This was another great novel from Cara Elliott and I am so enjoying her presentation of historical heroines who are above and beyond the usual boring ladies. Where Pride and Prejudice gave us Lizzy Bennet who was lively and defiant for her time, Cara Elliott takes her heroines just a little bit further. Lizzy Bennet wanted to marry someone who would take her for her small dowry. Cara Elliott’s heroines take control of their own future and defy convention of the time to try to earn their own income to take care of themselves.
I am looking forward to meeting the woman who will take down the last Hellhound, Cameron, in the last book of the trilogy.
Received ARC from netgalley.com, courtesy of the publisher. Thank you.
Check out my interview with Cara Elliott for more on her novels.
“Oh.” Her eyes fell on a handsome gold frame lying face upon the sideboard. “Oh, my goodness, that looks to be a watercolor by Redouté.”
Gryff backed up a step, allowing her to brush past him.
She smiled as she touched the gilded wood, and he felt the breath catch in his throat.
It was as if the sun had scudded out from behind a scrim of clouds.
Her eyes warmed with a luminous light, and as her lashes lowered, he saw they were not mouse brown, but tipped with gold highlights. A glow seemed to suffuse her skin as well, brightening its lightly bronzed hue and accentuating the sculpted cheekbones that slanted slightly upward. On seeing a faint dappling of freckles on her nose, Gryff decided that she must spend a good deal of time outdoors.
It was a memorable face—not precisely pretty, but striking. Unique. Unlike to many of the London beauties, who all looked as though they had been cut from the same piece of pasteboard.
“D-do you think Miss Hawkins would mind if I shifted the glass just a touch? I should dearly like to see the texture of the paper he uses, and the detail of his brushwork.”
“Go right ahead.” A lady who recognized Redouté’s work? “I am quite sure Sara won’t have any objections.”
Eliza began fumbling with the fastening of her gloves.
“Here, allow me.” Gryff took one of her hands and carefully worked the tiny buttons free. Turning back the hem, he peeled the soft kidskin from her fingers. They were slim and graceful, yet he sensed a certain strength to them.
“Now the other one,” he demanded, taking hold of it before she could demure. “These feminine items of dress can be cursedly complicated to remove. But as you see, I have some expertise in the matter.”
A deep blush colored her cheeks, turning her skin nearly as red as the painted rose.
This time, after folding back the leather, he stopped. Trouble–trouble in the form of a small peek of smooth bare flesh—was string him in the face. He inhaled, savoring the sweet, subtle scent of lavender and honeysuckle. The perfume tickled his nostrils, drawing him down, down, down…
“S-sir!” She pulled her wrist away from his lips, but not before he had tasted the beguiling softness of her skin.