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 whip-smart, 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. Too bad 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?
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The Study of Seduction (The Sinful Suitors)
Edwin Barlow is not thrilled that his good friend has asked him to keep an eye on his cousin, Clarissa, while he leaves the country. Though Edwin likes Clarissa well enough, he knows that she’s very opinionated, and won’t take kindly to having a baby sitter. But Clarissa has a persistent suitor who won’t take “no” for an answer, and has become somewhat of a problem. With that in mind, Clarissa reluctantly agrees to Edwin’s escort.
Clarissa is the victim of a violent attack in her past which has had many repercussions, including leaving Clarissa feeling guilty and unworthy of marriage. She hides all this emotion under a light and flirtatious facade, while declaring that she has no intention to ever marry. Edwin, on the other hand is actively seeking a wife, and is anxious to produce an heir for his earldom. He isn’t looking for love, just a congenial match with someone totally unlike Clarissa.
As soon as Clarissa begins to attend social events again, the unwanted suitor, Count Geraud Durand, begins to follow her and press his suit. Edwin and Clarissa concoct a fake engagement, hoping that will finally put a halt to his pursuit, but it only seems to make him more determined. When Durand resorts to threats and blackmail, Edwin suggests marriage. In truth Edwin has always found Clarissa very attractive, but has considered her off limits. Eventually, Clarissa agrees, though she insists that the marriage start out in name only.
I totally love Edwin. He is honest, plain-spoken, and caring. Though he desperately desires his new wife, (“He wanted to sink into her like a warm bath.” Whew!) he respects her wishes, though her hot and cold reactions are making him a little crazy. Clarissa is surprised to find how much she enjoys Edwin’s kisses and caresses, but she still panics when things start to progress further than that. She knows she has to tell Edwin the whole truth about her past, but she is finding this very hard to do. Despite Edwin’s dislike of lies, there is still something he hasn’t confessed to Clarissa either, something that Durand has threatened to expose.
THE STUDY OF SEDUCTION is one of those wonderful books that flows along effortlessly. The characters are likeable, and the mystery intriguing. I was rooting for Edwin and Clarissa to finally come to the point of trusting each other, and confessing their secrets. Watching this unlikely couple find love and passion was a sweet experience. I thoroughly enjoyed this book two of the Sinful Suitors series, and I feel that it’s one of Sabrina Jeffries’ best. Highly recommended.