Ripe for Pleasure by Isobel Carr
Publisher: Forever, Hachette Book Group
Length: Full Length (253 Pages)
Rating: 4 Cherries
Reviewed by Amaryllis
Second in line, first in love.
A secret society of younger sons, sworn to aid and abet each other, no matter the scandal or cost.... Their fathers and brothers may rule the world, but they run it . . . and when it comes to passion, they refuse to accept second best.
Searching for hidden treasure, finding forbidden fantasy.
London's most sensual former courtesan, Viola Whedon, is incapable of being seduced-she does the seducing. Until she meets Leonidas Vaughn. Her salacious memoirs have made her the target of half the lords in England, and Vaughn is the only man she can turn to. When he promises to protect her-and to make her beg for his touch-the alluring beauty finds both offers impossible to refuse.
Leonidas Vaughn secretly believes Viola possesses a fortune given to his family by the King of France. So the strong and sexy Vaughn charms his way into Viola's life . . . and her bed. But when their arrangement is consummated, he'll experience pleasure far beyond his wildest fantasies-and realize his heart may need the most protection of all.
A blackmailing heroine locks horns with a lying hero on a mission and the sparks fly. I liked the premise of Ripe for Pleasure very much. It has a grittiness that is different and is a romance with a no excuses, less-than-pure heroine. I found it very refreshing. Viola is intelligent and worldly with a hard exterior just as one would expect from her life experience. Her character seems perfectly crafted to show a woman in her times making due with few choices. Despite being presented as a blackmailer, she’s a very likable character and she treats the hero well considering all their differences.
Yes, the hero, Leo, lies to the heroine and those lies place her in danger. However one has to keep in mind, he’s a hero to a woman who is blackmailing her former protectors. He’s a man trying to catch our heroine in her underhanded tactics. So one has to take things in their relative state. And he feels bad later about having placed her in danger. He’s certainly has the other traits of a historical hero, he’s charming, sexy and alpha.
Ms. Carr does an excellent job of highlighting the class differences between Viola and Leo’s families. She creates a beautiful, lush historical world while her prose and style are intriguing and draw the reader in. The external factors like The League of Second Sons are given little of the spotlight in this story but that is exactly what I would expect. The focus is on the erotic and romantic relationship between hero and heroine, exactly as it should be in a shorter erotic romance.
The sexual part of the plot had one nit. For some reason the initial sexual consummation between Leo and Viola is not shown, only referred to after the fact. I found that a little jarring and felt thereafter like I had just caught a train while it was running and was struggling to gain my bearings in the story. But that sense faded fairly fast, though I still felt sort of cheated at not getting to see the start of their affair. The sexual scenes are more sensual than emotional. It works for this story and these characters. It’s easy to see how Viola and Leo are right for each other they just have a cooler emotional effect when they come together than another pair of characters might. The sexual scenes are sexy and written to a spicy level of heat. Those scenes are the heart and soul of Ripe for Pleasure, just as it should be for an erotic romance.
Viola’s dog Pen is a charming companion and added a nice, lighthearted touch. Leo’s sister Beau is a charming character and one I am looking forward to hearing more about in the next book, Ripe for Scandal. I thought that Leo restrained himself too long in dealing with the villain. I didn’t totally buy that he had to because the villain was family. There’s a nice clever twist at the end that I liked very much.
Overall this was a fast-paced, sexy read and I recommend it to anyone looking for something different and spicy in a historical romance. I will certainly read Ripe for Scandal.