The only thing Jessica wants from Mark is to successfully tarnish his reputation. She is a courtesan, but she desires freedom from that life. And her former protector has offered her a lot of money to ruin Mark. So she insinuates herself into Mark's quiet hometown, where he is planning a vacation from London. Mark is instantly drawn to her, in part, because of her beauty. But what's even more alluring about her is her fiery personality. As he gets to know her, she becomes even more attractive to him, because she seems to truly see through his reputation, to the man beneath.
This was a really good book. The sexual tension between these two is outstanding, and the fact that the man was the hold-out gave it all a refreshing twist. Jessica is broken on many levels. The how's and why's of it are slowly uncovered, making her sympathetic despite her schemes. And Mark has dark shadows in his own past, which he must deal with at the same time he must address the widespread effects of his chastity campaign... a campaign which has been twisted to something very different than he first intended.
I loved the way Milan handled Mark's virginity. He could have come off as prissy or repressed, but he wasn't. He was sexy and strong; he acknowledged his lust. He owned it. And he was all-the-more hot because of it.
“It cheapens what I’ve accomplished,” Mark said, “to imagine me a saint. To believe I am untempted, that I pass through this life without feeling lust or want or desire. I said it in the first chapter of my book, and yet nobody seems to believe me. Chastity is hard. ”
“I hadn’t thought—”
“I want. I lust. I desire.” He scrubbed his hand through sandy blond hair at that, shaking his head. “No. You’re right. You don’t deserve euphemisms. I want you. I lust after you. I desire you. ”
The happy ending was a little long in playing out, maybe taking an extra twist or turn more than was really necessary. But when it was all said and done, I was satisfied. And it makes me want to go back and read Unveiled, to get the story of Mark's brother Ash. Toss one more book onto my TBR pile. 4 1/2 stars.
*ARC Provided by NetGalley
Unclaimedby Courtney MilanRelease Date: September 20, 2011Publisher: HQN