Setting: England, 1727
A reluctant heiress resigned to her fate… Mary Elizabeth Edwardes has one of the largest fortune’s in England, but has no desire to leave her quiet country existence… and even less to acquire a husband she cannot choose for herself.
A dissolute nobleman bent on retribution… Trapped in a duplicitous existence since scandal destroyed his fortune and family name, Lord Hadley Blanchard has spent the better part of a decade posing as a disaffected exile while spying and seducing in the service of the English Crown.
A dangerous game of seduction, and intrigue… When summoned from abroad by a former lover, Lord Hadley perceives an opportunity for vengeance at last. By employing the full measure of his seductive charm, he woos the ward of the man who destroyed his life, little knowing that winning Mary’s fortune will mean risking his own treacherous heart.
TREACHEROUS TEMPTATIONS was very much inspired by the dark and romantic novels of the 18th century in which virtue vs. vice and plots to despoil virgins were very popular themes, books like Clarissa Harlowe by Samuel Richardson or Les Liaisons Dangereuses by LaClos. Similar to these classic tales, my story features an innocent country girl who, unlike the former heroines, is neither insipid nor naive, but still inadvertently becomes a pawn in a deadly game of revenge and intrigue.
Treacherous Temptations is Victoria Vane’s first full-length historical erotic romance. Having read and rhapsodised over her The Devil DeVere series, I couldn’t wait to read this ‘Dangerous Liaisons’ inspired book. Ms Vane never disappoints and this book was no exception. She weaves a sensual tale of scandal, treachery, intrigue, love and redemption.
Once again, I was swept back into the Georgian era with all its elegance, opulence and decadence which Ms Vane captures so perfectly. Her writing is always evocative, emotive, sensual and delightfully wicked. I chose this excerpt because, for me, it perfectly illustrates her descriptive flair.
With the arrival of dusk, however, the true Venice awakened. Donning her gilded and be-jeweled bauta, she revealed her soul beneath a thousand torches lighting the canals with sputtering brilliance over shimmering waters. With countless covered gondolas affording floating places of refuge for sinful delights, she reveled in all of her concupiscent glory.
Ms Vane did an excellent job of showing Hadley’s gradual journey from a man whose life had degenerated into an endless pursuit of every excess and dissipation to someone who regains his honour, his ideals and his self-respect. I think I saw redemptive qualities in Hadley from the moment he interrupted Mary’s dancing lesson with the obnoxious French dancing teacher, Monsieur Gaspar, and sent him off with the proverbial flea in his ear. He was unaware of Mary’s true identity and simply championed a young lady being bullied.
When he discovers who Mary is, he initially sees her not only as the means to a large fortune but also a instrument of revenge against her guardian, Sir Richard, the man he holds responsible for stealing his inheritance. I loved watching his confusion when he finds himself developing feelings for her. Lust he can understand, but love is something that is completely beyond his comprehension.
She brought his hand to her mouth, kissing his palm, an artless act that had a startling affect.
Feeling unbalanced and terrorized, Hadley closed his eyes in an effort to shut her out, but the insidious and unwanted flare of feeling would not be ignored.
Hadley is the perfect hero (maybe not quite up there with DeVere, but then who is!). He’s charming, thoughtful, charismatic, seductive and protective.
How I imagine Hadley
Mary is warm, engaging, headstrong and witty; a country girl at heart who prefers reading a book or long walks to the superficiality of London. I love her astute observation of society.
“I will never comprehend the fashionable people. They resemble nothing more than a muster of peacocks—preening, strutting, and gawking at one another. They smile and croon but few of them ever have a kind or sincere word.”
A complex mix of wisdom and innocence, she understands estate matters but is completely inexperienced when it comes to men. So it’s no wonder she can’t resist Hadley’s seductive ways.
The warmth of his hands seemed to permeate the many layers of silk and linen that separated them as if the barriers didn’t exist. His voice, his touch, his subtle masculine scent combined to fill her senses, making her almost giddy. It was lovely. It was also terrifying.
How I imagine Mary
I loved the villainous secondary characters; the conniving, vindictive and depraved Barbara, Countess of Blanchard; Sir Richard, the fat, flatulent fool; Lord Barnesley, the libertine with his ‘little idiosyncrasies’. Their machinations certainly provided some interesting twists and turns.
Treacherous Temptations is definitely a worthy addition to my keeper shelf from one of my favourite authors.
SENSUALITY RATING: SIZZLING
Read January 2013
This ebook was kindly provided by the publisher Entangled in return for an honest review.