Don't Tempt Me by Loretta Chase
Series: Fallen Women #2
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: June 30th 2009
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Spunky English girl overcomes impossible odds and outsmarts heathen villains.
That's the headline when Zoe Lexham returns to England. After twelve years in the exotic east, she's shockingly adept in the sensual arts. She knows everything a young lady shouldn't and nothing she ought to know. She's a walking scandal, with no hope of a future . . . unless someone can civilize her.
Lucien de Grey, the Duke of Marchmont, is no knight in shining armor. He's cynical, easily bored, and dangerous to women. He charms, seduces, and leaves them—with parting gifts of expensive jewelry to dry their tears. But good looks, combined with money and rank, makes him welcome everywhere. The most popular bachelor in the Beau Monde can easily save Zoe's risqué reputation . . . if the wayward beauty doesn't lead him into temptation, and a passion that could ruin them both.
For some reason, books by Loretta Chase are really hard for me to review. I don’t know why that is, exactly, but I’ve had this one sitting here for a month and haven’t been able to finish it. Instead of slaving over it anymore, I’m just going ramble on and see what happens.
One of the things Chase does extremely well is dialogue. There is always excellent dialogue between her characters. Not just between Zoe and Marchmont in this case, but also between Zoe and her maid, her sisters and her father, plus Marchmont with his friends and the members of Zoe’s family. Their quick-witted banter often saved this from becoming long or drawn out.
I really adored Zoe. She was a no-nonsense girl who had grown up in an unconventional world. As a result she isn’t afraid to stand up for what she wants or speak her mind. As this is a historical novel, that was rather refreshing. Even more so since Marchmont didn’t know what to do with her half the time; generally he struggled between wanting to kiss her and wanting to kill her.
Marchmont was harder to pin down. I think the problem with him is that he was a study in contradictions. In the beginninng we’e led to believe he’s a lost, tortured soul. But as the novel progresses he seems more lazy and indolent than anything else. Toward the end Chase tried to bring him back to the darkness of the beginning, but it fell kind of flat for me.
That isn’t to say I didn’t like him. Because I did. Quite a bit, actually. He was sweet and sensitive, and the way he couldn’t resist Zoe was priceless. I just didn’t buy that he was a dark, tortured soul in need of saving. More one who needed to grow up and accept responsibility for his actions.
In that I think Zoe and Marchmont really complimented each other. She was able to give him the push he needed to stand up and do the right thing and he was able to support her and show her that she was safe. I really loved their chemistry and how well they fit together – both in the bedroom and out of it.
The secondary characters really added extra flavor to the story. Zoe’s sisters especially cracked me up. I wouldn’t have wanted to live with them, but reading about their hysterics and theatrics was priceless.
The mystery angle that popped up toward the end just seemed like filler. I honestly don’t think it served a purpose other than adding more conflict to Zoe and Marchmont’s relationship and forcing him to grow up a bit. Otherwise it seemed more over the top than anything. (Though I will say that bathtub scene toward the end really got me.)
Overall I enjoyed the witty banter and sweetness of Zoe and Marchmont’s relationship, though this wasn’t the best Chase has to offer.
3.5 out of 5