Monday, February 28, 2011
Monica Burns - Pleasure Me
Stand-Alone 
Erotic Historical Romance
Paperback: 352 pages 

Publisher: Berkley Trade
ISBN-10: 0425238792
ISBN-13:978-0425238790
Release date: 1 March 2011

Main characters : Baron Garrick Strattfield & Lady Ruth Attwood

Summary:

Youth and beauty are a courtesan’s greatest assets. At forty-one, Lady Ruth Attwood appears to have lost both, as her latest lover just abandoned her for a younger mistress. Struggling with the knowledge that she’s no longer considered desirable, she’s uncertain whether to be offended or flattered when a younger man makes her an unusual offer. In need of funds, she agrees. But then she does the unthinkable. She falls in love.

Despite his reputation as a man’s man, Baron Garrick Stratfield has never been with a woman. His physical impairment is such that he knows not even a whore will touch him, and he needs a mistress who’s willing to be kept without sharing his bed. But passion is just a delicious kiss away because his new mistress is wreaking havoc with his senses. Worse yet, someone is not only out to ruin his reputation, but frame him for murder.

My review:

Pleasure Me is the first historical romance I read by Monica Burns, I was already familiar with her Order of Sicari Novels and I loved those. So I wondered if her latest historical romance could mesmerize me in the same way as her paranormal romances. I guess I was not prepared for Baron Garrick Strattfield; he knocked me off my feet with his raw, intense, masculinity right from the start. And I immediately felt sympathy for Lady Ruth Attwood and was vexed on her behalf, in only 18 pages (the first chapter) I went through a whole range of different emotions, so yeahhhh this story had my undivided attention.

Lady Ruth Attwood is a 41 year old courtesan. She fears she is no longer attractive since her last two lovers have left her for younger women. She struggles with the fact that she is considered old and now has to figure out how to proceed with her life. Then she meets Baron Garrick Strattfield who is obvious younger than her, the attraction between them is instant, but she keeps her distance. Having a younger lover is just “not done” in the Ton, but Garrick makes her an offer she can’t refuse.

The undeniable attraction is obvious from the moment Garrick and Ruth meet in the entryway of some party, and it only grows stronger throughout the story. But both have to deal with their personal issues, and these issues stand in the way of forming a deeper connection. Another thing that stands in their way of finding happiness is the Ton. Breaking the rules of the upper class society equals social ruin so Garrick and Ruth are under a lot of pressure. I love how Monica Burns brings Ruth and Gareth to life and puts them through the emotional wringer to find and accept themselves and each other. Their dialogues are emotional and full of controlled passion; you can feel their sexual tension from start to finish.

Both Garrick and Ruth have insecurities. From page one it is clear that Ruth is hung up about her age and the fact that all the men in her life leave her. Her father’s refusal to acknowledge her forced her to become a courtesan. She is smart, independent, compassionate and very stubborn. But most of all she is a real classy lady with her heart in the right place and although she always longed for a family of her own, she knows that will never happen. To protect herself and Garrick from further heartache she keeps throwing her age in Garrick’s face to stop him from getting any closer. But does that stop Garrick at all, nooo and it made me love him even more.

Now Garrick’s masculinity rolls of the pages in huge waves, a real alpha male, very protective of the ones he loves, fierce, honorable but also gentle. Yet he has to live with an embarrassing birth defect and his uncle has humiliated him to the bone for it when he was a kid, because of this he has never shared a bed with a woman and denies himself the chance to find true love and happiness. So he overcompensates by trying to be the best in everything else he does. Garrick pulled at all my heartstrings and I was rooting for him the whole time!

As Pleasure Me is a character-driven story mostly focused on Garrick and Ruth, I found it refreshing to read that Ruth is the one with all the experience and that Garrick is the virgin in the bedroom. It was touching to see how their trust in one another grew page after page and how they slowly broke down each other’s walls. Pleasure Me is not the average historical romance read, it is intense, passionate and emotional. You don’t have to be a historical romance lover “pur sang” to enjoy it; I dare to say it is one of the better upcoming historical releases.

The secondary cast of characters enhance the story even more, most of them linger a bit in the background yet somehow as the story enfolds it turns out that some of them have influenced the lives of both Garrick and Ruth profoundly in the past and continue to do so in the present time. The plotline is straight yet invigorates around page 220 when it becomes clear that someone is out to ruin Garrick. I loved how Monica Burns effortlessly interweaves all the pieces of the plotline and the characters to a fabulous, hot read. Her fluent, smooth writing had me hooked from the start. The epilogue ends the story perfectly and left me completely contented and with a big smile on my face.

Monica Burns is an author to keep your eye on because Pleasure Me is breathtaking, intense and sheer passion with a capital P!


4,5 stars

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Marissa has read 27 books toward her goal of 52 books.
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