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Seduction [Mass Market Paperback]

Brenda Joyce

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Book Description

Jan. 31 2012 Hqn
Dominic Paget, the earl of Bedford, will do anything to resume spying upon Britain's enemies. Badly wounded, he is put will do anything in the care of a beautiful gentlewoman, Julianne Greystone, only to discover that her sympathies lie with his enemies. Yet he can't help but seduce the woman who saved his life—hoping she never learns of his betrayal.

Julianne is captivated by the wounded stranger she believes is a revolutionary hero. Until she discovers the truth…her "hero" is the privileged earl of Bedford. Devastated and determined to forget him, Julianne travels to London. But when she finds herself in danger, it is Bedford who comes to the rescue. Now Julianne must navigate the intrigues of a perilous city, the wild yearnings of her own heart and the explosion of their passion….


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HQN Books; Original edition (Jan. 31 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373776551
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373776559
  • Product Dimensions: 16.7 x 10.9 x 2.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #461,875 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Joyce excels at creating twists and turns in her characters' personal lives." -- Publishers Weekly

"An elegant blend of mystery and romance simmering with sexual tension."-Booklist on Deadly Promises

"Joyce's latest "deadly" romance is truly a pleasure to read, given its involving plot, intriguing characters, and the magic that occurs as the reader becomes immersed in another time and place."-Booklist on Deadly Kisses

"If this is your introduction to Francesca Cahill, you'll be just as hooked on the series as longtime fans. Joyce skillfully pulls you into her characters' tangled lives as they pursue a killer. The "Deadlies" keep you coming back for more because you care about the people and you can sink your teeth into their complicated lives as they twist and turn with mystery."-RT BookReviews on Deadly Kisses

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

July 2, 1793—Penzance, Cornwall

She was very late.

Julianne Greystone practically leapt from the curricle, having parked it before the milliner's shop. The Society's meeting was next door, in the public room of the White Hart Inn, but every space in front was taken up already. The inn always did a brisk business in the afternoon. She rechecked the curricle's brake, patted the old mare in the traces and quickly tied her to the post.

She hated being late. It wasn't her nature to dally. Julianne took life very seriously, unlike the other ladies she knew.

Those women enjoyed fashion and shopping, teas and social calls, dances and dinner parties, but they did not live in the same circumstances as she did. Julianne could not recall a time in her life when there had been days of leisure and frivolity; her father had abandoned the family before her third birthday, not that their straits hadn't already been dire. Father had been a younger son, without means, as well as a wastrel. She had grown up doing the kind of chores around the manor that her peers reserved for their servants. Cooking, washing dishes, carrying in firewood, ironing her brothers' shirts, feeding their two horses, mucking stalls…. There was always a chore awaiting her. There was always something left to do. There was simply not enough time in any given day, and she found tardiness inexcusable.

Of course, it was an hour's drive from her home on Sennen Cove to the city. Her older sister, Amelia, had taken the coach that day. Every Wednesday, come hell or high water, Amelia took Momma calling on their neighbors—never mind that Momma did not recognize anyone anymore. Momma wasn't well. She rarely had her wits about her, and sometimes failed to recognize her own daughters, but she loved to visit. No one was as adept at frivolity and gaiety as Momma. Momma often thought herself a debutante, surrounded by her merry girlfriends and chivalrous suitors. Julianne thought she knew what it had been like for her mother to grow up in a home filled with every luxury, where she was waited upon hand and foot, in a time before the Americans had sought their independence, a time of only occasional war—a time without fear, rancor and revolution. It had been a time of absolute splendor and indifferent and lavish ostentation, a time of blatant self-indulgence, a time when no one bothered to consider the misery of the common man next door.

Poor Momma. She had begun to fade away from them shortly after Father had left them for the gambling halls and loose women of London, Antwerp and Paris. But Julianne wasn't sure that a broken heart had caused Momma to lose her mind. She sometimes thought it far more simple and mundane: Momma simply could not manage in the dark, threatening circumstances of the modern world.

But their physician said it was important to keep her out and about. Everyone in the family agreed. So Julianne had been left with the curricle and their twenty-year-old mare. An hour's drive had become two.

She had never been more impatient. She lived for the monthly meetings in Penzance. She and her friend, Tom Treyton, who was as radical as she, had founded the society last year, after King Louis XVI had been deposed, and France had been declared a republic. They had both supported the French revolution from the moment it had become clear that great changes were afoot in that country, all in favor of easing the plight of the peasantry and middle class, but neither one had ever dreamed that the ancien regime would eventually fall.

Every week there was another twist and turn in France's crusade for freedom for the common man. Just last month, the Jacobin leaders in the National Assembly had staged a coup, arresting many of their opposition. A new constitution had resulted, giving every single man the vote! It was almost too good to be true. Recently the Committee of Public Safety had been established, and she was eager to learn what reforms it might soon bring about. And then there were the wars on the Continent. The new French Republic meant to bring liberty to all of Europe. France had declared war on the Haps-burg Empire in April of '92. But not everyone shared Julianne's and Tom's radical views and enthusiasm for France's new regime. Last February, Britain had joined Austria and Prussia and entered the war against France.

"Miss Greystone."

Julianne had been about to wave over the livery boy from across the street and ask him to water her mare. At the sound of the strident voice, she tensed and slowly turned.

Richard Colmes scowled at her. "You cannot park here."

She knew exactly why he meant to confront her. Julianne brushed a tendril of strawberry-blond hair away from her face. Very politely, she said, "It is a public street, Mr. Colmes. Oh, and good afternoon. How is Mrs. Colmes?"

The milliner was a short, pudgy man with gray whiskers. His wig was not powdered, but it was fine, indeed, and otherwise, his presence was impeccable, from his pale stockings and patent leather shoes to his embroidered coat. "I will not condone your society, Miss Greystone."

She wanted to bristle but she smiled sweetly instead. "It is hardly my society," she began.

"You founded it. You radicals are plotting the downfall of this great country!" he exclaimed. "You are all Jacobins, and you meet to exchange your terrible plots right next door. You should be ashamed of yourself, Miss Greystone!"

There was no point in smiling now. "This is a free country, sir, and we are all entitled to our views. And we can certainly meet next door, if John Fowey allows us to do so." Fowey was the innkeeper.

"Fowey is every bit as mad as you!" he cried. "We are at war, Miss Greystone, and you and your kind support the enemy. If they cross the Channel, you will no doubt welcome the French army with open arms!"

She held her head high. "You are simplifying a very complex issue, sir. I support the rights of every man—even the vagabonds who come to this town begging for a decent meal. Yes, I happen to support the revolution in France—but so do a great many of our countrymen! I am keeping company with Thomas Paine, Charles Fox, Lords Byron and Shelley, to name just a few of the distinguished minds who recognize that the changes in France are for the universal good of mankind. I am a radical, sir, but—"

He cut her off. "You are a traitor, Miss Greystone, and if you do not move your curricle, I will do so for you." He turned and stalked into his shop, slamming the door behind him. The glass pane rattled, the bells jingled.

She trembled, feeling sick inside her stomach. She had been about to tell the milliner just how much she loved her country. One could be a patriot and still support the new constitutional republic in France. One could be a patriot and still advocate for political reform and social change, both abroad and here at home.

"Come, Milly," she said to the mare. She led the horse and carriage across the street to the livery, hating the recent dispute. With every passing week, it was becoming harder and harder to associate with her neighbors—people she had known her entire life. Once, she had been welcomed into any shop or salon with open arms and warm smiles. It wasn't that way anymore.

The revolution in France and the subsequent wars on the Continent had divided the country.

And now she would have to pay for the privilege of leaving her mare at the livery, when they did not have change to spare. The wars had inflated the price of food stuffs, not to mention the cost of most other sundries. Greystone did have a thriving tin mine and an equally productive iron quarry, but Lucas invested most of the estate's profits, with an eye to the entire family's future. He was frugal, but they were all frugal—except for Jack, who was reckless in every possible way, which was probably why he was such an adept smuggler. Lucas was in London, or so she thought, although it was somewhat suspicious—he seemed to be in town all the time! And as for Jack, knowing her brother, he was probably at sea, running from a customs cutter.

She dismissed her worries about the unexpected expense, as there was no avoiding payment, and put aside the recent and unpleasant conversation with the milliner, although she might share it with her sister later.

Hurrying forward, she wiped dust from her freckled nose, then slapped it off her muslin skirts. It hadn't rained all week, and the roads were impossibly dry. Her gown was now beige instead of ivory.

As she approached the sign posted beside the inn's front door, excitement rose up, swift and hard. She had painted it herself.

Society of Friends of the People, it read. Newcomers Welcome. No Fees Required."

She was very proud of that last line. She had fought her dear friend Tom Treyton tooth and nail to waive all fees for memberships. Wasn't that what Thomas Hardy was doing for the corresponding societies? Shouldn't every man and woman be allowed to participate in an assembly meant to promote the cause of equality, liberty and the rights of man? No one should be denied their rights or the ability to participate in a cause that would liberate them because he or she couldn't afford the monthly dues!

Julianne entered the dark, cool public room of the inn and immediately saw Tom. He was about her height, with curly brown-blond hair and pleasant features. His father was a well-to-do squire, and he had been sent to Oxford for a university education. Julianne had thought he would reside in London upon graduation; instead, he had come home to set up a barrister's practice in town. Most of his clients were smugglers caught by the preventive men. Unfortunately, he had not been able to successfully defend his past two clients; both men been sentenced to two years' hard labor. Of course, they had been guilty as charged and everyone had known it.

Tom stood in the center of the public room, while everyone el...


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Amazon.com: 3.2 out of 5 stars  29 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I couldn't pick this book up Feb. 15 2012
By J. Kollasch - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I always buy Brenda Joyce books as soon as they're released but this book seemed like it was written by a different person. Gone was the heat and passion of her other books and in it's place was a simpering heroine mixed with a hero that was off-putting.

Set during the French Revolution, naive Julianne is an Englishwoman who sympathizes with the cause of the French peasants. She is given the care of Dominic who is a spy for the English that was hurt in France. Being comatose when he is dropped off he doesn't know if he is in England or France and if he is with enemies or friends. Hearing Julianne speak French he assumes he is with French allies so he determines to seduce her to his side.

I seriously had to force myself to read this and generally I love Brenda Joyce. I couldn't stand Julianne and Dominic was not a character that was worthy of any woman's love. The back and forth dialogue between the two of them made me cringe the whole time I was reading it. I just can't even believe that this is the same author that wrote "The Prize" and "The Finer Things." I will give the next in this series a chance in hopes that she'll return to her earlier glory but I'm really worried she won't.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Spying on a spymaster Jan. 31 2012
By akb--bookworm - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
3-1/2 Stars

I have seen Brenda Joyce's name around in the last few years and have wanted to try one of her books. So, when SEDUCTION came available I jumped at the chance to read it. I have a love of French History, so I thought this story set during its turbulent Revolution would be a great book for me to try.

Dominic Paget, the earl of Bedford, is half-French half-English and has been living in rebellious France posing as a revolutionist but feeding the English with valuable information to combat the rebels. When he is wounded he is rescued by a fellow Englishman, Lucas Greystone, and sent to England to recuperate at Greystone's residence. When Dominic finally comes to, he has no idea where he is, how he got there, who he is with, and if they are friend or foe! Lucas Greystone leaves Dominic in the care of his two sisters, Julianne and Amelia. Julianne may be English, but she is a Jacobins and strongly favors the revolution in France and isn't quite about her opinions. When she hears Dominic speak French in the midst of his fever induced delirium she assumes he is a French Military Leader and, therefore, a hero in her eyes. Because Dominic has no idea how he got there, he goes along with her assumption that he is a revolutionist and decides he will seduce her to confidence so he can glean information about Jacobins activities in England and make that part of his report once he manages to get back to London. Well, seduce her he does and she falls hard for her "hero" until she discovers he is no hero but a privileged aristocrat! Devastated and crushed over the deception she is determined to forget all about him. She delves deeper into her Revolutionary lectures and meetings traveling to London to attend a rally. When she finds herself in danger, there is only one person who can help her. But will she call on him? And will they resume their passionate affair? Will two people on the opposite side of war come together and find common ground?

This story was really good with a few drawbacks. This is the first story I've read set during the French Revolution that clearly explains the politics involved in this turbulent time, the dynamic of the French mobs, and the betrayals, secrecy, and spying. Ms. Joyce never bogged down the story trying to tell us these things, instead she showed us the lives of people living through these horrific times and the consequences of the war around them.

I was never sure if I really liked Dominic. He has no qualms about seducing this woman who is nursing him from the brink of death. He KNOWS she innocent and KNOWS she is infatuated with him, but he doesn't care about using her. His exact words? "He had cared only about using her for his own ends, and the desire raging between them." Yes, I get WHY he continues with the charade with Julianne. It took me a while to warm up to Dominic--he's had to live a double life for so long he doesn't always know where he stands.

One of the drawbacks for this story was Julianne. (Hence the 3-1/2 stars) She was extremely naïve and easily influenced by others. She is completely ignorant of the consequences to her actions--of openly activating the Jacobin cause and of taking a lover. Others described her as malleable, naïve, stubborn, hard to control, susceptible to persuasion, and easily manipulated. This is the first story where I STRONGLY agreed with the hero in stating that she really needed the men in her life to give her a big spanking and take control of her life because she is borderline TOO STUPID TO LIVE.

I also had a small issue to take with Julianne's brother, who is her guardian. He leaves a wounded man for over a month with his two unwed and unattached single sisters?! He allows his sister to stay as a house guest for weeks and weeks with some man?? And then he's SHOCKED to find that *gasp* she's his mistress? Some guardian he is.

This book is filled with espionage and more espionage. Who can you trust? Which side will you pledge your alliance to? And what would you be willing to do to protect the ones you love and what you love? There was a lot of back and forth and more.

The romance in this story had to grow on me. It was hard to watch Julianne succumb to Dominic's seduction in the beginning when I could see how completely stupid she was and what a cad he was being for following through with it. When things progressed later after he is unmasked, it seemed that they all too easily just fell into bed together all the time. They had so many obstacles to overcome in their relationship that by the time the end came I was strongly rooting for them.

It might sound like I didn't like this story, but I did. I just had a hard time getting over Julianne. She did redeem herself to me; she grew and developed. She didn't end the story as the same naïve and malleable young lady.

I am really looking forward to more spymaster stories. I really hope we get to read about Julianne's brothers, Lucas and Jack.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Historical fiction? Yes. But where's the romance? Feb. 23 2012
By Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl Book Reviews - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
(Originally posted on my blog, That Artsy Reader Girl. I received an eARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

I love spy stuff and England and France and deception! I was expecting to really enjoy this. Sadly, it fell short for me. And with that, here are my thoughts (I've bolded the most important points, just in case you're a skimmer!):

1. The romance took a back seat to the extremely political discussions and explanations in this book. At 30% of the way through, I knew very little about the characters, but had received a very thorough history lesson on the French Revolution, the Tories, the Jacobins... the battles... the sympathizers and the different thought processes from everyone involved. I started to space and skim through large chunks. I love history, but not this much! I wanted a romance, and there were parts that felt like I was reading a textbook rather than a novel. I felt like the framework of the story took forever to be put into place. It really took away from the romance, which felt like an afterthought. Historical fiction? Yes. Historical romance? Not really.

2. With all that being said, her story was very well researched. I understand that the author wanted her readers to receive all the background information to really understand the story. However, the reader is bombarded with so much! Too much to be enjoyable.

3. I didn't connect with/like any of the characters. Julianne made the stupidest decisions, and was unbelievably naive and spineless. I like romance novels that have strong women. Yes, she had strong opinions, but she was so naive and clammy that I had a hard time believing they were her own thoughts, and not something she had read in a pamphlet. And she kept getting into trouble! Dom was just annoying. He spent so much time with his nose in the air that he didn't even see what was going on. He totally lacked common sense. The supporting characters aren't really worth mentioning. Julianne had two brothers, but they were so similar and hardly ever spoken of, that I had a hard time differentiating between the two of them. Julianne had a maid/servant while staying at Dom's house that I liked, but I think it was only because she didn't bug me.

4. Too. Much. Drama. Everyone threw tantrums. Dom deceived Julianne, and she was so mad that she pouted forever! Julianne deceived Dom, and he got so mad he refused to look at her. Can't we be more adult here, and talk about this? They were on opposing sides of a war. Feelings are bound to be hurt. All of this pouting and cold shoulder business caused pointless misunderstandings. Julianne ends up getting into trouble because of her radical ways, and spends less than 24 hours in a jail cell. She won't eat. When she gets out, she's so weak and traumatized that she has to spend a week in bed. Seriously? That's a pretty wimpy reaction. I kept wishing she'd suck it up.

5. About 3/4 of the way through, things pick up a little. At this point we've been given all the info on the French Revolution, so the focus settles on Dom and Julianne and deception. It was a bit more enjoyable, but I felt it was too little too late. There was not enough time to recover, which was disappointing. So much time was spent on historic details and politics that time ran out before I could connect enough with the characters or the story to care how things ended.

6. For so much frustration and confusion, the ending gets wrapped up in a perfect little bow way too quickly to be believable. I was actually worried that things would be continued in the next book (which I won't be reading), we had so little time left. After all this time of being mad and annoyed and hurt and brooding and pouty, everyone just falls into place and life is perfect. This doesn't happen! People go from hate to love in the blink of an eye! I'm really glad their story ended with this book, because I would have been frustrated if I had plowed through this one, only to still not be finished.

I've read a lot of historical romance. Like I said, it has always been one of my favorite genres. I would not classify this as a romance, though. Julianne and Dominic's story was so weak, that it just annoyed me. Honestly, I didn't care if they sorted out their battles. I didn't like either of them, or their families. Everything took a backseat to the history lesson, which was really pretty boring. I skipped entire pages of history with no dialogue or happenings. It was just history. Now, I have nothing against history. It's just not what I wanted to be reading when I picked up a romance. I will applaud Ms. Joyce for her impeccable research. It was obvious that she spent a ton of time reading up on the French Revolution and the spymasters. If you like historical fiction, I can see that you might like this. It just wasn't my cup of tea.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars terrific late Georgian historical Jan. 31 2012
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In 1793 near Brest, France, someone tries to assassinate Dominic Paget. Lucas Greystone concludes the assassin knew Dominic was a spy. His brother Captain Jack Greystone, knowing the spy will be dead before reaching London, takes the severely wounded Earl across the Channel to his family estate in Penzance, Cornwall.

At her family estate, Julianne Greystone helps Dominic heal from his near fatal wounds. She believes the French Revolution is a great thing for the masses. Julianne also thinks her patient is the heroic freedom fighter Charles Maurice. Dominic seduces his hostess though he knows he should not treat her as he does. As they fall in love, Juliana learns of his duplicity and tells him to leave. However, she is arrested for treason and brought to the Tower to await punishment. Only Dominic, risking his life, can save her.

This is a superb look at the divided opinions on the French Revolution as pragmatic Dominic feels the nightmare is dangerous for all classes while romantic Julianne relishes Lady Liberty. The romance is a sort of star-crossed affair as their political views divide them. Readers will enjoy this terrific late Georgian historical as love may not be enough to overcome monumental events sweeping both sides of the Channel.

Harriet Klausner
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Seduction Feb. 10 2012
By indiana4 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have read nearly all of Brenda Joyce's books and this one in comparison to others, such as the DeWarenne series is a dud. I was not impressed with the character development at all. If this is a prelude to the whole series, I probably won't bother. I was unable to like either one of these characters, as I thought they were both boring and NO chemistry between them. Look back to your other heroes, Brenda. Devlin, Sean, Tyrelle for example, to revive chemistry. I kept waitng for this book to be exciting, but it never happened. Sorry, but this was a complete disappointment.

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