LORDS OF PASSION by Virginia Henley, Kate Pearce, Maggie Robinson (Anthology)

lordsPUBLISHER: Brava, 12/2010
GENRE: Fiction/Historical Romance Anthology

FROM PUBLISHER: This dazzling new historical collection delivers a trio of heroes who are bold, dashing, and unforgettable in every way. . .

Beauty and the Brute by Virginia Henley
It's been three years since Lady Sarah Caversham set eyes on arrogant Charles Lennox--the husband her father chose for her to settle a gambling debt. Now Charles has returned, unaware that the innocent ingénue he wed is determined to turn their marriage of convenience into a blissfully passionate affair. . .

MY THOUGHTS: Story takes place in England in 1719. I'm not sure about the timespan. The heroine is Sarah, sixteen, blond and blue eyed. The hero is Charles, twenty-one, dark haired and brown eyed. They are forced to marry three years before, at the ages of thirteen and eighteen, and have been estranged for three years. Charles returns after being gone and is instantly attracted to his wife, who, apparently, looks much different than she did when last he saw her.

I didn't care for this story at all. I was bored the whole time. Charles and Sarah got along pretty well. I didn't feel much attraction on Sarah's part. She wants to get revenge on her husband for being rude to her when they first met by getting him to fall in love with her. When he does, she then tells him she wants to be a wife in name only, like before. They're estranged for a short while then get back together. Boring! The heroes sister, Anne, is featured throughout and ends up getting married. I couldn't have cared less about her. This is a short story and should have been about hero and heroine only. I wouldn't be interested in reading more about this couple or any of the secondary characters if they ever got their own books in the future. 

I grade this story a C/3 stars.

How to Seduce a Wife by Kate Pearce
Louisa March's new husband, Nicholas, is a perfect gentleman in bed--much to her disappointment. She longs for the kind of fevered passion found in her beloved romance novels. But when she dares him to seduce her properly, she discovers that Nicholas is more than ready to meet her challenge, over and over again. . .

MY THOUGHTS: This was my favorite of the three stories and was the most sexually graphic. It too was the shortest story. It takes place in England in 1816. It ties in to her Simply series. Unfortunately because it was so short it never really could get going. The couples ages weren't given but Nicholas is six years older than his wife. The hero and heroine aren't that compatable sexually. The hero, Nicholas March, sets out to seduce his wife, Louisa. They end up at the House of Pleasure, as featured in the Simply series, and reenact an abduction scene from a romance novel the heroine had been reading. The sex is very explicit and it loved it.  

I grade this story an A/5 stars.

Not Quite a Courtesan by Maggie Robinson
Sensible bluestocking Prudence Thorn has been too busy keeping her cousin Sophy out of trouble to experience any adventures of her own. But when Sophy begs Prudence's help in saving her marriage, Pru encounters handsome, worldly Darius Shaw. And under Darius's skilled tutelage, Pru learns just how delightful a little scandal can be. . .

MY THOUGHTS: This story was pretty enjoyable and explicit. I liked the hero and heroine and thought they made a good pair. At the end, I didn't like that after knowing each other only four days they decided to marry in six months. 

I grade this an A-/4.75 stars.

A SENSE OF SIN by Elizabeth Essex

PUBLISHER: Brava, 4/2011
GENRE: Fiction/Historical Romance
SETTING: England, 1794
SERIES: Darthmouth Brides, #2

FROM PUBLISHER: He Could Be Her Ruin - After a shocking letter and then a mysterious warning about the dangers of unworthy men, Celia Burke is on edge. With her precarious position in society, the merest look could tear her reputation to tatters. And the roguish viscount pursuing her seems interested in far more than just a look...

She Could Be His Salvation - Rupert 'Del' Delacorte, Viscount Darling, believes the ravishing Miss Celia Burke played some part in his beloved sister's death. Looking for revenge, he swears he'll seduce and ruin her - without actually touching her. Yet to win Celia's trust and ignite her passions, Delacorte must open his hardened heart to her - and in the process, risk falling for the very woman he hoped to destroy...

MY THOUGHTS: The hero is Del, twenty-six. He's got blond hair and blue eyes. The heroine is twenty year old Celia, who has dark hair and brown eyes. She's studying botany secretly but her father knows about it. She went to school with Del's younger sister, Emily, until Emily's suicide a year and a before.

I liked the plot of the hero, Del, wanting to get revenge on the heroine, Celia for something he thinks she's done. What I don't like about it is him believing Celia has played a part in his sister's suicide when there's really no reason to believe that. Without giving too much away, there was a rumor going around that involved Celia and Emily. Celia and Del are both being blackmailed by the same person, they find out later.

I doesn't make sense to have Del wanting to get revenge on someone he claims to hate by seducing her. If you hate someone why would you, how could you, want to have sex with them?

When it's revealed who the blackmailer(s) is, I was real disappointed. I thought the author could have been a bit more creative with that. I had trouble understanding why Celia was considering paying off the blackmailer(s) when she hadn't done anything wrong.

I could feel Del's attraction for Celia but I couldn't detect any attraction from her for Del. There love wasn't believable to me at all. Their rushed marriage wasn't either. Their characters were underdeveloped, as were everyone's. We got a tiny bit of backstory for Del but nothing for Celia.

The ending was very, and I mean very abrupt. It came so quick I was left a bit stunned. I actually had to go back and read the previous page to see if I'd missed something. I thought I'd accidentally skipped a few pages. 

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed in this novel. I liked the revenge plot but it seemed to turn into a non revenge plot as soon as the lead couple met. It was like the author changed her mind and decided to drop the revenge plot.

Comment about the cover. I really like her blue dress. I'm pretty sure though that the hero on the cover has dark hair when Del had blond.

I received this in exchange for an honest review.