Not Proper Enough by Carolyn Jewel (Seducing the Scoundrels #2)
Released: September 4, 2012
Reviewed by Mandi
Favorite Quote: “I don’t like you,” she whispered. “Not even a little.”
“I know.” He lowered his head to hers, and he thought, To hell with decency. And to bloody hell with caution, “Isn’t it delicious this way?”
I’m a huge fan of Carolyn Jewel’s historicals. Last year I read Not Wicked Enough and I loved it, so when Not Proper Enough showed up in my mailbox, I couldn’t wait to start it. I feel like she is an expert at building wicked sexual tension. Her characters are so alive and engaging. This one really worked for me on all levels.
Lady Eugenia has been widowed for four years. She deeply loved her late husband and while she is moving on with her life, she will always hold him in deep regard. She has taken the young Hester, under her wing for the current season to help her find a husband. Hester has a large part in this book. She is not drop dead beautiful, although she has a nice figure people seem to enjoy. She is a bit clumsy, but extremely intelligent. Eugenia knows she will have her hands full trying to find a suitor for her. Being at many social engagements means she will run into her nemesis, The Marquess of Fenris, or Fox. Fox has had feelings for Eugenia for a long time. When it became clear to Fox years ago that his best friend Robert had won her heart, Fox didn’t handle the situation well. Instead of being happy for his friend, he slung Eugenia’s name through the mud, losing a best friend in the process. Fox has matured since then, and after having an illicit dream staring Eugenia he sets out to try to seduce her once again. He knows she is not living her life as fully as she can, and he wants to show her just what a future with him can be like.
This seems a very brief summary of a book that is so full of intense emotions. When this book starts, Eugenia truly hates Fox. He was so cruel to her years ago, and it is very hard for her to see any good in him. Fox knows this and starts the arduous process of wooing her, which starts by coming to Hester’s defense when she is publicly embarrassed at a ball. Eugenia is grateful that he helped the situation, yet is stubborn to assume Fox is now a better man. While Hester and Fox’s father (a duke) start a very unlikely friendship, Eugenia and Fox start to spend more time together too. Fox is very devilish. He knows just what to say or do to get under Eugenia’s skin. I think Eugenia realizes much faster than she would ever admit that Fox is a now a honorable and decent man. What I really like is that the author lets their relationship unfold at such a slow, torturous pace. Eugenia can’t deny her physical lust for Fox, but she still has to come to terms that she is attracted to someone other than Robert. At the end, when she has to admit she loves Fox, it may have felt a tiny bit rushed, but that is just a little niggle I have.
I love how blunt this romance is too. It’s dirty and fierce. Eugenia almost revels in the fact that she hates him, yet can’t seem to shake him off. They take pleasure from each other, sometimes rough, sometimes drawing it out as long as they can. The romance in this book is so intense that you can’t help but feel the chemistry between these two. I feel like this is where Carolyn Jewel shines. Not just her amazing sexual relationship she builds for her characters, but their overall interactions. Their banter is so smart and fast. Humor, put downs, sarcasm, it all comes through so well. These are two mature people who have been through a lot in their life and watching them come to terms with each other is really a treat.
I found this book to be a clever, very sensual romance. Well done.