Taken by the Duke by Jess Michaels (The Pleasure Wars #1)
July 2, 2013
Reviewed by Mandi
This book has a great beginning. In the prologue we discover the consequence and the devastation that two very old feuding families can sustain. It’s House Rothcastle vs. House Windbury, and it’s not pretty. The two families have hated each other for years, and it comes to a crashing climax when Matilda of the Rothcastle family tries to run away with her lover of the Windbury family. Matilda’s brother Christian gets wind of this though and takes off on his horse to stop them, ultimately causing a fatal accident. Matilda dies as Christian and her brother Liam are severely injured.
Six months later, Lady Ava (Liam’s sister) is at a ball and can’t believe she sees Christian reentering society. Now walking with a bad limp, he still has his sights set on destroying her family. He wants revenge now that his sister is dead. Ava is also dealing with her brother’s devastating grief over the loss of his future wife and his very scarred face. Unfortunately for Ava she is caught in the middle of two men who hate each other, and she is going to pay the price. Christian decides to kidnap Ava to his country estate, making her brother think she is dead. It is there he offers her three weeks of pleasure (and taking her virginity) trading for her brother’s safety in years to come.
I think the author does a nice job at the beginning of the book conveying great emotion with the death of Matilda and the ongoing feud. The loss both men feel and the hatred towards each other are done really well. The tension is thick and I couldn’t wait to see how it would all unfold. Unfortunately the tension kind of goes away once Christian kidnaps Ava to his house. For a man who hates her family so much, he wants in her pants, or her dress, quite badly. Ava quite matter of factly agrees to start sleeping with Christian as long as he promises not to pursue her brother anymore. It just felt, too easy. I didn’t want him claiming her without consent or anything, but I wanted more drama. Once they get into bed, they stay there for a long time. Sex scene after sex scene. For me, it got a bit stale. They fall for each other so fast. Ava goes from a very shy, wallflower virgin to…not one so quick. I think if more time had been spent exploring the emotions between Christian and Ava rather than actual sex, I would have been happier.
My other complaint is that this book ends kind of abruptly. But not to keep complaining because I did enjoy Christian. He is tortured and limping and just broody. I liked Liam and really hope he gets a book once he has time to mourn. The beginning had me quite captivated. This is the first I’ve read of this author but I’m open to reading more.