Is to ruin the man she loves…
But Jessica is a courtesan, not the genteel lady Sir Mark believes. Desperate to be free of a life she despises, she seizes her chance when Mark's enemies make her an offer she can't refuse: seduce Mark and tarnish his good name, and a princely sum will be hers. Yet as she comes to know the man she's sworn to destroy, Jessica will be forced to choose between the future she needs…and the love she knows is impossible.
Unveiled, the first book featuring the Turner brothers, is on my Best of 2011 list, and I was prepared to love Unclaimed just as much.
Unclaimed in the story of Sir Mark Turner, a man who has written a book on male chastity, A Gentleman’s Practical Guide to Chasity. Sir Mark is respected for his opinions on this subject, and the notoriety of such a best seller follows him everywhere. A man from humble origins, his stock has gone up in the world considerably. But Mark doesn't really want any of that.
Jessica Farleigh is a courtesan desperate to change her life. She's disenchanted and wants to escape to the country where she can depend only on herself. She accepts a wager from her former protector, George Weston, to seduce Sir Mark Turner. Once she provides proof to Weston, she'll receive funds and be on her merry way. So Jessica integrates herself into Mark's hometown, where she knows he's visiting. The only problem with the seduction is that she flinches whenever Mark moves to touch her.
Mark and Jessica become friends, and Mark is successful in transforming the townsfolks' opinions and treatment of Jessica as a "fallen woman." There is considerable sexual tension brewing between the two of them, which surprised Jessica because she had always believed Mark an innocent. (He's chaste but not innocent.)
“I want. I lust. I desire.” He scrubbed his hand through sandy blond hair at that, shaking his head. “No. You’re right. You don’t deserve euphemisms. I want you. I lust after you. I desire you. ”
She might have been the only woman in the world, pinned by his gaze.
“But what I don’t do is act.”
Unclaimed was a good addition to this series, though I didn't fall in love with it like Unveiled, and I'm excited to see what Smite's book, Unraveled, will bring to this series.
(A very special thank you to Harlequin and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of Unclaimed.)