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Lady Christina Stratford never planned on being seduced by a darkly mysterious, masked highwayman on her way to London. Nor did she plan to have her late husband’s entire estate challenged by the sudden appearance of a long-lost son. Salvation comes in the form of the Third Earl of Mansfield, who uses his power to aid the beautiful widow in her cause. But she soon becomes torn between the handsome good looks of the lord and the carnal pleasures awakened by the masked man. It is not until the plot that killed her husband is uncovered that she discovers that her two lovers are the same man and the race to save her own life begins.
His nightshirt hung agape, his distasteful appendage swinging unattractively between spindly legs as a lecherous smile formed upon his thin lips. She stifled a gasp of horror, raising a hand to cover her mouth, the bile rising in her throat to almost choke her. She felt her eyes widen to stare down in disbelief at the instrument of his attack as it stiffened. She wondered how she would survive the ordeal, naked on his bed as he had ordered her, as was his right to command. Lord Stratford was at least forty years her senior and, as Viscount Wellington, had struck a lucrative deal with her father, receiving a hefty dowry and a succulent young wife in the bargain.
On the night of their wedding day, he came to claim his prize. Moving to the foot of the bed, he licked his lips and glared down at her exposed body, which she frantically tried in vain to cover with both hands. She was on the verge of screaming, as he grabbed her knees to part them for his invasion, when suddenly his movements faltered and he clutched his chest. His face became a grotesque, twisted mask and he gasped loudly, falling to the floor with a blunt thud.
Christina bolted forward, sitting ramrod straight, her heart racing, her breath coming in gasps. She gazed around the dim interior of the elaborate carriage. Hearing the muted clopping of the team of horses and feeling the rocking motion, she realized that she had awakened suddenly from the recurring dream that still haunted her after a whole year. Sinking back against the plush seating, she rocked with the carriage’s movements, contemplating the viscount’s unexpected demise on the evening of their marriage, moments before consummation, and knew it had been a blessing in disguise. Her scream brought all manner of household staff streaming into the room, all of whom had been unable to arouse him. Embarrassment prevented her from clearing up any misconceptions surrounding the occurrence, with everyone assuming he’d expired after the act had been performed. She felt no need to inform anyone of her virginal status, and therefore had kept the secret to herself.
She had gained a sizable fortune from his death, since she had been named the only heir to inherit his possessions. His obvious intent to produce offspring capable of becoming heir to his ponderous fortune hadn’t materialized due to his untimely death. No living relatives had come forward, which suited her fine in her new endeavors. She’d observed a respectful mourning period due his memory and now reveled in the idea of moving ahead to the future.
Gazing past the pleated window covering at the passing scenery, Christina’s heartbeats gradually slowed and she allowed her mind to drift to more pleasant thoughts as she pondered the masquerade ball she would attend. The fifth Duke of Devonshire held the yearly event as a tradition, giving the aristocracy of the ton reason to let go of their snobbish obligations. She’d delighted in the unexpected invitation to Devonshire House, a fashionable assembly of rooms where the lavish affair would take place.
Christina’s heart fluttered and a naughty smile curved her lips at the thought of the suave, debonair gentlemen who would hold her in their arms during the dances. Just the thought of nameless, faceless men touching her had her tingling with excitement. Anonymous partners added a titillating element to a night filled with mystique and intrigue. For just one evening, sexual license could be abandoned, giving way to freedom and the popularity of the masque. Christina would be released from the stuffy constraints of the ton and given a reprieve from her torturous nightmares to move on with her life. She wanted nothing more than to experience life, experience the art of lovemaking with someone sensitive and knowledgeable on the subject. Perhaps she’d even find a gentleman to her liking.
4 Stars, a Regency Suspense! “To her relief Lord Stratford died on their wedding night leaving Christina a wealthy widow. After a respectable time of mourning, Christina is delighted to get on with her life. A group of masked men accosted her coach. She found herself fantasizing about the handsome leader. Christina found love could she live long enough to enjoy it.
Booth Alexander Davenport found himself enchanted by the lovely Christina.
Masked Seduction, is reminiscent of Georgette Heyer. This historical, regency romance is well written and teases the readers’ emotions. Donna McAteer uses just the right mix of romance and suspense.” Reviewed by Debra Gaynor for ReviewYourBook.com
“Masked Seduction is a wonderful story and a very enjoyable way to spend the raining afternoon. I loved the affection between Booth and Christina as well as the passion between her and the masked lover. It is a story that is well told and well written. There are several plot twists in a realistic manner. There is only one complaint I have about this book and that is Christina referring to her masked lover as Master. She struck me as an independent woman who had her own way of thinking and didn't really care what others thought of her situation or what not but her use of Master was spoken in a way that seemed submissive and that was odd to me. The use of Master so many times stood out in my mind and it was then that I read Master of my Heart, which now makes sense. So maybe that was the intention but for me that really was the only thing that didn't mesh well in this wonderfully told, romantic historical love story.” Review by Mel Moon, Moon Over Water Reviews
“This book is a true Regency but with added spice. The love scenes grab the attention, but at the same time form an integral part of the novel. At first I was irritated by the repeated reference to Christina’s magnificent breasts, but soon realised this was necessary as they were what formed Booth’s original attraction to her. The book became fun to read the deeper I went, until I was eager to reach the end and find out how the author resolved the many obstructions holding apart a couple who were obviously made for one another.
The only reason this book did not get a higher rating was because I felt some loose ends were left hanging, in particular the determined mistress. Where did she disappear to? This was just a little niggle and I’d be delighted to read more of Ms. McAteer’s novels.” Rating 4.5 Reviewed by Orchid Long And Short reviews
Book Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
No. of Pages: 220
Paper Weight (lb): 9.4
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