Reader’s Edyn

I always felt like I could do something more than just read. Finally, I have found both a creative outlet and a chance to do something meaningful with my reading. This blog was created in appreciation of and tribute to all of the authors who have brought me joy through their books. These reviews are my way of giving back to authors and providing recognition for the hard work that each one completes every day!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Review (ARC): Touch of A Rogue (Touch of Seduction, Book 2) by Mia Marlowe

Title: Touch Of A Rogue
          (Touch of Seduction, Book 2)
Author: Mia Marlowe
Release Date: February 28, 2012
Publisher: Kensington
Category: Historical Paranormal Romance
Type: Kindle/Paperback


Book Blurb:

Jacob Preston has three requirements for a woman desiring access to his bed: She must be enthusiastic in affairs of passion, jaded in matters of the heart, and - to ensure the first two qualifications - she must be married. Lady Julianne Cambourne's unmarried status should render her firmly off limits. Instead, it proves a temptation, especially when she comes to him in desperation, looking for the kind of answers only he can give. For, beyond his rakish reputation, Jacob is known for the mysterious power of detection he commands through his sense of touch. And Julianne, surrounded by secrets that threaten to ensnare her in a deadly trap, will do whatever it takes to recruit his skills...using every form of persuasion at her disposal...

Book Excerpt:

She was startled by the sound of soft applause.
“Brava, Mrs. True. Your thespian skills are as sharp as ever,” he said sardonically. “As believable a grieving wife as I’ve ever seen.”
She glared at him. “Why do you mock me?”
“Nonsense. I applauded it, didn’t I?” He rose and deposited the dagger on the mantel. “I will keep this for a time, so that I may study it.”
Her irritation dissipated slightly. “Then you agree to help me?”
“Almost. There is a final requirement before I commit to this endeavor.”
“If it’s a question of payment for your services—“
“We’ll deal with that later, after I’ve been successful, he said. “No, I need to know who I’m dealing with and you, madam, are an enigma.”
“But I’ve told you—“
“Only what you wish me to know.” He rubbed his chin as if pondering his predicament. “With most clients, a handshake enables me to get a sense of what’s driving them, who they really are.”
“All that from a handshake? And you claim to have no crystal ball,” she said with a snort.
He leaned down and rested his large hands on the armrests of her chair, pinning her to the tufted back. “But in your case, milady, a connection of a more…personal nature will be required.”
Of all the cheek! “You have an exaggerated sense of your own importance, Mr. Preston. I will not bed you simply to procure your services.”
This time, he was the one who snorted.
“Why, Lady Cambourne, what a charming idea! But I wasn’t suggesting a bedding at present. We hardly know each other. However, I must say I’m pleased with the direction in which your thoughts have turned. Believe me, you are not alone in your musings on the subject.”
He ran the pad of his thumb over her bottom lip. “But no, all that I require of you at the moment…is a kiss.”

Dialogue Highlight (love the entendres):

Julianne pounded in the bedchamber door, but there was no response. “Mr. Preston, I insist you open at once or I’m coming in, whether you will it or not.”
A low bellow came from the room, the feral noise sounding more like a guttural cry of a bull standing at stud then something torn from the throat of a man. Fenwick’s eyes went round and he jumped further away from the door, Julianne grabbed her chance, turning the crystal knob and pushing it open.
            “Mr. Preston, I-“
            Words failed her. Jacob Preston was standing on his bed, legs spread, knees flexed and fists clenched. His red-rimmed eyes were wild as a stallion’s, his hair sticking out at odd angles like a startled hedgehog. His brows were lowered in a gladiator’s frown. He looked ready for the fight of his life.
            Except for the fact that he was naked.
            And fully aroused, further reinforcing Julianne’s earlier impression of a bull at stud. She’d seen some impressive male members in the past, but this one rendered the others pale and flaccid by comparison. Fully engorged, Jacob’s length and girth were beyond her experience. His ballocks were drawn tight, nested in chestnut curls at the apex of his taut thighs.
            She forced her gaze away from his groin, traveling up his torso to his well-muscled chest and forearms. Clearly, Mr. Preston didn’t spend all his free time in gaming halls and brothels. A man didn’t acquire that sort of muscular development without regular strenuous work. But there was a blood-soaked bandage near one brown nipple, so perhaps he regularly participated in bar fights instead.
            Julianne met his ferocious gaze and wondered if he could even see her. His bloodshot eyes were unfocused and darting. She didn’t think he was drunk. If this was the aftereffect of too much alcohol, she doubted he’d sport such a formidable cockstand.
            “G’morning, Julianne,” he said, his speech far clearer than she expected it to be. He seemed to have shrugged off the ill effects of his night of drugged indulgence with surprising quickness.
            She stiffened her spine. “I have not given you leave to use my Christian name.”
            One corner of his mouth kicked up. “If a woman’s staring at a man in his altogether, you can’t blame the man for assuming she’s given him leave of some sort.” Heedless of his nakedness, he stepped down from the bed and stomped over to the washstand. Then he leaned over the basin while dumping the contents of the pitcher over his head. “We’ll take it turn and turn about. You may call me Jacob.”
            “I’ll do no such thing.” His buttocks were as tight and firm as his thighs, Julianne noted despite herself. His long legs were lightly dusted with the same chestnut hair as his head.
            He toweled himself off, sleeking his hair back like seal’s fur. Then he grinned at her. “You will call me Jacob if you want to know what I discovered about your dagger last night.”
            Her fingers curled into impotent fists. The made her want to hit something. Mostly, his cocksure face. “What did you learn?”
            His brows arched, clearly waiting.
            The name curled on her tongue till she spat it out. “Jacob.”
            “There. Was that so hard?” He still was. His cock pointed toward her merrily. “You know, Fenwick’s a thoroughly capable chap, but it’s much more satisfying to wake to a pretty face like yours. Makes a man glad to be a man.”
            “Yes, well…” There was certainly no questioning his masculinity. She looked away, aware he’d caught her gawking at his male attributes. “Perhaps you’d do me the decency of covering yourself.”
            “Haven’t seen one angry in a while, eh?” he said as he ambled toward the bed and pulled off a sheet to wrap around his waist. “But if we want to be sticklers for decency, Julie, may I point out that you’re the one who burst into my bedchamber? And I distinctly remember you promising that you’re not easily shocked.”
            “I meant about whatever we might discover in the course of our investigation,” she reminded him, trying not to react to the diminutive “Julie”. She refused to give him the satisfaction.
            “Does that make this a social call then?” He cocked a brow at her. “I like the sound of that.”
            “You’re insufferable.” The sheet slid down on his hips, revealing a thin strip of dark hair starting at his navel that widened as it disappeared into the bulge beneath the linen at his groin.
            “Yes, I am aren’t I? Too bad you need my services, but there it is and no help for it.”


Julianne is in a bit of a quarry. Her husband has been dead about a year. She believes his death was not a suicide as it was ruled, but a murder. Her step-son is about her age and has never liked her. He is now threatening to cut her off if she doesn’t marry his friend, who Julianne abhors. She has also been contacted by an unknown individual. Her husband had obtained some ancient daggers prior to his death. Through hard work and determination, he located 5 of the set of 6. The anonymous person had demanded all 6 daggers. He will pay Julianne handsomely should she deliver, or withdraw the offer at the end of the deadline set. The problem is that she doesn’t have any ides where the final dagger lays. If she manages to deliver the daggers the money would take care of her and she wouldn’t have to worry about being cut off by her step-son. Her biggest fear is that she will have to close down the home for young girls with nowhere to go without the funds to support it. Could she possibly have anything else to deal with? Enter Jacob.

Jacob is a well known rake and woos only women who will be unable to try and trap him onto a permanent arrangement. Mostly, they have to be married. He also has a mysterious gift that allows him to touch a metal object and see the history of said object. While Jacob does not advertise exactly what this gift is, he does embrace his extraordinary talent and aims to put his ability to good use. He also has remarkable intuition and knows immediately when he is being lied to. So Julianne seeks his services out in an attempt to locate the missing dagger.

The two share an immediate attraction and fairly quickly succumb to their desires while simultaneously trying to resist the deeper pull that draws them together. Jacob does not tell Julianne much about his gift initially, but she is a clever woman and is able to deduce much from her observations. Once everything is out on the table, they begin to work together more effectively and begin conquering their difficulties one at a time. They have a dagger to locate, an anonymous buyer to expose, a secret society suspected of wanting the dagger to infiltrate, countless other dangerous possibilities, and the biggest obstacle of all to overcome … acknowledging their deep feelings for one another.

Overall, I enjoyed this book, but it did have a couple of faults. I liked both main characters, but I didn’t fall in love with them. Their wit and humor was absolutely fabulous and is possibly the component that made the book for me. I love snark and Ms. Marlowe excelled at it.

The problem, I think, is that there was just too much going on in the book to make it flow seamlessly. First, Julianne used to be an actress. She married an older man, but she had no title what-so-ever. While marrying below station is not outside the realm of possibility, I don’t know that her status as a former start of the stage served any purpose other than to mention it here and there. I was also a bit taken back by Jacob’s power. I read the blurb, but his power is more so in the genre of paranormal ability. I wasn’t expecting an entire paranormal component as this book is listed as a historical romance. Not that I didn’t enjoy Jacob’s ability. It was out-of –the-box and added a bit of excitement to the story. It was just unexpected. One thing that I missed was that this is the second book in series. Jacob’s family is peppered with gifted individuals in alternate forms of ability. Had I read the first book, perhaps everything would have made a bit more sense to me. I think the book blurb just barely touched on the contents of the book and so a lot is left to discover within the book. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it could be slightly misleading to the readers as far as expectation.

Another thing I found odd was that there was no resolution to the step-son issue. He just kind of dropped out of the story. He was mentioned a few times and then, POOF, nothing. He is, quite possibly, an unnecessary character. In the end, other than a few missives sent to tell Julianne to get her butt back to the estate to marry his friend, he served very little purpose. And finally, the ending. The book worked up to this final “battle” if you will and then just ends. There could have easily been another chapter or two or even an epilogue. Anything to keep the book from ending to suddenly. It was like introduce all of the problems, work up to the climax, climax, BOOM, over. GAH! In fact I think that is what I said when the book was over. “Gah! Are you kidding me? That’s it?” I thought I had another chapter at least, but it was a segment taken from the first book. I felt a bit let down with the abrupt ending. In fact, abrupt is even too long in meaning to describe the ending as it was only a matter of a few paragraphs. The showdown of sorts between good versus evil and about five paragraphs following. The ending was actually unfortunate because even with the pointless past and character, I still didn’t count my time spent reading the book as wasted. With the rushed ending, I have to re-evaluate my feelings. I only hope that as an uncorrected proof, the ending was given a bit of a makeover.

So here is what I think. If you are a fan of the author, you are probably going to like the book regardless. If you have read the first book, you will know what to expect with this one and not be in store for any unexpected aspects. If I had the chance for a do-over, I would definitely read the first book prior. Hindsight from book one may have given be a bit better understanding before beginning this book. If you enjoy historical romance with a paranormal slant, you will very possibly find this book to your liking. For those who dislike abrupt endings and details that could be interpreted as superfluous, I caution you: You may well enjoy the read until the end. Like I said, I did enjoy the book for the most part, but it could have been better.

(Uncorrected paperback proof provided by Kensington for review.)

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