The Pleasure of Your Kiss by Teresa Medeiros
Publisher: Pocket Star/Dec. 2011
Kind thanks to Pocket Star for the review copy
Legendary adventurer Ashton Burke has roamed the globe for ten years trying to forget the spirited woman he left behind in England. His devil-may-care pursuits are interrupted, though, when he reluctantly agrees to retrieve his brother’s kidnapped fiancée from a sultan’s harem. Too late, he discovers his quarry is none other than Clarinda Cardew, the very same girl who made off with his jaded heart.
The last thing Clarinda wants is to be trapped in a palace of sensual delights with the man whose irresistible kisses still haunt her sleepless nights. She quickly realizes that allowing Ashton to rescue her may put her yearning heart in even greater peril. In a journey both tantalizing and treacherous, Ashton and Clarinda resume the impetuous steps of their dangerous dance only to discover the most seductive pleasure of all may be love itself.
When Clarinda Cardew is kidnapped off a ship by the Corsairs, she’s sure that she and her best friend and companion, Poppy, will be sold as slaves into a fate worse than death. However, they are rescued (after a fashion) by the handsome sultan Farouk, and whisked off to his palace in the desert. Keep in mind, it’s 1834, and women aren’t treated quite the way they are today. Farouk is enchanted by his new English Rose, and affords her all the luxury that his wealth has to offer, but she is essentially his prisoner, even if he calls her his guest. Clarinda is no shrinking violet though, and she realizes that she’ll have to get with the program in order to eventually orchestrate her escape, even if that means being taught the art of sensual delight in service to the sultan. Luckily, her first love, Ashton Burke, is coming to her rescue. If only it weren’t for that pesky engagement to his brother, Max…
The Pleasure of Your Kiss is my very first Regency romance, and in the spirit of trying new things in the new year, especially with books, I was happy to dive in. I’m so glad I did! The author is a pro at sexual tension, and Clarinda and Ash’s back story isn’t as black and white as you’re led to think in the beginning, and this is played to the utmost effect. When Ash’s brother, Max (yeahhh, about that…) hires him to find Clarinda and rescue her from the sultan, Ash doesn’t feel like he can refuse, but he’s terrified to see the girl that broke his heart almost 10 years earlier. Clarinda feels the exact same way about Ash though, and it’s this tension that really keeps you glued to the pages. Well, that’s not the only thing. The Moroccan locale is rich and exotic, and created the perfect backdrop for Clarinda and Ash’s drama. I also really appreciated that Farouk wasn’t made out to be terrible villain that you usually see in these kinds of scenarios. He’s a product of his upbringing (and the pressures of his station), and he genuinely has feelings for Clarinda. However, Clarinda’s best friend Poppy only has eyes for Farouk, and this storyline was great fun for me since I couldn’t help but fall in love with the charming, underappreciated, and romantic Poppy. The Pleasure of Your Kiss also made me laugh, frequently, and that’s always a plus for me. Ms. Medeiros is a pro, and it certainly shows in her writing. Yes, I love my dark fantasy and grey characters, but I’m a romantic at heart, and sometimes I like my happy endings. I found myself grinning like a fool at the end of The Pleasure of Your Kiss, and most of the pleasure is in getting there. This story reminded me a bit of an Indiana Jones movie crossed with Romancing the Stone (with some naughty thrown into the mix-I mean, come on, it takes place in a harem), and I enjoyed it immensely. Confident writing, exotic locations, and characters you can fall in love with mark this as a must read for romance, and adventure fans alike. I’m so happy I gave this one a try!