Title: Pleasures of a Tempted Lady
Author: Jennifer Haymore
Availability: July 31, 2012 (Grand Central Publishing), mass market paperback and e-book
Summary: (book blurb)
DANGEROUS DESIRE Captain William Langley knows the ocean well, but nothing could prepare him for what he discovers adrift on the cold Irish Sea. The tiny boat carries two passengers: a child–and Meg Donovan, Will’s long-lost love. Meg’s disappearance at sea eight years ago was a devastating blow. Now she’s back, as beautiful as ever, and with secrets as deep as Will’s own . . .
After years held captive by a cold-blooded pirate, Meg has finally escaped with little Jake, the boy she’s come to love as if he were her own. But the pirate wants his revenge–and Meg must do whatever it takes to shield Jake from the madman. Determined not to lose Meg again, Will vows to protect them both, yet Meg can’t risk putting the only man she’s ever loved in danger. With the threat to her safety growing, and her passion for Will burning brighter every day, surrendering herself to Will might be a pleasure too tempting to resist . . .
Everything he had he poured into her in a silent, hopeful message. Love me, Meg. Love me like I love you.
Captain Will Langley is a good guy. Simple as that.
You’d be hard pressed to find a romance hero who put up with so much and remained so steadfastly devoted for eight long years. If you’ve read the first installment on the Donovan sisters series, Confessions of an Improper Bride, you are familiar with Will’s story. If you haven’t (like me!) Ms. Haymore does a great job quickly bringing the reader up to speed. I didn’t feel lost at all, something I really appreciated.
Since Will last saw this Meg, he’s been duped by Meg’s mother, betrayed by her twin sister, and had the rug pulled out from under him by learning of Meg’s ‘death’ years after it happened. Even then, Will was so devoted to his love for Meg, he remained celibate for another two years (for a grand total of eight!). Still the poor guy can’t catch a break from the Donovan sisters. Will had one drunken indiscretion years before their betrothal (well, technically it was his betrothal to her twin Serena… or maybe to their mother? It’s confusing…). In my opinion Meg blew the entire situation out out of proportion, constantly dwelling on what she saw as a betrayal, yet ignoring her own guilt. Will was open and honest with Meg about his situation from the very beginning –something she, however, failed to appreciate or reciprocate.
When Will implausibly found Meg adrift in the Irish Sea, her first response, rather than the relief one would expect at being rescued –by her long-lost love, no less!– was to lie. Meg Donovan is one of those annoying heroines who unrealistically feels she has to protect those she loves from the forces of evil that are out to get her.
One woman, who’s been kidnapped and forced to live as a companion and governess for years, is a better match against a marauding pirate than her retired naval captain love, her two titled brothers-in-law (an Earl and a Duke), the British government and the Royal Navy itself? I think the salt air effected Meg’s brain.
Will spends the majority of the book trying to earn Meg’s trust and love. Rather sad, really. Luckily his perseverance pays off – all Will had to do was almost die saving Meg’s young ward Jake from a situation Meg’s over-reaction and ‘protection’ had engineered.
Meg’s sister Jessica featured prominently in the story, involving herself in the pirate hunting adventure. I thoroughly enjoyed Jessica’s side-story romance. In fact, I preferred it. Jessica’s love affair was filled with mutual respect, banter and sexual tension. Meg and Will’s fell flat by comparison.
I have copies of the preceding Donovan sister books, Confessions of an Improper Bride and Secrets of an Accidental Duchess that I will get around to reading at some point –if for no other reason than to see if the sisters Olivia and Phoebe actually have personalities, since in this book they were little more than background scenery.
In the end, it was a decent read with an upstanding (and under appreciated) hero who was unfortunately saddled with an annoying ninny of a heroine. Not liking Meg made it hard for me to like this book. If she’d wised up sooner –and cut Will some slack!– Pleasures of a Tempted Lady would have earned a higher rating from me.
*ARC received from publisher via netgalley*