Tuesday, December 13, 2011
She won't let a thief steal her heart . . .
It's difficult enough for Lady Clara Stanbourne to run her London home for reformed young pickpockets without having to contend with a criminal in business right next door! The mysterious Morgan Pryce is obviously dealing in stolen property, and she will never allow the handsome scoundrel to lead the children astray! Pryce is very much mistaken if he believes her a delicate rose he can wilt with soft words and passionate, unspoken promises. Now if only Clara could douse the fiery yearning the charming cad ignites inside her . . .
This bold, beautiful temptress is indeed a distraction-and Morgan wishes he could tell the exquisite Clara the truth: that he is working undercover to break up a notorious crime ring. His mind should be on his duty-not wondering how it would feel to hold Clara in his arms and taste the sweetness of her luscious lips. But now that she has entered into his most dangerous game, Morgan knows he must have her, despite the very real peril to his secret mission ... and to his heart!
Coming off the fabulous After the Abduction, the previous book in the Swanlea Spinsters series, Dance of Seduction just didn't grab me (plus what did the title have to do with the plot line??) Fourth in the series, the plot revolves around former sea captain, Morgan Pryce (from After the Abduction) who is posing as a fence in Spitalfields, a poorer section of London. He's working for the Home Office and meets Lady Clara Sanbourne who runs a home for reformed pickpocketing children just down the street. Unfortunately, I grew a bit bored with the reforming storyline regarding the Home for the children and Clara's willy nilly dashing about into danger without a single thought in her head for her own safety.
Morgan is secretly trying to catch a well known criminal in the area, known as The Spectre and Clara believes he's a disreputable wretch who is only encouraging her "children" to continue their thieving ways. She wants to get him to close up shop and take his nefarious ways somewhere else! But her blood is hot and she can't deny the way he makes her feel when he flirts with her - and so the attraction begins. But her meddling is interfering with Morgan's covert operation to capture the Spectre!
As their romance heats up with one particularly well done seduction scene in the library at a ball (which I think is the book's cover, see below postcript), Clara and Morgan begin to care for one another - and fall in love. But how long can Morgan keep up his false identity with her? She's going to find out soon enough - what will happen when she does? Fortunately, she takes the news well, but despite that, they find they are at an impasse when it comes to whether they marry or not: he wants to go back to sea and have command of a ship of his own. She wants to be with him, but doesn't want to leave her Home for the children behind - nor does she want to be a lonely ship captain's wife who sees her husband once or twice a year (if she's lucky!) Memories from his troubled childhood further complicate their romance. A former pickpocket himself as a child in the streets of Geneva, he wants to escape the big city of London which only reminds him of his youth. He's running away from his problems rather than trying to overcome the lingering guilt and shame from his early years. Clara tries to help him understand but he's in denial. As much as he cares for Clara, he doesn't feel he can be a good husband to her. What to do? The last thing he needs now is this dilemma that sidetracks him as he tries to entrap the master criminal in Spitalfields.
Unfortunately, I grow weary of these Regency espionage romances and this is another one that didn't wow me. I think I've had my fill.
P.S. Is the cover supposed to be the scene when they are sequestered in the library at the ball? The inside flap certainly appears to be! Click here to see!