The Study of Seduction by Sabrina Jeffries
Overview by Publisher:
A marriage of convenience ignites into a passionate love affair in the hotly anticipated second novel in New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Sabrina Jeffries’s addictive Sinful Suitors series!
When Edwin Barlow, the Earl of Blakeborough, agrees to help his best friend’s impetuous ward, Lady Clarissa Lindsey, in her time of need, he knows he’s in for trouble. He’s been hunting for someone to wed, and she’ll just get in the way. Although captivated by the witty, free-spirited beauty, he fears she’d be all wrong as a wife…if she would even take such a gruff cynic for her husband. Yet he wants nothing more than to have her for his own.
Clarissa has no intention of marrying anyone—not Edwin, whom she’s sure would be an overbearing husband, and certainly not the powerful French diplomat stalking her. But when matters escalate with the diplomat, she chooses Edwin’s gallant offer of a marriage between friends in hopes that it will deter her stalker. She expects nothing more than an amiable union, but their increasingly tempestuous kisses prove more than she bargained for. When her stalker’s vow to expose the lovers’ deepest secrets threatens to destroy their blossoming attraction, will their tenuous bond withstand public ruin, or will Edwin lose all that’s important to him to protect his bride?
I really loved this book! I found Clarissa and Edwin to be great characters and the plot was just so interesting!
Clarissa has been out in society for a while. She has no intention of marrying, but has to fend off the very persistent attentions of the French Ambassador, Count Durant. Her cousin has to leave England to help her brother on the continent, so Edwin has been entrusted with keeping her safe.
From the start there is passion between the two. At first, it’s expressed through frustration and snippy remarks, but neither can deny to themselves that they are interested and attracted to the other. I like this trope – not quite enemies, but forced into companions and partners. Edwin is different than most men of his ilk. He is quiet, studious and blatantly forthright. Clarissa on the other hand, is the life of the party. She is witty and enchanting and has the ton by the tail. I really enjoyed how they balanced each other out. While Edwin was uncomfortable and stilted in society with small talk, Clarissa supported him and eased his way. I liked that Sabrina Jeffries didn’t emasculate Edwin by having Clarissa help him, rather they were on equal footing.
They make a deal. Edwin will accompany her and protect her and Clarissa will help him find a wife. As the reader, you just know that of course they are perfect for each other and the fun part is watching how it happens.
The Count is extremely persistent. He forces Clarissa and Edwin to fake an engagement, which becomes reality. But we know that they are secretly excited to spend time with each other as they get to know one another better. Clarissa has a reason to remain unmarried. Her traumatic past has made her convinced that remaining a spinster is her only option.
When her stalker forces an actual marriage to happen, Edwin and Clarissa must navigate married life. I loved how Edwin met Clarissa’s fears and worked to help her overcome them. I think the trust she puts in him was one of the best ways I have seen intimacy develop between a couple in a romance book. Plus, Edwin was hot once he stopped talking about his automons! I think it helped that I really liked both characters and I wanted them to be safe from the Count.
Sabrina Jeffries is always a stellar choice when selecting a historical romance book. You really can’t go wrong with her work as she is consistent with her development of a great romance story that has you enchanted. It was great to read about characters from other novels in the series as they enhanced the story.