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Wicked Seduction (Berkley Sensation) Mass Market Paperback – March 1, 2011
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Kit is returning to England after a seven year absence and he knows he is a different man. He was believed dead but actually was captured and sold into slavery for three years. He escaped and roamed the seas for four more years before returning to England. He arrives unexpectedly at his pompous cousin's house. His cousin, a rich Earl, did not pay his ransom when Kit was first kidnapped and a scuffle ensues between the men in front of a ladies' tea party.
Maddy is enchanted with Kit as soon as she meets him. She thinks he is the most incredible man she has ever met and she is correct. He is incredible, incredibly brave, forthright and handsome. When it appears he and his servant (really a rescued boy) have no place to go she offers up her uncle's home.
Maddy lives with her cousin Rose and her uncle by marriage and they have a rather strange family dynamic. Rose is young and immature and spoiled too but she is not heartless more oblivious. Maddy is the poor relation living with them taking on several duties like chaperoning Rose and keeping the household accounts.
Kit trusts Maddy implicitly and he desperately needs someone to lean on as he is overwhelmed with his memories and his broken life. The scenes between these two are very well written and Maddy's compassion and strength cannot be overstated. She is a gentle but unmovable force in Kit's life. Kit though is frightened of himself and worse he worries about his actions with Maddy. He suffers horrible post traumatic stress and his anger and resentment are powerful emotions.
This story unfolds in a beautiful fashion. Maddy is a truly admirable heroine, unselfish, principled, patient with her younger cousin and with Kit. She perhaps is a little too patient, I would have been exasperated with Rose within a day. Her touch and words are healing and Kit begins to find a way past his hurt and violent past. I loved this story from beginning to end. There are plenty of romantic encounters (they are a steamy couple) but also great are the scenes that are softer with the leads comforting and consoling each other over their losses that are just as passionate and heart felt.
RRAH's THOUGHTS AND PONDERINGS:
I've been so eager to read this book. WICKED SEDUCTION is a sequel to WICKED SURRENDER, and I highly recommend you read the prequel first. In order for you to understand our hero and his state of mind, his life before he gets thrown onto the ship bound for colonies, you need to know who he was and what he went through. I expected Kit's story to be good, but the story that unfolded was AMAZING!
When first we meet our hero (in WICKED SURRENDER), he's a fun loving and adorable young man, full of love for an actress by the name of Scheherazade. He loves this woman to distraction and, against all reason and his family's approval, means to marry her and give her the respectability she craves. Scheherazade, on the other hand, likes Kit, but is in love with his cousin Brandon, who can't offer her marriage in spite of his feelings for her, for the simple reason that he's already secretly married.
As their wedding approaches, Kit gets hurt, and while Scheherazade tries to help him heal, his family plots to separate the two. They manage to get Kit away from her and pronounce him dead.
It's seven years later, and Kit's finally ready to return to England. The first glimpse we get of him, we know this is not the same man. This Kit is someone else entirely. In place of a happy-go-lucky man, we meet a man tortured physically, as well as emotionally. Slowly, we get to know exactly what he went through in the hands of those that captured him and made him a slave. After three years as a slave, and four years of wandering aimlessly trying to heel himself, Kit is ready to face his past. He's ready to face Sher, the only thing that kept him alive through years of torture.
Before he heads for England, he decides to get revenge on the slavers, and this is where he rescues Alex, a young man captured and bound on a slave ship. The rescue scenes were so well written and fast paced, I found myself jumping from excitement! Once Kit arrives at his cousin's house and finds out that he refused to pay his ransom, all hell breaks loose, and that's when he meets Maddy, his Angel.
Maddy is intrigued by the handsome pirate. When it appears that Kit and Alex have nowhere to go, she offers them a safe haven at her uncle's home, even though she's only the poor relation in that household. Her uncle has been relying on her heavily to keep his home and to prepare his daughter Rose for marriage. Rose is very young and spoiled, but not mean. She's oblivious to anything that doesn't concern her.
The scenes between Kit and Maddy are heartwarming and full of emotion. Maddy's strength and compassion are exactly what Kit needs at this point in his life. The only thing that keeps him from fully committing to Maddy is his fear of hurting her when he's in one of his post traumatic `fits'. Maddy understands this, but she's helpless as time is running out on her stay with her Uncle, who's proposed she becomes his mistress after Rose marries. Rose, however, has plans of her own for our hero. She aims to marry the fierce pirate and is scheming to that end.
There are so many well-written scenes in this book that I'm hard pressed to choose one; but the one in which Kit comes face-to-face with Scher will stay with me awhile (and I quote):
"Kit found his footing, but his world was teetering out of control. His vision wasn't even clear as the lawn seemed to bob and weave before him. He was sinking in an ocean of emotions as wave after wave of fury swamped his consciousness. Never before had he come face-to-face with all he'd lost.
'Kit!' It was Maddy's voice, a single high note of worry, but it did little to beat back the tide.
He thought he'd dealt with everything that had happened. He thought he'd come to accept his lot in life, but now he saw so clearly what had been stolen from him. It wasn't that he wanted Scheherazade. As a woman, she was little more than a memory for him. But her life, her children, her obvious joy in all that surrounded her- that is what he'd lost the day his bastard cousin had thrown him onto a boat.
`That boy,' he rasped as he stumbled in the direction of the back house door. `He should have been mine. This life!' He spun wildly, trying to indicate the house, the grounds, the joy he saw in every line of Scher's pregnant body. This life was mine!'"
That scene was worth the wait. I literally read this book holding my breath while witnessing Kit's struggle to overcome the horrors of his captivity.
There's not a thing that I didn't like about WICKED SEDUCTION, and there's a lot to recommend it. All the characters, secondary included, were very vivid, extremely well-developed, and the romance full of tender moments. I liked the interaction between Kit and Maddy, and I would be remiss not to mention the love scenes!
WICKED SEDUCTION is one book that you won't be able to put down `till you're done.
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