All’s Fair in Love & Seduction (The Elusive Lords #2.5) by Beverley Kendall
With her seduction she hopes to gain his affections
For Miss Elizabeth Smith, sharing her first kiss with the charming Lord Derek Creswell is nothing short of a dream come true…that is, until she is spotted by one of the most influential gossips of the ton. With scandal nipping at her heels, to avoid total social ruin, Elizabeth must present a fiancé by the end of the Season. But when the viscount proves reluctant, Elizabeth is forced to employ a seduction of a different sort…
With his seduction he is determined to ruin her
Viscount Derek Creswell believes Elizabeth set out to trap him into marriage. After all, her sister attempted the very same thing with his brother six years before. Now the delectable Miss Smith expects a betrothal and a ring, while Derek finds her ruination infinitely more appealing…
But as Derek sets out to seduce only her body, Elizabeth is intent on claiming his jaded heart. (SOURCE)
Who knew a kiss could cause so much trouble?
I am a fan of Beverley Kendall’s Elusive Lords books and have been looking forward to the next one. Until the next full length book comes out, she’s given us a novella.
Elizabeth Smith meets Derek Creswell in a rather informal way. Although she knew him six years ago, he has no idea who she is and that there is a tie between their families. Elizabeth keeps that link to herself once she realizes he has no idea who she is. As time goes on, she intends to tell him but can’t bring herself to do it. The longer she waits, the more it weighs on her.
When Derek finds out the truth he doesn’t tell her that he knows who she is. But he does string her along, trying to see if she’ll trip up and reveal her true intentions. It’s hard for a Lord to believe so much innocence can be wrapped inside one person. Surely she is trying to trap him. Or so he thinks.
I am such a sucker for this type of story. Unrequited love (Elizabeth) given to the gentleman that suspects every lady is out to get him. She’s no gold-digger but he definitely thinks she is. I loved that you get both sides of the perspective in this novella. I don’t know whose I enjoyed more; Derek or Elizabeth.
My heart did ache for her and I found myself doing a lot of talking to her. “Oh no, don’t hide that secret, it’s going to be bad when he finds out.” Because they always find out!!
When Derek realizes the connection they had in the past is something that hurt his own family, he sets out to ruin her. He is charming and dashing and she begins to wonder if maybe she can give him her heart. But then after her virginity is taken he accuses her of things that she would never dream of doing to him or anyone else. Of course he doesn’t believe her.
With her family telling him to stay away from her, Derek is still drawn to Elizabeth. He is torn; wanting to marry her but not just to protect her reputation, as he’d thought in the beginning. Although he doesn’t say it, I think toward the middle of the story he desperately wanted her to love him and to prove his suspicions wrong. They have so much in common, which surprised him. I believe he was expecting her to be another girl trying to climb the ranks. Not a sweet and engaging friend as well as lover. Probably he expected she was thinking about how she had hit the jackpot in him. That seems to be a common theme with the historical romance genre. I’m a sucker for that part too.
They parted ways and I honestly wanted to shake Derek. Or perhaps give him a light slap in the face for being so stubborn. He does eventually find out that everything he thought had happened six years ago was a lie. Proving that Elizabeth and her family were innocent.
With that proven, guilt does weigh him down. I did a little “neener neener neener” cheer for Elizabeth. I love when a character that assumes something, is proven wrong in a big way. I also love for them to feel guilty and it to hurt them, knowing they treated someone so horribly. Yes, I love the heartache before a big “I love you” moment.
Derek avoids her for a while and Elizabeth is so distraught that I wanted to just climb into my Kindle and hug her. But since this is a novella, that doesn’t last long. Derek comes to her so sweetly, and in a unique way, shares his love with her. It made me swoony sigh.
Happy endings and a story line conclusion tied up in a little bow makes me warm inside. And I can happily say that All’s Fair in Love & Seduction hit the mark.
I know I’m rambling but I don’t want to give too much away, especially the history between the two families. It’s definitely worth a read, this one. But I do recommend reading the first two books first. It’s more fun that way, getting to know the characters from the start.
Even more exciting is the three chapter preview of the third Elusive Lords book, An Heir of Deception. I can’t wait!! These are fun books, with sassy characters and story lines. I find them enjoyable and engaging. I’ll be keeping my eye out for more of the Lords!