Tuesday, February 28, 2012

With Seduction in Mind by Laura Lee Guhrke

Book Description:
Her proposition...

London Society is harsh for a young woman with no family connections who has to work for a living. But when Daisy Merrick is sacked from yet another job, the feisty and outspoken miss comes up with a plan that could give her a future beyond her wildest dreams. There's only one problem. Her success depends on a man, the most infuriating, impossible, immovable man she's ever met.

His Resolution...

Sebastian Grant, Earl of Avermore, is England's most infamous author. Known for his notorious reputation, he is more interested in play than work, and has no intention of cooperating when Daisy shows up on his doorstep with a mad plan. The provoking, fire-haired beauty stirs his sense beyond belief, and Sebastian knows he has only one way to stop her. Seduction.

I enjoyed this final book in Guhrke's Girl Bachelor series except it got off to a slow start and took a long time for the hero and heroine to actually kiss! I'm all for long build ups but there wasn't enough sexual tension to sustain the story until the last third of the book when things finally start heating up.   The story itself was pretty good of two writers who are forced to work together as critique partners.  Sebastian is a well known novelist and playwright who has lost his touch.  Due to a cocaine addiction, his past eight years of writing have been utter "rubbish."  Now clean of the drug he feels he can't write a thing - he doesn't even want to try.  He's afraid to.  Daisy is a budding author, dying to get her first book published.  She accepts an assignment from Sebastian's publisher who thinks she has potential.  Her assignment is to get Sebastian to write one more book to fulfill his contractual obligations.  The problem: Daisy wrote a scathing review of his latest play that closed in less than a week.  For that, Sebastian can barely stand the sight of her, much less let her critique his writing and get him to write another novel!

Yet Daisy is relentless and if anyone can get Sebastian to do it, she can.  She's going to earn that $500 advance come hell or high water.  She will not stop until she gets him to write that book!  Finding an old manuscript of the first book he ever tried to write, he gives it to her thinking that will be the end of it and he'll be rid of her.  She reads it and makes a zillion notes and suggestions, expecting him to make revisions.  She even follows him out to the country to stay with his aunt - she is like a terrier!  She will not give up.  She has a soft spot when it comes to Sebastian, for he had once been one of her favorite authors and she can't just let him give up writing forever!  In his early days (before the cocaine)  he had been a fine writer and she's convinced he can be one again!  Unaware of his addiction and fears, she keeps pestering him, dogging him at every move until finally she gets under his skin - but not exactly in the way she expects.  He's beginning to look at her differently...  The image of that annoying drama critic is fading each day.  Daisy is now becoming more and more beautiful in Sebastian's eyes.  A red haired, sensual woman who has no idea how enticing she is.  He soon realizes that the easiest way he can get out of this writing situation is if he plays along with her.  Why not make her think he'll complete the revisions she recommends?  But secretly he'll work on seducing her instead.  She'll become so enamored of him and swept off her feet, she'll go along with whatever he wants!  Voila! Problem solved and he'll get to see more of the delectable Miss Merrick and what's underneath her buttoned up shirtwaists!  Little does he know his plan will backfire.  Instead of putting off his writing for good, he winds up re-writing the entire book after all!  How does this come about?  It's amazing how lust can can work as an incentive.  Sebastian talks Daisy into promising she will allow him to kiss her after every 200 pages of revisions.

As you can imagine, the two of them wind up longing for their post-revision kissing sessions.  Each one becomes more and more daring as Sebastian's book gets closer and closer to completion.  Naturally, this was my favorite part of the story.  He's writing like mad - and it's good - and Daisy is (as predicted) dazed and befuddled over this new sensation she's experiencing - passion.   As a virgin, she's never experienced it before.  A whole new world has suddenly opened up for her.  But, she can't seem to write anything herself because she's dazzled by his passionate kisses!  He really does sweep her off her feet!  But how far can it go?  What happens when the book is finished - is that the end of it between them?  Or does Sebastian find he can't live without his adorable critique partner after all?  And what will Daisy do when she overhears an unfortunate conversation between Sebastian and his aunt?  Will she think she's just another fling for him to discard once his book is finished and he doesn't need her as his muse any longer?  In the romance world, nothing good ever happens from eavesdropping.

This romance is wonderful if you like stories that involve authors and their writing.  It goes over a great deal of what the writing process is like: critiquing and revisions, writers block, story arcs, what it takes to make a story compelling and deep.  Not Guhrke's steamiest novel, but it kept my interest.  We see a bit of Harry Marlowe, Sebastian's publisher, and hero from And Then He Kissed Her  in it (which is a great book btw).  Also references to other heroes from the series.  Overall I liked With Seduction in Mind, but it was a weak finish to the Girl Bachelor Series which I found a bit uneven.  Two of the books I loved, and two were meh, but all in all, I recommend it.


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