Tempted by His Kiss
Tracey Anne Warren
Avon, Mar 2009, $7.99
In 1809, Lord Cade Byron hides from his family and society due to a leg injury suffered when the French tortured him on the Peninsular. He wants no company even driving away his older brother Edward. His only solace is alcohol although at times the pain is so severe he uses laudanum.
Meg Amberley accompanied by her servant arrives at Cade’s isolated home during a blizzard. She asks for shelter for her and her “cousin”. Cade tells her to get lost, but she insists the roads are impassable. He acquiesces allowing her to stay one night. Cade feels guilty because he desires the visitor while it is only one year since his beloved fiancée and her family were tortured and killed by the French in an effort to make him tell them military secrets. With her parents dead, she is on her way to stay with an aunt whom she never met.
Several days later she is still at his home though he hides from her until she invites him to dinner; he agrees. Afterward she challenges him to a game of chess. If she wins he must socialize with her; if he wins she will no longer nag him. Meg checkmates him. Cade mentions his leg was hurt when he was caught spying in Portugal; Meg mentions her late parents. The next few days they play cards and chess. They walk outside together; when Cade kisses Meg, he feels guilty and flees. As they fall in love, his guilt mounts.
The relationship between the lead couple is terrific as he rejects his attraction for her having watched one beloved raped and tortured while she slowly brings him out of his despondency and self recrimination. Cade’s family is a strong support cast who want to do the best for him, but are frustrated and clueless as to how to help him; while the villain is diabolically clever. Though the final confrontation seems weak Regency romantic suspense fans will relish this character driven tale.