Title: To Seduce A Sinner (The Legend of the Four Soldiers)
Author: Elizabeth Hoyt
Published in November 2008 by Forever Imprint
Genre: Historical Romance
The Ice Princess, a FREE serial novella! Starting in January 2009, Elizabeth will post a new chapter each month of The Ice Princess.
Melisande Fleming has loved Jasper Renshaw since they were children. When her best friendís brother went off to war in the colonies, Jasper followed, then came home alone. What had happened there apparently changed him, because he was definitely not subtle in his affaires, gaining quite a reputation as a rake and a profligate. There was something there that didnít make sense to Melisande because that was NOT the Jasper she knew and loved. She sensed there was possibly something broken inside, something driving him that no one understood. She still had an agenda, and opportunity knocked when his latest attempt to secure a bride fell apart. Melisande took her nerves in hand, and entered the vestry where the unfaithful Miss Townsend had taken Jasper to break the news of her flight from marriage to him. Here was her chance, but here was also reason for extreme caution. Jasper was reputed to be a great lover, a man of exquisite passion and definite taste. It was a very different position to be in, and if she was successful, she would secure her status as wife to the man she loved most in the world.
To Melisande, Jasper looked like a man on the edge. Being married to him, she noticed even more the frantic activity that led to the reputation, speculation, and the outright lies bandied about concerning him. Melisande now knew there WAS something wring, something haunting him, her beloved husband. Still, she held her love a secret, knowing it was not something Jasper would welcome now. There may come a time later, when she could bare her heart, but for the moment, she could only wait him out, wonder where he went at night, wonder whom he was with, and entice him in slow increments to be the lover she knew he could be, the husband she wanted him to be, and the man who would eventually come to her healed in heart and in mind. Call it intuition, but it was there in every move he made, every laugh, gesture, and in the darkness dwelling in his exquisite aqua eyes. He was Jasper Renshaw, the love of her life, and Melisande was going to do all in her power to help him recover, to find a way to enjoy life, not just live around the edges as she discovered he was definitely doing. With the help of her maid Sally, and Jasperís man Pynch, there just might be a chance to help Jasper come home once and for all.
It was war, but it left its mark on the young man named Jasper Renshaw. he was called home, needed to claim the title, but it was too late for him not to be horribly damaged in his own way. The nights were not blessings, they were torturous things he barely made it through, the nightmares grinding him, haunting him, and not allowing him any rest. What he lived through might have driven another man insane, and sometimes he felt on the verge of insanity. He was forced into the marriage mart, then had his first bride marry his best friend, Samuel Hartley from the Colonies. Then Miss Templeton, another bride ripped out from under him, this one on the very day of his wedding, claiming to be in love with the curate of her local church. At this quite unseemly yet propitious ending, Jasper was ready to give it up entirely. It was not with any reservation, and he was truly almost willing to become the last Lord Vale, but then that would never do, not for one of Jasper's class. Loveless marriages were often entered into by those of the aristocracy, and even if his was to be a marriage of convenience at this point, at least there might be an heirÖ
After all, what is the purpose of marriage anyway but to beget the next generation? It is with such maudlin thoughts on his mind that he almost missed the entry of one Miss Melisande Fleming. She was a dour little sparrow, more often than not wearing brown, grey, or some other infernally dull colour that hid whatever she desired, and in truth didnít do a lot for her as a woman. The next thing had Jasper reeling, and almost shocked him to his core. Yet, here, a gift, a little brown bird offered herself on the matrimonial altar. His for the taking, and her proposal was not one he could afford to take lightly. She was from an aristocratic household, had a rather large dowry, even though Jasper had more than enough wealth, and was a social equal. Rather than look the gift over and dismiss it, he grasped it with both hands, letting Melisande know that he would expect her to do her wifely duties, and that included the ones in the boudoir. After assuring himself she was telling the truth, the offer was made in good faith, Jasper was left to fret over the other problem on his list of frets: Who was behind the betrayal of his unit?
After a very special trio of stories based on old folklore, Elizabeth has drawn out her infamous pencil and again started penning yet another delightful series of books. To Taste Temptation is apparently the first of the Four Horsemen Series, and no doubt a delightful adventure, however this second book is another notch above. With each book, Ms Hoyt gets deeper into the characters, splitting them open and divulging their deepest secrets to her readers. In Jasper Renshaw, Lord Vale, we have a very wounded soldier, one who has always been loyal, true, and faithful to those he set about to protect. Yet there was the rub, because Samuel brought news of betrayal from the Colonies, and then stole his bride. Not only did Jasper have to fill his nights with activity to keep the nightmares at bay, now he was charged with finding out what really happened on that ill-fated march. One of their own betrayed their unit, destroying lives and hopes for several hundred men, and that was not the least of it. The man or men were still around.
To Seduce A Sinner takes the tale of the second soldier, Jasper, and brings him to his knees. Love is not something he is expecting, and it is not what he envisions in the cards, but with Melisande, it could be possible. It is the feelings themselves, Jasper has been totally unaware of all his life. Melisande didn't trail after Jasper and her brother just because she wanted to be included, Melisande has loved him for a very long time, but now is her chance, and if only she can hold the longing for him inside, if only she can unleash his passion, then maybe she has a chance at having the love she desires more than anything else. To this end, Elizabeth leads her characters through the danger, always one step behind, but always just barely close enough to see what lies ahead. Will Jasper and Melisande make it? Will they find out who betrayed the Unit Jasper and Simon were a part of in the Colonies? This is a question best answered when you read Elizabeth Hoytís latest book, To Seduce A Sinner. Along with To Taste Temptation, To Seduce A Sinner is available from your local bookseller, or on Amazon.com. So if you wish to read the tale of the four horsemen, enjoy a subtle but wonderful sense of humour, and love some terribly inventive romances, I heartily recommend you purchase Elizabeth Hoyt's To Seduce A Sinner today. I know you will not regret it, and you will have hours of great reading as well.
Yours in good reading,