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Seduced    by Pamela Britton order for
by Pamela Britton
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2003 (2003)

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* * *   Reviewed by Rashmi Srinivas

It is a well-established fact amongst London society that the people around Lucien St. Aubyn always die. When even his elder brother, the Duke of Ravenwood, dies under suspicious circumstances, society secretly condemns Lucien as his brother's killer and publicly bestows the sobriquet 'Duke of Death' upon him. A grief-stricken Lucien eventually starts believing in it. When faced with society's simultaneous animosity and shameless toadying, Lucien grows wild and reckless and soon his rakish deeds earn him yet another title, 'Rake of Ravenwood'.

As the granddaughter of a cobbler on whom an earlhood had been bestowed, Lady Elizabeth Montclair has always known that she will never fully belong in London society. Certain past encounters with a mischievous Lucien, as well as his infamous reputation, have cemented Elizabeth's bad opinion of him and she makes no secret of it. Lucien is amused by this and even appreciates her refreshing honesty, though it stings him. He takes it as a challenge. Unfortunately this results in their getting caught in a compromising position and as a result, Elizabeth and Lucien are forced to marry. They are equally horrified at this appalling turn of events.

After a hilarious wedding ceremony (which Lucien hugely enjoys) in which Elizabeth questions each vow she has to take and almost reduces the poor priest to tears, the newly married couple set off to Lucien's dilapidated castle in Wales. Lucien fiendishly agrees to Elizabeth's demand that this will be a marriage in name only, under the condition that she share a bed with him and pretend to be happily married for a month. He's also the soul of generosity when he wickedly offers to tutor her in the art of seduction so that she might take lovers after the obligatory month has passed! An infuriated Elizabeth takes him up on his offer and neatly turns the tables on him - now who's the seducer and who's the seduced? Unfortunately, wherever Lucien is, death and danger are not far behind. Is this fate or something more sinister? And what will happen to this fragile marriage in adversity?

What a wickedly amusing and sexy narrative Pamela Britton has woven in her spectacular Seduced! It is non-stop entertainment from the most unusual first line to the surprising ending. The lead characters are social misfits who can't stand each other and when they're forced to marry, it results in a highly humorous state of affairs. Elizabeth is no meek and demure lady, and Lucien is the strangest Duke ever. She's determined to shock her jaded and unwanted husband, and he's determined to up the ante. They rage through a battle of words, wit and sexy innuendos which is bound to make readers laugh out loud, while at the same time getting breathless with anticipation.

The utterly irreverent tone of this remarkable book is as much a draw as its unusual lead couple. And the research the author has done is evident, especially in the last couple of chapters. After turning the last page of this alternately (and sometimes simultaneously) hilarious and serious book, what FUN comes to mind, along with not to be missed and how can I get my hands on her previous books? Hats off to Pamela Britton for an irresistible story!

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