Tuesday, July 2, 2013

My review: Taken by the Duke by Jess Michaels

Happy release day to Jess Michaels!!!

An eye for an eye, a sin for a sin…
The Pleasure Wars, Book 1
Amid all the lies and scandals that fuel Society’s gossip mill, one truth has stood out: House Rothcastle and House Windbury have always hated each other.
Lady Ava Windbury prays the feud will someday end, to no avail. One dreadful night, her brother accidentally causes the death of Christian Rothcastle’s sister, a tragedy that leaves both men maimed.
Consumed by grief, Christian makes a grim decision. He will kidnap Lady Ava so that her family will feel the pain of loss as keenly as he feels the loss of his own sister. But once he has Ava in his clutches, desire takes unexpected hold. Even more surprising, she willingly surrenders to his every sexual whim—after haggling over the terms of giving up her virginity.
Too late, he realizes she is using her body for peace, not war. But just as their affair of revenges turns into an affair of the heart, the past rears its ugly head to take matters into its own hands…
Warning: This book contains scenes of erotic seduction, sexual revenge and the healing power of love.
If there is one genre that I have a soft spot for it's historical romance.  Not just any historical romance, but erotic historical romance complete with a Duke.  When I took on this review I knew I would enjoy this book but more than the erotic aspect of it, I loved the story of this book.  Christian really takes an eye for an eye to a whole new level.

Welcome to the war between the House Rothcastle and House Windbury.  No one alive knew why they never got along, but some long ago deceased relative started a war between the two families and it has raged for decades.  But when the war goes to a whole new level leaving Christian Rothcastle and Liam Windbury severely injured and Christian's sister dead the war explodes.  Stricken with grief, Christian will do anything and I mean anything to make the Windbury family suffer.  So what better way than to go after Liam's own sister,  Ava. 

Ava has been a wallflower for as long as she can remember.  The feud between her family and the Windbury family has left her without any suitors.  She is forced to only interact with her aunt and her friend Portia and the few other women who only want to gain gossip from her.  It's not until one night at a party that she sees Christian again does something spark deep within her.  Christian still shows signs of the accident in his limp and the cane he now walks with but he returns to society anyway 6 months after the death of his sister.  He devises a plan, kidnap Ava and make her brother feel lost without her the way he now feels about his sister.  Christian's plan works, but he's surprised to find that Ava isn't like any other woman that he has encountered before.  She's defiant and so very sure of herself, showing no fear even though she is scared.  But not scared of Christian, scared of what she is feeling towards him.

The original plan was for her to just stay and he would let her go unharmed after he felt her brother had suffered her loss, but Christian quickly decides that he must have Ava for himself even for just a short period of time.  So he makes Ava a deal that she cannot refuse.  Sacrifice her virginity to him and he would let that pay the debt for her what her brother has done.  Ava will do anything to try and stop the way between the two families which has ripped both families apart so she agrees.  What Christian didn't except was not only for Ava to accept to stay for three weeks and have an affair with him, but what he feels when they are finally together.  Christian is determined to make their affair only of a sexual nature but as time goes on and they grow closer to one another and their attraction grows, Christian feels his walls begin to break down and he lets Ava see the real him that no one ever gets to see.  But deep down to Christian she is still the enemy and that is a fact he cannot overlook for a long time.

He finally decides that if Ava wants to leave, he'll let her go but she doesn't want to leave and is determined to stay for the entire agreement.  So what happens with their feelings begin to grow towards truly caring for one another and what happens with Liam finds them together?  Join Ava and Christian as they discover truths about what Christian's sister was really trying to do and who among them wants to hurt the Windbury family more than Christian does?  But most of all will Christian ever be willing to accept Ava for who she is and let go of the hurt he feels deep in his heart?

I loved this story.  I felt like I was right there along side the characters in this story and that is part of the reason why I love to read these stories.  The characters were very well thought out and is was a beautiful story. Jess just has a way with words that draws you into the story and you find yourself up late at night reading, engrossed in the story and in serious need of a fan on more than one occasion.  This was my first novel by Jess but it will not be my last as I look forward to reading the other novels in the Pleasure Wars series.  This was an easy 5 stars for me!

***ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review***
Jess Michaels began writing full-time in 1999 after being encouraged by her husband to follow her dream. In 2003, she sold her first novella to Red Sage Press, an erotic historical romance about an Egyptian tomb and a very sexy curse. Since then she has published (or has contracted to publish) nearly 50 novels, novellas and short stories under three different pen names with several major publishers, small presses and via self-publishing. Her erotic historical romances have been national bestsellers and won awards from booksellers and readers.
She and her husband live in Tucson, AZ. There she enjoys hiking in the beautiful desert, spending time with her nephews, designing jewelry, reading and spending time with her awesome husband and cats.

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