Lady Olivia Carlow is in a bad position. Her marriage has been proven to be illegitimate because her husband had been previously married. Even though it was not her fault she is still the one that will bear the brunt of the scandal. When she receives a note with an indecent offer from Roland Devere she decides to take him up on it.
Devere is a second son. He is part of a club of younger sons that have pledged to look out for each other no matter what comes along. On a night of drunken abandonment he offers himself up to Olivia. He is quite shocked when she takes him up on the offer. After all, he was drunk. He didn’t really mean it. Now Olivia and Devere are set up in a fake betrothal to keep all the society beaus from chasing after her.
The plot of Ripe for Seduction is pretty simple and straightforward. I started out really enjoying the book. There are some parts at the beginning that are a bit confusing. Devere and Olivia display a level of familiarity with each other that I don’t think they really had. It was almost like I had missed something from a previous story? Olivia announces to Devere’s family that he has proposed in a letter and I don’t think that type of thing is really done. I know he wasn’t going to tell them because he just meant it as a joke, but it seemed as if she could have confronted him and then have him tell his family.
Once I got past the initial confusion I really enjoyed the couple. Olivia is logical and blunt. Devere is a rake and a seducer. Together they make for amusing banter. Devere would often come on to Olivia and she would have to rebuff him. After all, their relationship is a temporary thing, it wouldn’t do to have something permanent happen. The moments of sexual tension between them are really well done. I could tell that once they came together it was going to be hot!
Then the book slowly started to change. It became more and more about Devere’s sister and Olivia’s father. Olivia’s father is young and unmarried, Devere’s sister is widowed and fresh from a place where lovers abound. While I liked them they were not as interesting as the main couple. At about 75% of the book I realized we had read several love scenes between Margo and Arlington but virtually none about Olivia and Devere. I felt like I had lost track of why I was originally reading the book and I didn’t like it.
Along with the two romances there is an appearance of Henry who happens to be Arlington’s heir. He has returned home to find that both Olivia and Arlington have possible marriages which would take him out of the running for heir. He figures he must do something to stop one or both of the relationships before they progress to a point where he will have no control.
Ripe for Seduction is very well written with great characters but too much going on. I would have been perfectly happy with a romance of Devere and Olivia and just watching that play out. There is nothing horrible about the book it is just a personal preference for there to be only the one story for me to follow. I had too much to focus on and that ended up watering down any main love interest there was supposed to be. If you have been following the series I think you will still enjoy this book and the appearance of some people from previous books. Final grade- C+
“I’m not fool enough to tumble into your bed, Devere.”
“Pity,” he said, blowing over the wet mark on her skin. “If good, honest lust is not enough, I could make you fall in love with me.”
“And I could make you wish you were dead,” Livy ground out from between clenched teeth.
Devere’s answering laugh skittered up her spine raising gooseflesh as it went. “That’s a dare if I’ve ever heard one.”